Call for Consultants – Apply by Nov. 24, 2017

Looking to broaden or deepen your OD skills? Look no further than the MNODN Community Consulting Program (CCP)! We need you for our Spring cycle kicking off in late January. This is an opportunity to serve your community, learn from peers in the field, and broaden or deepen your OD knowledge and skills or gain nonprofit experience. Many nonprofits desire OD services but cannot afford them. Your work helps nonprofits build better plans, better organizations. Won’t you participate?

CCP provides an informally structured learning environment complete with a Learning Coach, structured consultant retreat to kick off the experience and the opportunity to do pro bono work with a team of peers sharing different experiences and expertise.

To be a CCP consultant, simply:

  • Be a current member of MNODN.
  • Pay a one-time fee of $99. That’s right, pay once and participate in as many cycles as you’d like.
  • Be available 3-5 hours per week for your client who is quite flexible with meeting times to work around your schedule.

We’d love to have you!

We are looking for both senior consultants and consultants for the Spring 2018 cycle. Interested?  You can download an application here. Please complete the application no later than November 24 and email it to Direct any questions you have about the program to the same email. Thanks so much for your interest. The CCP Core Team looks forward to hearing from you!

3rd Annual Mentor Kickoff - Aug. 2017

Top 3 reasons to become a mentor The MNODN Mentor Program is accepting applications starting in August 2017. Questions? Email Ray Klahr and Paul Silber at

Click here for more information.

1. Learn something. Mentoring isn't just about passing along information. Previous participants in the MNODN mentoring program value the reciprocal nature of mentoring, noting that they learn a lot from their mentees.

2. Pass it on. The knowledge that you have about the OD field is invaluable. Whether it is a broad understanding of OD, how to be an external consultant, navigating an organization, or even how to get your foot in the door, your experience can help someone beginning or transitioning in the OD field.

3. Give back. Think through your time in the OD field. Has there been a person (or persons) in your life that made an impact in your career? This is your chance to give back and be that person for someone else.

OD Community Opportunities - Fall 2017

OD Practitioner Open Call for ArticlesOctober 20 is the deadline for the Spring publication of Practicing OD, which publishes in the OD Network’s OD Practitioner. Contact Deb at for more information.

Polarized to Synergized: Leveraging Polarity for Leaders, Organizations and Nations Featuring Speaker: Barry Johnson, Ph.D. Thursday, September 21, 2017 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. $195 per person - includes advanced chapters of Barry's new book and an individual and organization assessment. The event will take place on the St. Thomas Minneapolis Campus.

Click here to learn more.

MNODN Programming - Fall 2017

Embracing Our OD Roots
September 14, 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. We have special guests kicking off our MNODN Fall programming.  MNODN founder, Roland Sullivan will interview OD experts, John Johnson and David Noer.  They will discuss the history of OD, current business trends and how we can use our OD roots to address the constantly changing business environment.

Making OD Happen from the Outside
October 5, 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Bob Hartl from Pearson Hartl Consulting & Associate Professor and Program Director of the MBA in Leadership & Change at The College of St. Scholastica will talk about Making OD Happen from the outside. He will discuss what external OD consultants are seeing on the ground with their clients and how current business needs are being addressed.

CLICK HERE for more details and to register today!

Attend the 2017 Asian AHRD Conference

Want to visit one of the most diverse and culturally rich countries in the world while enhancing your organizational development knowledge/skills? Then attending the 2017 Asia AHRD Conference will take place in India from Nov. 8-10, 2017 is a great opportunity for you. The conference is organized by the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) in collaboration with Asian AHRD. It features an impressive lineup of esteemed keynote speakers, panelists, chairs and discussants. Click here for more information.

In addition, there will be a few noteworthy pre-conferences on Nov 7 featuring key speakers, Dr.Gary McLean and Dr.Ron Jacobs, who will be presenting on ‘Developing the Leadership Pipeline’. Click here for the pre-conference details.

PENWorks Conference 2017: Advancing Organizational Excellence

Performance Excellence Network's PENworks 2017 is the region's largest, most powerful conference focused on continuous improvement and organizational excellence!  You will gain insights that will inspire change and facilitate better outcomes in your organization and in your career! April 24, 2017 - April 25, 2017 | All Day

Early Bird through March 31!
To register, copy and paste this link -

Partner Event: MNISPI Smile Sheet Radical Makeover

April Full-Day WorkshopSmile Sheet Radical Makeover: Drive performance by improving your learning data! April 7, 2016 (Friday), 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

To register, please go to:

Metropolitan State University at Energy Park Place, 1380 Energy Lane, St. Paul

Will Thalheimer, Ph.D., is one of the most respected and practical experts on learning and performance. He is also an engaging speaker, and MnISPI is proud to sponsor his full-day workshop on improving learning data.

Why spend a day evaluating post-learning response forms? Meaningful evaluation is essential for driving performance improvement and for gaining support from business leaders for your learning initiatives. Sadly, the most common type of evaluation are forms popularly called “smile sheets” that provide very poor feedback. Research shows that the majority of data gathered from such forms are virtually uncorrelated with learning results. Will Thalheimer’s full-day workshop will enable you to radically improve response forms — based on scientific research on learning — to economically capture meaningful data to guide performance initiatives and demonstrate their value.

Minnesota Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award Program

The Minnesota Psychologically Healthy Workplace Awards are designed to recognize organizations for their efforts to foster employee health and well-being while enhancing organizational performance.  The award program highlights a variety of workplaces, large and small, profit and non-profit, in Minnesota.  Applicants are evaluated on their efforts in the following five areas:

  • Employee Involvement
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Employee Growth and Development
  • Health and Safety
  • Employee Recognition

Winners locally are then eligible for national recognition and compete with other state winners for the American Psychological Association’s National Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award and Organizational Excellence Award (formerly Best Practices Honors).  The local award program has been extremely successful and is committed to spotlighting organizations that demonstrate gold standard performance nationally!  Do you know an organization where people want to work and where employees feel that management is responsive to their work and personal needs? Please contact Jennifer Pollard at or (612) 756-8458 or go to to learn more.

Publishing Opportunity in Practicing OD

Do you have tips for applying proven or cutting edge OD tools or practices?  Does one of your case studies include OD lessons learned? Or perhaps you have a client OD challenge your practice has uniquely addressed. To be considered for publication in Practicing OD (a segment of the OD Practitioner), send your 900-1200 word article to the Practicing OD co-editors prior to February 1st. For emails and details, please see

Thanks to our Alliance Partner Panel Members

Over 65 participants attended our Thursday, January 5th What’s New: Learning from our Partners Thanks to our partners for a great conversation about OD, HR IOP and partnerships.

Please check out the websites and social media platforms for these great organizations. Performance Excellence Network, Minnesota Facilitators Network, Minnesota Professionals for Psychology Applied to Work, International Coach Federation, and the Minnesota Change Management Network

Under Pressure

under-pressureMany of us sing in the shower. In fact many of us think we sound good. Some of those who sing well in the shower sing in a choir or community chorus. Singing in a group gives us confidence because mistakes are often covered up or drown out by our fellow singers. Try singing solo. No way! The prospect of having all eyes looking at you is painful. Most of us would rather run the other way and hide under our covers. This is a perfect example of how many of us react under pressure. While signing to an audience is not something most of us do on a regular basis, communicating to our peers or boss at work is something we do daily. Still there comes a time when there is conflict. When conflict arises there are two adverse reactions that we are likely to have, but want to avoid at all costs – stammering or freezing completely. Worse yet, we might say something we regret, but can’t take back. Don’t be that person who puts their proverbial foot in their mouth and becomes the subject of water-cooler gossip.

Bill Benjamin of the Institute for Health and Human Potential has four key points to remember to help us perform well under pressure. Benjamin presented his ideas to the MNODN on Thursday, November 6.

The four key take aways from his presentation were:

  1. Be aware that humans have an emotional defense system that triggers default behaviors.
  2. Apply S.O.S. when under pressure.
  3. Go to the other side of the bridge when in a conversation.
  4. Approach those 17% moments.

The human brain has a processing center called the amygdala. The amygdala is designed to protect us from danger. When threated, the amygdala tells us to shut off all reason and initiate our “fight or flight” response. This is good because it keeps us safe, but bad if we react without thinking.

To avoid an embarrassing or damaging reaction in a pressure situation, use the S.O.S. tools. Stop! Disconnect. Walk away or count to 10. Once removed from the situation Oxygenate. Take a deep breath. Increased oxygen to the brain literally helps the body and mind function better. Finally, Seek information. Get a cognitive appraisal of the situation. Applying S.O.S. helps us act intelligently as opposed to reacting irrationally.

When communicating under pressure start by going to the other person’s side of the bridge and then crossing back to your side. If the other person knows that you stand with them it’s easier to get them to come to your side. Bridge the gap by seeing the situation form their perspective first. Crossing the bridge from their side to your side still gets you both on the same side in the end.

Finally, focus on improving your performance in situations when your reputation is at stake. This is approximately 17% of the time. The rest of the time is business as usual. Reputation-critical moments can be identified when all three of the following elements are present: 1. The outcome is important. 2. The outcome is uncertain. 3. We will be judged by the outcome. Be ready to face these reputation-critical moments. Don’t avoid them, rather approach them. The valleys and plains are easy to conquer. To build and maintain your reputation conquer the hills and mountains.

When pressure situations arise, be ready. Using the strategies mentioned above will help you thrive, not merely survive. It’s the man or woman who shines in the darkness that will rise to the top.

By Steven Shore

A Better You

better youIn Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, the main character, Jean Valjean asks, “Who am I?” William Shakespeare is perhaps best known for penning of the question “To be? Or not to be? That is the question!” That indeed is the question. Here, my friends, is the answer to both of the above questions: “Yes, I am.” In other words, whoever you decide to be is exactly who you are. October’s MNODN speaker, Janae Bower, address this issue in a more applicable and practical manner. Her take simply is this: If we become the best “us” possible, we are then able to give back a better version of “us” to our spouse, friends, family, children, organization and community.

How does one “Be” all they can “Be?” One way of course is to join the Army (according to the recruiting slogan). Another way, according to Bower is use the acronym GIVING as a guide.

G stands for “Gift.” We are all gifts to each other. We all have something to give. Some personal gifts are time, friendship, enthusiasm. Give these gifts freely.

I stands for “Impression.” Strive to make a great impression. Use the statement “I am….” Whatever word comes to mind immediately is a strength of yours. Use it to make a great impression.

V stand for “Value.” Whatever you do, make sure you’re doing it to add value to yourself and to those around you.

I stands for Important. Find out what’s important to those with whom you associate. If you know another person’s passion, you know what drives them. Pursue that which helps others achieve, improve or better participate in their passion.

N stands for “Noteworthy.” Help other remember that they’re important. What they do matters. Value is created when other feel valuable.

G stands for “Give.” Take every opportunity to give back. Keep giving. Don’t give up. Give others, including God, credit for all gifts and benefits bestowed upon you.

In the end, a giving you is a better you. Find out who you are, where your strengths lie and who can benefit by your gifts. Then give. Simply put: giving really is the gifts that keeps on giving.

The Roll of Toilet Paper in presenting a strong message

U of M Seminar Developer FacilitatorWhat do a roll of toilet paper and great presenting skills have in common? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps more than you think. On Thursday, September 4th, Sam Smith, Vice President of the Prouty Project led a few dozen MNODN members in a communications seminar that challenged the audience to stretch their limits and take the next step or two toward better communication. In the end, he successfully created an environment where exploration, learning and courage were inspired and cultivated.

So what does that have to do with toilet paper? We’ll get there. Have faith.

Successfully presenting and communicating a message has everything to do with having a strong, two-pronged presentation objective. The message is defined by what the speaker wants to accomplish. The second prong of the arrow is the action the target audience should take after receiving the message. In the end, every skill, every technique, every story, should be guided by the message and the action.

A simple, but effective group lesson directed by Smith was used to illustrate his message. For the exercise, Smith asked the audience to come up with a topic, simple or silly. One group brainstormed ideas on alternate uses for toilet paper. Uncensored ideas were put on Post-it notes. The notes were grouped into three categories and the categories were named. If the Post-it messages didn’t fit a category they were tossed.

In the end, the point about toilet paper was this: The message simply was to discuss alternate ways of using toilet paper. The action was for the participants to come up with new toilet paper marketing strategies. Believe it or not toilet paper might be used as a packing material, cushion in shoes, toy for a cat or gerbil (the tube), and a safe object for throwing at friends or enemies or camouflage if printed with the right pattern.

Lessons learned: Dump it. Sort it. Name it. Put all the information out there. Put it into categories (practical uses for toilet paper, fun uses for toilet paper, physical appearance of toilet paper). If it doesn’t fit into one of three categories, discard it. If it doesn’t help support the message or the action, don’t use it.

New skills are only good if they’re transferable. Smith says skills and techniques that are effective in speaking are also useful in other areas of organizational development (OD) and organizational change (OC). Engaging the audience is useful in speaking, facilitating and coaching. Understanding the audience applies to all three areas. Using stories or humor to illustrate a point can be effective in speaking, facilitating and coaching. Challenge, encourage and listen-to the audience regardless of group size or rank of participants or purpose of presentation.

Above all be organized, prepared, practiced and ready to try new techniques. A story, joke or group project that doesn’t work in one situation might very well work in another environment. If something works, use it again. If it doesn’t work, try it one or two more times before discarding it. Finally use a clearly defined presentation objective with both a message and action to direct the presentation

Whole-Systems Approach Proves Fruitful

Sitting down and peeling an orange, one realizes that fruit grows from the inside out. A juicy orange, a golden, tart apple and a healthy organization all have this one feature in common. They grow from the inside out.

Orange sliced

On Thursday, May 8th, an expert panel of four OD women answered questions and gave motivating and encouraging insight on the current and future trends in Organizational Development and Organizational Change. In a nut shell, the discussion can be summarized in this way: The whole-system approach to organizational development and organizational change is the wave of the future. This approach is defining the healthy growth and development of companies.

May 8th’s panel included Dawne Carlson, Sr. Director of Organizational Effectiveness for Target; Lori Wall, Business HR Leader of Cargill; Tracy Platt, Sr. Director of Human Resources at Medtronic and Anne Gotte, Director of Talent and Organizational Effectiveness at General Mills.

Looking only at the titles of these four women, the casual observer learns that OD is much more than a single approach, a single model or a single formula that works for all organizations large and small.

Perhaps it’s best to summarize the whole-systems approach by highlighting the key points given by each panelist:

Tracy Platt of Medtronic suggested that Organizational Change is on-going and evolutionary. Medtronic is famous for the pace maker, but that is no longer the largest part of the company’s business. She added that no one change model is effective for all situations and for all time. As the products change the organization needs to change. Platt’s overall message was that change with a purpose is not only inevitable, but it’s necessary to maintain a healthy and vital organization.

Lori Wall says one of her main goals at Cargill is to transform individuals to help them fit the business strategy. Building formal and informal leaders is important in an organization that is undergoing change and development. While it’s impossible for one person to change each individual within an organization, it is Wall’s goal to help create a healthy culture and environment that sustain the growth and maturation of individual leaders.

The role of OD leaders was defined by Anne Gotte of General Mills. She said in her role that she is and she isn’t part of the HR Department. Perhaps the best way to define Anne’s role is that of the central nervous system. She receives the pulse of the whole organization and uses that feedback to give the organization direction. Anne might say that she’s not one entity, but part of the greater whole. Her goal is to help individuals and teams collaborate to achieve a greater good.

Dawne Carlson reminded the audience the important of practical and working solutions. Models and theories give us a foundation and structure. Organizations are made up of individuals with unique backgrounds, not methods of operation that fit molds or models. Finding effective change models is a balance between art and science. The science provides the background and basis. The art comes from experience and practical application.

In the end, organizational change and development start with the people in the organization. Change of the people, by the people and for the people will be change that is sustainable and meaningful. Healthy change, like a healthy and delicious orange, grows and develops form the inside out.

Image courtesy of graur codrin /

Recap of the MNODN May 8th "Leadership Panel Facing the Opportunities & Challenges as an OD Practitioner" by Steven Shore, MNODN Programming Volunteer

May 8: Leadership Panel: Facing the Opportunities & Challenges as an OD Practitioner

Don't miss this opportunity - register now!


Please join the conversation with local leaders and experts in the field of Human Resources, Organizational Development, and Organization Effectiveness who will share learnings from work going on inside their companies, their point of view on what businesses are expecting from internal and external organization development practitioners, and discuss opportunities for OD to focus and drive value. OD practitioners are often in the thick of formidable challenges within their organizations.  It takes incredible talent, empathy, and courage to spend day after day in the trenches.  In the past, organizational work was not always considered in relation to strategic business decisions.  That is changing, and OD Leaders are driving those changes.

We are bringing together a panel of trusted HR experts to discuss the complex challenges and tougher questions facing organizations today.  Panelists will include:

  • Dawne Carlson, Sr Director Organization Effectiveness, Target

  • Lori Wall, Business HR Leaders, Cargill

  • Tracy Platt, Senior Director of Human Resources, Medtronic

  • Anne Gotte, Director Talent and Organization Effectiveness, General Mills

About our Presenters:

Dawne CarlsonDawne Carlson is Senior Director, Organizational Effectiveness for Target, responsible for the Enterprise Organizational Effectiveness teams including Human Resources OE, Target Technology Services OE, Canada OE, OE Operations, Process Improvement and 6Sigma Operations. Dawne has been with Target for 27 years, and served in roles in Stores HR and Merchandising.  She joined the OE senior leadership team in 2007 as the Director of Field OE and moved to her role leading Enterprise OE in 2012.

Lori WallLori Wall is the Business Human Resources Leader for the Corn Milling business unit.  She is accountable for leading the HR function within Corn Milling and executing the HR Business Plan, including translating business strategies to HR strategies.  Primary responsibilities include providing talent management strategy, workforce planning, employee and labor relations, compensation, building and deploying change leadership expertise to enable business level transformation, coaching and development, organizational design and effectiveness and building/sustaining culture that facilitates achievement of strategic business objectives.    Lori joined Cargill in 2011 as Corn Milling’s Change, Communication and Education Lead for the Tartan deployment and later became the Change and Communication Leader within the business unit.  Prior to joining Cargill she had over 20 years of Business and Human Resources experience including the position of Vice President of Human Resources at Taylor Corporation and previously held the position of Director of Shared Services.  Before joining Taylor Corporation she held positions at Chubb Insurance Group in the underwriting practice.  Lori has her MBA degree in Economics and Leadership from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Tracy Lynn PlattTracy Lynn Platt, Senior Director of Human Resources-CVG Strategic Initiatives.  Tracy has been with Medtronic since 2009 and has served in numerous global roles across the organization with primary focus in organizational development/effectiveness, change management, organizational design, executive development and HR strategic business partnering.  Current primary focus areas include leadership in large scale change & strategy execution programs, to include M&A Integration, Business Turnarounds and Business Model startup’s within Medtronic’s Cardiac and Vascular Division. Tracy also serves as an advisor to Medtronic’s Organization Development network and local external Applied Psychologists at Work associations.  Prior to this, Tracy initiated and led the Change Management Center of Excellence for Medtronic.  Additionally, Tracy served as the program leader for Medtronic’s Executive Development flagship Global Leader program focused on Russia.  Tracy has over 15 years of experience in a range of organizational / change leadership roles within Medtronic and within other Fortune 100 companies, to include GE Healthcare, Cardinal Health and additionally in the retail industry with Lands’ End.   Tracy lives with her husband and two daughters (ages 10 & 13) in Minneapolis, MN USA. General interests include traveling, reading and spending time with family & friends.

Anne GotteAnne Gotte is a Director of Talent and Organization Effectiveness at General Mills.  In her twelve years with the company, Anne has partnered with organizations across multiple businesses and functions, providing HR business partner and talent management leadership to clients across the enterprise.  Her experiences have included organizational design and change management, the creation of leadership and early career development curriculums, succession planning, performance management system enhancements and functional career path development.  In her current role, Anne provides global leadership in setting effective strategies and practices regarding the application of assessments for selection and employee development.


Member Drive: All new or renewing members

MNODN is kicking off its 2014 Member Drive, March 6-31.  This is a great time to renew your membership and encourage others you know to join our organization. Great programming, networking, sharing of resources and access to local and national OD people, theories and practices are a part of what your membership makes possible.  
MNODN membership cool stuff

So, starting March 6, a new or renewed membership provides you with 1 free regularly scheduled event in the next six months. A code will be issued to you when you sign up or renew a membership. Even if you are not scheduled for renewal for a while, your renewal in March will extend out another year. So we encourage you to renew early and receive a free event as a thank you for your support. 

If you refer someone to become a new member, contact for a bonus!

Al watts Roland and Veronika Tami and Husband Dr J Donna

If you refer someone to become a new member, contact for a bonus!

Discovering the Immune System by Becoming certified in the Immunity to Change (ITC) process

I am writing about an eye-opening experience I had in January 2014 when Dr. Richard McGuigan and Dr. Nancy Popp from The Institute for Leading Change led a program called “Becoming an Immunity to Change Facilitator.” The workshop was designed to give participants the insights and tools to lead change work as one-on-one coaches or with teams in organizations.

The ITC process is a powerful and effective way to guide clients through making difficult changes. Overcoming one’s Immunity to Change is not only about changing problematic behaviors, it is about understanding and testing one’s own immunity by working with and not against ourselves. It is about understanding our own complexity and the stories we tell ourselves.

Through a series of exercises, experiences, and reflection time, we as participants of the workshop, were able to explore our own Immunity to Change. This experience and learning the process of ITC will help me to lead clients and teams through the process of committing to a goal and surfacing their competing commitments in order to reveal the Immunity to Change. The Immune System reveals itself and the discussion for opportunities to test it continues.

I highly recommend the program and becoming an ITC facilitator! The process is based on the “Immunity to Change” book written by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey. The book is a great resource and starting point!

Tami France, PHR
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