Embellishing Common Place Transformation

February 19, 2018

Below is a great article but it misses my essential ingredients for transformation.

My strong beliefs:

1.  I believe the  executive team must transform themselves individually and as a team.  They need to become “one brain, one heart”.  This alignment strengthens the power, influence, and connectivity of the top leaders naturally – in a way that encourages their people to freely follow and support their direction. The relationship between the CEO and his or her team is key. Here is a new notion from Ed Schein: The CEO is the culture.

2. An internal change agent (ICA) must be extensively trained to sustain the transformation journey. This will break the dependence on the outside  consultants.

3. Utilization of design teams that represent the entire system to create a transformative experience over three days in large groups from 300 to 1000.  Cascading does not work. The traditional top-down goals set by upper management for every single person in the organization is no longer relevant in today’s reality of rapid change. Goals are no longer periodic measures but real time current measures of what’s relevant to the employees and organization. Therefore, the executive team needs to lead and be very present in these large meetings. They become aligned with all the people.

4. The establishment of a strategic transformation office that reports directly to the CEO and is led by the internal change agent.

5. Kotter says commitment for a sense of urgency and priority for  transformation from the executive leaders is essential. The Change, Learning & Transformation process becomes integrated into the day-to-day business and is repeated year after year.

For some of you, I am a broken record. Well, how are  you doing moving toward my essentials? I believe you can do it.

Just my two cents.

Great article on Transformation

I welcome your reaction, thoughts and wisdom.

P.S.  My futuristic radar says that the music business has transformed. One can purchase millions of downloadable songs for around $10.00USD only. Money is  still being made by the music industry by those organizations that transformed. The traditional record companies are essentially dead.

The car industry as well as e-commerce and publishing are  transforming as I write.

My most debilitating experience in my professional career occurred a few years ago with our publisher, Wiley. We had a commitment to  go online with e-chapters and videos to support our 4th edition of “Practicing Organization Development.” We  were verbally promised cooperation. After 100s of hours of work, my editor of 25 years and almost 25 books suddenly  pulled the plug out from our venture. We did publish a traditional text successfully and it is doing well yet opportunities were lost.  Yes, I understand. He lost his job along with another 250 employees. I doubt Wiley will excel in the future. They have their head stuck in the sand.  They simply are not transforming!!! Being the largest industrial publisher in the world, Wiley success has simply blinded them to the need for dramatic change.

Insurance, banking and government are in the next wave of transformative shifting followed by the military, health, and energy.

We will not recognize any of the industries above in 5-10 years. They all will be dealing with exponential change. Whole System Transformation (WST) modality addresses such complex rapid exponential change and learning as well as any intervention out there. Most transformation efforts today are none other than linear change on the fast track. With WST, a fundamental identity-shift occurs to adjust to the new world of technology.

What role are you playing as Artificial Intelligence sweeps into our shifting world? How will you change what you do to stay relevant? Will you have a job in 5 years? I say, change now to take advantage of the shifting market dynamics!


Roland and Maja



Part 2 Peter Block: “Empowerment In Times of Disruption” — Keynote Address at the Asia OD Network Summit In Indonesia

February 12, 2018

I bet your life, if it is like mine, is more complex and pressured for time. Thus, I believe it is important to prioritize and spend quality time with our change gurus. Certainly, Peter Block is one of those sages.

I believe Peter coined the phrase empowerment.  Correct me if I am wrong.

Again, I apologize for the camera work in this viedo.  I was  volunteering and did not take the time to instruct the camera guys on what was best for you all.

Toward the end I was surprised that the camera guys filmed my passionate ( when one is passionate about a topic, excitement ensues) blurt on change today. It is what I believe. I find what I believe is not shared by the general change community. Without doubt, we are experiencing exponential change and transformative world.  So if I offend you,   have mercy on me, forgive me and forget as you move  on with your own belief system.
Hey! I am one  voice in the wilderness here in Minnesota, the land of water and fresh air.

Peter Block- Part II

Shocking insight from the best OD teacher in the world – Peter Block

February 2, 2018

We were fortunate to have Mr. Block keynote the third day at the phenomenal Asian Organization Development summit in BSD City, Indonesia.

In essence he says that the values of western OD no longer fit the world. The Western values are Me, Me, Me, or I, I, I!!!!!

We are seen as self-centered and selfish individuals just after the dollar for ourselves. I have witnessed the same values of Westerners in Africa. The African locals no longer want the western missionaries to come and transfer this self-centered biblical philosophy from the United States.

Instead, Peter says that the Western OD Craft people have a great deal to learn from the Eastern rising OD people. He says that the Buddhist philosophy and the Muslim philosophy of compassion, caring for others, and  relationships is more appropriate for the New World. Our new values should reflect unity in diversity. In my opinion, we need to establish new global standards and values for a true world order.

And he made some strong statements again commercialism. As those of you who know him, he talks about the importance of community and taking care of each other.

Peter Block, I apologize for the camera work. This was a volunteer situation. The camera people, surprised me by focusing on myself on the stage. Peter was talking and you could barely see his left or right eye on the corner of the screen. It’s a good thing that I was behaving. Usually I am not.

Part two will be coming up in a separate blog. Feel free to make some comments below. What he is saying here should upset your cart and way of being

Here’s the LINK

Peter Block: video of the greatest OD teacher ever to live!!

February 1, 2018

For those interested in the future of OD, Peter talks about the breakdown of our world economic model. He does not value the philosophy of the United States that is focused on I want to get Rich today. Instead he believes the mother of the future is in the East. The first verse says that we are important and the happiness of those people of those people around us are also our responsibility.

I truly can say that I experienced that in Asia.

Peter believes that the organization development people from the west can learn a great deal from the east. Here are some of his initial thinking.

I apologize for the Poor camera work

I had no idea that I was being videoed on stage while Peter was talking on the far little screens on the stage. It is unfortunate that the camera man  does not have a  focus on Peter’s screen.

Here is the LINK


Staging Day for First Ever WST Stranger Lab in Jakarta

November 16, 2017

Thousands of volunteer hours went into designing this Change Agent Lab… patterned after Kathie Dannenmiller labs… first at Ford then Boeing.

This is a  big deal.

Dr. Ed Schein blew the participants minds with His Humble Consulting book conversation. He says that Leaders are best to use  groups to engage and focus on relationships in the times of transformation.

Just received the following email from him.

Dear Roland–thank you for the nice message and the two links to the two futurist talks–where all this connects for me is around the idea that The future Will be less about individuals and more about relationships of all sorts, which is why I think Peter Block’s & my concept of levels of relationship become so critical.  I hope more people Will pick up the humble consulting book where we first introduced the levels idea and tried to show why personalized level 2 relationships are so important.  Many of the questions that were asked by the participants about how one reaches the more personalized level 2 are answered in that book with case examples


Thanks the leadership and dedication of BMW/GLC Robby. Robby thinks big.   We could not have held this without his support. He will launch the Indonesian OD Network Group out of this Asian OD Network Summit going on right now.

Staging day participants below:  Dancers, Design Team, Theme Team and Logistics Team

Even my life time friend, Eric  from Argentina is here in the second row with the red  tie.

I think my wife. Maja is sitting center in white.

13  countries are represented :



Arielle is in the red dress… center.

Transform your self right now!!!  Then lay back and enjoy the Age of Aquarius. Still with passion help us transform the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Daughter, Arielle who is the Dean of the Jakara WST Lab below. Here she is 7 years ago at Airbus. Guus is in the background. He just was chosen CIO of Germany because, he says, of the WST work we did with him. His strategic planner, Peter is next to him in the black tie. Oh. The challenge we had to bring his initial strategic plan from 20 powerpoints to 4.


Large groups can not handle 20 powerpoints.


We have 500  more pictures somewhere.



Pillars to Assess Organizations in Whole System Transformation Summits.

October 30, 2017

Our old model has evolved along with a new current definition of OD refined.

Credit goes to my daughter, Arielle, our associate Lenny Lind from Co-Vison and the Jakarta Asia OD Network Summit design team.

We are about to enter the first Whole System Transformation Event for strangers/the public/ many organizations at once.  Transformation will not occur but we guarantee that this unique conference is sign of what is coming in  OD.  It will not happen because we need to be working with an intact system or organization.

And our Jakara design is light years ahead of anything happening in today’s popular Change Management world.

Here is Peter Blocks heretic invitation 

Ed Schein and Barbara Bunker  will also keynote. For us they are the  two senior living and active male and female OD founders.


No one that we know integrates the 6 pillars driven by the Executive Team as we do. For us,  it one of ten reasons why it prevents the controversial  statement that 70% of Change programs/journeys fail. 99% of our Change Journeys succeed to one degree or another.

So now we challenge you to incorporate what we have learned over 50 years into your practice. Why? Because Change Agents will become more in demand as each week goes by. My God, there will be free internet connectivity worldwide in a very short time. Such will more  than level the playing field for the world. Free education is coming for 90% of those living.  Change will only accelerate. Who but you, as a change agent, are prepared to help us to move faster and smoother to the age of abundance and peace (Aquarius- let the sun shine in).

Here is our radical future statement from Singular Univeristy. In 2048, those individuals that keep up with the changes will be 1 billion time more intelligent that they are today. Think on that one for a bit.

Now the developed new Pillar model.





The above definition is based on what we came up at our first Asia OD Network Summit in Dubai maybe 12 years ago. Charles Seashore was significantly involved as well as Roland’s pal,  the famed… Billie Rothwell from Penn State…Now the author of almost 100 Books!!!!

Truly                                                                                                                                                          Roland, Mary Jane Balsi-Sullivan and Arielle Threlkeld-Sullivan

PS: Roland here: My first degree is in Philosophy. As I reflect on life as I have been doing since 1962, I say that the essence of the human species is to CHANGE who they are!!!! Today is a good time for you and I to commit or re-commit to such a life mission and take focused steps toward such.

The room for our upcoming Summit:

large room.jpg


Essential OD Wisdom from Roland and the Most Senior Practitioners from Minnesota

September 27, 2017

Am with Rev. John Johnson the second longest OD Consultant in Minn. He worked with Dr. Richard Byrd from Edina, Mn and significant NTL member with his and my mentor Dr. Jack Gibb.

Part One

Part Two: Questions and Answers

What will be your legacy? What will be your passion?


Roland for Maja



One Of a Kind Pictures of My Jumbo Large Group Dynamic

September 17, 2017

Large Group 2.jpg

I. STA is partnering with Co-Vision and Lenny Lind. Here is a picture using his Co-Visioning technology with one of my clients. One of my students, Lisa, from University of St. Thomas was instrumental in application. There are 52 flags on the stage representing  countries in the room.

II. Perhaps 15 years ago in San Francisco we did a 2.5 day lab on Large Group Dynamics. Paul, from the Swiss Rail traveled to be with us. As an internal change agent, he took what he learned and applied to the Famous Railroad in Switzerland. He was so successful that he started his own consulting firm.

He calls what he learned from us, Real Time Strategic Change. Kathie Dannemiller invented such at Ford in the late 70’s. Ford still uses her modality today. She then named it “Whole Scale Change” a few years latter. Then just before she flew into heaven, she named her work “Whole System Transformation.”  because it communicated best what she invented. Here is a link to her last interview with my comments.

Dannenmiller’s last interview

III. Here is  our (STA’s) largest Jumbo Group of almost 1,600 participants for four days, many years ago. Was convened by the President of the United States. It is still having postive impact today in terms of job creation.


A link to the story.

7th American Forest Trans-organization Congress

Post Script:

Lewin the founder of OD coined 4 words or phrases perhaps in the 30’s & 40’s.

Social Psychologist ( Maja, my wife has her Masters in Social Organization Psychology from the academically tough Jesuits. It is based on the work of Lewin)



Group Dynamics

Post Script II. The use of large groups has dwindled because they are a real challenge to master. Still I see them a very important part of the future of Organization Change. Simply, we have  spent around 45 years determining  how to transfer to those highly interested. 




Free Resources for the Minnesota OD Network and other followers of my blog

September 14, 2017



 Emerald WST Paper


Nihar’s revision of Emerald.


 WST MODALITY integrated with other Models

 WST 10 Elements by Mubeena Mohd


WST value proposition

https://files.secureserver.net/0sDOJBeypaBSFLSUCCESSFUL CASES:

5 Sample Cases


Airbus Case for 10ed Worley


ABSA Case: Roland Sullivan


Allstate Case


 BAE. Pre-publication


NWA Case


Seventh American Forest Congress Case


IFA conference Presentation on the 1st WST case in Africa

Lessons Learned in WST as told by the Executives


Dilmy Transformation of Semen Indonesia.



ABSA- IFA Presentation


 AirB: Design Team Learnings and Wisdom


Airbus leadership lessons.





Leading Change and Transformation in Africa – POD4 Online Chapter


Kathie Dannemiller Last Full Interview


WST Article for 2nd Ed Change Champions



A Sample Script


https://files.secureserver.net/0su5YHBjZNiaBG. In Memory of Udai Pareek Article P. Vijayakumar, Mj and Rs


Burke Model on Change

https://files.secureserver.net/0sC56VhpORAZBJMarketing OD by Alan Weiss

 POD Chapter 8 -Marketing and Positioning OD –



Dannenmiller 5 truths




Emerald video of Roland . over 10,000 views

YOUTUBE location ONE: Rollie77777777@gmail.com



Roland’s OD story: Spontaneous interview by his daughter, Arielle. https://youtu.be/IqDz8E5TLWI

YOUTUBE location TWO:




OD Network Video:


Managing Change: BPI



Advantages of WST- Concise


How To Do: WST Video


Three Marketing Videos: Transforming ICA


Transforming Any Team


Advantages of WST- 5 videos


 Costing of WST

  1. Costing WST



Explore of Whole Brain Literacy


III. I Control



We-Pursue… the mini steps of WST


Purpose of the consult


China videos on WST


  1. One Asia Whole System Transformation: Roland Sullivan Part I




  1. Asia Whole System Transformation: Roland Sullivan Part II



 Asia Whole System Transformation: Roland Sullivan Part III


Asia Whole System Transformation: Roland Sullivan Part IV


 Asia Whole System Transformation: Roland Sullivan Part V


Asia Whole System Transformation: Roland Sullivan Part VI


Introduction to WST at AODN

Part I

Part II

Part III




 Part V






 Video for beginners

 Here’s the link to the first video: When new to the field


 Video two for experienced folks





A Review of Dr. Noer’s Humanistic Consulting book: The most significant OD publication of this century

September 14, 2017





Dr. Chris Agyris in my mind is the brightest and key author on Change Intervention Theory and Practice. In my last in person meeting with him, he asked me to be the guardian of th OD boundaries. He said that OD is not everything to every one.

The new hot OD book, authored by Dr. David Noer titled, “Humanistic Consulting: It’s History, Philosophy and Power for Organizations helps us all understand the current boundaries of OD. For me, it is the most important OD book written thus far this century because:

It shares information publicly from original stories that never been published before as it takes the reader new ground

It portrays one man’s lifetime assimilation of the  theory and practice of OD of the past to the  present and future

Demonstrates how OD is quite relevant to today’s environment of rapid change and transformation

Truisms  shared about the special interest of large group interventions that the common change person has yet to discover and master

Highlighting and re-birthing the concept of power that was so prominent in the early days of our occupation

The most comprehensive clear  list of 10 competencies are shared. I should know  because I led along with Dr. Rothwell and Chris Worley organization change competence  over the past 30 years for the field

The assessments in the appendix are worth the price

Pointing out the great differentiation between popular change management and organization development. OD is focused on a humanistic philosophy. Such permeates every chapter.

Dr. Noer has had a fantastic career. He along with Ed Schein are two of the most active silver OD  foxes still active in change thinking and work today.