THE SPIDER WEB EXERCISE

(Impact of the exercise as an OD tool)

The Spider Web is an Organization Development (OD) tool used in the practice of OD as an institutional self assessment tool to enhance organisational change.

The name is deduced from the visual imagery created in the application of the tool. The spider web was originally developed in the Himalayan city of Nepal in Asia, as a participatory method for monitoring the status over time of community based organisation.  The Spider web has since, been applied in several settings to facilitate participatory approaches to change and growth. The ideal Spider Web exercise incorporates people from all levels and capacities in an organisation. Therefore, the tool can be a powerful way to build a common vision of what is needed to develop and strengthen an organisation’s capacity to deliver quality, relevant and sustainable development

APPLICATION OF THE SPIDERWEB EXERCISE

The spider web exercise was recently used by the OD facilitators of St Vitus OD Consult as an Organization Development tool for Gastys Consult Ltd in Ghana, West Africa.  The exercise brought to bear critical pivots of assessment, discovery and consensus as was expected by the application of the tool

SUMMARY OF OUTCOMES FROM THE EXERCISE

INDIVIDUAL EFFECTS FROM EXERCISE AS RECORDED BY PARTICIPANTS

  1. Some participants reported feeling like they were pulling along experience of others as the facilitators controlled discussion points
  2. Some participants reported excessive pressure on their fingers as participants executed a drag-out command of the exercise
  3. Some persons reported feeling Little or No effect at all from the exercise
  4. Some participants reported being patient and bearing with some pain associated with some of parts of the exercise
  5. Some participants reported anticipation and mind preparation to adjust to the exercise
  6. Some Participants reported being relaxed and observant of how others were coping in the exercise

LEARNING POINTS FROM THE EXERCISE AS RECORDED BY THE PARTICIPANTS

  1. Every Organization survives on an effective Networking
  2. Information flow is critical to sustain organizational growth
  3. Tolerance is needed to hold the organization together
  4. Endurance is an inevitable aspect of organizational growth
  5. Teamwork is the key to organizational effectiveness
  6. Connectivity keeps the frame work or the organization intact
  7. A platform is created for effective communication
  8. Communication
  9. Interdependence on each other keeps the web of the organization functional
  10. Different level in the organization constitute to the working framework of the organization
  11. Widening gaps occur as persons try to execute their personal gains in the organization
  12. Unplanned Occurrences in the organization cause momentary discomfort and confusion but tolerance and patience overcomes the effects of sudden change
  13. The web pattern breaks up as parts of the web pivotal points begin to fail which relates to a failing organization when individuals fail to perform accordingly
  14. Every part of the organization is critical to the growth of the organization
  15. Teamwork and Interdependence
  16. Importance of Leadership (Center of the web)
  17. What affects one affects all
  18. An organization is one unit as a whole

HOW TO APPLY SPIDER WEB IN YOUR ORGANIZATION AS RECORDED BY THE PARTICIPANTS

  • Team development
  • Diversity
  • Emphasizing standards
  • Operating procedures
  • Conflict resolution
  • Enhancing internal controls
  • Respect for all
  • Synergy
  • Enhanced relations
  • Awareness of organization culture
  • Discipline & core values

OTHER APPLICATIONS OF THE SPIDER WEB TOOL IN ORGANIZATION DEVELOPMENT

  • Breaking Hierarchical communication
  • Organizational Retreat
  • Team Building
  • Enhancing Leadership

CONCLUDING COMMENTS

OD as a profession harnesses tools models and processes that drive organizations to sustainable change. The spiderweb is indeed a powerful tool that emphasizes the strength of a healthy organization and the ability to enhance effectiveness in the organization. OD is a scientific process and therein emphasis that the Spider Web tool utilized in the OD process will always bring to bear key parameters for the transformation of any organization in the world

For more on Transforming your Organisation with OD, Contact “www.vitusodconsult.com “The Most Trusted OD Consultants in Africa”


WHY YOUR PROPOSALS END UP IN THE SHREDDER

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In a conversation with Mrs Aberta Chuku Dono, a marketing professional in Ghana, she said” Marketing is a skill but Selling is an Art” she explains that people need to see the brighter colours of a new purchase to gain satisfaction. So the job is to paint them a picture of added value . The clearer and prettier your art, the quicker the sale.
Entry into an Organisation is an interestingly dicey phase of Consulting in Organisational Development (OD). It may come as a clear cut strategic phase with clear expected outcomes when a client calls you in to Consult on perceived issues. However, it becomes a much trickier art when the initiative is coming directly from you. You may have observed and researched enough to identify unhealthy Organisational Practises warranting Organisational Development processes to transform the organisation into higher and healthier performance.
Ironically your prospective client shoots you down each time you try to enter. Each proposal is treated with a waive of the hand and may just end up in the shredder. Your mind is constantly bugging why? Why? Why?
WHY ARE YOU NOT GETTING THE ATTENTION YOU DESERVE???  WHY
There could be several reasons why you are not being taken seriously, the sooner you find out why, the quicker you get signed in.

WHAT IS THE LEVEL OF DISSATISFACTION IN THE CLIENT???
More often than not, it comes at a seemingly absurd cost of pride and reality for most organisational leaders to accept dissatisfaction in their organisational systems until they are helpless with problems. However, dissatisfaction is a major determinant of of the willingness to effect change and transformation in an Organisation. In my earlier post “The Role Of Dissatisfaction In Change” I elaborated on the importance of the client’s dissatisfaction in a current state to warrant a change effort. It is important to clarify that dissatisfaction must not necessarily mean poor performance bugged with Organisational problems. Every organisation that sees itself in its true reflection will most certainly wants to grow stronger, better and healthier. In this light, the client needs not be dissatisfied with setup or need not be underperforming to warrant an OD intervention. The OD process is intended to enhance and foster sustainable healthier growth. So if the organisation is doing so well on its own, imagine how much more maximisation and sustainability can be achieved with the incorporation of OD
That said, your proposal will only appeal to the client’s dissatisfaction only if it depicts an addition of value. Don’t be modest in stating the benefits of your proposal to the client but rather be clear and succinct in describing what they stand to gain. Keep in mind that the organisation’s prime motive is to maximise profit, hence a process to enhance productivity and increase profit margins is surely a process of interest to the client. Clients need not be saddled with problems and at the brink of closure to require OD. OD needs to be incorporated into an organisation’s activities to ensure sustainability of development and growth.
Draw a picture of added value rather than a transformational picturesque. Dr. Roland Sullivan, one of the 100 original change agents, said at the 2015 international OD conference held in Kumasi,Ghana ” Transformation is so obvious, it needs no measure” This truth of this statement should guide you in your proposal. You do not need to focus on the amount of transformation but rather the additional value the OD process brings.

                                                                                            THE FOLLOW-UP STRATEGY
Believe it or not, the facts remain that only a marginal  few deals are closed on the spot. Realistically, a business proposal requires constant follow ups and revisions. The idea is not to put pressure on the client to accept your proposal but rather to find understand the client’s position on the subject of discussion. A follow up preferably in person creates the opportunity for the client to expound his position on the proposal. This allows the consultant to tailor a follow-up proposal to suit the client.
Creating a timely follow up strategy is very important if the client is to develop trust in your proposal. This is undoubtedly part of your entry process as an OD Consultant.
It is very important to use each follow-up meeting to create a reason to keep contact with your client.

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND DURING FOLLOW-UPS
You want to understand the client more than you want the client to understand you.

Do not try to force your idea, listen to what the client really wants.

You hold a process which will definitely help the client grow so relax and be professional.

Don’t be glued to your initial proposal, look for other areas where you can work with the client

Don’t leave the table with nothing to follow up on

Stay in touch, one way or the other.

To develop and enhance your organisation with Organisational Development, talk to The OD Professionals  at “www.vitusodconsult.comThe Most Trusted OD Consultants in Africa.


THE POWER OF THE OD PROCESS

It is a proven and established fact in Organisational Development that the process is as important as the content. Indeed how you arrive at the solutions and effect change in your organisation is a major determinant of the sustainability of your change effort. People tend to accept and adopt better to development ideas and steps emanating from themselves. This brings into focus the participatory nature of the Action Research Model utilized in the OD process. While managers in their abundance of business knowledge and administration may identify, manage and transcend Organisational issues, the OD approach presents the management and all stakeholders of the organisation a unique opportunity to own the Development of their organisation by playing recognizable key roles in Planning and decision making.
The OD consultant is uniquely trained to facilitate a process which guarantees the identification of root causes, the development of action plans and the implementation of necessary interventions. Without prejudice to other business related disciplines, it is necessary to stress the fact that the work of the OD professional compliments and enhances the expertise of other professionals.  The OD process creates an avenue for individuals in the organisation to furnish the organisation with the needed information and contribution to undertake pertinent interventions to transform organisations into higher performing, healthier setups.
While selected interventions may come easy to the learned business administrator, the craft of effecting it requires a carefully selected process which is mostly unavailable in the dogmatic educational format of most business programs. It takes a trained approach coupled with tailored OD tools and models to effect an intervention for sustainable transformation.

Organisations are built by people and developed by the people in the organisation. Competent individuals are critically employed to spearhead and man the operations of every organisation and therefore, it is only right to say that every member of your organisation is there because of an inherent capability to contribute to the growth and development of the organisation.
The OD  process which emphasizes the development of the organisation by the people, for the people and from the perspective of the people is certainly a model of transformation worthy of incorporation by organisational leaders who truly envision development beyond the myopia of individual and executive brilliance.

For more on Transforming your Organisation with OD, Contact “www.vitusodconsult.com “The Most Trusted OD Consultants in Africa”


THE ROLE OF DISSATISFACTION IN CHANGE

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The aged Akan adage states that “advice changes no man, but trouble surely does”. The relation between the change and its catalyst lies not in the trouble but rather in the amount of DISSATISFACTION of the current state presented by the magnitude of the trouble.
People change only when there is reason to warrant a change. The reasons may vary from individual perspectives but the underlining factor constantly remains the same. DISSATISFACTION of current state + a VISION of better future state is the basic underlying factors for change. Prime to the change effort is the amount of dissatisfaction evident in the effort. Without enough dissatisfaction, the vision of a better future is limited by the illusion of the current state. While dissatisfaction may come as an involuntary spontaneous reaction to problems and issues emanating from present state, it may pay immeasurable dividends to consciously access the level of dissatisfaction in the current state of your organisation. This is Achievable through an Organisational Capacity Assessment (OCA) conducted by a certified Organisational Development Professional. The OCAT is an assessment tool used in OD to bring to bear the true reflection of the organisation’s current state. While an organisation may portray on the surface, a healthy and high performing status to the public, an OCA into the organisation could reveal hidden tendencies and drawbacks limiting the true potential of the organisation. The OCAT allows the stakeholders in the organisation to identify with the issues and drawbacks of the organisation while taking due cognizance of the organisation’s successful strategies and procedures. The organisation in unison thereof, acknowledges the amount of dissatisfaction present in the organisation and together as a team, consciously makes an effort to change.

It is expedient without prejudice to say that every organisation needs to periodically assess itself using proven OD tools and models to brace and buckle up its own growth.

For more on Organisational Capacity Assessment, visit St Vitus OD Consult “The Most Trusted Organisational Development Consultants in Africa”


HOW SMART IS YOUR DEVELOPMENT PLAN?

Being smart in ordinary parlance is built on a connotation of intelligence, knowledge and appeal. However, the Discipline of Organisational development gives a much detailed and pragmatic application of the word SMART. In OD, smart refers to a yardstick in creating sustainable change efforts: goals, visions, missions, etc.
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Specific: This is a unique attribute of the OD practice. It emphasises the exact specification of every outcome stating in simple terms, a succinct description of the expected outcomes. Being specific eliminates assumptions and clarifies every outcome. This is important in OD because it offers the client as well as the consultant the unparalleled advantage of working towards a distinctly defined goal easily understood by all those involved in its achievement.

Measurable: Every outcome of the OD process should be measurable. A quantifiable appreciation in reference from a baseline is indeed necessary to ascertain the quantum of impact of an expected outcome. It follows logically in that, every specific desirable outcome should have an amount of measurement. This allows both consultant and client to work towards a respective amount of development. Furthermore, it serves as a monitoring and tracking mechanism to keep the OD process in check with the expected outcomes.

Achievable: This draws the link between the desired outcome and the facts on the ground. It rids the organisation off the luxury of dreams into a pragmatic analysis where the desired outcome is tested against the realities at stake. All expected outcomes must pass this test to make it worth the change effort. This theme of analysis takes due cognisance of the implementing partners of the process and its outcomes to ascertain its achievable status. OD is a science and hence faith and luck play no role in its outcomes.

Relevant: Relevance is what sets an outcome above others. Each expected outcome should be appropriate in promoting the vision and mission of the organisation. This underlines the “why” of the OD process and ensures complete buy-in from the organisation.
This is a key analytical procedure which may be used to select from a wide range of goals and outcomes desired by the organisation. Furthermore, the theme of relevance is used to project and forecast the benefits and impact of the expect outcome or goal.

TimeBound: Time is a luxury too dear to be accorded in excess. Therefore, the OD process makes use of time boundaries as a measure of progress while using it to effectively sustain focus of the organisation. With Time limits assigned to all processes and outcomes, the process is duly monitored and the outcomes clearly observed.

For more on SMART action planning, contact www.vitusodconsult.com
“The most trusted Organisational Development Consultants in Africa”


INTRODUCTION TO TEAM BUILDING

“Team Building is a specific intervention to address the development of theteam. Typically, it consists of a one (or more) day programme focussed on improvement of interpersonal  relations, improved productivity or better alignment of organisational goals” ( Kreik & Vent or,2009)
Team building is an OD intervention  aimed at enhancing team relationships to foster team planning and team performance through selected models of team building and facilitated by the use of tailored OD exercises and tools. (Personal)
As much as the success of a team building intervention strongly lies within the competency of the facilitator  and his tools, the outcome truly lies in the organisation’s ability to identify the need to transcend into higher performance to achieve greater goals as a team rather than fathom individualistic achievements. The OD Consultant herein has a role to bring to the fore, enough dissatisfaction in the current state  of the organization through data collection to warrant the needed change effort.
In facilitating the Team Building intervention, the OD Practitioner needs to stay conscious of the adult learning strategies to present an introduction in a way that creates an immediate striking realisation of the  relevance of the intervention to the organisation.

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WHEN IS A TEAM BUILDING INTERVENTION NECESSARY

Organisational interventions are basically based on the outcomes of an Organisational Capacity Assessment.
With due regard to analysed organisational data, Team Building is often recommended as an expedient intervention in organisations whose capacity assessment indicates a less than satisfactory representation in relationships, reward systems, and leadership.
It may also be used as an effective intervention in strengthening and enhancing the performance of a mature  organisation. Its relevance may also be recommended where an organisation seeks to setup a new team.
Effective Team Building is achieved via a variety of Organisational Development(OD) tools, models and processes. This may range from simple bonding exercises to complex simulations designed to develop the team into a sustainable healthy and high performing setup.

For more on Team Building, Contact St VItus OD Consult “The Most Trusted OD Consultants in Africa”


WATCH OUT FOR THE DREAM KILLERS

I have a dream, …..….…… This is a quote memorized in recognition of great achievers like martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and the likes of great achievers. Indeed it all begins with a dream. A vision to progress beyond  an undesirable status. The greatest achievements are formed on common visions and dreams which materialise into accomplished realities.
The development of every individual or organisation lies in the ability to dream beyond the current state. Dono Thomas Aquinas once said in conversation that Your mind is your limit” This statement reflects the true power of imagination. It goes without saying that what you see is what you get and you cannot achieve what your mind cannot perceive.
The realisation of your dreams are however constantly under siege from persons I call “THE DREAM KILLERS

WHO ARE THEY
They live amongst us as friends, family, wives, husbands, sons and daughters. They have an unbeatable advantage of closeness to us for which they exploit in guileless yet treacherous murder of our dreams. Interestingly, they play their roles with a flare of innocence and supposed realism. They pose as critical thinkers who appear to know your abilities and inabilities hence forcing upon themselves the role of omnipotence over your life. These are the people we tell our dreams to. They are the people we share our visions of success with. They are the very persons we look to for support to transcend from our current states into higher realms of success.

HOW DO THEY KILL OUR DREAMS?
The greatest setback to development is disbelief in yourself or the system. As I wrote in my earlier post “.   ” the formula for successful change = D x V x Fs x B, where B represents belief. As explained in the write-up, for a successful change effort, none of the variables in the formula can equate to 0.
This B factor of belief in its insurmountable ability to influence the attainment your dreams, is unfortunately the prey for the dream killers. Through the power of words, actions and inaction, they rundown the belief in our change efforts to a ground zero halt which in effect, cripples the realization of our dreams. They tell us we can’t, drawing our minds to how many times we have failed, how difficult it will be, how others have been unsuccessful; singing many more songs and telling tales of why our dreams are bound to fail.

THE WAY FORWARD
There is only one way to escape the murder of your dreams and it is not by hiding or keeping your dreams to yourself. The practice of Organisational Development (OD) gives us the  tested and proven way to brace and progress beyond the death traps of the dream killers.
In OD, the entire content of the process and its outcomes belong to the client who in itself is the people. Therein, the concept of believe in yourself is buttressed to emphasize the fact that the realization and failure of your dreams are solely dependent on you.
Again, OD is a science operating on tested and proven process and models which guarantee same reliable success stories when applied. You cannot afford to loose hope and nature disbelief in yourself or a system where the OD consultant plays a role.
Furthermore, With the involvement of the OD consultant, dreams are shaped into SMART visions which is a key factor in realizing your dreams. This vision may be further broken into missions, goals, objectives and activities which will lead to a systematic and strategic realization of your dreams.

Next time you have a dream of a brighter future, a better tomorrow or a plan for success,
DON’T LET IT DIE, SPEAK TO AN ORGANISATION DEVELOPMENT COACH

For more on Organisational Development Coaching, contact The OD professionals “St Vitus OD Consult”


CHANGING FOR ORGANISATIONAL GROWTH

Change is an inevitable aspect of life. It is therefore necessary to undertake successful change efforts to foster growth and development. Successful change efforts are dependent on the effectiveness of the change model or formula utilized in managing the transition.

THE SCE FORMULA

                                                  SCE = D x V x Fs x B

Where:

SCE = Successful Change Effort
D.      = Dissatisfaction with the current state
V       = Vision for a desired Future
Fs     = First small steps to implement change
B.      = Belief in the desired future state

The working principle: No value < or = 0.

DISSATISFACTION: This underlines the amount of displeasure in the current state of the organisation. It calls for a reality check to identify the true worth of the organisation efforts a
against its performance. For there to be change, there need to be enough dissatisfaction to warrant the change. In an Organisational change process, it is important to uncover dissatisfying issues through data collection to give the need for change the needed attention.
VISION: Having identified dissatisfaction with a current state, a SMART vision of the desired future state should be carved into the minds of the people to perceive a more desirable future. This serves as a motivator to see the change effort though. It stands as a trophy for a successful change effort.
FIRST SMALL STEP: Just as the 1000 mile journey shall always begin with a first step, so does it follow in that, every successful change effort shall always begin with a first small step. This step may vary between persons, organisations and Visionary stand points. However, the emphasis lies in the ability to make a strategic step towards a desired goal or vision.
BELIEF: This may be described as the fuel kindling the fires of each strategic step. It is what keeps the vision alive and worth the effort. Every change effort requires a deep rooted belief in it success, outcomes and benefits.

                                                         THE ROLE OF THE CHANGE AGENT
The organisational Development (OD) Consultant otherwise referred to as the change agent has an exponential role to play in success of the change effort. While acting as a facilitator, the amount of clarity and trust may depend on the unique ability of the consultant to apply a proven formula of sustainable change.
The change agent shall be responsible without limitation to:
Bring to the fore, a true reflection of the current state through data collection and feedback.
This is intended to serve as a mirror for the organisation to see its shortfalls as perceived by the organisation itself thereby unearthing enough dissatisfaction to warrant a change effort.
Empower the organisation to see a better future through the eyes of the organisation itself thereby creating a vision a transcending beyond the current state of the organisation. The Consultant may be required herein to provide enough direction to create a vision which is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
Engage the organisation in strategic planning. This is deemed as a tool that transforms visions and ideas into realities. It is the process that will stipulate the various steps in achieving the  the vision for a better future. The OD consultant may be required to facilitate a strategic plan to develop the vision into actionable steps.
Finally comes the belief factor. A change effort will not succeed unless the client organisation believes its ability and capability to change and sustain a desired future. This is inevitably the duty of the change agent to guide the organisation to trust in the process as well as themselves.

For more on Organisational Development Contact :
“The  Organisational Development Professionals”St VItus OD Consult


ARE YOU A WANTREPRENEUR OR AN ENTREPRENEUR?

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The misconception that everyone  who conceives or starts a great Idea is an entrepreneur has misled potentially successful Corporations to crumble and fold up within the first five years of the business’ life. True entrepreneurs know as a fact that establishing a self-sustaining Idea goes beyond the conception and inception of a business. Leaders of the Business world know all too well that the unique key to the successful establishment, sustainability and growth of every business lies in the skill to develop a systematic and fail-proof Business or Strategic plan. Sadly, many persons with great ideas tend to delude themselves into believing they have everything planned out, and are often too enthused in the glow of their ideas to realize the need to follow the science of Strategic or Business planning.
While a comprehensive business plan presents the entrepreneur with several funding opportunities, the process of developing the plan is of priceless value to the entrepreneur. The process of Business planning using the unparalleled Organisational Development(OD) approach serves as a mirror which transforms the feasibility and viability of the business into a reality. In practice, a good business plan is the lifeline of every successful business, and has always been the growth specimen of successful companies.
It is herein expedient to reason out the importance of experiential training using proven OD models and strategies to equip the youth of our continent in the preparation of apt business plans. The unique OD approach allows entrepreneurs to polish up their Ideas into SMART business plans while building commitment and direction for their business. Pragmatic experience in business and strategic planning as applied in OD, is what African entrepreneurs and  “wantrepreneurs” need  to enable sustainable development.

For more on Business planning, contact St VItus OD Consult


THE TRANSFORMATION OF AFRICA LIES IN ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The African continent is saddled with a myopic and eccentric politicking which has for ages, tied Africa to a pathetic state of under development, destruction and disaster. It is indeed ironic to find Africans amongst the top richest individuals in the world while the continent stills rates as the poorest. It is no secret that Africa is endowed with most of the world’s most valuable minerals and natural reserves. Yet, the fact of mismanagement of our assets hits us hard in the face each time Africa is mentioned. While we cannot dispute the unlimited educational strive of our leaders, we may need to question the application of what they learn in the development of this continent. Africa will not hesitate to boast of learned Professors and Doctors in several disciplines. In the light of Organisational Development (OD), the more critical aspect of our development lies not only in the content but more critically in the process. African leaders need to divert from the stereotyped  dogmatic principles of development and embrace the more pragmatic participatory approach to development practiced in OD.
Organisational Development (OD) involves facilitating an organisation’s ability to self-reflect, self regulate, and take control of its  own processes of improvement and learning (Kaplan, 1966) with a view to effectively achieving its purpose for existence (Kumawu and Kraus, 2007)
OD is a systematically planned effort to transform an Organisation into higher, healthier and self sustaining performance through critical capacity assessment and planned interventions.(Personal).
OD is unique in its approach to development due to the its application of the Action Research Model in all change efforts. One unsurpassed strength of the OD approach is the use of data gathering and analysis to reflect the true state of the organisation prior to action planning. More often than not, African leaders are prone to unclassified assumptions prompting them into assumed solutions which often end up temporarily shadowing the real problems and hindrances to development. It is an established fact that most surfacing problems are often symptoms of an underlying defect in a system. African organisations will need as a lifeline, to embrace the tested and proven processes of OD if there is any hope for the transformation of the African continent.
The goal of OD is to improve organisational effectiveness as defined by the organisation itself and it is only when African Leaders have been able to embed OD into various political and governmental organisations across the sub-region , can we see true transformation of the African Continent.

Read More on Organization Development at www.vitusodconsult.com 

References
Kaplan, Allan (1996) The Development Practitioner’s Handbook, London Pluto Press.
Noble Kumawu and William A. Kraus: Global Organisation Development, A Model for Africa and the World OCIC. Accra, Ghana. 2007.