Sunday, March 8, 2009

Preparing for the final presentation and the courses end

As we prepare for the final, I am a bit skeptical yet interested in seeing how our projects are presented and through which perspective. I will be presenting in the format of appreciative inquiry and also from the lens of a counseling consultant who is interested in both organizational growth and growth of the individual stakeholders of the school.

I leave with this, I came into this class thinking I wouldn’t be able to relate, let alone understand OD, and I have been able to leave feeling comfortable in the process and ideas behind external and internal OD and why it is important.

I bid you farewell bloggers. Ciao Bella!

My thoughts on the holistic approach to OD RE: 3/2

In preparing for this class, I am working to gain a holistic approach in Organizational Diagnosis. Like the counselor I am, and my concerns on the whole child, I tend to think of the organization as the child. In school counseling, we counselors often worry about where a student came from…what is their history? What is their background of experiences? We also often wonder what is their home life like? Doe they have any friends? Do they get along well with others? What are their goals? Did they eat and shower last night? Have they had an updated medical exam? Do they need glasses to see what is being taught to them?

Now in contrast, yet comparison, the organization is mush the same. When looking at the whole organization, its history, its background and experiences, and its daily ins and outs are what form and continue to contribute to its success or lack thereof. The medical check-ups could be the internal or external investigations or consulting that takes place. The glasses, could be that are people either management or front-line staff, truly seeing the problems at hand and are they able to have the skills to address them or can they play well with others.

I offer that OD set in with me when I stood back and looked at it from my lens as a counselor. I am no longer working with an individual or a group of individuals focused on recovery, but I am looking at diagnosing and offering an intervention to an organization interested in recovery and self-obtainable improvement. I have finally had my AHH HAAA moment with OD! And thank goodness.

Empathy Walk RE 2/16 & 2/23

Although the empathy walk was removed from our class syllabus, I am going to report on what I was going to do for the report and how I sorta did do the project in my own evaluator ways. I was going to select my fiancĂ© yes we are close and we do connect, but in professional sense we are complete opposites. He is more direct, more stern and highly procedurally based with little notation or consideration for the individual and their thoughts and beliefs when it comes to getting the job done. Now I am not here to say he has no heart, he is compassionate and caring to his employees, but on the frontlines (he is a fire captain), there is no messing around, apathy for whatever and he is strictly business. It is hard to compare as his field of work is procedural and based completely around rules, parameters and guidelines, where education is, and it isn’t, so this was tough, but I did feel our perspectives and how we handled things was where the difference was.

I did appreciate his directness and sternness as few questioned him and when asked they thought he was tough, yet fair and commanded people to want to work for him. Although I was unable to talk with my subordinates, I would hope that their feelings were the same in commanding respect and their desire to work for me.

I have in the past observed/followed him around for another project and I found his social interactions to be limited, strictly work based and little if no social interaction. Whereas I am a social being and my work is based around relationship establishment and the inclusion of different perspectives, backgrounds and what others have to offer. I did enjoy his ethic to stick to guidelines and procedures, as with his position, lives depend on it. I can take that back to my school and come to the idea that lives, although a house is not burning, do depend on use as educators. We are one of the stepping stones to their life and where they go afterwards.

Outside and in our personal lives, I am amazed at how we can experience the same thing, hear the same thing and walk the same path, yet we walk away with at times completely different perspectives. Where I may see a bad situation, he takes from it a learning experience and vice versa. Same with conflict, he deals with conflict in terms when not having an answer just avoiding it or not attempting to find resolve to the big pink elephant in the room. I on the other hand want to talk, mediate, and work it out. I want answers where he may just let it go. Maybe it is a male/female thing, I hate to admit, but I can conclude that it is more than that. Not nature entirely, but the nurturing part. It is the part with which we are raised in, I see it in his mother. He is a spitting image of her, so out the window goes the guy/girl thing.

There is a combination that I take back to the org setting; it is that of gaining a shared understanding that everyone is different and offer different perspectives and different objectives from a setting or whatever task may be at hand. As OD consultants or leaders, we need to truly pay close attention to these differences, learn to value them and also learn to incorporate and accurate them if possible for the common good of the org. in meeting their vision/goals.

Conflict RE: 2/9

This weeks readings is pertaining to and encompassing of conflict. The question to be answered is whether or not conflict in the organization is good, bad or what. Conflict is inevitable and probable with employees and their positions, personal views, perceptions, etc. Now conflict can occur between co-workers, managers to subordinate staff and between managers/administrators. Further, conflict can also be from an employee or an administrator with a process, procedure, job expectation or potential external and internal pressures. As conflict happens, it is not what happens during the conflict, but rather the steps that are taken to indemnify the parties involved in the conflict and find resolution all the while maintaining respect for all parties and/or processes in place.

I do personally do not like conflict, whereas some aggressive people may feed upon it, but I do find it a means to resolution and cohesion among people and an organization. To those who thrive off conflict, I find them missing out in some other aspect of their lives, to which each person is different. The more I deal with conflict, whether myself or my students and staff, and the more I am able to work through it in terms of mediation, a consensus or a respectful agreement to disagree, I do enjoy working through the conflict phase. All to often I see in conflict just as our readings suggest, that people are more worried about be defensive or attacking that they loose site and fail to listen to the other person or process with which they are in conflict with. Just as mentioned, many times issues of conflict can be solved if only people had taken a more open, relaxed and respectable approach. With that I will look into my OD to see how conflict effects the situation I am investigating.

Relationships, relationships, relationships, RE: 2/2

If you haven’t figured by now, this week’s entry is all about relationships. Whether it is individual relationships between employees, management relationships with staff, group cohesion, autonomy, or employee to group and employee and/or group to the organization and its vision, mission and/or purpose, I am reading and feeling that relationships are key.

Without established positive relationships, an organization can flounder. It is imperative to realize that the cancerous employees may often times be the ones who speak the loudest at meetings, during OD consulting and also to the public. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, right? Well that may in part be significantly true. With that being said, as OD is being completed, the researcher, whether internal or external, notation must be made about to what extent the relationships are between who and what.

Although relationships are not concrete, change with time and are at times unquantifiable, they can be the foundation of a business/school and even a change brought about by OD.

Appreciative Inquiry RE: 1/26

In the article, Cooperrider and Srivastva (1987) are proposed as saying that they offer 4 steps to their appreciative inquiry: begin with appreciation, should be applicable, should be provocative and should be collaborative. Keeping these 4 steps in mind, the value of collective empowerment is evident and also the act to cause awareness and bring about change through appreciation and provocativeness. There is significant value which is placed on the individual, but the overall organizational collective and vision is what is focused on in order to bring about change.

Things that I do not like about his theory/method is the incorporation of internal researchers. By including an organization’s members you are leaving a wide open space for extended bias, either between the interviewer and interviewee. Further, interpretation can become skewed due to social aspects and organizational interpretation by the interviewer. Therefore, should I consider and include processes of this theory in my OD, I may not contend with using an internal researcher, unless it is data research and concrete factual research/knowledge that is required.

Another negative aspect of this theory is that of the lack of structure and social implosion that could take place. IF structure is not placed in the research and collection that is completed in the interviewing process, the interviews and information received may lead them to become astray and off topic and goal of the initial OD research. This could be considered positive as it may lead into further OD, and arising true primary OD issues, however the interviewer may need to have underlying agenda with which to complete the interview.

Being a counselor and socially based, I believe that perceptions, realities and feelings within employees is a significant factor that needs to be taken into place when any OD is completed, whether internal or external, but the negative and flawed areas of this inquiry should remain considered when completing this research. The goal of finding a collective understanding for the organization’s overhaul will be imperative along with all individual finding meaning in the overhaul and org. goal.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Organizational Diagnosis RE: 1/19

Hello again,

I am writing to you this evening with regards to organizational diagnosis.

I will continue to ponder the ideals surrounding organizational culture and also the premise for this course. There are no readings for this week in the course and no class, however, I will reflect on the previous readings and try to look at what this is all about. I continue to think about organizational culture and how it plays a role in the establishment of processes and procedures of a org. Further the significance of it in the development of team and a common vision and goal of evolving to reach success whatever that maybe. Whether it is my past employment history of the public government agency, a small family run business, restaurants, or small businesses or huge government entities, I think looking back that the culture played a HUGE foundational base to the agencies direction. Whether it was low staff morale, a highly driven militaristic conglomerate, or a lacksidasical office, each one took its toll on me and also now looking back, I can see why ones fared well and others didn’t.

At the same time, I think respecting the individual and how they perceive the agency and their culture is another thing to consider. Some individuals may enjoy and thrive in a org culture that promotes autonomy, or teamwork or structure and a militaristic style compared to a fun-loving, supportive social style. Power…whether, authoritative, referent or expert is something to be considered as well. As I am pondering my reading and also this course, I believe the establishment of power styles is a thing to contend with as well.

Have a good evening. W~

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Task oriented vs. Process Oriented??? RE: 1/12

Hello to everyone again,

In reviewing the lecture for the class on 1/12, I am looking at two areas for this evening...task vs. process oriented people and also organizational culture...different, yes, but inner related in some fashion and not so much as well.

When I look at Organizational culture, I tend to read over the class readings and think about each one and put a organizaiton with which I have worked or are familir with to it. A name to a face of sorts, I guess you could call it. When I look at the importance of org. culture, I think of what Schein wrote..." "The bottom line for leaders is that if they do not become conscious of the cultures in which they are embedded, those cultures will manage them." When I think of this quote along with past and current experiences, I agree in a sense that no matter what changes the organizations I have been involved with want change, the culture plays a direcitonal part in its success, adaptaion, rejection and/or failure. Org. culture is more than just a set of social standards in an office setting, it is beliefs, values, multi-level buy-in or not and a common goal. Without leaders taking heed to this they are set up for failure in their goal whatever it may be.

Take for instance when I worked in a public service agency where we did not produce widgets or a product, but we "attempted" to ensure the safety of a common set of individual within our society. When a new director came on board after the preceeding one retired after 35+ years in the agency, the new director had her own set agenda, changes, polices and goals regardless to what the the org. culture to which she came into. As a result, turnover drastically increased, safety of our serviced population was compromised and the agency floundered to the point of outside intervention. Now looking back, if she had considered the status quo of years past, considered what had worked and what didn't, what was the climate (socially and professionally) and also attempted to mesh/amend her visions with what was going on with the org. climate, instead of walking in like a bull in a china shop, the agency may be in a different position today than it was 10 years ago. Identification, incorporation and potentially some preservation of the organizational culture is imperative.

Now when I look at task vs. process oriented people in an agency, they each are just as important as the other. I consider mylsef to be a hybrid of sorts, but as Patrick forced us to choose, I would say I am a process oriented person first in a professional setting. After hours and on some social/philanthropic situations, I tend to be more task as I have more tie into the goal/task at hand.

We as leaders need both task and process oriented people in our agencies. I am confident that an effective and through process is just as important and reaching a goal. Accountability (a scary word to many in the ed field) takes into consideration the process and not just the task. I am struggling to put this to explaniation, but it takes two to make the goal attainable. Whether it is groups who progress through process to end up at the goal/task or it is individuals in an agency playing thier part, the steps to change, implementation and reform take both. You can't put a car on the lot if it wasn't for the assembly line, right?

As we are talking in both Mondays and Wednesdays about Tacit and explicit knowledge, I will get back to you on that one.

Have a good evening,


The beginning of the Winter quarter and ED 401 RE: 1/5/09

Hello all,
I am here again to give it another go at blogging for our class.
I am intrigued by this course as I will actually get to review, design, construct and analyse an organization of my choice. Off hand I am looking at my current site for convenience, but would like to look elsewhere due to conflict on various levels from information collection, bias and personal relationships in the organization. Therefore, I am considering a close or co-district site either a large comprehensive school site or a fellow continuation site. Both have their pros and cons to which I am debating (access or lack thereof, size and ability of an OD to bring about potential change for my desired goal and time on my part to complete the project. IDK to say the least at this point in my blogging.
Although it has not been a secured choice for my OD plan, I considered at my school site when we talked about Tuckman's "Forming, Storming, Norming Performing and Adjourning. I compare it to that of when I first started and we began with the induction of a campus-wide CAHSEE elective prep course. Now looking back, I see how each of these steps...forming, storming...etc. took their course to where today, 3 years later we are at the performing, if not adjourning, step(s). To put a structured form to this situation along with others is interesting, if not including, by means of what we are experiencing is not situational, site specific or irregular aides me to see that as a leader these steps can be anticipated, if not prepared for when putting into place a new program or remodeling of a current policy/program in effort of reaching a higher level within our goal or establishing a new goal.
As I will be sitting in an all day in-service where we are going to breakdown our upcoming WASC report and our need to make sure it is all in line, I will keep in mind the steps that take place in a group setting, where it is observation, participation and decision making, I will keep tabs on who plays which part, who asks, who wants change, how change/modification is accepted/rejected and also whether we as a school are task oriented, self-motivating or only working for maintenance and/or just doing the task as it is required of us??? We shall see.