WF ED 572, 002, FA19 – Blog Reflection 4

Reflect on your own personal experiences with change. Describe one organizational change and how you reacted to it. How did you treat other people in that process?

I debated on which change effort I wanted to reflect on. Recently, I was one of the people who led a large change effort at my organization to create a new department. However, I thought leading a change process inevitably creates very different reactions than being swept up in a change process. Here is my story of being part of a change process I did not invite or expect.

In 2017, the department I had happily been a part of for 4 years was disbanded. The staff were scattered to other departments and it seemed like there was very little appreciation for the work we had been doing. I have never been more upset about an organizational decision. At that point, I had done some of the best work of my career.

I was bitter, annoyed, and extremely cynical in the time immediately after the department ended. I would commiserate with my former colleagues looking for validation about what a terrible decision it was. Often annoyed, when I realized other people had started to move on. I was sad that some of my former colleagues started to leave the organization.

When I found myself on a new team, I brought in too many opinions about the way “we used to go things,” rather than being open to new approaches to the work. Finally, years later, sadness has morphed into nostalgia about the days of working on such a tight-knit team. I still see my former colleagues and we will reminisce about the old days, but things change.

I am not sure if it was a 4th of 5th level change. It was a departmental change, but it was because of the organization made a change in priorities.

In the beginning, I mentioned a change effort I’ve led since then. I’ve used the change hear to guide me through this subsequent change effort. I’ve tried to be transparent with those affected, not gossiping, but explaining rational. I’ve tried to listen to people when they are frustrated and put a value on preserving positive team dynamics.


WF ED 572, 002, FA19 – Blog Reflection 3

What work do you hope to do with OD? What career goals, if any, do you have for OD?

I am trying to make a career change, so I am using this course as a way to see if OD is a field I would like to dig into. Immediately, I would like to use some of the OD things I have learned in this course in my job. I’ve already volunteered to consult on an internal change project at my workplace.   My career goals are undefined, but I want to be OD trained enough to help my workplace change for the better.

What do you want to do at the end of this course?

Honestly, I would like to find an OD consultant that would let me apprentice with them on a part-time basis. I would like to see what it looks like to have your own business, get clients, do the work, and move on. I will not be leaving my job, but I would love to find an apprenticeship. I will keep reading materials and I will consultant on a change project in my workplace.

I’d really like to do a t-group. I have looked at courses at NTL and they are a bit expensive.

Do you plan to be in the online MPS in Organization Development and Change (MPS in ODC) degree program?

I do not think I will go into the online MPS program. I have a masters degree already, so I am not super enthusiastic about taking on additional graduate school debt. I am considering applying to a certificate in Organizational Consulting & Change Leadership at Georgetown. I’ve known a few people who’ve completed it and enjoy the cohort structure. I am also considering applying to the Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance at American University

My entries to the 42nd Annual Wassenberg Art Center Photography Exhibit

I recently submitted some photos to the 42nd Annual Wassenberg Art Center Photography Exhibit.  Four of my photos were accepted to the contest.   I’ll let you know if I win anything.  The show starts on October 4, 2019, in Van Wert, Ohio.

All of these photos were taken by me, please do not use them without my permission (this blog post does not count as permission.)

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These are the photos that were not accepted.

WF ED 572, 002, FA19 – Blog Reflection 2

How well do you feel you work with other people? Describe how you interact with others. For example, are you timid or shy? Outgoing?

We do annual reviews at my workplace and one of the things that I am frequently told is that I am a good team member. I work very well with people. I listen to those I am working with, exert my expertise when appropriate, and try to track team habits that we would like to change. (ie Make a point of asking a man to be the notetaker and/or acknowledging when a female colleague is interrupted.)

I am an extrovert. If you value the Myers-Briggs, I am an ESFJ-T. I lean toward making sure everyone on my team feels comfortable. I  like a happy team without much tension. I also believe that struggle can breed progress, so being conflict-averse can lead to some deleterious consequences in the long run.  Intellectually, I know that tension on a team is ok and can be helpful, but sitting with that discomfort is something I need to work on.

If someone asked your friends about you, what would they say about your personal strengths and areas for improvement? Why would they say what they say?

My friends would say that I am funny, a bit loud, and opinionated.   I think they would also say that I am there for them when needed.   I build close friendships with people and I am frequently a holder of secrets.    They say this because it is true.   I’ve been told as much.  I am also a planner for my group of friends.  Ready to go on a trip?  I am the guy who sketches out the itinerary, makes the group text and coordinates the sleeping arrangements.

Colleagues would say that I am funny and quite personable. People like to work with me and I have credibility in fulfilling my promises. People say this because I have a track record of doing what I set out to do, and because I really can make my colleagues laugh. I like to do my work, but know about how people are feeling as a whole. Few can bifurcate their personal and professional lives, so I link to engage my colleagues as a whole person.

I think many people would say that I do not hold my cards very close to my chest. I am an open book and that can sometimes seem like a less than steady hand. Many times people look for a leader who is calming taking in and analyzing a situation. I can respond quickly and emotionally to certain situations.

Starbucks on Frankford Ave.

In my neighborhood, a Starbucks was proposed for the main street (Frankford Ave.)    Starbucks promised an atypical luxury type of Starbucks that only exists in a few cities, but people said, “no” at an April zoning meeting.   There was an appeal to the city zoning board, but no one wanted to overturn the neighborhood’s decision.

Every time I walk by the empty storefront on Frankford Ave, I wonder if we made the wrong decision.   Why are we so binary in when we approach something like this Imagine if our response to Starbucks wasn’t “We don’t like you, get the fuck out” but, “We don’t like you, do these things and you can move in.”  We could have asked for anything and it was on Starbucks to meet those demands.  We could have asked for:

  • 75% of this store’s employees must have lived in the neighborhood for at least a year.
  • All teachers and post off workers get from coffee from 7 – 8 AM.
  • Give $250,000 to the rec center or palmer park annually.
  • Public trashcans that you maintain in service within a 3 block radius of the store.
  • The restroom is not customers only, but anyone can stop in its use.
  • School supplies for every student in the neighborhood.

Listen, I don’t care about Starbucks.   I drink at Steep and Grind or Mammoth Coffee these days.   I just think it is disingenuous when people say they only want the local coffee shop.   La Colombe is a great and worth $100 million dollars.   It’s long stopped being your corner coffee shop.

I actually think the analysis is pretty simple.  We have a neighborhood that a billion-dollar corporation wants to do business in.  The billion-dollar corporation has far more money than should be allowed, so let’s take it from them. Instead of just saying “No, get off my lawn,” let’s “ok, but give us XYZ.”

Blog Reflection 1 : WF ED 572

How do you feel about change in organizational settings? Why do you feel as you do?

Change is any organization is inevitable.  There is no way any organization cannot change.  The world is constantly changing around it and all organizations need to adapt to those changes. Our planet, technology, and society change every minute of the day and it is preposterous to believe any successful organization is immune from these currents. As Dylan said,  “The Times They Are A-Changin'”.

That inevitable change can be structured and focused to make sure the organization is successful, or it can be slapdash, unsponsored, and completed unintegrated into the success strategy of the organization.  I’ve seen organizations reactively change and I’ve organizations proactively change.  A proactive change plan is not always successful but more successful than a reactive one.

Change in an organizational setting can be extremely difficult. It requires openness, sponsorship, and some knowledge of a strong methodology to implement the change.   I believe organizations should institutionalize their change methodology, a methodology both distinct and respectful of the organizational culture.

I’ve been a part of the change work in my organization.   Some people fought it.  Some people embraced it, but I had a committee of sponsors that pushed the work forward every day.  We acknowledged that the work was going to be hard and take time.   This frame put all of us on a good footing to know what we had to do to make a big change in the organization.

Organizations should assume change and rejecting stagnation must be a value of any corporate/organizational culture.    I do think it is important to note, that organizations shouldn’t change for the sake of changing.   On the contrary, they should change to maintain or increase their current ability to be successful in an ever-changing world.