Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Judging By Its Cover

Harlow's new book, The Dinosaur in the Living Room, is out!

If the book is anywhere near as good as his teaching, it's bound to be a bestseller.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Back to the Back . . .

. . . and more of the same.

I'm annoyed to be back to work.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Max's foggy autumn

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Day Four

Posted 8/30/2005: Second blank post of the residency week. After this one I didn't even attempt a title.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Day Three

Posted 8/30/2005: This draft post was blank! I think it's interesting that I pretty much gave up on blogging at Day 3.

Early bird.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Day Two

The SMA case wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be. The group at my table talked it through and we came to some basic understandings.

Why the high anxiety before class? Lack of preparation is part of it. But I seem to need more context for understanding than other people do. The LSI tells me that, as an Assimilator, I need models and theories to think about and analyze.

Kolb, you've pegged me again.

I stepped up and facilitated a work session for our family group today. I think it went well. R thanked me afterward, and I heard that it was the topic of conversation at dinner in another context.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Day One

The topic of today's session is Appreciative Inquiry Summits. So glad I read the future search chapter the other day!

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Sketch by Max

It's (Not) My Party

Many of my classmates are partying tonight. I'm feeling a little melancholy because I did 'the right thing' and stayed home with Sam.

It's okay. I did the right thing. But sometimes I wish I could be in two places at once!

Last Minute Insight

Note to Self:

Studying should be performed iteratively, in small chunks. Not in a frantic weekend-long marathon.

Run, Hilary, Run!

Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

Our circle is deeply into the Storming phase of Tuckman's model. It's natural, but uncomfortable nonetheless.

One member has approached others about an outside business opportunity, which has created mistrust/distrust.

One member has 'warned' me that he/she is leaving the company and the state sometime soon. This will necessitate exit from the circle.

Because one member has moved into a new role in another member's department, one of them is offering to leave the circle so as to not make the other uncomfortable.

I need to do some research on how this phase can best be managed. Should I become more directive? Should I share Tuckman's model with them? Should I simply listen and coach?

Thursday, August 18, 2005


The first session of the leadership learning series found me observing and participating by turns.

While I was up in the balcony (in observation mode), I reviewed the class design and materials and watched the facilitator. I tried to figure out what was working well and how I might design and facilitate the session differently.

While I was on the dance floor (in participaton mode), I tried to contribute to the efforts of my 4-person group. I struggled with my ever-present desire to joke around in an attempt to break the tension. And I walked a tightrope of having my own very firmly grounded theories about leadership (thanks, Richard) and listening respectfully to others who are still groping toward an understanding.

Rosa took me to task last week for trying to fix things that just are. As she said, some things in life are just naturally bittersweet. I need to continue to practice being with what is.

Thursday's Child

I have a long way to go in getting ready for the residency.

But today is a building day. I will be participating in and observing the first session of a Women's Leadership Learning Series. The facilitator is coaching me personally with the intent that I will lead the series next year.

Seemingly overnight, I'm morphing from a geeky business analyst into a geeky OD consultant!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Reality Check

I read the 'future search' chapter in the OD textbook JP lent me. Future searches and AI Summits are wonderfully exciting, but how often do they occur? Both require 3-4 days with the 'whole system' in the room. How many groups are willing to commit this kind of time (not to mention money)?

Let's do a quick poll: Has anyone reading this ever participated in a future search or an AI Summit?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Ask And You Shall Receive

Pam asked Rebinder to donate some of their recyclable binders for next week's Wellspring event, and they agreed! We Divas are immensely grateful for their generosity.

Pam was courageous to ask for the donation, and I salute her! I'm not sure I could have done it, even though I suggested it.

The request for the donation grew out of one of the teambuilding activities I participated in last week at sparkspace. In the 'paperclip' activity, teams were charged with 'trading' a paperclip for something of more value from a stranger. The team that brought back the most valuable item(s) 'won.'

The people we approached were very good sports. The first person willing traded her last cigarette (and the box it was in) for a paperclip. A local electrician traded a roll of pink electrical tape and a pair of earplugs for the cigarette. And so it went.

My team did not win, but the lesson of asking for assistance from strangers was not lost on me!

Pam said the stars were in alignment today. I think she's right.

Critical Mass

Today was full of program-influenced activities.

First, I designed a short Appreciative Inquiry interview around the affirmative topic of 'The Best Learning Experience.' For having crafted it in about an hour at lunch, I think it came out pretty well! JP is going to use it as an experiential learning exercise with his graduate business class tonight. I can't wait to hear how it goes!

Second, one of my circle 'proteges' invited me to lunch with him in the company cafe. I got to hear a little about his plans for the future. As a young man in his early career, it was refreshing to hear his perspectives on work and life. I don't often get a chance to converse with people his age.

Third, I spent about 45 minutes with our division head talking about the potential of doing my individual field project around something in the division - or maybe even in the larger organization. B was receptive and patient while I stumbled around my vague presentation. I proposed one of the following:

Assemble and Facilitate a Strategy Networking Group
Create a Knowledge Management Site
Begin Developing a Learning Culture
Implement Leadership Coaching

B was interested in the middle two proposals, but my heart is kind of in the first one. He also suggested a role in the 'Voice of the Employee' taskforce, but I'm not sure that would fulfill the project requirements - I'll have to take another look at the published project parameters. In any case, it doesn't excite me.

I'm grateful to Cheryl and Rosa for their assistance in prepping for and debriefing the meeting with B.

All in all, it was a pretty good day!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Prophet in His Own Country

I just read about AI in a chapter from Organization Development and Transformationby French, Bell and Zawacki. It was so exciting to read about AI from a non-AI source!

Thanks for sharing it with me, JP!

Back to School

The residency begins in less than a week. I'm not ready! I still need to complete the difficult conversation analysis, the study questions, and the learning plan.

Pieces and parts of the Wellspring event are still up in the air, too. I'm sure all of that will come together one way or another.

Somehow I also have to get my (paid) work settled enough to leave for a week. And Sam is blissfully ignorant that I'm on my way out the door. . . he always takes my absences very hard. I need to talk that through with him.

I love the residencies. But choosing to go the residency means I am choosing to place an added burden on my family and my colleagues. If I am mindful of that, I will concentrate on getting everything I can out of the residency. Then I can bring the best of what I learn home to share.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


I should be studying, but instead I'm surfing the web. It's a lot more interesting than analyzing a "difficult conversation."

Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that all of my conversations are difficult.

Here's a sample of what I've been reading this afternoon:

Orion Rising
Hoarded Ordinaries
Whiskey River

Sorry, Hilary.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


MacArthur Fellow and local artist Aminah Robinson appeared on Viewpoint last night. She talked about "ancestral memory" and the importance of sharing stories of family and community.

It's no secret that the parable served as one of Jesus' core teaching tools, as well.

The role of stories is becoming a key thread in my own thoughts and work lately, as it is in the larger management theory and OD community.

How can I improve my capacity for storytelling?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Sam's Snow Leopard House

Ghost Town

I can hear the wind blowing out here . . . it's eerily quiet.

I miss Andy!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Tangled Up In Blue

In reflecting on the World Cafe event, I was thinking about how I didn't get a chance to participate deeply in the conversations. As the facilitator, I walked around and monitored the group, but it wasn't the same as being in the thick of it. In a sense, this made me a bit of an outsider to my own team.

I've been reading about organizational design and strategy recently, too. One of the points made in my reading is that by choosing to do some activity, an organization is concurrently choosing NOT to do something else. It's simply a natural byproduct of the process.

In the case of the World Cafe, I chose the role of designer and facilitator. A byproduct of that choice is that I could not be both fully in the facilitator role and in the participant role.

While I'm celebrating the success of my breakout into a new role, at the same time I'm mourning that loss of shared participation and identification with my team.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


I'm a better songwriter than a singer. I enjoy it more, too.

Who was that girl (and I do mean girl) who stood up in front of the class today? She's sort of interesting. I want to get to know her better. Her chops aren't so hot, but she has some potential.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Meet The New Boss

The Machine replaced the old Manager with two new managers two weeks ago. The new managers told us that they are going to "manage by the numbers."

Which numbers? Whose numbers? If we could get some non-traditional numbers into play, maybe I'd be more willing to buy into this numbers game.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Friday, August 05, 2005

A Little Help From My Friends

Rosa and Ante have both commented on my World Cafe design . . . I feel much better having had them review it.

I am so blessed! This work, this language, has immense capacity to help the world. Please let me be a worthy vessel.


I haven't been posting regularly, so I've gotten out of the habit. If I can post one a day again, maybe I'll get back in the groove.

Rosa and I had a nice conversation yesterday. She's my OD mentor, and I'm needing her wisdom and guidance as I prepare to facilitate my first World Cafe next week.

One wouldn't think this was such a big deal, but I'm finding that I truly care about how it plays out! (What does that say about how I feel about most of the other work-related stuff I'm involved in?)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Super Size Me

I found and purchased three acceptable pairs of shoes today! I wear a size 11, and it's very difficult to find shoes that large. Even when I do find them, I usually wouldn't want to wear them - somehow the same shoe in size 6 just doesn't look very attractive in size 11.

Hellenic Heritage

Niko has been blogging and sending pictures from Greece.

Sigh . . . summering in Samos. Maybe next year we'll join him there.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It Really Is The Humidity

It's 88 degrees F out there right now, but it's not so bad. Because the humidity is only 42%, it only feels like 89 or so.



The company approved my degree. That means I will get a chunk of money to pay (some of my) tuition.

I'm relieved and grateful, but I can't help asking: Why did it take so long to get a decision? I submitted the Degree Approval Form (DAF) March 1. Meanwhile, if you've been reading this blog, you know I've been sweating where the cash would come from to complete this program.

In any case, I'll take the money! I'm interpreting it as a nod from the Universe that I'm doing the right thing.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Self Absorbed . . . As Usual

Dang! It's August 2.

I just remembered that Mary and Rose's birthdays are at the end of July. One is the 25th and one is the 31st, I think. But I can never remember which one is which.

You know, we didn't celebrate birthdays at my house, so they don't have the same meaning for me that they do for others. For years I've let that be my excuse for not making a deal out of them for my friends.

Celebrations in general are a flat edge for me.

I'm sorry Mary. I know it's important to you. Know that I'm thinking about you all the time, even on the day that I forgot was your birthday.

I'm sorry Rose. You bear my burdens with me every day, and you deserve a friend who remembers and celebrates the day you entered this world. If it's any consolation, I remember the day you entered my life - January 19, 1979.

Brilliant and Beautiful

I knew I was crafting an essay from the heart with the Boyatzis leadership paper. I'm so glad he liked it.

Monday, August 01, 2005

When Did I Get So Brave?

I just realized today, as I was explaining the inquiry I've designed for the teambuilder to the planning committee, that I am going to be facilitating this baby! I mean, I knew it somewhere in my head, but it came up and bit me hard this morning.

Where did this come from, this sudden nonchalance about standing up in front of senior leaders and peers and encouraging them to tell their stories? I have no idea! But it feels right and it feels good, and I'm going to surf the wave while it lasts.

Either I've completely lost my mind, or . . . I'm growing?