Cheers to the Future!

John was part of a team of OD consultants engaged by a Washington, D.C. area based policy center whose purpose is to educate policymakers, regulators and the public about alcohol. The policy center was exploring the possibility of creating an in-house executive director role. John helped to assess the impact of creating the role to the existing organizational structure. The engagement involved an initial contracting discussion with the client, a series of interviews with major stakeholders, and a set of recommendations on the Executive Director job profile, reporting structure, and on-boarding plan.

A Virtual Gathering: Lovingkindness for frontline healthcare workers

The healthcare environment is a stressful environment to work in. The added impact from Coronavirus has stripped frontline workers of their available mental, physical, and emotional reserve. It has increased the potential for burnout and much worse. Through his partnerships with A Human Workplace and the Care Collaboratory, John led the “More Human Now” Virtual Gathering, a 90-minute renewal event that enabled physicians, nurses, and medical students to focus on their individual needs and how they are coping with the impact of the pandemic in their lives. The gathering provided a lovingkindness experience that helped attendees to leave feeling renewed and connected to themselves and their purpose. 



Blueprints for exponential growth and becoming a Center of Excellence

A regional operations center for an international travel company was growing exponentially. With this growth, came the challenge to raise it’s operational performance in a larger more complex environment while also retaining its family-like organizational cultural.  As one of several OD consultants from the Pepperdine University’s MSOD program, John was called to design and facilitate an Appreciative Inquiry workshop to support strategy planning for the company’s operations lead team. As the assignment was carried out in the regional operations center in San Jose, Costa Rica, the workshop was conducted in both English and Spanish. The effort resulted in an implementation plan for leaders that outlined the procedures, processes, and management practices required to drive and sustain the growth.

Nonprofit turnaround for a vibrant future

A nonprofit spiritual community center located in the Houston Metropolitan Area was facing an existential threat. It forecasted bankruptcy within a year if immediate steps weren’t taken to turn things around.

John was engaged to design and facilitate a series of strategic planning sessions with the Board of Directors and officers to develop a three-year strategic plan for the organization along with an executable 30-60-90 day action plan to address immediate business priorities. Also, the client requested John’s support to clarify and define organizational roles and functions for the board members and officers and to improve the team effectiveness of the board.

An appreciative inquiry method was used to build a foundation based on what the team believed the organization was doing right and the strengths each leader brought to the table. Once the group recognized and celebrated this foundation, it was ready to turn their attention toward planning and approach it with enthusiasm and excitement. In parallel with the planning sessions, board members were coached on how to increase their team effectiveness to address issues, manage conflict, make decisions, and hold themselves and each other to account for honoring commitments.

The group completed its strategic and action planning effort, resulting in a successful turnaround of their financial situation within three months, increasing membership and donations, and moving forward toward their strategic goals.

Sweet Serendipity! – Building extraordinary customer relationships in Datong, China

John traveled to Datong, China, leading a team of consultants from Pepperdine University’s MSOD program to present a one-day facilitated workshop to a sales team for Xincheng New Materials (XCG). The sales team was challenged by the cultural differences and communication preferences of their Chinese, American, and German clients. The workshop focused on strategies to help the sales team identify more effective sales practices and improve customer experiences. 

A fun twist on this assignment, when one talks about expecting the unexpected and remaining agile, it’s always a good idea to come prepared with a song. Prior to the engagement, John had actually learned to sing the popular Chinese song, “Pengyou” (“Friends”). As it turned out, he found himself in need of an icebreaker on the second day. He engaged the group to sing and clap the song together with him as can be seen in the video below. It was much to the group’s surprise that their American colleague could pull this off. Sweet serendipity! What a fun way to break the ice, make an impression and bond with the client group!


A Heatwave Study and Benchmarking Analysis – City of Lyon, France

As part of a team of five OD consultants, John participated in a Pepperdine University sponsored Flash Consulting project. The client was the Lyon City Manager to Fight Global Warming, who runs the Mission Développement Durable de la Ville de Lyon, a small agency within city hall that supports sustainability efforts throughout the city of Lyon.

Since 2015, France had recorded between 500 and 3,500 excess deaths from extreme heat each summer. The changing climate had brought with it more frequent, longer lasting and more intense heat waves to Europe. With citizen safety and health at the forefront, the client was interested in learning best practices for cities that deal with extreme heat–without air conditioning.

The client requested benchmarked findings of best practices from US cities with similar challenges; an onsite assessment of how current city services are perceived by various constituencies; and actionable recommendations for the City of Lyon.

Research tasks included collecting data on North American best practices for addressing heat waves and reviewing client provided presentations and articles on actions already undertaken in Lyon. While in Lyon, the team met with the client City Manager and conducted a series of interviews with staff and residents from an elderly home, staff from two public nurseries, and members of the public whom they approached at random in city parks and shopping malls. John was responsible for reviewing the French language information provided by the client and assisted with the onsite interviews.

The final deliverable, an Actionable Recommendations Pack, consisted of a synthesis of the onsite interviews about heat waves and services provided by the City of Lyon, best practices from North American cities, and recommendations focused on city services, 21st century infrastructure adaptations, and public and private partnerships. The client was very pleased with the research and recommendations. 

Going negative to reach positive – A novel approach to a large group Intervention

The Texas Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program incentivizes hospitals and other providers in the state to improve access to care and how care is delivered, targeting Medicaid enrollees and low-income uninsured individuals.

An eastern Texas-based university health science center serves as the administrative anchor provider for two DSRIP Regional Healthcare Partnerships covering 18 counties in central and eastern Texas. Its program directors, comprised of healthcare professionals from many organizations, had been working hard together to identify future sources of funding and other mechanisms to sustain their programs. Their intensive effort had culminated in frustration and burnout among members with limited viable solutions in sight. Furthermore, the group faced the added pressure of having to report their sustainability plans to the state. The member anxiety was high, and the overall group morale was low.

John was engaged to help reinvigorate the group and lead them toward a more productive path. Rather than overlook the negativity that had developed and now engulfed this group, John designed and facilitated a novel, two-part interactive workshop that first leaned into the challenge through “negative brainstorming” to generate reverse goals. This was followed by a renewed guided effort to generate positive, productive insights and ideas. Ultimately, this clarified a path forward to identify solutions that would achieve the primary goals. According to client feedback, the attendees found the brainstorming activity energizing, positive and productive, and came away with new ideas about how to approach sustainability, which included new strategies and concrete actions for further analysis and development.