Organization Development Network of Western New York

OD in Real Life: Using the Search Process for Community Revitalization –June Meeting

Posted in Coaching, Facilitation, Organizational Development, Programs by Michael Cardus on May 25, 2010

Western New York Organizational Development

Date: June 11, 2010

Location: New Era Cap,

10am to noon 
New Era Cap, 160 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202

OD in Real Life: Using the Search Process for Community Revitalization

The Search Process is a large group organizational change technique used in OD to bring people together to search for a desirable future and develop action plans. Developed by Eric Trist and Fred and Merrelyn Emery in the 1960’s & 70’s, the process engages the knowledge base of organizational participants in a way that capitalizes on group dynamics and group learning.

For the June WNYODN meeting, Robert Rich presents his recent experience using the Search Process to revitalize community in the Village of Nanwalek, a Native American tribal community in Alaska. The Village was facing a complex mix of historical trauma induced from external sources and reenacted by tribal members among themselves. The process was initiated to develop strategy but uncovered much deeper and profound issues of identity and cultural preservation. Learn how the process moved to define traditional village values and organize tribal elder-youth relations as levers for moving forward. Robert will share his observations from the perspective of an external practitioner working with a highly participatory process that proved to be complex, potentially volatile, profound and rewarding. He will answer your questions about the process, its technical aspects and challenges for the facilitator.

Questions for Discussion
1) What happens when Process Goes Deep?–in other words, when the presenting issue is developing a strategy and the process enables much, much deeper, formerly "undiscussables" to surface
2) Is This Therapy?–most OD’ers aren’t trained in counseling and therapy, yet we seem to have some formulas for group work that can have therapeutic effects
3) Why Not Values Every Time?–why not start in the place where the greatest degree of commonality exists, which is in the values arena?

About the Presenter:
Robert Rich is the Managing Principal of the Ithaca Consulting Group and provides consulting, coaching, and training services in the areas of organizational change, diversity and inclusion, and labor-management partnerships. Prior to forming ICG, Robert was an extension faculty member with Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He has held a variety of positions focused on job creation and professional development. Robert supported “change initiatives” with a variety of institutions and organizations through the application of participatory action research and the development of “working strategies.” Robert’s particular expertise relates to the use of group processes in the context of organizational change initiatives. He is co-developer of the “Day 1” initiative, with Chris Ragland of Axxiom LLC. “Day 1” is designed to assist today’s Senior Business Leaders in successfully managing the critical issues of cultural integration leading to and immediately following an acquisition or merger.


michael cardus


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