“I brought Eric into our organization to help us work through some difficult internal communication and interpersonal dynamics that were preventing us from growing. Through careful research and feedback that involved my staff and leadership team, Eric identified several challenges we needed to address. As he led us through working on those issues, Eric proved to be a trustworthy and professional facilitator and adviser. We are very grateful for his expertise and attention.”
former executive director,
Cascadia Revolving Fund
(Shaw is now principal of Mountain BizWorks.)
Over the years, I’ve had countless lunches and coffee meetings with folks who are interested in becoming organization development professionals. Some are interested in advice in choosing a graduate program, others are interested in making mid-career change, and still others are freshly-minted OD graduates. Much as I try to help, there is too much to share and discuss in a single sitting.
In order to enter the field well, emerging OD practitioners need opportunities to continue their personal development, develop their tradecraft, learn about running a business, and get support from peers and senior- and journey-level practitioners in order to develop their mastery and make a living.
I am establishing “practice groups” to provide structured support for practitioners entering the OD field. This group will focus on what I regard as the four areas of successful practice: (1) Providing high quality service to clients (e.g., case consultation); (2) Developing and maintaining healthy, productive relationships with clients (e.g., contracting and sponsorship); (3) Becoming an effective, fully-realized, and contributing practitioner (e.g., working on self); and (4) Successfully running a business and making a living (e.g., marketing).
For more information, click here to read the prospectus.
Here is how to involve people in decision making. People regularly complain about how decisions are handled—even if they agree with the decision itself. This white paper lays out my Dangerous Decisions model, which shows you how to run decision making so that you can make decisions on-time, reduce resistance, and eliminate resentment.
When emotions run high. How do you handle broken work relationships? What do you do when conflict seems to be bubbling just under the surface? How do you begin to restore trust and respect when anger and frustration are running high? This short paper describes the process of clearing the air of negative emotions and getting a group back to work.
Where to begin? When trying to improve a team, agency or company, one of the first questions you face is deciding where to begin. The Waterline Model suggests what to focus on first, and helps you avoid going deeper than necessary (and possibly making things worse).
Force field analysis is a potent tool for analyzing a situation you are trying to change. Use it to sort out what forces or factors are helping you, and which are hindering you. Then you can decide where to focus your effort. (Read my 21 May 2008 blog entry for greater detail.) Here is an example of a force field analysis.
The Tipping Point. One of the most popular segments in my influence skills workshops is my presentation of some of the ideas from Malcolm Gladwell's book, The Tipping Point. Here is my one-page summary of some of the points from the book. In my workshops, I elaborate on his ideas, using additional research on stickiness (see below), social networks, and, of course, the social psychology of influence.
Sticky messages. Some messages immediately take on a life of their own, while others immediately fade away. Sticky messages gets at “the heart of the matter.” They are fundamental, easily transmissible and often shift people’s thinking. Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick, have identified six characteristics of sticky messages. Here is my summary.
Technical problems vs. adaptive challenges. The single biggest failure of leadership is to treat adaptive challenges like technical problems.This handout details Ron Heifetz's essential distinction between technical problems and adaptive challenges. Though I created it years ago, it is still used in classes at the University of Washington and on at least one occasion by Marty Linsky, Heifetz's coauthor.
Work of Leadership. Here are six principles for leaders who are facing an adaptive challenge (rather than a technical problem). I think these are immensely valuable for all leaders, as well as facilitators and even parents.