Tag: Improving Performance


Organizational Lifecycles and the Renewal Stage

Like humans, organizations develop and evolve. Organizational development follows a defined lifecycle, from inception to maturity to eventual decay if operations cease.  Forty-six percent of organizations generally fold within a year-and-a-half of opening. The ones that remain in business generally average a median lifespan of seven years. So how can organizations beat the survival odds? … Read more »

More About Corporations as Engaged Citizens: A Reflection from Italy

I write this entry while living and working from Cefalù, Sicily, a town not only steeped in centuries-old tradition, but part of one of the countries currently struggling to survive as a member of the European Union. Evidenced by the hand waves and chatter in the streets, people in Cefalù know each other and have… Read more »

Making Time for Dialogue

I am teaching a course on generative and strategic dialogue this term and, through the amazing dialogue with my students, I am reminded of the importance and challenge of this communicative practice. Dialogue asks us to become more aware and intentional about how we listen, think, and speak. In his 1999 book, Dialogue and the… Read more »

Organizational Culture and Its Effects on Creativity

Culture links people together. It does so, according to organizational theorist Edgar H. Schein, by allowing people to band together as a group and develop a unique set of beliefs and practices that are absorbed and accepted by all of its members. In time, the group’s beliefs and practices, which consist of shared assumptions, perceptions,… Read more »

The Challenges of a Budding Organizational Consultant

As a newcomer in the field of organizational consulting, I have the advantage of being either the naively arrogant child who declares the emperor has no clothes! or the person who comes from a foreign land and is forced to quickly confront the differences in the visible and communicated culture. When I decided to change… Read more »

How to Make Communication Technology Work for Positive Social Change

We live and work in the information age, an era of global knowledge sharing and social networking enabled by a variety of information, communication, and collaboration technologies (or ICCT). What do we do about it? The rescue of the Chilean coal miners is a fine example of how modern digital technology aided people from around… Read more »

Ironic Outcomes: How to Get the Opposite of What You Want

About three years ago, I had a coaching conversation with a human resources manager for a retail company. The manager confided in me that conflict she was experiencing made her uncomfortable. She described the lengths to which she would go to avoid raising challenging issues or delivering candid feedback. By way of example, she described… Read more »

Systems of Nothingness

January in New England makes it hard to visualize the muddy turf of a baseball field after a spring thaw. But, after speaking with a group of parents recently, spring training for children’s baseball starts as early as December up here with batting practice and other weekly regiments. Teaching children the proper sporting techniques in… Read more »