Strengthening cohesion within the Haut Conseil de l’Ordre (Higher Council of the Institute)
On 30 May 2018, the Haut Conseil de l’Ordre (Higher Council of the Institute) (CSO) successfully completed its term of office with the election of a new board.
The CSO reached a fairly high level of cohesion and synergy of current and especially future actions, which it wishes to perpetuate. Thus, by consensus, its members co-opted one of the oldest Members of the Institute to apply for the position of President with the outgoing Vice-President who remained in office to ensure continuity in future actions. The CSO then worked together to campaign for this presidential candidate. For the best, negotiations took place on the margins of the campaign to prevent conflicting candidacies from poisoning the atmosphere within the new CSO and the Institute.
The members’ attendance rate at General Meetings and, the proportion of members who were up to date with their membership contribution, increased from 30% to 60%. This figure continued to increase and reached 75% at a recent General Meeting.
Context and challenges
The Togo Institute of Architects (ONAT) regulates the architecture profession in Togo. The governing body of ONAT is the Higher Council of the Institute (CSO), which has five members elected for a three-year term.
In the lead up to the 2018 elections for renewal of the CSO, ONAT was going through a crisis due to internal conflicts. Despite the establishment of a Council of Elders - comprising former presidents - to investigate and find solutions, the crisis continued and engendered friction within the entire the organization.
The election of a new CSO could not guarantee a definitive settlement of this crisis since not all members were ‘on the same side’. The President of ONAT at the time requested the services of a professional facilitator to help ONAT find its way back to peace and inner harmony.
The goals of the program were to:
- Re-establish bonds of collegiality friendship within the CSO and overall within the large family of ONAT member architects. The duties of the CSO are indeed to be the driving force in the life of the organization and foster confraternity between all architects, despite the context of competition for state contracts.
- Promote the President's Campaign Program by incorporating the concerns of other members of the CSO, but also of all member architects.
- Improve the position of ONAT on the national and international scene as the Institute represents all architects practicing in the country.
The program was structured around the following components:
- Component 1: Strengthening friendship and brotherhood ties within the CSO and improving internal communication.
- Component 2: Restructuring the Administrative Coordination of ONAT - the employees responsible for supporting the CSO in its daily work.
- Component 3: Strengthening the involvement of a critical mass of members in processing important dossiers for ONAT.
- Component 4: Increasing the CSO Action Plan achievement rate based on the President's Campaign Program.
Facilitation was used to support the CSO through the following specific actions:
- Organization of strategic workshops for the CSO and the entire Institute.
- Facilitation of the design of major documents to speed up the agenda of the CSO with legal texts, terms of reference, job descriptions, protocols of events, a communication plan and mission letters of CSO members.
- Proposal of appropriate methodologies to address internal conflicts or difficulties in reaching consensus.
President AKIDJETAN (middle) with the first President of ONAT, Mr. Hilaire LOCOH-DONOU (White Bubu) and facilitator Kofi KUMODZI (black beret).
Courtesy call of the elected CSO and President AKIDJETAN to H.E. Marc VIZY, Ambassador of France to Togo (center, without scarf)
The Minister of Town Planning, Housing and Space development (left) opening the architect's week in the presence of ONAT's partner Alexandre de SOUZA, CEO of FEST'IMMO (right) and President AKIDJETAN (center)