Overview of IOD’s 6th Annual OD Conference, May 25-27, 2016, Delray Beach, Florida



Our conference this year, “The Impact of Human Interaction Through Organization Development” was held in Delray Beach, FL, on May 25-27th.

Over 30 OD Professionals attended the conference and represented countries from Ghana, Bermuda, Jamaica, India, Panama, Kenya, and the United States.

Here’s an overview of the conference proceedings:

Day One: Current Practices and State of OD Today was kicked off by Dr. Nancy Zentis, CEO of IOD who provided the conference overview along with a warm welcome. Dr. Gabriel Benarkuu, from CCOD in Ghana conducted an icebreaker activity called Spider Web.  With this experiential activity, we formed a large circle and intertwined ourselves with rope by throwing it across the circle to another person, introduced ourselves, saying each name to demonstrate how we are all connected.

Patricia Dammann, IOD VP of Programs and Operations, and Susan Gervasi, IOD VP of Training and Development, launched the conference with their “Respectful Engagement: Process Consulting Revisited”presentation.  In this session participants learned effective process consulting behaviors to effectively help clients resolve critical business challenges.  Participants were able to distinguish among the different types of consulting behaviors- elevation (Consultant is expert) versus dependence (Consultant is a pair of hands). Through this discussion, participants recognized a respectful engagement consulting framework that encourages mutual empowerment, collaboration and reciprocity.

Dr. Nancy Zentis, CEO of IOD, presented “Humble Inquiry, Asking Helpful Questions in Building Relationships.”   This session explained why humble inquiry is important for building trust, collaboration, and commitment. Participants identified 3 kinds of Humility – Basic Respect, Valuing Others, and Demonstrating Humility.  Participants also recognized the definition of Humility – having a desire to build a relationship that encourages open communication.  Participants identified Four Forms of Inquiry: 1) Humble Inquiry–to learn more about the other person and their interests; 2) Diagnostic Inquiry–to check on another person’s feelings and reactions, causes and motives, actions, and understanding; 3) Confrontational Inquiry—to insert your ideas in the form of a question, redirect or provide direction; and 4) Process Oriented Inquiry–to assess the effectiveness of the relationship.

Ilsa H. duVerney, CEO of CARICODE and Marva Greig, OD Consultant from Jamaica presented “Human Interaction Technology.” This session helped participants recognize how to build more effective human relationships through self analysis/management and several human interaction activities to experience the use of human interaction technology. Participants gained an understanding of The Human Interaction Laboratory which is an immersion into inter-personal relations and group dynamics. The process of feedback helps participants understand how their own behavior appears to others and how it affects them. Several Human Technology tools were presented: Johari Window, Appreciative Inquiry and Conflict Management.

Day Two: Advanced Technology and Tools

Facilitating Organizational Growth and Innovation Through Design Thinking, Presenters: Dr. Nancy Zentis, CEO of IOD, and Patricia Dammann, IOD VP of Programs and Operations. The focus of this session was to introduce Design Thinking as a key to drive learning and change in organizations.  Design Thinking is the activity that initiates and guides change.  The OD Professional’s role is to facilitate groups as they use the design thinking process to promote the design of new applications, processes, structures, and systems needed to achieve organizational goals and encourage collaboration, idea-sharing, and relationship building.  Design Thinking is a Mindset that encourages creativity to transform difficult challenges into opportunities. The Qualities of Design Thinking include being Human Centered, Collaborative, Optimistic, and Experimental to help organizations innovate and grow.

Dr. Gabriel Benarkuu, President of CCOD, presented – Organizational Retreat: What it is, How it is Conducted and the Impact. He presented his framework for leading an Organization Retreat.  Some of the elements presented included, engaging a group of stakeholders and leaders in an organization/department to collaborate and create a “big picture“ vision: identifying new opportunities, resources needed, and gaining commitment of the leaders, and identifying actions to implement products developed at the retreat. The Organizational Retreat involves: Facilitating a process; Utilizing human power positively; Transforming the internal systems; Opening minds; Challenging the “uncreated,” Addressing issues “to clear the needless road-side bushes and filling pot-holes.” To practice conducting an Organization Retreat: Start with small group interventions, document evidence of the impact; then make the business case illustrating the impact of the model.

Patricia Dammann, IOD VP of Programs and Operations and Martha Paniagua, IOD OD Consultant presented Meditation and Mindfulness for Sustainability.  Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, being purposeful, and focusing in on the present moment, without judgment. By practicing mindfulness you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, feelings and behaviors so you can interrupt stress cycles. Patti and Martha led us on a journey through a labyrinth to experience mindfulness.  This activity helped participants to enter into a state of mindfulness, and thereby focusing on the present, clearing all thoughts, and becoming more intentional.

Jonathan Harrison, OD Consultant presented “Gaming Culture and It’s Implication for OD Interventions”.  Jonathon introduced the concept of using video games in the workplace to drive, measure and reward high value behavior.  Gamification is the use of game elements and game design techniques to promote change management, collaboration, knowledge sharing, social interaction, problem solving skills, adaptability, accountability, persistence, competitiveness, and engagement.  Gamification is used by many organizations today to reward and encourage people to achieve performance goals and increase job satisfaction.

Martha Paniagua, IOD OD Consultant, presented “Sustaining a Competitive Edge Through Data Analytics.”  Martha shared with us how to identify the traits of a decoded company to sustain their competitive edge, how to optimize communication and change to encourage an intentional culture, and how to create sustainability with data-driven decision making.  A decoded company is one that has a thoughtful and transparent data policy, invests in systems and processes to understand people, aims to increase speed and agility, rewards evidence-based decision making, reduces bureaucracy, delivers personalized training, applies technology and data analysis to optimize processes.

Day 3:  Building your OD Practice

Yacoubou O.B. DiomandeOD Consultant, presented Behavioral Risk Assessment.  This process offers specific guidelines for evaluating individual and organizational behavior and risk exposure, measuring the effectiveness of current behavioral risk strategies and introducing new programs, services and benefits that can be applied in the managing of behavioral risk. He presented a 5 Step  Behavioral Risk Management Process which helps to identify behavioral problems in the workplace related to employees, organizational behavior risks, and organizational factors that contribute to these behavioral risks. As a result of the audit, organizations can identify interventions to minimize behavioral risk exposure and risk factors.

Patricia Dammann, IOD VP of Programs and Operations and Martha Paniagua, IOD OD Consultant  presented Dialogic OD – Next Steps in the Evolution of Organization Change.  Diagnostic OD is a change driven process using diagnosis to objectively align organizational elements with the demands of a broader environment.  The Dialogic system perspective induces new ways of thinking by engaging with the ongoing organizational conversations that continuously create, re-create, and frame understanding and action. Some Dialogic OD Techniques include: Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider), Dynamic Facilitation (Rough), Future Search (Weisbord), Intergroup Dialogue (Nagada, Gurin), Open Space Technology (Owen), Organizational Learning Conversations (Bushe), Polarity Management (Johnson), Preferred Futuring (Lippitt), Six Conversations (Block), Talking stick (preindustrial), Technology of Participation (Spencer), Whole Scale Change (Dannemiller), World Café (Brown & Issacs).  Patti and Martha facilitated an Appreciative Inquiry Approach, based on the work of David Cooperrider. The AI Approach is to focus on what works well, peak experiences, and best practices.  After presenting the 4 D model of Discovery (What gives life), Dream (What might be), Design (What should be—the ideal), and Destiny (How to liberate, learn, actualize, and improvise), Patti and Martha facilitated an activity using the AI model to create our dream about what we love about OD.

Ilsa du Verney, CEO, CARICODE continued sharing the Appreciative Approach and facilitated an AI activity in which we designed the process (of what we loved about OD) and then created the destiny – specific action plans and strategies to bring the vision to existence. Using Appreciative Statements, we debriefed the activity.

Ragland Thomas, OD/Talent Management Consultant, presented “The Heart of Organization Development.”He shared a model to create an effective organization addressing the individual, the team(s), and the organization, building an A to B mindset with a data-driven process to create sustainable organizations. He presented concepts on creating a planned, organization-wide system managed from the top, to increase organizational effectiveness focusing on Talent Management using assessments to identify the current and future need, and then developing Human Resource Systems to achieve the goals.

Dr. Nancy Zentis, CEO IOD, and Susan Gervasi, IOD VP of Training and Development, IOD presented “OD Whole Systems Change Approach.”  Whole Systems Transformation (WST) is the Action Research Model on ‘steroids” made simple by practices and theories developed and integrated into a single approach. WST enables and empowers human talent in organizations to accomplish faster, cheaper, and sustainable positive change by involving and engaging the entire system. WST promotes ownership of the process (people support what they co-create), suggesting the solutions, and focusing on aligned change.

Ilsa DuVerney, CEO of CARICODE and Dr. Nancy Zentis, IOD, Presented “T-Group Approach for Organization and System Development.”  T (Training) Group is a training activity where 7-10 people meet with no agenda to explore what happens naturally in a group and how to solve problems. T-Groups usually meets for 2 -3 weeks several times a day, there is no leader, however a trainer helps group members observe their behaviors/responses and compare them to their desired responses.  The trainer also helps the group conceptualize the process for introducing, intervening, and debriefing an activity. The T-Group experience helps members of the group develop a better understanding of group dynamics, social processes at work, sensitivity to others, impact of your behavior on others, and to be able to recognize your own feelings and take responsibility and learn from your own and the group’s experience.

This is a summary of the presentations given during our 6th Annual OD Conference.

Author:  Dr. Nancy Zentis, Founder and CEO, Institute of Organization Development, is a leading professional in the field of OD, with more than 30 years’ experience working with multinational organizations. She is the founder and CEO of Institute of OD, providing OD Certification Programs (www.instituteod.com) She can be reached at nancy.zentis@instituteod.com; 954-341-2522.

To learn more about IOD’s Organization Development Certification Programs and how it can help you jump-start your career, call us at 954-341-2522 or email us at info@instituteod.com


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