Category: Organization Development


Conscious Use of Self #1: The Foundation of Leadership

When life isn’t working for you, when you aren’t getting the results you want, when your followers are stumbling around as you are; what to do? These situations happen to us all. At these times, we most need the power of conscious choice. We make many choices every day. We don’t notice most of them. Most are pre-made, automatic habits that require no conscious … Read More Conscious Use of Self #1: The Foundation of Leadership


A Practical Definition of Organization Development: Revised

Not too long ago I was having dinner with a client in the midst of a project that was going well. At some point my client looked up at me and said, “I’m glad you’re not one of those OD people.” After recovering from my surprise, we had a good discussion about what OD is and isn’t. Here is a summary of that discussion.


Quick and Easy Consensus Decision-Making

People think consensus takes forever, but it can be quick and easy/


Making Interventions Sustainable

You used all of your skills to move your team from being dysfunctional to one with a high level of productivity, full engagement of all team members, and they even had some fun together. But will your success last? Will they revert back to dysfunction when you can’t be there? Did you built in the mechanisms to make your changes sustainable?

Two Ways to Create Safe Teams and Organizations

An important key to having great teams and organizations is their sense of safety. Their members feel free to speak, to dissent, to be radical, and even outlandish. This freedom is key to having high levels of productivity, engagement, and creativity. In so many organizations and teams such freedom has been stifled. Cultures and norms of group think, submissiveness, and ennui develop when team … Read More Two Ways to Create Safe Teams and Organizations

Six Ways to Cure the Dysfunctional Team Blues

The CEO is frustrated! She is the CEO of a major health care organization and, like many other organization leaders, believes in teams. She has project teams, functional teams, cross-functional teams, process improvement teams, etc. A few of those teams work very well and others not so well. She wishes she could clone the leaders of her good teams and rid herself of the … Read More Six Ways to Cure the Dysfunctional Team Blues


The Why, What, & How of Organization Development

An upated and restructured definition of organization development


It Takes Dragons

People ask me why I use a rather fierce looking dragon as my Center for Human Systems’ logo. Dragons are known throughout the world in all climates, cultures, and eras. There are dragons with horns, claws, breath of fire, great size (some small), wondrous wings (some wing-less), and marvelous colors. These serpentine creatures forever populate our myths, legends, novels, and movies. Dragons are strong, … Read More It Takes Dragons


OD Is Not A Recipe!

Lean, Six Sigma, Prosci, and other formulized change management methodologies all offer an orderly set steps to take—a recipe for ending waste, improving productivity, and otherwise accomplishing desired changes. There are, of course, several recipes from organization development practitioners that offer recipes. John Kotter’s eight steps are very popular. There are several versions of the stages of planned change that that typically include entry, … Read More OD Is Not A Recipe!


Give Your Clients What They Need, Not What They Want

A CEO of a medium-sized hospital asked me to train his front-line patient-facing staff in how to be pleasant to patients. The head of IT department asked me to facilitate “an advance” for her and her staff. She pointedly told me that everything was working well; that she wanted “an advance” rather than “a retreat.” That’s just two examples of the clients who routinely … Read More Give Your Clients What They Need, Not What They Want


The Power and The Problem of Organization Development

Organization development is the most powerful technology we have for managing change in human systems. Yet, that focus on human systems, which is the heart of OD’s power, is also its problem. OD is misunderstood and misrepresented most often because Westerns in general to not see or understand human systems. A system is anything with a variety of interconnected components that are dependent on … Read More The Power and The Problem of Organization Development