Friday, September 30, 2005


McDonough Report

What follows is my report to my class on my Bill McDonough experience.


McDonough was much as we saw him on DVD...funny, erudite, and deadly serious. He shared some of his latest news with us.

The design of his first Chinese city (yes, an ENTIRE CITY) was approved 3 weeks ago. The plans are exciting: they are "moving the farms to the roofs," ensuring that every apartment receives natural light, placing a pedestrian beltway around the city that is not bisected by large thoroughfares so that children and elders can access everything without having to cross busy intersections, and incorporating "waste to food" recycling.

Releasing Cradle to Cradle Protocols to the Public Domain: They are making the protocols for Cradle to Cradle design public so that anyone can design buildings or products around those specifications. Which will then lead to . . .

Cradle to Cradle certification: They will be certifying designs, products, and buildings with a Cradle to Cradle brand. Companies will be able to submit products to them and get a seal of approval. He partially justified the need for this by explaining that LEED certification for buildings, for example, allows for PVC to be recycled, which he thinks isn‘t a good thing. So Cradle to Cradle certifications will be stricter than LEED certifications.

He was asked about New Orleans . . . what did he think should be done? "Of course," he wanted to see the jazz heritage preserved. He thought that instead of 200-year levees we should build 10,000-year levees there to protect the city. He mentioned allowing the land around the city to revert to its natural wetlands state - I think he actually said, "Let it be its natural silty self." He ended his answer on a pessimistic note, stating that he didn‘t think the current administration would have the political will to accomplish this.


The venue, the Columbus Athenaeum, left a lot to be desired. Both poorly lit and undermic'd, it was difficult to see or hear McDonough clearly. At one point, Bill was holding his podium microphone up to the speaker on his laptop so the audience could hear the audio portion of his presentation. That's just sad.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Today's the Big Day

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Those Persistent Little Marketing Hackers

I was getting "comment spam," so I turned on "word verification."

Lemme know if it makes the comment functionality so complicated as to be unuseable.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I spoke with my manager . . . we agreed that my project manager training did not have to be instructor-led. I've determined that I will do some CBTs instead. Yay! (Part of the) problem solved.

Now to convince executive-level leadership that the BAWB Summit is worthy of time and attention.



Saturday, September 24, 2005

Resonant Leadership

The word "leadership" really had no meaning for me until I experienced Richard's class. I'm grateful to have studied with him. This is his latest book, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

communitarianism @ the informal education homepage

communitarianism @ the informal education homepage

In our last coaching call, Miggy suggested that I check out Etzioni and communitarianism.

I found this site and will read up a little further.

Friday, September 23, 2005

School lunch

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Train, Train

I'm so preoccupied by this particular line of thought that it didn't dawn on me to post about it until just now.

I am at a critical juncture with respect to my career and worklife. I'm being pulled in two very clear directions. The first is the "natural" progression that I would make toward project management in my current situation. I'm on a track here. If I just stay on that track, the next station is Project Manager. The second direction is the pull from my Masters program. More and more my interest, attention, and activity are moving toward process consulting and organization development. The train is about to jump the track!

For a year now I've been running along both tracks simultaneously. They've been more or less parallel, and it has been manageable. But this month I'm seeing that I can't stay on both tracks at once. For example, the dates for my next Project Management training class (required if I'm to move forward along that track) conflict with the dates for an AI Summit that I'm very keen to attend. Experiencing and assisting with an AI Summit would turbocharge the OD engine . . .

(These metaphors are getting a little thick!)

While I've wanted the respect (and $) associated with the title of Project Manager for awhile . . . that desire doesn't compare with the passion and excitement I feel about OD. Trouble is, project management is a marketable commodity. I still have my doubts about the practical aspects (read: monetary viability) of process consulting. After all, I do have a family to feed.

Can I do both for a little longer? If I can get the PM training, experience, and title, would that give me more leverage for moving onto the OD track? Or is it going to take me further away from that particular station? Or are Project Manager and Process Consultant stations just two different stops on the same line?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Weaving a Web of Meaning

Yesterday I attended a meeting of the local ISPI chapter. While the presentation was only okay, it was the attendees who made the trek worthwhile! Among those souls was Lisa K., an old friend that I served on the ISPI board with a few years ago and Nancy H., a former colleague.

Best of all, a woman named Melissa P. struck up a conversation with me after the event. Very soon it came out that she had graduated from the Case MOD program in May! (MOD is the MPOD's predecessor program.) Melissa said she was drawn to me because I mentioned some of David Kolb's work in a comment I made during the presentation. Subconsciously, she must have recognized a fellow traveler through shared language and culture.

I'm very excited to meet someone from the previous "generation" of my program. Now I have a direct connection to its past. Back on August 30 I had lunch with Tim M., an MPOD 2007 candidate. So now I'm weaving and strengthening the silks of the generational web.

Why is this important? I think it enriches my own experience to hear others' stories of similar events. It's as if I can time travel - viewing a little of the past and the future gives the present so much more context and texture.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Something New

I've added an Amazon "product link" for Harlow's book to the blog. Let's live with it for awhile and see what we think.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Najma and Tina's Dilemma

I'm considering a doctorate in organizational behavior. I asked Eric about it today, and he wasn't encouraging about being admitted to Case . . . seems you have to be a little younger and be willing to be a little poorer . . . I'm a little disappointed to hear it, because I love my program and would dearly love to spend more time with David, Richard, Eric, Harlow, and Ron.

He did recommend some other programs:

Benedictine University in Illinois
Fielding Institute (a 'university without walls' on the West coast)
American University and National Training Labs (NTL) collaboration

We also talked about the possibility of:

Ohio State University
University of Michigan

None of these is ringing my chimes right now.

What's Next?

I'm considering Will Think for Food LLC for the name of my new OD consultancy.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Voices & Choices

Voices & Choices|Home

If I still lived in Cleveland, I might try to participate in this effort. It's appreciative inquiry on a regional scale.

Maybe I'll participate anyway. I could interview some of my Cleveland-based classmates . . . or even Dean, Kelly, or Mom!

Uh, never mind about Mom. Voices & Choices aren't ready to hear Mom's vision of the future yet.

Work In Progress

I completed the learning plan at 2:00 a.m. ET.

Assessment: I know what I'm doing when it comes to supporting my own learning. That said, it appears that my capacity for planning extends into the future only about 9 months or so. Beyond that I find it almost impossible to imagine what I will be doing. Is this capacity something that can be cultivated and increased? I wonder. I've been "working on it" for almost a year now, and I perceive myself making very little progress.

Reflection: In writing the learning plan, I reread my personal vision paper, and then refined the vision piece. I can see that with each exercise the vision is becoming less amorphous. It's as if the personal vision is a lump of clay that I'm slowly shaping. Here, I squeeze and mold a little - there, I pinch off a piece that doesn't look quite right.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Malpomene's Daughter

How long have I been here? I started as a consultant in October 2003. Returned as a full-time employee (FTE) May 2004. No wonder! Even if you only go with the FTE time, I'm deep into or long past my 6 - 18 month burn on any one location. Something's gotta give soon.

Oh, why did I leave consulting?! Oh, yeah, I remember. Stability.

Stability is all well and good, but Variety is singing her Siren song right now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Circling Vultures

The original mentoring circle was 10 + 1. Within a couple of weeks we were down to 8 + 1.

Next week a member is leaving the company and hence the circle. That leaves 7 + 1.

Another member is taking a long medical leave of absence and will miss next month's meeting.

Yet another member is having serious doubts about her desire and ability to participate fully in the group.

I remember we made a commitment to the process in May. I wonder how many others remember that commitment?

Maybe I should remind them of it.

Mothering Milestone

Dear Diary,

Saturday, for the first time ever, Max asked me not to hug him in public. "It's embarrassing, Mom!"

I knew this was coming, but I wasn't prepared for it to come quite so soon. I hugged him anyway. Going forward, I will respect his wishes and refrain from public displays of affection, however reluctantly.

He can't keep me from beaming love to him from afar, though!

- Mommom

Monday, September 12, 2005

Ride, Sally, Ride!

Cheryl is the driver in my family and in the Divas. It is no wonder that she is as accomplished as she is. She drives harder than almost anyone I have ever met.

If Cheryl were not there to initiate, I wonder who would take the lead?

New short-term goal: Beat Cheryl to the punch in taking the lead at least once in the next month - scratch that - week! Wait, maybe I better make that today!

She's absolutely amazing.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


With so much emphasis on personal development in my program, I sometimes wonder: "Where is the organization in Organization Development?"

I'm working on my "learning plan" today, and I am completely self-absorbed. I know that understanding my Self is essential to improving my ability to work with others, but sometimes this focus on Self is just plain tiring.

Oh, who am I kidding?! I love this program!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

IFP Journal

In order to make tracking the individual field project (IFP) entries a little easier for myself and my MPOD family, I've split the entries off into their own blog.

I hope running a parallel blog doesn't undermine this one.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Truly Scrumptious

We finished up 3 days of test planning for ER106 today. I have a much more comprehensive (is "more comprehensive" redundant?) understanding of the release scope and its associated projects.

My friend Scarlett O'Hara (not really - just her modern memory) ran the show with precision and efficiency. Even though she has it out for me personally (oh, yes, she does, and no amount of Southern hospitality or Belle-like charm will convince me otherwise), I admire her ability to keep the troops on task. Not to mention, she has an encyclopedic grasp of the grotesquely complicated system architecture.

If Scarlett were a bakery item, she would be a 3-layer birthday cake. Neatly and efficiently constructed on the inside, and decorated with mounds of white-sugar frosting and lots of fancy pink candy roses and candy green leaves on the outside.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Curriculum Night

Existentialism Raises Its Ugly Head Again, When You Least Expect It

B and I talked again about a project that would benefit the division and satisfy my needs for the individual field project. He is most interested in the "learning organization" option or the knowledge management site.

We agreed that the "learning organization" option would be most likely to satisfy both of our requirements. Indeed, I have been volunteering to work on a knowledge management site for months now with no hope for school "credit," and I would work on it whether it were a school project or not. It simply needs to be done.

I'm not sure how to turn the division into a learning organization, which makes me nervous. But maybe that's part of the point of the individual field project - to stretch a little and try something I don't already know how to do. In fact, maybe that's the whole point of my program, not to mention the whole point of life?

If you believe life has a point, that is.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Four-Day Work Week

There are four days this week to get in five days of work. Three of those I will be spending off-site at Polaris, which means I really only have today to get my usual work accomplished.

What is my usual work, anyway? Firefighting, for the most part. And I'm very tired of fighting fires.

What a whiner.

This blog seems to be more of a burden than a boon at this point. I'm embarrassed about my posts, and there is little inspiration coming either from the blog to me or from me to the blog.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers

As I begin to plan seriously about how to move into OD consulting and academe, I'm thinking more and more about teaching styles and effectiveness. This is a great post about learning and creating learning experiences!

Creating Passionate Users: Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Maybe Silence Is Not Golden

In analyzing my difficult conversation today, I realized something very important. I do not say very much. Maybe this is what gets me into regular trouble?

Columbus Green Building Forum - Green Expo

I've spent several hours this weekend publicizing this event to people in my network. Now it's your turn to hear about it!

The Columbus Green Building Forum - Green Expo

William McDonough is the keynote speaker. Hilary exposed us to him through a very inspiring DVD presentation - I'm looking forward to hearing him present in person.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Organization as Flux and Transformation

Just finished Morgan's chapter, "Unfolding Logic of Change," in Images of Organization. Fantastic stuff - it's making me question (again) my decision to study group dynamics in Belgium instead of complexity theory in Bath. Ah, well - learning is a journey, not a destination. It's not as if I cannot continue to study chaos and complexity on my own or in another context.

There is so much to dig into here. Here's a sample on Maturana and Varela's theory of autopoesis:

" of the most familiar images of the brain is that of an information processing system, importing information from the environment and initiating appropriate responses. The brain is viewed as making representations of the environment, recording these in memory, and modifying the information stored through experience and learning. In contrast Maturana and Varel argue that the brain is closed, autonomous, circular, and self-referential. They argue that the brain does not process information from an environment as an independent domain and does not represent the environment in memory. Rather it establishes and assigns patterns of variation and points of reference as expressions of its own mode of organization. The brain organizes its environment as an extension of itself.

If one thinks about it, the idea that the brain can make some representation of its environment presumes some external point of reference from which it is possible to judge the degree of correspondence between the representation and the reality. This implicitly presumes that the brain must have a capacity to see and understand its world from a point outside itself. Clearly, this cannot be so. Hence, the idea that the brain represents reality is open to serious question."
From there, Morgan moves into talking about business and competition:

"In the long run, survival can only be survival with, never survival against, the environment or context in which one is operating.

In seeing how our suppliers, market, labor force, local, national, and worldwide community, and even competition are really parts of the same system of organization, it becomes possible to move toward an appreciation of systemic interdependence. Many organizations have succeeded in making major breakthroughs by breaking and reshaping the boundaries traditionally drawn between themselves and their customers and competition, creating a new sense of identity for themselves and the system as a whole."
I'm starting to see how this all ties together with third party action research, sustainability principles, and the triple bottom line. But they are still weak links for me - I have to keep reaching out and digging in to make the connections.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Statements Just Seem Vain At Last

I am adrift this week. Images from New Orleans and the rest of the gulf coast float in and out of consciousness whether I am awake or asleep. I'm unclear how to proceed with assignments - not even sure I know what is required when or for whom. Org charts flutter in the air and litter the shadowy hallways of my mind.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Tiger Takes A Powder

JC has taken a new position with the bank. After the conversion is complete mid-month, he is outta here.

BW says he will announce a restructuring of our division in about two weeks.

The V-ger project looms on the horizon. My guess is I'll be assigned to that when the time comes.

An Individual Field Project for the division doesn't look like a good bet right now.

September 1

Summertime done come and gone, my oh my.