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2019 Annual Conference: Plenary Sessions

2019 OD Network Annual Conference - Agility & Resilience: Navigating Complexity & Transformation

Plenary Sessions

Friday, 9:45am - 10:45am

The Neuroscience of Leading through Transformation

Dr. David Rock, Director – NeuroLeadership Institute

Dr. David Rock will share how neuroscience can prepare for continuous transformation instead of isolated change events, and spot the challenges involved in leading through transformation. David will unpack how to anticipate market and organizational needs with perspective-taking & the SCARF® Model. In this keynote, participants will learn:

  • Specific ways to inspire innovation and accelerate breakthroughs with insight
  • How to implement strategies to mitigate threat and promote efficiency for fast decision-making


Friday, 3:30pm - 5:00pm

Navigating Complexity and Transformation through Resilient Conversations

Jeanie Cockell, Co-President – Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting
Joan McArthur-Blair, Co-President – Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting
Jackie Stavros, Professor – Lawrence Technological University
Cheri Torres, PhD, Lead Catalyst and CEO – Collaborative by Design

This plenary offers an appreciative perspective on our complex world and how you can influence and thrive within it. In a constantly changing world, leaders, managers, and organization development (OD) practitioners must foster stakeholder communications and engagement to ride the waves of volatile markets, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguous opportunity. It is not enough to merely survive in this environment. To be agile and lead innovation with others requires open-mindedness, curiosity, and resilience. Engaging in conversations worth having and building appreciative resilience are ways to enhance agility, creativity, and performance throughout your organization. To increase resilience, one can cultivate a practice of hope and a hopeful view, amplify strengths in times of despair, foster the will to forgive, and be intentional with conversation. Through play, music, stories, and dialogue, this session promises to ignite an intentional practice that will enable you to foster powerful conversations while building and reinforcing resilience for yourself and others. Drawing on the theory and practice of Appreciative Inquiry, this presentation weaves together practical ways participants can improve their agility and transform daily interactions and challenges into powerful strengths and opportunities.This session will be interactive, relational, participative, and engaging! You will walk away prepared to:

  • Frame any conversation, even one around a highly complex problem, to inspire creative and innovative thinking and solutions
  • Fuel productive and meaningful engagement
  • Practice appreciative resilience

Resilient conversations generate healthy, vibrant workplaces that work for all.


Saturday, 9:15am - 10:45am

Who Do We Choose to Be?

Meg Wheatley, Ed.D., President & Co-Founder – The Berkana Institute

The great activist priest, Daniel Berrigan, said: “We have to take a stand. And stand there.” In this time of spiraling, escalating change, we don’t find resilience by being agile. If we focus on surviving by continuously adapting, the results are disastrous for ourselves and the future. So we have to know, as individuals and organizations, what we stand for. We have to commit to creating sane workplaces, Islands of Sanity in the midst of this turbulent, destructive sea. We need to choose consciously to use our power and influence, our relationships and positions, to create places where people can still contribute, learn, and find community. We need to take on the role of Warriors for the Human Spirit, acting to support, protect, and preserve the best qualities of people and organizations. As we do this, we find the meaning and energy to continue to serve this time. True resilience.


Saturday, 1:30pm - 2:45pm

The Intersection of Organizational Agility & Agile Teams

Chris Worley, PhD – Pepperdine University/University of Southern California/NEOMA Business School
Eric Willeke, Principal and Co-Founder – Elevate
Rachael Narel, PhD, Assistant Professor – Benedictine University
Facilitator: Kristy Lapidus, Founder & Principal – Corvo Consulting Group

Organizations today have several choices in how they plan and deliver faster, innovate more continuously, and change more frequently. For one, they can pursue organizational agility as an enterprise capability. They also can develop agile processes and teams. Software teams have, since 2001, followed the values and principles of Agile – resulting in the ability to work more adaptively and respond more quickly to internal or external customer demands. Recently, marketing, finance, HR, and other business units have begun to transform their work processes by adopting Agile frameworks from software teams. How do these Agile teams and organizational agility relate? Some say not at all. Others insist you cannot have one without the other. On this panel, leading researchers and practitioners will debate this provocative topic. Audience members are invited to come prepared to ask questions exploring challenges around agility.


Sunday, 10:15am - 11:15am

The Future of OD

Chris Worley, PhD – Pepperdine University/University of Southern California/NEOMA Business School

Popular, Disney-like notions of organization development paint pictures of agile organizations flitting quickly (and happily!) back and forth in response to customer demands, market changes, regulatory mandates, and digital disruptions. In reality, too many organizations are often whipsawed by these changes. Without direction, values, or purpose, without the capability to change continuously, they soon become fatigued and dispirited.

The promise and potential of OD – the real likelihood that we provide what the world truly needs today – is at stake. Is the field being whipsawed by change – are we anything they want us to be? Or are we clear about who we are and what we do? In this presentation, I want to address where OD is going, and to suggest ways to leverage our relevance, influence, and impact.


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