A valuable lesson

Nov 27, 04

I just finished reading ?Agent of Change: My Life, My Practice?, Richard Beckhard, one of the founding practitioners of Organizational Development.

My most valuable takeaway from the book was the following insight:

?From earlier work, I had learned about the hourglass theory of energy: under stress, individuals or organization systems experience high negative energy. Because energy is ?neutral?, you can reduce stress by quickly converting the energy direction from negative to positive. Then the negative energy becomes an asset. The challenge is to turn the energy 180 degrees in the opposite direction. The best action is not to cool the energy by working on morale and discomfort but to create short-term goals that must be met?

He offers a methodology for creating these action plans for improvement though ?an activity that allows a total management group, drawn from all levels of the organization, to take a quick reading of its own health and ? within a matter of hours- to set action plans for improving it. I call this activity a confrontation meeting.?

In leading groups, in initiating change, our skill would be to be able to get this right.

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