May 2016


From the President: 

“It is the Explorer Who Is Lost”

--Tim Cahill, Jaguars Ripped My Flesh

One of my favorite clients of all time was a business unit president at the Fortune 100 company where I was an internal OD practitioner many years ago. He and I did some great work together, and I enjoyed our invigorating back-and-forth conversations about how to advance the organization. Yet what I remember most about him, all these many years later, is the line he would deliver to me on those occasions when he made a decision that went against my counsel: “Bud,” he would tell me, “I may be wrong, but I am never in doubt.”

I must say I marveled then at my client’s self-assuredness and apparent equanimity in the face of the daunting responsibilities of running a multi-multi-million dollar enterprise. However, as I look back, I can now see that my client faced, what for him, was a very familiar business landscape. While the business unit was helping to transform the telecommunications business by deploying a highly innovative new network system, my client could rely on his many years of experience in building other telecom networks to make sound business decisions.

Today, the business landscape just about everywhere is in upheaval. This notion is embodied in the PNODN Change theme for the year and the quote it is based on:

“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.” Source: The 2015 Global Creativity Index

All this comes to mind after reading Geoff Bellman’s article on “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” that inspires his presentation for our May meeting. (Geoff says that while the article was the inspiration for his talk, his presentation will bear little resemblance to it. You will just have to come to figure out what he means by this. BTW, you will find a link to the article on the PNODN page where you register for the program.) In particular, this line from Geoff’s article struck me: “This work is most compelling to me when I am exploring, not when I am all-knowing.”

In times of enormous change it is easy for anyone, even change agents, to feel overwhelmed and lost at times. Geoff teaches us (among many other things) to enjoy the journey into the unknown. If we can simply grasp the joy of exploring, and the confusing ambiguity it entails, then we will enjoy some of the great rewards of the work we do.

Come explore with PNODN. I hope to see you at Geoff Bellman’s presentation this month.

Dr. William “Bud” Wurtz

2016 PNODN President


Member Update

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


Dave N     Mara Z
Gail S       Kathleen S



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




News of Members:

Member Bob Gallagher, along with others, have an article in this Spring issue of the OD Practitioner. "Quality & Empowerment: Organization Development at WomenRising, 1992 - 2016" reviews the history of organization development work at WomenRising (WR), a Jersey City non profit. WR worked with Bob for over 15 years in institutionalizing methods and processes to empower employees and clients while offering the highest quality service. The article explores how WomenRising developed cultural density around processes and structures supportive of quality and empowerment. They also consider how the effort has changed in the absence of outside professional assistance and the realities of the organization’s reduced staff levels and persistent financial challenges.

This is their second recent piece for the OD Practitioner.In 2015 they did one on OD in religious systems -- "Understanding from Within: Working with Religious Systems."

We are hoping that they will be presenters in 2017 at one of our monthly meetings.

Our Board Member Magda Kaspary attended the EMCSR – European Meetings on Cybernetics and Systems Research ( in Vienna/Austria from March 30th thru April 1st. There were 60 papers submitted and 29 selected, including hers.

Magda presented her research named “A Treatise of Entirety” which was well received by the audience. In a nutshell, a Treatise of Entirety is an invitation and commitment for people to feel entire in workplaces. Entirety involves a method and a stance: how to feel entire, fully present, not compartmentalized. Entirety relates to the intrinsic quality of a system, it is different than wholeness – it is how a system (person, team at work, family, community) access its best self and brings to the external world. Magda’s research draws knowledge from Transdisciplinary studies, OD, Systems Thinking, Social Psychology and more.

About the meeting, Magda shared that it was a singular experience. “It was great to be part of an international community that applies System Thinking using so many different approaches and methodologies”. This type of opportunity expands our view about the world: we have new lenses on our own practice and research by discussing with people from other fields, disciplines and lands!




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.


June 20th:  Elemental Insight: Different by Design with Chris Richardson

Experience a cutting edge approach to tackling issues of culture change, change management, organizational design, teamwork, leadership effectiveness, and more. Understand the conditions required to realize greater clarity, increase productivity, restore balance and create flow in any organizational system.

Join Chris Richardson, CEO of Going Elemental, for an Introduction to Elemental Insight—a dynamic tool to diagnose and reveal surprising insights into organizational challenges now used in over 25 countries. Explore how things operate from an energetic perspective so individuals, teams and organizations can flourish and succeed. Experience the power of this tool, learn about common OD applications and gain new insight about yourself in the process.

Chris Richardson is an innovator focused on developing leaders to deliver breakthrough performance in their organizations and communities. She is sought after for delivering people-centric business strategies, improving organizational effectiveness, leading change, and building cohesive leadership teams. Chris holds degrees in Industrial Psychology, Organizational Development and Adult Learning and is the author of Going Elemental: The Essentials of Success.





Plan ahead for a two-day training event
on the underlying mechanisms of successful  transformational change processes at the "Dialogic OD Laboratory".  October 21 - 22, 2016

All organizations grapple with change. It’s challenging to manage even when it is small-scale, specific, planned, and embraced by the organization. When it comes through unexpected disruption, and the organization faces the need for urgent, significant transformation in operations or culture, even the most experienced leader can feel overwhelmed by the complexity.

The Dialogic OD Laboratory will be an experiential, inquiry-based learning event. The Dialogic OD Laboratory will build on participants’ knowledge and/or experience with one or more dialogic methods (like Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space Technology, Dynamic Facilitation, Art of Convening). The lab will go beyond the techniques to explore the underlying change processes and frameworks required for successful application of any dialogic change process.

Dr. Gervase Bushe, Professor of Leadership and Organization Development, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Bushe is one of the OD profession’s most original thinkers. He helped develop the Appreciative Inquiry approach to change, and authored the bestselling book , Clear Leadership. In 2009, Dr. Bushe and Dr. Robert Marshak of American University published the article “Revisioning Organization Development: Diagnostic and Dialogic Premises and Patterns of Practice,” which challenged the diagnostic foundations of modern organizational change practice. Their co-edited book, Dialogic Organization Development: The Theory and Practice of Transformational Change, will be published by Berrett-Koehler in May 2015, and reflects the results of their collaboration with an international group of scholars and practitioners to develop the theory and practice of Dialogic OD.

More details coming soon, including a free introductory webinar by Dr. Bushe on Dialogic OD.


April Meeting Review

by Jeremy Meeds

During the month of April, Barbara Dean, a globally recognized speaker on leadership and inclusion and cross-cultural business, engaged us in dialogue about the ultimate goals of diversity and inclusion. In breakout groups, we each looked at one or two of 14 categories of the Global Diversity & Inclusion Benchmarks and used these categories to assess a case study about how the national park service has been underused by certain minority groups of people. We talked about where the park service in this particular case study ranked from Level 1: Inactive, Level 2: Reactive, Level 3: Proactive, Level 4: Progressive to Level 5: Best Practice on each category. We then brainstormed ways for them to improve on each category. We ended by having a lively discussion on some of the challenges associated with building inclusive organizations.


We want to acknowledge and thank all of those who participated in our membership survey. As a board, using a data-driven organization development approach, we have reviewed each question and response and took action items to improve our value to you. We wanted to summarize for you what we believe our priorities are, based on your feedback. We heard you tell us that your experience has been mixed. We will get back to you shortly with what actions we are taking or have taken to improve consistency and positive responses to the PNODN experience. Please know your input and feedback is critical to make sure we are aligning to your needs and doing the right things to add value. Please don’t hesitate to offer feedback, suggestions or even let us know what you want us to do more of. Our goal is to increase membership through adding measurable value. We hope you agree that we are making a difference for you to make a difference for others.

1. Focus on Membership Value

a. More/higher caliber meeting Speakers/Events – Special speaker workshops

b. Variety in Opportunity to Engage with PNODN (more networking/dialog groups etc.)

c. Variety in content/programs i.e.

i. For consultants

ii. entry-level OD vs. Longer tenured OD

iii. Case Studies

iv. OD leaders in the field to dialog about their programs with others

d. Price-breaks for PNODN members for the above

e. Partnerships with other professional organizations: LWHRA/Seattle SHRM/ATD/Local OD programs

2. We asked specifically about your interest in Gervase R. Bushe

a. Overwhelmingly loved the Idea

b. Didn’t like the price

c. Based on this, we have invited Gervase to partner with us for his workshop – still working on pricing. Stay tuned, more to follow.

Thank you again for your feedback. If you feel we missed anything, please let us know by reaching out to



Case Study

Savy Slips, Learning on the Run

By Philip S. Heller

Learnings from Practice 17: Assessing Match and Motivation

How can you help create a coaching contract that sticks?

The Request. The Director of a State Department of Environmental Conservation had recently hired an expert seasoned staff from another state to be the Manager of the Hazardous Materials Division. The Manager was not fulfilling the role that the Director had envisioned. Her Deputy was directed to help the Manager improve his performance. The Deputy asked us to create a coaching relationship and through that, help the Manager more completely fulfill his responsibilities.

Larger Context. In this operations-focused state agency, the Director set the leadership culture as task oriented with quick and direct communication. The newly hired, Division Manager was not living up to three key expectations of the Department Director. The manager was caught in a bind: He was asked to deal with a direct report that was underperforming and so began a supervisory style of managing the report’s every step. What was wanted was a way to deal with the report that would gain their commitment. Also, the Division Manager tended to be risk averse and step back from input during senior leadership meetings. It seemed like the Manager was ill-equipped to fit in to the leadership culture. Finally, he was having difficulty focusing on a strategic/policy level for the Division. The Manager felt, rightfully so, that his job was on the line and so was quite defensive about being asked to work with a coach.

Consulting Intervention. The client and the coach had several initial meetings to establish a working and trusting relationship. There was also a realization that the Coach needed to model an open assessment and think out-loud process with the prospective client about the coach’s and the client’s motivations, drivers, feelings and reservations. It seemed that both the client and the coach had to demonstrate vulnerability, inclusiveness and decisively clear communication with each other. Eventually, perhaps, the client would be able to use these skills of clear leadership in the workplace.(1)

In order to build a trusting relationship, the coach suggested a series of questions and criteria that might be used to focus the discussion towards a mutual decision about whether to continue the work together. The questions were closed-ended, yet provocative, as they served as a basis for discussion and understanding of what it might take to obtain satisfying results.(2) For example, one of the questions that we used was: “Do you expect magic regarding your commitment level or natural disinclination?” The responses by the coach and the client helped formed the basis for an effective learning relationship (3).

Last Line. Using a series of questions for both the coach and the client to respond to can help to develop a shared vulnerability and honesty in the coaching relationship that will form the basis for development.

Commentary: I have used this question set in various forms as potential discussion points during the coaching contract phase. Thinking about the process now, I would still use the questions, but I would want to do more to solicit the client’s criteria for moving forward with coaching.

(1) Gevase Bushe, Clear Leadership, 2001.

(2) To access the actual questions we used, go to: and select Signals for Coaching Decision.

(3) Ronald Short, Learning in Relationship, 1998

Philip Heller is a senior associate of Learning Design Associates. For 36 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 17. Assessing Match and Motivation








 Relative to last month’s presentation by Barbara Deane, Judith Katz and Fred Miller have just published a new article about inclusion on their website: Inclusion: What it IS and IS NOT!



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.



We Welcome Letters

This letter relating to Barbara Deane’s presentation arrived too late for last month’s Newsletter:

Greetings! and thanks for your ongoing good work in this world.

I’m not ever able to come to these meetings, but this topic drew my attention. As a long-standing member of the dominant culture, when I think about diversity and inclusion I think about organizational (or system) structures. That is, most of our organizations are organized in a way that suits members of the dominant culture, and appears uncomfortable and uninviting to members of other cultures, the objects of our diversity/inclusion efforts. For me, the question is whether the dominant culture organization is willing to change and be changed so that members of other cultures feel "at home.” My thinking is based on my experience as a board member at Garden Raised Bounty here in Olympia, and my experience using the Mutual Learning Model (Argyris) to create an environment where inquiry and curiosity and vulnerability are respected. My two cents! Hope the meeting goes well.



Steve Byers

Helping Human Systems think, learn, and work together - better





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