February 2020 Event Review – Dialogic OD with Gervase Bushe

It was the first OD event for the year and the ODA team was ready to host an exciting event to be facilitated by Professor Gervase R. Bushe, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Development at the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver Canada. As the participants started to come in and network over sushi, the excitement increased with the prospect of meeting an award-winning author of over 100 papers, one of the 30 most influential HR Thinkers of the world and the co-author of Dialogic Organizational Development: The Theory and Practice of Transformational Change (Bushe & Marshak, 2014).

The event began with a welcome by Kaliopi Tsousis, Vice President of ODAF, who introduced Professor Gervase Bushe to the participants. Professor Gervase Bushe began his session with a quick overview of his 40 years journey in Organization Development and Leadership and briefly touched upon his initial experiences with T Group facilitation and his collaborative work with other thought leaders in Organization Development. After his introduction, Professor Gervase Bushe set the stage for sharing his Generative Change Model.

The Generative Change Model is a competing model to planned change and helps to overcome the challenges of the shortcomings of the traditional change model. The Generative Change model offers the steps required to engage the people who have to change in conversations and helping them to come up with their ideas and solutions, which they are willing to act on. The Generative Change Model helps employees identify and initiate actions for the change while the leaders are able to focus on what is working and no working in the change program. The main thrust of the Generative Change Model is that it helps to facilitate an agile organization, which is able to manage complexity and fast and effective change in organizations.

The Generative Change Model has six steps:

  1. Identify the Adaptive challenge
  2. Reframe into a Purpose statement
  3. Engage stakeholders in Generative Conversations
  4. Stimulate Self-organized conversations
  5. Learn from Success and Failures, and
  6. Scale up and embed successful probes

The Generative Change Model is a powerful model as it is a synthesis of different OD methods and many years of research, with the capability to help leaders and organizations facilitate complex change and facilitate agile organizations.

There were several takeaways for the participants from the event and some of them are

  1. The importance of understanding the difference between vision and purpose and how purpose plays a critical role in helping people to self-organize for facilitating change was articulated by Professor Gervase Bushe. While vision is the end state, purpose is what we do every day and focusing on the purpose helps the employees to shift from their individual needs to collective needs.
  2. A generative image helps people to see the change situation in a new way and opens ups new conversations. A generative image is a combination of words that are new or unusual in a group and should be able to attract the people to engage in purposeful conversations and the generative image is a continuous source of new ideas due to its ambiguousness.
  3. When the stakeholders define the change instead of the leaders defining the change, successful change happens.

The session was energized by group discussion and activities like what are the reasons for planned change to fail, identifying a purpose that can unite all stakeholders and few more. Overall, the session was able to help the participants understand the ingredients for facilitating generative change using the Generative Change Model by Professor Gervase Bushe. The participants were able gain valuable insights and identify solutions to their challenges through this session. The session closed with a vote of thanks by Danielle Jacobson, President of ODA and a draw to identify two winners who received Professor Gervase Bushe’s latest book.

We would like to thank Professor Gervase Bushe for facilitating the session amongst his busy schedule. Overall the first event was a success – with maximum participation, facilitated by a distinguished professor, author and thought leader, offering values and insights to the participants and powered by the ODA community.