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Posts tagged ‘World Cafe’

Resource: Organization Development Processes

I’ve collected more than a few classic Organization Development resource links over the last several years. If you are just getting started in the Organization Development field or are looking for on-line resources to lead your own process, here are resources that I’ve found useful (in alphabetical order):

Appreciative Inquiry Commons 
Balanced Scorecard Institute 
Future Search 
Open Space Technology Links from Peggy Holman 
Society for Organizational Learning 
World Cafe: Juanita Brown and Tom Hurley 

And, links to past posts of resources:

Resource: Harvard Business Review 
Resource: Leader to Leader Institute 
Resource: Organization Development resources on the web 
Resources for Positive Organization Development 

creative confidence

It’s a cool, rainy Saturday on the Great Plains, which provides time for reflection. I’ve been considering a question asked in an encounter this week, “How do I know which method or process to use with an organization that is having a hard time finding its way?” My first response was that there isn’t a tidy checklist or rule book for people who work with organizations. Organizations are made up of people, and those relationships rarely go by a checklist or rule book.

How then should an organization development practitioner proceed? There are many different processes that I’ve used successfully from Appreciative Inquiry to World Cafe to Strategic Visioning. I’ve facilitated with organizations that were willing to begin with a central question and allow the process to emerge, evolve, and engage the group through our time together. Ultimately the practitioner has to have what David Kelley calls “creative confidence“. I have to be willing to step out into uncertainty, ambiguity, and fog and enter into the organization’s journey.

This isn’t magical. A good practitioner brings along their toolbox. A couple of months ago I discovered a new toolbox from the at Stanford: Bootcamp Bootleg. In it the students and faculty from the Stanford share their mindset along with modes and methods that they use to engage organizations and people when the solutions, and sometimes even the questions, aren’t obvious. They set an example of resilience, of not being willing to give up with the way ahead is uncertain, ambiguous, or wrapped in fog.

To respond to the original question: my personal goals as an organization development practitioner are to sharpen my tools while continually adding to my toolbox – to be willing to start a conversation for change, be willing to fail, be willing to try again – to welcome the unknown along with the known – to practice with creative confidence.

Grounding Conversations

This past weekend brought thought stimulating conversations with a trusted friend. Often we work under the assumption that all of our conversations deliver the needed results. Yet, this is often not the case. We participate in formal meetings, water cooler meetings, and even more casual discussions on the back porch.

In reflecting on what made these conversations work at the most basic level, I was drawn to think about ground rules for conversations. Ground rules are often assumed, but here is a short list that I have been compiling for times when ground rules need to be specified:

• Be Present:
  welcoming yourself first,
  willing to sit in the peace or chaos around you,
  keeping the space open and flexible,
  being open to surprises.

• Participate:
  be willing to listen fully, with pauses for reflection,
  with respect for each person’s voice,
  without fixing, judgment, and advice giving.

• Be courageous:
  inviting and willing to initiate conversations that matter,
  speaking from your own experience,
  finding and using powerful questions
  documenting the answers, patterns, insights, wisdom, action items.

• Be willing to co-create with and include others:
  blending your knowing, experience and practices with theirs,
  developing a working partnership.

With credit to the World Cafe, Open Space Technology, and Appreciative Inquiry communities.

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