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The OD ACADEMY Webinar Series Episode 1 Changing Worlds

This insightful video delves into the realm of Organizational Development (OD) and its pivotal role in navigating change within a company. The discussion centers around three crucial skills essential for OD practitioners: the ability to separate personal interpretations from external realities, fostering trust in the organizational context, and trusting the process of change. The video emphasizes the relevance of these skills for individuals across various organizational levels, from team leaders to top managers, highlighting the universality of OD principles. With an engaging narrative, the authors draw on real-world experiences, illustrating the importance of creating safe spaces and facilitating transitions. Overall, it serves as a valuable resource for professionals seeking excellence in OD and organizational transformation.


Welcome. Welcome, everyone. Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are on the planet. We are thrilled that you’re here. My name is Linnea Brinkerhoff, a long-time colleague of Doctor John Shearer, who we get a chance to hear from today. So really delighted that you’re all here. Can we have each of you in the chat? Just say where you’re tuning in from and just what’s one word? What are you bringing in this morning? How are you? Where are you calling in from? And what’s one word? Since we’re all going to gather around the fire together here, I want to know who’s gathered.

Yeah. Since Covid. This is the new fireplace. Isn’t it the new gathering around the fireplace?

It is. And delighted and content. Margaret. Thank you. Seattle. Curious. Okay. Excellent. Thank you, Susan. Okay. That’s about as far as we’re going to go with that now. Great. Well, listen, we are. Oh, thanks a lot. Great, John. Okay. Portland. Interested? Magda. Magic. All right, I got to. Yes. And Samir, welcome in from India. Terrific. Glad you’re doing well. And, um. All right. The next. I learned how to.

Say, oh, yeah, I’d say jazz in Double-A.

Yeah. As you can see, you know, it’s a delightful community and ever-growing. And as John, you transplanted to Poland, how many, how many years?

13 years ago, 2008.

Oh my gosh. Yeah.

It’s the time has flown by.

I, at your later stage in life, it is an impressive act to actually go to a new city where you do not understand a word.

I knew three people in three words when I got here in 2008, and now I know four people in four words.

As you, as John says in his humble way, and you’ll find he doesn’t actually have a lot of reason to be humble because I think he’s pretty great. A lot of us do. We get a chance to hear from him today. Let me just say that this is the first of a short series of webinars that will be hosting with John and his close colleagues. I have the distinction of being able to host you today. Linnea Brinkerhoff and also Pauline Holland, and the two of us will be co-deans in the OD, the Organization Development Academy that will be kicking off in March. So each webinar will have its own unique value and take a different angle on change and transformation. So please join us for as many as you can. We are going to focus on showcasing John and his wisdom around change and transformation. And the fact is, he is a practitioner all over the world, and he and I have known each other probably about 24 years, have worked together in a number of settings. Um, I do remember a couple of things that stand out about John. He is a winner of the OD, a Lifetime Achievement award, and I remember at one of your recent birthdays, we asked you what were you particularly proud of in your life? And you said it was the competency-based graduate program that you were Co that you co-created quite a long time ago, and it was the first one in the country. First one. That’s pretty amazing.


Yeah, as far as we know. Yeah. So for me, you know, this series is very much going to be about how to demystify and simplify, uh, OD and change. And that for me is what John excels at more than anybody. And often he teaches by parable, which I love. And I would say that in my experience of John through the years, it’s almost as though he speaks from inside of us with his point of view. I don’t know how you do it, but it’s up to you all to experience this. And another interesting fact about John is that he was a well, he’s a minister and worked as a chaplain at Cornell University, and he had a street ministry. And I’m just going to have to say, that’s kind of your identity to me, John, because, you know, you are on the street.

You are a man on the street, you know, and you’ve taken the change and transformation stuff and just really brought it to the level of the street and how to make it work across industry, across leaders, practitioners, and all of us are practitioners of change because we’re all experiencing it. And so hopefully, this webinar will give you some value today. And let me just say, I’m here in the Bay Area in San Francisco, California. John is dialing in from Warsaw.

Just outside Falenica, just outside of Ostrava.

Exactly. So my privilege to introduce you to Doctor John Shearer. And basically, we are going to answer three questions today. Actually, it’s not about answering. We’re asking these questions, exploring.

How about that?

Yeah, exactly. We will deeply be exploring these questions. What changes, what changes when people change okay. The next one what is owed? What is organization development, and what are the three crucial skills that are needed in order to engage as a practitioner in transformation? So please, John, without further ado, over to you. And basically, actually, let me just say 20 minutes or so John’s going to speak and then for another 1520 we will explore. What we’d like you to do is we’re going to ask you for questions, comments, anything you disagree with or you want to wrestle with John and myself about. Please, let’s hold that and we’ll all do it at the same time, and then we’ll get a chance to read them because we don’t want your comments to be lost. So thank you. Great. Over to you.

Great, Linnea, we’ll have a minute at the end for everybody to write down. Whatever they want to write down, and then we can have a conversation. Okay. I’m going to share the screen here. Um, can you see that. Does that work. Everybody. Can everybody see that? Super. Um, so Linnea, is my face somewhere on the screen or not?

Yep. You’re doing great.

Okay, good. So this is we called it Changing Worlds. And the reason for that is this lovely quote here. Uh, don’t try to change the world. Change worlds. I love that, and it’s from Francis of Assisi. Uh, this brother of the old church from years ago. I just think it’s very, very profound. Um, instead of trying to change the world, change worlds like one at a time or one group at a time or one company at a time, one community at a time. So take a subset of the world, and that’s where we can focus our attention, or one relationship at a time. So that’s where we’re focusing here is how do we. How do you can’t change anybody else’s world? That’s the first thing you gotta understand. You. Any of you that have tried to understand, you know this. So what are the how can we create conditions? Inside of which worlds change. So it’s almost like, how do we facilitate? We can’t even. This thing about change management really upsets me. I don’t think change can be managed, I really don’t. Some of the consulting firms will have, you know, PowerPoint slides where you go from here. They set up a process. You go through these steps and then theory. Theoretically everybody changes. I think what happens is everybody figures out what what it looks like. And then they, you know, hopefully that’s not the case. But quite often they try to look like they’re supposed to look when the process is over.

Fundamental change is something else. So let’s take a look at what changes when people really do change. Okay. This is a really profound, uh, piece of work. In fact, in the graduate program, Linnea, that you mentioned, uh, that we started in 1974, uh, back in Spokane, Washington, it was the was the first accredited master’s program in applied behavioral science, which is the academic field behind OD. And these two guys, I love it. It starts up here at the top with I sense something, see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it. There’s something comes into me, uh, just sensory data. And when it comes in, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just something happening out there in the world. But in the act of seeing it or hearing it or perceiving it, it happens inside of an immediate. An immediate interpretation occurs as soon as we name it. We’re already, in a sense, shaping it in some way. You all know this. If you’ve done our our leadership program, you know this, that seeing is not just perceiving, but it’s projecting. Uh, that seeing is an interpretation. It’s an active thing. We’re actually, uh, naming it. And when we name it, we make it what it needs to be. And based on what we how we interpret it, it almost always is accompanied by some feeling. Now people are calibrated differently in terms of how intense their feelings are or even more significant.

Uh, how aware are you of the intensity? Some people are calibrated like this. They have a ten-point scale. Somebody else is calibrated like this with a ten-point scale. So in relationship you can see how why don’t you feel something? And believe me, everybody feels something. They just might not be aware of it or they might be calibrated differently. But then based on that feeling, it turns into a want. It might this might not be, uh, strong like I want, but it leads you to action in some way based on some want that you have. And then you sense again, and this wheel goes around and around and around in a nanosecond, all day, every day. And in the center of this is our capacity to be aware now, what changes when things change? Everybody wants to see behavior change. And so, you know, if you want a diet or exercise or something like that, the target is usually over here in the area of action. And the reason a lot of these things don’t last, in my opinion, is because this is the brown end of the pipe, as you’ll see when we talk about change, if you’ve got a pipe that’s putting, you know, pollution into the river, the brown end of the pipe is where the stuff is going in the river. And so you can put a filter down there and you can reduce the amount of stuff going in the river.

But that’s the brown end of the pipe. What’s the cause of it? Up, up upstream. That’s where we’re acting. That’s where we’re after. So if you want to create fundamental change, it starts over here. This is where it starts. We can’t control what comes into us from outside the circumstances. We can’t control the circumstances. We try a lot micromanaging over parenting over over functioning in lots of ways. But this is where we can catch ourselves having an interpretation. And then that changes the rest of the cycle. So. So let me go back. So in my work as a gestalt therapist, uh, for many years, this is where I got my start and how to help people become aware of what they’re thinking. Be aware of what you’re seeing and thinking, and then become aware of your interpretation. As soon as you become aware of it, it doesn’t have you. The interpretation doesn’t have you. You now have that interpretation which you then can exercise some choice about. So at a really fundamental level, changing Worlds begins with helping people change what they’re naming something, changing their interpretation. What happens when we make a fundamental change is we don’t see that person in the same way again, or we don’t have that. We don’t see this thing that happens out there in the world in the same way again.

Okay, so make some notes if there’s anything you want to talk about later and we’ll come back. To that. But this is fundamental to the to the whole process of change. What are we trying to help people do is change the way they think about things. Okay. And then that has an effect on what they say or what they feel, what they say and what they do. Okay. Let’s go back here. So there’s another thing that needs to be understood about what changes, and that is what kind of change are we talking about? And years ago, I can remember I can remember in 1968 I can remember picking up a magazine from, I think it was Alcoa, an aluminum company, and they had a series of these corporate magazines basically on change 1968, and I picked it up, and it’s the first time I can I can picture where I was standing. I swear to God, I think I could tell you what some of the graphics were. That’s how powerful it was. And it was the first time that I became aware that change was a thing. Like, change is a thing, you know? Uh, I hadn’t even thought about it before. And not only is change a thing, but it was. It’s it’s a thing that can be helped to happen. And that’s the moment when I thought about being, uh, a therapist, a gestalt therapist. So that’s where that that’s where all that came from.

So there’s two kinds of change. There’s first order change, and that’s modifying what’s happening inside of the pair inside the existing game. It’s it’s it’s more of the same only different. And we use the metaphor of like we’re running in a wheel, okay. And we’re like, we wake up in the morning like the hamster, we get in the wheel and we start to run. We want to we want to introduce some change, okay, we’re going to run faster. We’re going to run slower. We’re going to take more breaks. We’re going to drink a lot of water. We’re going to become vegetarians. We’re going to be vegans. We’re going to we’re going to change. We’re going to change the company that we work for. We’re going to do we’re going to change the partner that we live with, but we’re still running in the same wheel. This is this is this is change that doesn’t really change anything fundamentally. It’s incremental change, which is very, very important. I don’t

want to badmouth it. We should come to work every day, people coming to work looking for ways to be a little bit better every day. You need to understand this can produce incremental change, but not fundamental change. That’s called second-order change in our field, which is kind of transformation, applying the principles and processes for altering the existing principles and processes. Great. Uh, spelling error there, Yannick. This is changing the game itself.

This is like, instead of going faster or slower in the first gear, it’s like changing gears or maybe getting out of the car and going in an airplane or changing the destination. Um, sometimes the way we see the problem is the problem. Great quote from Stephen Covey, and the best example that I’ve had over my career is one that happened some years ago when people were understanding what you could do with a credit card. And this is a company that created a medical credit card, which was actually a credit card. And when you went to pay for your medical procedures, when they swiped the card, all your medical records were coded into the card, and it was a brilliant concept that was a long time ago. Well, I went to consult with the organization to help them become more effective and so on. It was a startup that was beginning to work, and the problem they had was that they were receiving way too many calls on the help desk. And so one of the teams we created was a cross-functional team. It was taking 17 to 20 minutes for somebody who was calling in to get help. So the CEO said, fix it. I don’t care what you have to do. So I got with this group and I said, what would be the ideal number of calls coming into the help desk? And so they started calculating, we have four people down there working eight hours a day.

If we added four and no, wait, hold it. Um, what would be the ideal number of calls coming into the help desk? Well, okay. If we multiplied and that’s. Wait a minute. Now, of course, everybody listening to this can’t see it right away because you’re not in that paradigm. You weren’t trapped in that system, right? They couldn’t see it. And then finally, somebody said, well, actually, zero would be the perfect number. I said, yeah, absolutely. And they said, well, we could never get there. And I said, why not? And he said, well, we’d have to. And then I said, okay, start writing this down. And the stuff they wrote down was, well, we’d have to change the way people make the sale. We’d have to change the training program, we’d have to change it. And all this stuff was upstream. See, adding people. That’s the brown end of the pipe that was second-order changes changing that. So that’s this is what happens. This is what odd organization development. Uh, I think I’ll do maybe I’ll do a webinar on the, on the roots of odd. Uh, it’s worth doing by itself. But it started, uh, really with, with a man from Poland. Yeah, yeah. Go ahead, Lenny, break in.

I’m wondering if maybe we want some comments on what you just. Okay.

Great. Absolutely.

You know, anybody has any questions, comments about the change and the transformation piece and the first and second order. Let’s just take a little break on that. Great.

Thank you for that.

Um yeah. Because it’s good. And you were about to make a little shift there. Great.

Let’s do it after each chunk.

Yeah. So who’s got a comment? Did it make sense? Do you like it? Anything concern you about it? Um, what strikes you about the story that he told this whole, you know, he teaches by metaphor. So the brown end of the pipe, hopefully that makes sense in your part of the world.

Well, I can still see that group. Uh, not able to see that zero would be a transformational concept. You know, they were trying to, uh, make this these four people in the basement add more people or be more efficient or something. And, uh, because the way they saw the problem was the problem. See, they couldn’t see the new problem, couldn’t see it in a new way. Mhm.

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

So um, Yasuke is saying with the transformation, you mean a kind of metamorphosis that changes our existence on a deep level.

I think it changes the way we experience our existence. It may not change it. Our existence if you. Absolutely. If you’re thinking about, uh, my existence is my experience of what’s happening to me, I think that’s exactly what happens. You see, it shifts the way we see things internally.

Mhm. Yeah. Great. Yeah, well, that’s where the biggest shift happens. Is that paradigm change right from behind our lenses. Right. And that’s really the biggest shift. And Margaret is offering that. Yes, it makes sense. And sometimes it’s hard to explain the two types of change to others who aren’t OD focused. Yeah.

So yeah. Well, you’re obviously doing some OD, Margaret, because I mean, how many times has the phone does the phone ring? And somebody calls and says, I’d like you to come and do some transformational change. You know, I’d like you to do some OD know, they call up and say, can you do a training program on X with this little teeny group? You know, um, it’s. Yeah.


And please make it as comfortable as possible.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Don’t take any time and don’t charge us much for it. Yeah. We haven’t got time to really make it happen. Yeah.

And John is offering. And then we’ll just take this and then head into the OD conversation. Um, John is saying awareness will always be powerful. Thanks for that. Second and order description first and second and Luskin’s forgiveness paradigm builds on this.

That’s nice about that.

Put a link to that, if you would. John. Uh, you know, where do we go to find out more about that? Sounds fascinating. Alice, I know.

Requires an awareness of unenforceable rules. Now that’s interesting, right?

That’s a great insight, John. Thank you for that.

All right. John. Okay.

Head on over to the right.

All right. I’ll go back here now. So. Here we go. Um, sometimes people think that that organization development, or OD is just a bunch of people running around, uh, doing stuff, uh, not knowing what they’re doing. No, there’s actually an academic field underneath it called applied behavioral science, which Kurt Levin from Mogilno, Poland, by the way, I’ll tell you, give you that, I’ll share. That little secret was actually created by a guy born in Poland, uh, moved to Germany. And then, thank God, when Hitler came, they were Jewish. He emigrated to America. And that’s the guy that started this whole thing, which I’ll tell you about in another webinar. But ultimately, a group of people learning from him and one of his first graduate students, Ron Lippert, was my one of my mentors in the field of OD. So I’m like one handshake away from the guy that started this thing, which I think is very cool. So OD is the application. It’s it’s action. It’s not theory. It’s applying something. In fact, action research is what Kurt Kurt said. Don’t do any action without doing research. And don’t do research without some action. These two are linked. So we’re doing what’s called action research methodology which I’ll do something on later. Applied behavioral science principles and systems theory. These are two important things.

Systems theory says that whatever happens in one part of a system affects the other system. You know, the thing about the butterfly. Butterfly, uh, flaps its wings in, in, in in Tokyo, and, and you have a storm in the Atlantic Ocean that everything is connected minus my metaphor is a little simpler. Like on a clothesline when you’re hanging your clothes on a clothesline, when you. When you jerk the socks, the underwear jumps, you know, it’s like everything’s connected. I got into odd from being a therapist, from being a gestalt therapist, working with individuals and then working with couples and then working with family systems. I got into family systems. I didn’t, uh, I it just happened naturally. I just kept realizing that, well, this person needs to be in the room. You know, this person needs to be in the room. And then it was a family system. Whoever I remember this one, uh, session with a couple. They didn’t have any kids, but the. But the wife had a dog, a little teeny Chihuahua kind of dog, and and and the man kept talking about the dog and how what what a problem and how he was really ticked off at the dog, and and the wife was very defensive of the dog. So I said, okay, next time, bring the dog.

It’s a true story. So they brought this little dog, you know, and and so I did one of my gestalt things. I put the dog in a chair sitting there. And I had the man talk to the dog and and the man just unloads on the dog. And then I had the wife talk to the dog, and then I had them go and sit and be the dog. And, you know, it was just an extraordinary thing. But that’s how I got into or larger systems. The system just kept getting larger. And I began to realize that these couples and these families that were dealing with a lot of stuff had like after from from 5:00 in the afternoon until bedtime, those 4 or 5 hours are some of the most stressful times in the world. People bring all their crap home with them from school, from the office, from wherever they are. And so this becomes the cauldron where all of that’s where all that stuff comes together. So I began to work my way out in the causal chain and ended up, uh, working with organizations as a result of that. Same principles that apply in family therapy apply to larger systems because we’re applying these principles to human systems human organisms. Couples. Teams. Departments. Organizations. Countries. To increase the internal and the external effectiveness.

So how to help a team of people, for instance, become better inside, but also better at serving who they’re trying to serve inside the organization? And who is that organization trying to serve out there in the world? So all these stakeholders, customers, you know, suppliers, vendors, all these people are all a part of the system. So we’re trying to increase the internal and the external effectiveness of the organization and its members. It’s not about wanting people to feel good. Now, interestingly enough, in the process of doing this, people almost always feel good. People want to be a part of an organization that is capable of growing and developing, and that they’re being helped to grow and develop. Funny thing, what’s good for the organization in this regard, in the era of Odd, is almost always beneficial to the organization and its individual members, especially in facilitating change and or transformation using processes that involve those affected. That’s the fundamental principle engage people. My definition for odd. High engagement performance improvement, engaging the entire system in identifying logjams that are affecting performance, and then creating exciting cross-functional teams to help those work better. That’s a definition of OD. Now, I happen to think that the world right now needs needs this. I mean, at least my country needs it. I know there are other countries that need it, but if we want to get a little bit smaller, look at the pressures that people are under.

Now. Look what Covid has done. Covid has changed the world. And so how do people cope with this? That’s a transformational change. Covid has created not incremental change, but fundamental change. Can you think of any system in the world in any part, or even in the Saharan desert? I’ve got one of my colleagues goes to Morocco and we do leadership. We take leaders out into the desert. We call it finding yourself in the desert. Even in the Saharan world, they have been affected by this. So this is this is a this is a wake up call for the whole planet, which I think is an invitation for people, more and more people to learn to practice the principles of OD, which is what I came here in 2008. I came to Eastern Europe, I came to Poland. That was what I came to do. And that’s partly why I want to do this OD Academy, I think I have, I think I have another one in me, as they say. So I think before we go, Lenny, now, maybe it’s a good time to to stop and see if there are any kind of questions or anything about this, about what OD is.

Well, you beat me to it. Yes, please.

Oh, sorry.

Uh, no, it’s a great thing, and I. So please formulate your questions, your comments, your feedback, because he really power packed that statement. Right. And that’s through a lot, a lot of years and 40 years. John, I want to ask you a question about this, please. Is it true that in the OD Academy that this is you referred while you were dealing with the, you know, sharing your description of OD, are you going to give a full treatment about this identifying log jams and involving the whole system and then creating the cross-functional teams? I mean, that’s your process that you figured out, like say more, will you?

Well, yeah. My I mean, I’m I’m not. Let’s see. How can I say this because I love reading about OD theory. That’s what got me into the field, was I was doing stuff with people, and then I started reading about OD, and I’m that’s what I’m doing. It’s like it helped me name what I was doing, and it put what I was doing in a in a larger context and gave me the principles that I was using that I didn’t even know I was using, and helped me understand why stuff worked and why stuff didn’t work. And so I, uh, and in the OD Academy, I’m going to be sharing my version of what I learned from these people at the beginning of this field. Some of the, some of the founders of the field I was born at, at at exactly the right time. And thanks to my friend Bob Crosby, I met some of the most important people. I met herb Shepherd at a, at a, at a Gestalt group, uh, who named the field of OD or he argues about that, but he says he did. Uh, Jack Sherwood, all these people that were that were giants in the field. And I took a little bit from each of them, like I was a magician, right, for a number of years. And

I so I learned from several magicians, and I would take something from this magician and something from that magician. And then I made it my own. I’ve added my personality and my personal touch to it. So what I’ve done is I’ve simplified all of that stuff from other people, um, and kind of put it into that process, which you and I have have used in several occasions with organizations called The Breakthrough Process. Yeah.

Okay. The breakthrough.

Process. Great, great. And we’ll go into the question in a minute. But let me just say that, okay. The ripe old age, the fact is, John, you are a magician. And I want to share with everybody that this is pretty much, uh, the first time I’m going to see that John really has is saying, I’m opening the kimono. I want to give this away completely as much as I possibly can. And so good things come with age, and you’re ripening and it’s time. And now your fruit is full and, you know, giving it to us. So I want to say so, Alicia, for someone looking to pivot into a career in ODI from the corporate world, what would you recommend? Okay, as a springboard or starting position so we can go there maybe toward toward the end or at the end?

Now that’s a great question, Alicia. And then ODC, this is obviously somebody that understands it who can benefit from learning OD. And what level in the company do you think should be getting an OD background? Uh, frankly, when we go in to do an OD project, uh, Lenny and I the way the breakthrough process, it really teaches these some of the principles to everybody.

You know.

It. The first thing is get ready for change. Well, that teaches the awareness wheel and the cycle, the life cycle of organizational change and a whole bunch of stuff. So the principles are helped. Every manager should absolutely understand the principles. Now where should OD be located? That’s a great question. Uh, quite often it’s it’s an HR. Good news, bad news. Because if it’s under whatever department, it’s under, it’s going to share the reputation that that department has in the rest of the organization. If it’s in HR, sometimes HR is finds it difficult to to face the tiger, to say the hard thing, to confront people in a way that sometimes they need to be confronted. So it helps when OD is is a little more independent. I think it should port, frankly, report directly to the CEO. Yeah, whoever you know, right to the top if at all possible. So that so that people know that. And then that’s another question is how do you keep from being seen as the boss’s spy when you go in? But that’s another that’s another thing. In fact, one of my good colleagues, uh, Steve Pile, who might be a guest on here, uh, was the internal OD guy for Exxon for a number of years. So you want to find out how he was able to. In fact, he went through this OD, uh, he went through the breakthrough process when he was an engineer at a chemical plant in Baytown, Texas. I went down there and did this thing for them. And as he tells it, when I left, he went to his boss and said, I want to do what that guy’s doing. I don’t want to be an engineer anymore. I’m oversimplifying it. And so he stepped out, went to the Pepperdine program. Three years later, he was in charge of OD for Exxon Chemicals, so globally. So, uh, I think he’d be a great guy to listen to.

Um, and for me, in the position of an executive coach, you know, I seem to have the privilege of being able to tug on the ear of the CEO a lot and the senior team, you know, leaders. And so if they have fluency around OD, you have a whole different organization happening because they know what levers to pull.

They understand why you’re saying what you’re saying to them. Absolutely. Yeah. The executive team needs to. Experience personal transformation and group transformation. In a perfect world, they need to get that before they can lead transformation anywhere else or sponsor it. We call it, you know, sponsoring.

Great. And Alicia.

We’re happy to chat with you, you know, after. But basically, thank you for coming from the corporate world and bringing that acumen and basically merging that with OD and getting a certificate in that and getting educated or coming to our academy, whatever feels right for you. But getting the language around it and understanding the models, the concepts behind all of this, it can make you dangerous in a really good way and a really positive way.

And fortunately, right, Lenny. And there’s some great master’s programs and some PhD programs, um, around the world in the field of OD, people just said, uh, people just said, you know, John, can you show us how you do you know what you’re doing? So I said, yes, I’ll give it a shot.

So it’s very.

Practical and it’s on the street. So join us if you can. And John is saying so the key seems actually having solid research as inputs that promote change rather than opinions. Thank you. Having it data led. We totally agree. And here Samir ODI is not changed. Do you want do you care to say one more thing about that? Why don’t we?

Let me see.

If I can. Let me see if I can help. Samir, speak.

Yeah. Here.

Why don’t you share with us, Samir?

Hang on.

I’ve got him to speak now. I gave him, like, permission.

So, Samir? Yeah.

Can you hear me? Say something? Yeah. Say some more about Khaled not being changed. I think I agree with you, but I want to be sure.

No, see, ody is, uh, in a much broader, uh, you may say that change is, uh, part of overall organizational development and not otherwise, actually.

Yeah, yeah, well, I don’t know how to do odd without change happening, so we need to have a cup of tea or something on the side. Uh, about that conversation, because I’ve. I’ve not understood how odd is basically reinforcing what is already happening. Of course, appreciative inquiry is based on strengthening the good things that are already happening, which is in fact a change quite often, almost always. So we’d have to have a further conversation about how to do odd without any change happening. Um, I’m not sure how to do that. But anyway, uh.

When I said it is, uh uh, you know, odd change follows. Odd. Basically not otherwise.


So you may have already intervention uh, which is developmental oriented long tum uh, progress. Yes, exactly. And change may, may be a part of overall organizational development setup.

Yeah, it could be. See, I would say that that anybody who joins that long time developmental process has already experienced some kind of change. If you go back to the awareness wheel, they’re thinking different thoughts already about about what’s happening and what might be possible. They’re already thinking in a different way about the future, maybe even a different way about the past. You know, my approach to OD in any in any like we’re working on a on on a merger right now here in Eastern Europe, uh, it’s honoring the past. This is from Marv Weisbord and Sandra Janoff and their future search model, which is just brilliant. Honoring the past, acknowledging the present, and then co-creating the future. All three of those are very important. But even if you’re acknowledging the past, when you start acknowledging the past that often, in my experience, Samir creates a change, a shift in consciousness about the past and then especially about the present. So let’s keep going. I don’t this is a great conversation. I don’t know how to thank you.

Thank you so much. Yeah.

Thank you. All right. Let me get let me get the screen back up here if I can. Come on. Oh I’ve got it. Good. So here we go. This is the last thing I want to talk about. What does it take to be good at this? Um, Alicia and somebody else was asking, how do I. How do I pivot? I love that that phrase. Let me, let me before we go there, um, I made a pivot. Let me just let me just do it this way. Um. I was, uh, after my four years as a combat officer in the US Navy during our little Vietnam period. Um, I went to seminary. I come from four generations of Lutheran pastors. Priests. Uh, my pop decided to be a newspaper man slash alcoholic. So that broke the chain and gave me a gave me a chance. But I decided after my four years in the military, I’m going to go to seminary. I’m going to give this a shot. And I did, and I actually loved seminary, ate it up. And then I became the chaplain at Cornell and the senior pastor of the church at Cornell University. And I turned my church into a training center. I didn’t know it, but when I look back on it, uh, we had help. We were training people in what’s called helping skills, which is now called coaching. And I just I was just starting to do all these things. It felt like my ministry, part of my ministry.

Right. I had the bar ministry, which we can talk about sometime walking the streets at night and helping people on the street. And out of that, I met my friend Bob Crosby. He introduced me to this, to this field and the possibility to create the graduate program in applied behavioral science. So I was called out of the ministry. Into this work. So this is my calling now. People say, why did you leave the ministry? And I go, well, why don’t you wait till this is over? And then we’ll have that conversation and they almost always come up afterwards and go, I got it, I got it. Yeah. This is this is now what you’re supposed to be doing with your life. Yeah, absolutely. This is what I’m supposed this talking to you. This is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, working with Lenny on these projects. I mean, come on, what else would you want to do? So this is. That was a pivot. That was a pivot of biblical proportions. I would say. Okay, so so here we go. So what do you need to do to be good at this. These are three things that came to me. You got to be able to separate. What you think is out there from what’s in here. It’s really understanding fundamentally how you interpret the world. You need to be able

to step back from your interpretations, catch yourself in the act, in your own act.

Uh, boy, I wish we could do put you through our our leadership development intensive. How are you pumping? How are you trying to portray yourself to the world? Who are you back behind that? And how is all of that shaping what you think is out there? And if you can’t, if you can’t separate that, if you can’t describe what’s out there and learn to separate or get curious, I wonder what really is out there. I know what I’m naming it. I know what I’m calling it. I know what I’m, what I think I’m seeing. How do we get there? That’s what Kurt Levine said. That’s where the data comes in. That’s why OD is data based. How do I find out what’s really going on out there? Who do we talk to? Whose voice needs to be heard in this process? Who’s not who needs to be in this room? It’s not here. Od is really just a series of meetings, a series of conversations. Well, whose voice needs to be heard? And how do we get that voice in here and create a safe space where it can be heard and then feed that into the decision making process of the system? So separating what’s out there from what’s in here, it’s a lifetime of work. I’m still doing it. You need to also have the the ability and the courage to hold everyone’s world. As valid. We call it the MRI.

The more respectful interpretation somebody is, you’re upset this this happened to me yesterday. I was in a I was facilitating a session with a group of very senior executives from a very significant, uh, organization here in Eastern Europe. And they, they they were just upset, hostile. This is a bunch of nonsense and so on. And I and I’m really proud of myself. Uh, Lenny, you would have been proud of me, too, if you’d seen me. I had absolutely no defense. I didn’t feel defensive, I felt curious. And I’m so glad I was able to say, tell me about that. What is it about what? What we’re doing here that just feels really stupid or really ridiculous to you. And they and I mean, I really did, and it’s not a trick. I was genuinely curious. It’s learning to learn to go through life more like an anthropologist. Who’s interested in and curious about all those worlds out there. You know, I told this the CEO, before you start changing people, first of all, get curious about who they are and why they are the way they are. You know, everybody’s world is as valid as yours. And that’s a really key lesson. If you can’t see that you can’t do OD, you should for sure. You couldn’t be a therapist. If you can’t be a therapist, you really can’t do OD because the same kind of skills really are necessary. And then finally, oops, let me go back.

And then finally you got to trust the process. Um. Ultimately, this is one of my sayings. Life is a movie, not a not a photograph. And it’s really easy. Like like this meeting that we had yesterday. It’s really it would be really easy for me to just lock in. That group as if that’s the group. That’s a photograph of that group. But it’s but okay, that’s just the current, uh, what do you call it? Frame of the movie. The next time I’m with that group will be another frame. Now, it might be exactly like the last frame, but it might not. So it’s holding out for the possibility of change and transformation to occur between the frames, or in the process of actually creating new frames and new experiences of people. And we called it the unfolding, trusting the unfolding of what’s happening. These three things. If you’re going to get into odd, you’re going to have to master these three things or be in the process of mastering them. I think, Lenny, that’s enough. Uh, it’s, you know, 45 minutes, almost. Um, why don’t why don’t we stop here? Here’s here’s a link to this, uh, the odd academy that starts in March. If you want to take a screenshot of that, or I think we’re going to give you the the link to the slides. Uh, when this is over, we’ll have a way of doing that. So, um, we’re going to check out here.

You know, John, put that other slide back, will you for a moment.

Because which one?

The three crucial skills. And please would everyone go ahead and, you know, there’s got to be something a little controversial in there. So go ahead and push back in choir. Um, share something with us about those three crucial skills. And who should attend the academy. Yeah. Thank you for asking. So we would. And I’ll give my answer, John. You can give yours. Sure. Yeah. H.R.D professionals, you know, and it’s like we’re on a continuum of how to serve the organization. So where are you on the continuum. Right. It’s also good for executives who want to be more, have the tools to understand the language and also, um, be able to practice with them because, again, it’s going to make you excellent. Uh, it’s going to make you a better whatever it is that you are already. So.

Uh, we say.

Often, yeah, we say anybody who is either formally or informally responsible for facilitating change. Now, you know, if you really think about it, everybody in the organization, you know, if leadership is an attitude, not a position, and if leadership is helping things to happen that might not happen without your presence. Okay, then theoretically, everybody in the organization needs to have that capacity. But at some point, team leader, manager, middle manager, top manager, anybody who has to introduce programs, you know, internally start to make things happen quite often. Every decision is a small change, is a little change project. You know, we’re going to make a budget change. Whoa. What’s going to be the impact on the people that we’re going to introduce a new IT platform. My gosh, you want to be practicing OD. If you’re going to, you don’t just drop in the IT platform and say, you know, good luck everybody. So these principles are really helpful to anybody who is experiencing change or responsible in some way for facilitating change.

Does that help Odyssey. We don’t know who you are, what your name is but Odyssey. Um does that help or do you have a follow on question for that. Feel free to ask because at this point why don’t we go to Dave and that’s Patrick.

Is that Patrick Masterson? Uh, who is that? Oh, Patrick, I’m so glad you’re on here. Oh. This guy’s a really great. He’s he’s really a really, uh, profound gestalt thinker. And he had me on a on his webinar. Uh. That’s great. Oh. That’s great.


Thank you. Patrick. Excellent. Dave, we would like to invite you to speak up, if you would. It sounds like the three of these make sense, but then you’ve also got some other distinctions you’re bringing to it around trust. Can you share with us, Dave?

Sure. Can you hear me at the present time?

Great to see you, Dave.

Loud and clear, brother.

Yeah. As with you, John, uh, I John said he was second generation. I’m third generation. So I was a therapist for 25 years. And in that sense, uh, doing organizational development with more with groups than with, uh, with organizations. But my training basically came about through Ed Friedman, uh, in family Systems.

And they’re the you know, when I’m working with people, if I think of my situation as a triangle of me, you and third person or an issue, I’m attempting to create a sense of trust. Yeah. Whereby you’re willing to work with me?

Absolutely. Yeah. Without that? Yeah. Without that, you got nothing? Absolutely. Yeah.

And from there, I’m, I’m using my data, my own awareness to tweak the system in such a way that I challenge the other subtly sometimes, you know, sometimes footy in their face. But I challenge the system.


To look at a different paradigm.


I don’t make the change. I don’t make them do that. Yeah, but I offer the possibility that they do.

It’s great.

Yeah. It’s, you know, this this great Dave, this this metaphor about, uh, if you had a pile of rocks here and your assignment was to change the location of those rocks to the corner of the room over there, you could after, with some practice, get pretty good at at changing the location of those rocks. But what if it was a bunch of birds? How would you change the location of those birds to be in the corner of the room? Well, where is the bird going to go when you throw it? Right? It’s going to go wherever the bird wants to freaking go, okay. And I was doing so. I was doing this with a bunch of Boeing engineers years ago. They put all a lot of their people through our leadership program. And this guy said, John, it’s easy. Just kill the birds, then throw them in the car. And I said, what if you wanted the birds to be alive? When they got over into the oh, he said, okay, that’s different. So the whole thing is you have to put what we would call and you would call natural attractor. What would make this relocation interesting or safer for people. And quite often OD is about that. It’s creating a safe process for people to, to make some kind of a transition. Well, Lenny, listen, we told them it was only going to be 45 minutes and it’s right around 45 minutes.

But I don’t want to stop. If people still want to still want to go.

Yeah, I’d love to have some more input. And Dave, I just want to say thank you because you actually stole my my byline for my service as an executive coach. I say, you know, I comfort you when you’re too challenged and challenge you when you are too comfortable. So I do think that this is a big part of our role as as OT practitioners. Indeed. Anybody have any more comments? Questions? Um, we invite you to consider the OD Academy and so you’ll be sent. If you registered for this, you’ll be sent a link and that will take you to the slides. You’ll also be sent a link to sign up. And I believe we’ve got a discount through the end of January happening. And so and we have a limited amount of spaces which I think are 18 remaining. So that is exciting. I and um, yeah, anything else that we want to say.

And if and if that’s not what you want to just keep, keep coming to the webinar. I just love, just love talking about this with anybody that’s interested. So and Lenny, thank you for being such a great co-host. I’m looking forward to doing these with you. And also Pauline. She’s from Glasgow, Scotland, and she’s going to

be, uh, sitting in Lynn’s chair. They’re going to be, uh, taking turns and maybe they’ll have a session themselves. So. Thank you all. I don’t know how we close this off, but thank you. Thank you for being a part of this webinar. We’ll see you in two, three weeks. Something like that. I can’t. Anyway, the dates are coming. We’ll make sure that you get that info on social media. Thank you Margaret. Thank you all of you that signed up here. And uh, take care everybody.



This insightful video delves into essential survival skills for navigating today’s workplace challenges. Covering skills seven to ten, it emphasizes the importance of developing courage to face challenges (symbolized by “tigers”), mastering cross-functional teamwork, adapting to rapid change, and finding purpose beyond routine tasks. The author encourages readers to view their work as contributing to a larger purpose, urging them to quit a mundane job and discover work that aligns with personal passions and makes a meaningful impact. With a focus on personal development, organizational growth, and effective teamwork, the video provides practical advice for thriving in the dynamic modern workplace.

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