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Wiggly Bits

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Contribution to The Henley Forum

Chris Rodgers - Monday, October 12, 2020

In celebration of The Henley Forum’s 20th Anniversary, a collection of articles will be published formally later in the year under the theme Reflections on the Future. I was invited to contribute to this, with my own thoughts from an OD perspective.

As with the articles that have been produced by other guest authors, this was published initially on The Henley Forum’s LinkedIn page.

Entitled Shifting the Patterns, the article begins by reiterating the ten themes that I drew out of the articles that were published in the Spring 2019 issue of AMED’s journal e-O&P, OD Matters, which was itself produced to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the OD Innovation Network that I run.

These themes were:

  • The centrality of human being and human interaction to leadership, performance and change.
  • The importance of enabling the voices and choices of everyone to emerge and be taken seriously, both in spoken and written form.
  • The challenge of recognising, valuing and seeking to integrate difference, without losing the challenge and creativity that difference brings.
  • The value of drawing insights from early thinkers and practitioners in the broad field of organisation and management practice, and translating these into the current context.
  • The significance of purpose – both individual and collective, espoused and actual – in shaping what happens.
  • The increasingly ubiquitous nature of technology and its potential effect on people’s participation, practice and performance – both positive and negative.
  • The continuing need to enable and exploit organisational ‘agility’, in the broadest sense of the word
  • The need for an ethical grounding to OD practice.
  • Recognition of the power-related nature of human interaction – and, hence, of organisation.
  • The need to take complexity seriously.

Extract from Spring 2019 edition of AMED Journal  e-O&P.

In response to the challenge of offering some “Reflections on the Future”,  these same 10 points serve that purpose well, both in relation to OD and to organization and management more generally.  Taking this further, though, I focused on last item on the list in my Henley article.  That is, the need for managers and other practitioners to take complexity seriously.  

I’ll include the full text when the article has been published by Henley in their celebratory brochure.


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