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Rethinking Complexity

A New Era for the Practice of Organizational Development

11/16/2013
A New Era for the Practice of Organizational Development
It has been a little over 45 years since the term Organization Development (OD) was first used in print to refer to that distinctive profession and consulting practice which aims to help organizations become more effective by means of systematic interventions focusing on organizational culture, processes and structure.  During its short history, the OD profession has maintained a predominant focus on whole system interventions that serve the purpose of aligning organizational structure, strategy, culture, and processes to optimize organizational performance. This focus on alignment...

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Rethinking Complexity

A New Era for the Practice of Organization Development

11/16/2013
A New Era for the Practice of Organization Development
It has been a little over 45 years since the term Organization Development (OD) was first used in print to refer to that distinctive profession and consulting practice which aims to help organizations become more effective by means of systematic interventions focusing on organizational culture, processes and structure.  During its short history, the OD profession has maintained a predominant focus on whole system interventions that serve the purpose of aligning organizational structure, strategy, culture, and processes to optimize organizational performance. This focus on alignment...

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New Existentialists

Hating the Haters

11/15/2013
Hating the Haters
Is it possible to shame the intolerant into tolerance? In diversity class back in the graduate school days, the other students and I at some point concluded the only acceptable intolerance was for the intolerant or for intolerance itself. We abdicated responsibility for listening to bigots of any stripe or for accepting that they might be good people—making them easier to label and dismiss. King observed that the powerful never make concessions to the public good; we have to go out and wrest concessions from them. In certain advocacy communities, this ethos is embodied in hate for the...

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Rethinking Complexity

Increase Productivity Through Passion & Freedom

11/14/2013
Increase Productivity Through Passion & Freedom
Greater productivity should be a goal of just about every organization. It is often challenged, however, by ever-tightening budgets and low employee morale. Nevertheless, increasing productivity can be accomplished without a lot of money and ultimately result in raising employee engagement. To do this, nothing works better than appealing to people’s intrinsic motivation and letting them decide how best to do the work. It is this combination of aligning people’s passion with the work they do and giving them the freedom on how to do it that results in greater productivity. As stated...

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New Existentialists

One Fateful Day in November

11/14/2013
One Fateful Day in November
I was just 9½ years old that fateful day in November 1963. It was a typical November day for south Texas with the sun shining brightly and comfortable breezes blowing off the Gulf taking the edge off the warm temperatures. My class had just finished reading and was about to start science when the school principal walked into the classroom and moved briskly towards our teacher. For a few seconds the two men huddled in whispers until finally our teacher said, “Kids, Mr. Wehling has something to tell you.” Then came the news—President Kennedy had been killed in Dallas....

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New Existentialists

The Courage to Seek: An Awakening Journey of Being: Part Four: Being Awakened

11/13/2013
The Courage to Seek: An Awakening Journey of Being: Part Four: Being Awakened
Over the course of the past seven months, I have been asked countless times by loved ones, friends, co-workers and strangers, “So what have you learned?” (by moving to the Bay Area). While most may be expecting some concrete answers on theories and concepts of therapy, and useful therapeutic skills or tools, I find that my answer is often abstract, but more far-reaching. Perhaps what Schneider and Krug (2010) described as existential humanism, the “process of becoming and knowing oneself,” (p. 5) is the closest representation of what I have gained in this journey. And...

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Rethinking Complexity

Creating Ripples: Reflections on the Realities of Military Combat and Posttraumatic Stress in Our Veterans

11/12/2013
Creating Ripples: Reflections on the Realities of Military Combat and Posttraumatic Stress in Our Veterans
Traumatic stress reactions and related disorders comprise some of the most prominent human afflictions in the world today, especially with the pervasiveness of war and terrorism.  In the past three decades there has been growing public interest and focus on the impact of traumatic events on humanity.  This interest has been reflected in a growing body of research investigating this impact, especially in the context of military combat, acts of terrorism, natural disasters, and professions such as public safety work that have a high probability for exposure to critical incidents and...

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New Existentialists

More Psychiatrists—More Problems

11/12/2013
More Psychiatrists—More Problems
Just from the name, I would have assumed that the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry was a journal dedicated to the undoubtedly severe mental health issues of lawyers. Apparently, I’m wrong. Indeed, a recent study published in that journal showed that countries with better mental-health systems—as measured by the number of psychiatrists and mental health beds—are significantly associated with higher national suicide rates. “Significant positive correlations between suicide rates and mental health system indicators (p < 0.001) were documented,” the...

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New Existentialists

Money Money Money: Part One: Wealth

11/11/2013
Money Money Money: Part One: Wealth
“Money is the root of all evil.” –The New Testament “Money… that’s what I want.” –The Beatles Money makes our world go round. You might have thought it was gravity, or the strong force, or magnetism, or some other physical principle. Wrong. Money made the government shut down. Money ends some romantic and platonic relationships, and encourages others. Money is what the poor don’t have, but need, and what the rich have, and continue to amass. Money is energy. It is that force of exchange that enables us to acquire goods and services...

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Newsletters

Veterans Day Newsletter: Shining a spotlight on veterans issues

11/10/2013

In 1993, after seeing the toll the first Gulf War was taking on returning veterans, Colonel Bart Billings established what is now the world’s longest running combat stress conference.

Billings, a Saybrook psychology PhD, has devoted much of his life to supporting his fellow soldiers as they come back from war.  In addition to founding the International Military & Civilian Combat Stress Conference, he testified before Congress in 2010 on the pernicious impact of anti-depressants as a treatment for combat stress.

“I have personally seen military personnel as patients, who explained that they were given anti-depressants on the battlefield to simply try to stop smoking,” he told a House of Representatives committee on Feb. 24.  But it’s not just the overuse of anti-depressants that concerns him:  it’s their use as a panacea for PTSD.

As he told Congress:

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