April 2016


From the President: 


April 2016

Working with diversity is tough. Human beings are hardwired to trust other people who are pretty much like themselves, starting with family or tribe on up through the higher social orders.

The United States is one of the most successful societies to integrate various types of people from different nations, ethnicities, and religions. Yet we Americans have had challenges throughout our history dealing with diversity.

In some ways, we now seem to be going backward. What happened to the post-racial presidency? The Black Lives Matter movement has arisen in response to far too many fatal episodes on our cities’ streets. And who can escape the ugliness of the current political campaign season with highly charged comments against Hispanics, Muslims, and women?

The challenges of diversity still loom large at the organizational level as well. One benefit of a long career is that I have had the opportunity to see lots of change and all sorts of change over time. Today when I enter organizations I typically see much more diversity among general employee populations of organizations. But diversity decreases, sometimes dramatically, as we survey up the organizational hierarchy.

Diversity matters to me, because creativity matters to me. It is an article of faith, backed by solid research, among those of us in the movement to build a more creative society, that creative potential goes up when a work team is more diverse.

Diversity to foster creativity should matter to every OD practitioner, regardless of specialty. PNODN has adopted CHANGE as its theme for this year, based on the observation that

“Capitalism is in the midst of an epochal transformation from its previous industrial model to a new one based on creativity and knowledge. In place of the natural resources and large-scale industries that powered the growth of industrial capitalism, the growth of creative capitalism turns on knowledge, innovation, and talent.”

In short, OD practitioners can help ease the birth pangs of a new economic model -- and I hope and believe this model will create a better world with better workplaces – by embracing the effort to make organizations more diverse as a vital preliminary step to making them more creative.

Attending PNODN's April general meeting is a good way to get started on this noble task. Barbara Deane, one of our region’s most accomplished authorities on workplace diversity, will be sharing with us her wisdom on how to increase organizational diversity.

With a commitment to achieving E pluribus unum, OD practitioners can bring about Novus ordo seclorum. It’s time to get started.

Dr. William “Bud” Wurtz

2016 PNODN President


Member Update

PNODN would like to warmly welcome the following new & renewing members: 


Phoebe I.     Maryann D

Bonnie H      Osnat L.           

Barbara M.    Gay N   Marcia T        Crystal V.



 We thank them for their support of PNODN and invite you to join us as well. 








Get ready for our April 2016 Monthly Meeting

How do you develop Diversity & Inclusion in an organization?

A globally recognized scientist and speaker on leadership and social networks says, “Organizations have to have inclusion to be successful today!” To “have” inclusion—what does that mean? There’s an App for that! No, there’s more than that! Join us on April 18th and find out! 

Barbara Deane is a writer, editor, consultant and speaker on diversity and inclusion and cross-cultural business issues. As vice-president of The GilDeane Group, Inc., a Hispanic and woman-owned publishing, training and consulting firm, she serves as editor-in-chief of its publications, DiversityCentral.com and the Cultural Diversity at Work Archive, an online database of articles, tools and resources.

During this session you will:

1. Engage in dialogue about the ultimate goals of Diversity & Inclusion.

2. Assess the 14 categories of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks as to which ones are most used by organizations, and which are not.

3. Using a case study, determine which level best describes an organization’s progress on selected benchmark categories.

4. Discuss some of the challenges in building inclusive organizations.

An Evening with Geoff Bellman on May 16th!

May 16th - If I knew then what I know now -- an evening with Geoff Bellman. 

Join us for this evening as we consider…

  • How has your approach to your work changed over the years?
  • What did you used to do that you no longer do?
  • What do you believe more than ever?
  • What do you regret?
  • What are you proud of?

Geoff will engage us in thinking about our work as he reflects on these questions and his life. It’s seldom we have the opportunity to sit down with someone who has been active in OD for so long. Ninety minutes based on forty years of consulting experience…something good is sure to result! And, it will be fun!

This session was inspired by (and bears little resemblance to) the attached article Geoff wrote for the 40th anniversary of the OD Network.





March Meeting Review

by Jeremy Meeds

During our March meeting, Orlando Ashford, the current President of Holland America, spoke to us about his experience in the OD field and how he was brought in to be a change agent for Holland America. Orlando discussed the concept of Talentism, which refers to human capital fundamentally, and is outlined in his book by the same name. He talked about how ‘capital is being superseded by creativity and the ability to innovate and therefore human talents have become the most important factors of production’. During this meeting, many points were made including how there is a ‘disconnect’ between the skills people have and the skills employers need. He also mentioned that millennials put more emphasis on the people they work with, work they find exciting and having good mentorship. We discussed how as we move along, the work people do will become increasingly mobile, virtual and project based. We talked about the ‘Human Ecosystem’ and about how more value is now being placed on someone’s network as opposed to just their skills, and how the future belongs to companies that can leverage the best networkers within and outside of their organizations. This super-highway of people who constantly develop their networks are considered to be the new ‘influencers’. Orlando talked about non-traditional ways of tapping into talent pools called ‘silver talent’ and about how there is a new hiring process that employers are embracing which includes the use of different assessment and evaluation tools such as psychometric, behavioral, technical and cultural fit tests. We concluded with a question and answer session where Orlando shared with us some of the amazing changes that he has been implementing at Holland America including taking a space that was completely dead on one of his older ships and making it come alive by restructuring and repurposing it.



Case Study

Savy Slips, Learning on the Run

By Philip S. Heller

Learnings from Practice 16: Encouraging Forgiveness and Reconciliation

How can you help folks that are in conflict get beyond blame to reconciliation?

The Request. The Manager of an Office of Youth Services asked that we conduct a teambuilding event to create a more cohesive and friendly staff team. The purpose of the office was to support and advocate for youth offenders. The staff were all social workers by training and each had their own case load. There were several internal conflicts among staff, some involved case work load, others involved hard feelings over past interactions.

Larger Context. Program staff were feeling alone, experiencing a lack of support and distrust from their colleagues and leadership especially over the past year as new staff were incorporated from another program. The program was understaffed; the staff were overwhelmed by the case load and they felt unable to care for themselves. The inefficient administrative protocols (e.g., hand-written carbon-paper case notes) and lack of office space added to the feelings. Staff felt blamed by their colleagues for mistakes and issues that surfaced which created even more animosity. There was a general lack of pride in their work, especially given the work load, the multifaceted client issues, outdated administrative procedures.

Consulting Intervention. We were asked to facilitate a series of team sessions to create a positive vision of the future. The staff wanted to offer more comprehensive services, develop a set of principles that would guide more positive staff interactions and agree to professionally problem solve issues with each other on a daily basis.

An initial session was held to help staff rediscovering their passion and create a longer term vision of their services. During a second session, staff began to let go of the past in order to create more positive energy for their future.

Since social workers tend to have a Myers-Briggs preference for feelings (1), we used a metaphoric process to help them process their feelings from past reactive interactions (2). They were asked to write about their feelings and issues that may be barriers to moving forward and then share these with a colleague. The questions were: 1. What typically helps you move beyond past feelings? 2. How do they help their clients to do the same? 3. How might their entire professional career help serve as a context for their more immediate past experience?

A three-part metaphoric exercise followed. Each participant copied on an single page of card stock, the phrases or words that represent past issues as well as any feelings attached to them. After each card was shredded into strips, each participant made something with the resulting strips using additional art materials. They eventually shared their creation with the whole group, reporting on any ideas that may have come to mind for reframing the past. Their colleagues reacted to whatever may have “ignited their own curiousity” or helped them see new possibilities as well.

Last Line. Participants, holding on to the past, might be able to move toward positive problem solving if given a chance to acknowledge their feelings and reframe their experience into less blameful and more forgiving interpretations.

Postscript: Although there are actual books detailing the steps of apologizing, much of the work on forgiveness can be found in variety of sources, some of which are listed below(3). One succinct process is included here.

Forgiveness? She said.

Nothing to it.

Wade through the poison,

Wrestle with your ego,

Let it go.

Nothing to it.

She’s such a story-teller.

Donna Bearden, Mandala Messages, 2012

(1) Nancy Barger and Linda Kirby (In: Type and Change, MBTI Participant’s Guide, Consulting Psychologist Press, 1997) talk about how Thinking and Feeling Types process the emotion of loss differently and offer ideas for how to work with each preference.

(2) To access the actual questions we used, go to: http://learningdesigna.com/resourcescategory/conflict-resolution/ and select “Lighten Our Grip on the Past.”

(3) Other References: John Kador, Effective Apology, 2009; Stewart Levine, Chapter 18, Getting Current and Complete In: Getting to Resolution, 2009; Douglas Stone et. al. Difficult Conversations, 1999; Brene Brown, 2010, http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

Philip Heller is a senior associate of Learning Design Associates. For 35 years he has helped plan systems change and develop leaders in government, community agencies, and health care centers. Philip received his Ph.D. in Education focusing on learning and problem solving. As part of the originating group, he has been a PNODN member since 1982.

© 2016 Philip S. Heller, Savy Slips, Learning on the Run 16: Encouraging Forgiveness & Reconciliation









Of Interest

2016 NW Diversity Learning Series

ISDI will continue providing the morning half-day sessions for employees, managers and Diversity Champions on emerging issues that can be adapted to the work environment.  The topics will be framed around the practice of inclusion and provide participants with concepts, tools, and activities that strengthen understanding and learning at the individual and group levels.   More details can be found here.                    



Our Administrator is: Ann M. Baus 


The Editor of the newsletter is David C. Wigglesworth 



From The Editor

This is your newsletter and we welcome and encourage your contributions. They could include personal news of a professional achievement, a brief article of interest, a short book review, a case study, a cartoon, a joke that is OD relevant and/or anything else that might be of interest to your colleagues who are our readers. I thank you in advance.




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