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Articles for Leaders & Change Practitioners

The Articles for Leaders and Change Practitioners offer concentrated insights into effective leadership, change management, and conflict. They are in four categories: Leadership, Organization Development, Conflict Resolution, and Dragon Principles.

Leadership Articles will describe a range of aspects of the two core elements of leadership: some place to go and people willing to follow. Having and communicating clear, exciting, and enticing place to go attract the followers leaders need there! Keeping those followers engaged, aligned and productive, however, can be frustrating with requisite skills and understanding of human systems.

Organization Development Articles offer key ideas regarding what organization development is and how it works so that it is the most powerful technology for managing change in human systems. The articles are based in defining organization development as the technology of using collaboration and consensus-building with leaders and their teams to…

  • Create systemic change and root-cause problem solving on behalf of…
  • Improving productivity and employee engagement through…
  • Strengthening the human systems through which the work of the organization is done.

This definition offers the essence of (1) what practitioners do, (2) the results they are after, and (3) how they do it.

Conflict Resolution Articles offer insights into how to use differences for harmony, learning, creativity, and synergy rather than the waste of contention, hostility, acrimony, and loss of productivity. Conflict, both aggressive and passive aggressive, are at the root of all dysfunctions in teams, organizations, and other human systems. Understanding how to resolve the too normal tendency toward conflict is imperative.

Dragon Principles Articles explore the eight skills needed by leaders and change practitioners to maintain their effectiveness when working with the emotions and egos (including our own) that are prevalent of human systems that are stressed or dysfunctional.

You Can’t Do It Alone . . .
& You Don't Have to Many leaders have the notion that it is lonely at the top. Like so many things, if you believe it, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fact is no one has ever accomplished anything of …
Get to Critical Mass Support with System Mapping
Creating change in human systems such as teams and organizations is a matter of developing a critical mass of support for the change goal. Of course, developing that critical mass may involve working through whatever resistances there are and resolving …
Changing an Organization’s Culture
Changing an organization's culture or the norms of a team is not something to take lightly. An organization's culture is the pattern of how it routinely behaves much like the personality of a human being. The analogy is apt since …
Don’t Waste Your Strategic Plan
Don't waste your strategic plan. A good strategic plan serves as the focal point for how an organization toward both long and short-range success. It provides… Direction for aligning an organization's staff and activitiesCriteria for organizational decision-making. All decisions should …
The Ways We Waste Our Time and Energy: Conscious Use of Self #2
Time is a resource. And leaders never have enough of it. There are staffs to be managed, customers to coddled, finances to figured out, superiors to satisfy, and the partner and kids at home to be pleased and loved. The …
The Foundation of Effective Leadership
The foundation of effective leadership is the self-mastery that is needed when followers aren't following and results are hard to come by. When life isn’t working for you, when you aren’t getting the results you want, when your followers are …
Leadership = Some Place to Go and People Willing to Follow
Great leaders are going someplace extraordinary and lots of people follow them! Leaders in most organizations know where they want to go. Keeping followers aligned and in sync to get there, however, can be frustrating. Here are seven areas to …
Quick and Easy Consensus Decision-Making
Consensus decision-making has the reputation of being very time-consuming. It needn’t be if the steps outlined below are followed. The failure of most supposed consensus procedures result from failing to ask those objecting if they are willing to accede to …
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 …

Organization Development Articles (click to see entire List)

Creating Teams Safe for Egos & Emotions
. . Creating Teams Safe for Egos & Emotions An important key to having great teams and organizations is their sense of safety. Their members do not fear censure should their all-too-human egos and emotions become evident. They feel free …
You Can’t Do It Alone . . .
& You Don't Have to Many leaders have the notion that it is lonely at the top. Like so many things, if you believe it, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fact is no one has ever accomplished anything of …
Get to Critical Mass Support with System Mapping
Creating change in human systems such as teams and organizations is a matter of developing a critical mass of support for the change goal. Of course, developing that critical mass may involve working through whatever resistances there are and resolving …
Resolving Conflict & Negative Synergy in Teams & Organizations
A few months ago, I was working with five faculty members of a university sociology department. They were having difficulty getting along with each other. There were lots of conflicts and negative judgments were abundant. I interviewed each one. They …
Changing an Organization’s Culture
Changing an organization's culture or the norms of a team is not something to take lightly. An organization's culture is the pattern of how it routinely behaves much like the personality of a human being. The analogy is apt since …
The Secret Sauce for Making Teams Work
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead She was pissed! She couldn't make her team work. As the new leader of a …
Don’t Waste Your Strategic Plan
Don't waste your strategic plan. A good strategic plan serves as the focal point for how an organization toward both long and short-range success. It provides… Direction for aligning an organization's staff and activitiesCriteria for organizational decision-making. All decisions should …
Definition of Organization Development
Let’s clarify the definition of organization development (OD), the most powerful technology for managing change in human systems. It is unclear to too many people and organizations who could need it. Not too long ago, I was having dinner with …
Quick and Easy Consensus Decision-Making
Consensus decision-making has the reputation of being very time-consuming. It needn’t be if the steps outlined below are followed. The failure of most supposed consensus procedures result from failing to ask those objecting if they are willing to accede to …
Sustainable Interventions
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …

Conflict Resolution Articles

Resolving Conflict & Negative Synergy in Teams & Organizations
A few months ago, I was working with five faculty members of a university sociology department. They were having difficulty getting along with each other. There were lots of conflicts and negative judgments were abundant. I interviewed each one. They …
Conflict and the Misuse of Differences
How we misuse the differences that we might learn from.
Managing Team Conflict
Cynthia Phillips, Ph.D., Guest Author Purpose of this Paper Describe the nature of conflict in teamsDefine types of conflict and describe how each manifests in a teamIdentify reasons why team members struggle with conflictDescribe how a team leader can manage …

Dragon Principles

Conscious Use of Self #3: The Three Keys to Self-Mastery
Self-Mastery and conscious use of self have a broad purview. We use ourselves with everything we do, think, feel, and believe. Most of the time our automatic behaviors and thoughts serve us well. No mastery is needed. However, when we …
The Ways We Waste Our Time and Energy: Conscious Use of Self #2
Time is a resource. And leaders never have enough of it. There are staffs to be managed, customers to coddled, finances to figured out, superiors to satisfy, and the partner and kids at home to be pleased and loved. The …
The Foundation of Effective Leadership
The foundation of effective leadership is the self-mastery that is needed when followers aren't following and results are hard to come by. When life isn’t working for you, when you aren’t getting the results you want, when your followers are …
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 …
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