First ever Dialogic OD Conference in Vancouver BC last week

Dialogic OD opening comments

The first ever dialogic organizational development conference was last week in Vancouver BC at Simon Fraser University. The opening remarks were taped from an interview with Edgar Schein which framed the day beautifully. We had numerous opportunities to engage with others at the conference and the ongoing conversations were a high point for the event.

It was striking that we had 125 participants from around the world, all dedicated to developing an organizational development practice that fits the reality of our times, one framed by complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. Old OD practices of diagnosis and command and control, simply are not effective in taping into the wealth of knowledge and experience necessary to pivot in a dynamic world. This is where the emerging practice of dialogic OD have the opportunity to truly make a difference in engaging the minds of people who can and will change our world.

Meeting friends and colleagues was another benefit to being at the conference. It is not easy to stay in touch with so much going on and the conference provided the setting where reconnecting with old friends and connecting with new friends was possible.

More information about dialogic OD can be found on my research page. I would welcome a conversation with anyone interested in the field and would be glad to work with organizations interested in moving away from change consulting based on old rigid models of command and control and move to those based on dialogic OD helping organizations thrive in complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty. Reach out to Dr. Inman at john@dialogicleader.com or call him at 425-954-7256.

An extraordinary voice for children and schools in Erin Jones for Washington State Superintendent of Education

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In a time when public schools and teachers are under attack, ineffective measures for reform are mandated, and those who have our children’s best interest at heart are demoralized, Erin Jones shines as a voice for all that is right with our children, parents, communities, teachers, and schools. It is time we stopped waging war on those who care for our children. There is a better way.

The world is complex, ambiguous, and uncertain and education is far more so than business. Yet the principles of participation, respect, caring, and team work that mark the success of businesses in our economy, are the very principles under attack in schools. I cannot help but wonder about the lack of critical thinking skills so prevalent in our decision makers. Parents, teachers, and researchers agree, the skills needed to thrive in our complex world are those being diminished through teaching to the test and demanding that students learn the one right answer to every question and be able to put that answer on a bubble test. And this is supposed to be education? Where did problem solving, critical thinking, inquiry, and the ability to build teams and relationships go? These critical skills have been stripped from our schools.

As a business person, that last thing I want is to have an employee who has to find the one right answer. What a useless skill. If only the world were so simple. Why would any critical thinking adult demand this of our children? The answer is no critical thinking adult would. Ideology and greed, not critical thinking rule our discussions. Even though privatization has proven to benefit almost no one other than those making a profit on our children, those who stand to profit on our children have a loud voice and lots of money to support their platform. If those same dollars were invested in our public schools, if our teachers were payed well and treated with respect, and if our principles and superintendents were trained to lead humans and no just manage cost cutting, we would be excelling in education and our children would be learning and growing.

This is where Erin comes in. She is smart, an award wining teacher, innovative, and a compassionate leader. Erin is exactly what our state needs in a time where the most important decisions in our children’s lives are being made in such a way as to destroy their futures. This is certainly the case with our minority children. If you are in Washington State and can support Erin Jones, please do. Find out more on her web page. Dr. Ronald Holmes also wrote an excellent article on Erin’s background.