Archive for June, 2012

The Essence of OD via Harvard

June 25, 2012

One of the newly rising authors that I have come to respect extensively is: Gervase R. Bushe Ph.D.

He writes with great articulation in our 3nd edition of practicing OD.
He has submitted a new chapter to Lou Carter and myself as we revise Change Champions. He ends his chapter with the following quote from Dr. Beer, also in my 3nd addition and a very influential professor on my thinking.

“Summing up 20 years of studying organizational change and development, Harvard professor Michael Beer recently concluded, “The development of an effective organization requires honest (the unvarnished truth about the system is revealed), collective (a critical mass of key stakeholders inside and outside the organization), and public (what is learned and actions taken is known to everyone) conversations about the alignment of the organization with the senior team’s espoused strategy and values.”

I share this with you because I really believe this is the essence of what organization development offers distinctively different than the other consults. And I believe that whole systems transformation (WST)  and especially the large group conversations clearly is one answer to the challenge that he is proposing.

Dr. Beer and I have had several conversations around how WST support his theory.
Few can align a top leadership like he can. Of course, he is also expensive and it is quite laborious because he sells in his process numerous experts pontificating the Harvard theories and research. I find executives say they do not care very much about the theory. They just want to be led through an experience of effective transformation. Still, effective consultation requires stellar research behind interventions. As the famed Lewin said, that “There is nothing so practical as a sound theory.”

Evidence that OD is alive

June 8, 2012

Bob Tannenbaum and Meg Wheatley in dialogue as we created the book “OD At Work”.

Evidence that OD is alive

What evidence do you have that OD is alive and well?

The Presentation at the Minnesota OD Network of Dr. Jamison’s future of OD last night was thrilling.

A few of the Ph.D students at St. Thomas in OD were curious about the significance and importance of their Doctorate. The link below is evidence that one of the fastest-growing companies in the business centered East Coast has a main focus on teambuilding or organization change.

I looked at their website and they are doing traditional OD but nonetheless they’re focused on change.

Dr. Vaill (the leading living OD Academic) and I were key supporters and initiators of the Ph.D program at St. Thomas. Never before has anyone ever heard from me say that the program at St. Thomas is excellent or that I would even recommend it. Trust me, it is being transformed presently. I said at the meeting last night, that I’m totally confident that as Dr. Jamieson develops the current program it will become one of the best in the world , and if not now, very soon. Why do I say that? I know well all the programs (i.e. Assumption University in Thailand, Ateneo de Manila University) in the world and because Dr. David has had the best of OD learning, knows what students need to learn and what the future clients want.

He received his PhD from one of my very close friends, the late Dr. Tannenbaum, who in my mind was the prime professor for decades of PhD students on the West Coast in OD at UCLA.

When I was doing my thesis work at Pepperdine, (the most recognized global OD program) where David was a key faculty person and Dr. Tannenbaum was the Godfather, I had Warner Burke as my primary thesis advisor but was told to get a thesis advisor in my present hometown so that I could have more intimate conversations. That was before on line learning and even email.

Well. I went to the University of Minnesota and asked who the key leading professors in OD were and they said the OD fad has just passed and that they advised me to go to Atlanta because they were always a few years behind MN. They said I could find a professor with interest in change there. In the end, I learned from Dr. Dick Byrd in Edina who was not affiliated with the U of MN but with NTL.

Therefore, for me personally in the beginning years I was worried that the profession was not going to survive.

There is absolutely no question in my mind that the world of OD, only 60 years old, will be seen as a catalyst in helping our world transform. AND now it is up to the NEW generation to take it farther and deeper into every corner of the world.

By the way, I just found out that 500 students have just received degrees or certificates in OD in Ghana. I will be with ISOD as we have a grand global OD conference there the summer of 2013.

More evidence. My Asia OD network now in its 8th year had 600 people in China at the keynote conference last year. And my only living mentor Dr. Cooperridder just had 500 or 600 from 30 or 40 countries in Europe in his International AI/OD Conference.

I had so many battles to keep the MN OD Network focused on OD. First, the training people, then the HR people then the Quality people tried to take it over. And I thank Dr. Quade, who was acknowledged at last nights meeting, for helping MNODN new board become competent for sailing us to a bright future.

My greatest concern over the years has been that thousands and thousands of people doing change work in the name of OD but they have not had the proper education. Their incompetence has hurt the credibility of our blooming profession. Programs such as the University of St. Thomas, Columbia and Benedictine in the end will be essential to produce OD credible stars that not only will be excellent practitioners but also will provide the research necessary to document the significant difference that authentic organization change people are making today and tomorrow.

What evidence do you have that the world needs OD and that it is alive and well.

Meg Wheatley and Bob Tannenbaum

June 8, 2012

Meg Wheatley and Bob Tannenbaum

Bob and Meg in dialogue that framed a book I edited on OD in Work

How to Change an Organization

June 3, 2012

Brook Manville, former Director of Knowledge Management at McKinsey and Company and co-author of Judgment Calls,  said, “The king and subject model doesn’t change cultures.” Great leaders don’t change people; they create environments where people change themselves.

My work has alway been about changing environments. Lewin says it is eaiser to change the group/environment than individuals. Still when we work wholistically, challenging individuals to change and grow and learn is key.


A fresh picture Charlie just shared on Facebook with me.

June 2, 2012

A fresh picture Charlie just shared on Facebook with me.

A man, his hat and his dog.

Thank you Charlie for being my inspiration to b the best human being I can.

A footnote on the previous blog. Charlie’s father on his death bed told Charlie to find Jack Gibb and learn from him… Indeed Charlie did so. Doing so let him to NTL where he met his wife Edie.
The rest is history. They went on to write the famous book.

” What Did You Say?: The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback”

I have Edie as one of the leading diversity consultants in the world.

She was on my OD Series Board. She lived her values.

One story..

I asked Charlie to give a message to Edie. He said, You better do it. I do not communicate with her.

I laughed… took responsibility for my own stuff and reached out to Edie and told her myself.

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