Category Archives: OD


BruceMJ_GraduationFinally, this past weekend on May 21, 2016 and after 8 (long) years, I graduated with my doctorate in Organizational Development from the University of Saint Thomas in Minneapolis, MN. Actually, I defended on March 17, 2016 and officially graduated on April 1, 2016. But there was some finality in walking with the other graduates and being recognized by the university president. Thanks for all of you who supported me, especially Mary Jane (MJ) Pappas, the love of my life, friend, mother of our children, and amazing human being. I’m excited to share my dissertation here in sections, but if you want a full copy, email me.

My (very) best,

Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Advice from Chris Vos, FBI hostage negotiator. Here are his 7 tips:

  1. Don’t be direct: Direct usually comes off as rude, no matter your intentions. Be nice and slow it down.
  2. Don’t try to get them to say “yes”: Pushing for a “yes” makes people defensive. Try to get a “no.”
  3. Do an “accusation audit”: Acknowledge all the negative things they think about you to defuse them.
  4. Let them feel in control: People want autonomy. Ask questions and let them feel like they’re in charge.
  5. The two magic words they need to say: Summarize their position to trigger a “That’s right.”
  6. Listen for levers: They might only need the orange peel. Listen, listen, listen.
  7. Keep asking “How am I supposed to do that?”: Let them solve your problems for you.

from “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

What are your thoughts?

Ricardo Semler: How to run a company with (almost) no rules

“And if we’re looking for wisdom, we need to learn to do that as well. And so, what we’ve done all of these years is very simple, is use the little tool, which is ask three whys in a row. Because the first why you always have a good answer for. The second why, it starts getting difficult. By the third why, you don’t really know why you’re doing what you’re doing.”
-Richard Semler

I love this TED Talk.  Can these simple ideas work for business and education today?

The Positive Results of Being Negative

Much has been said and written about the power of positive thinking. I, too, subscribe to the idea, along  with a healthy balance of the negative (Barbara Fredrickson extolls a 2:1 balance.) Here is what Stephanie Vozza writes as 5 positive results of being negative:
1. Negative thinking helps you avoid failure.
2. Negative results can strengthen your focus.
3. Negative moods can produce better teamwork.
4. Negative thoughts provide a healthy balance.
5. Negative reminders can keep you grateful.
I think she’s onto something.


Be More Like Tesla

Start with a bold goal: Be More Like Tesla: How To Turn Your Company Into A Movement
“Businesses that change the culture–instead of just campaigning for sales–will transcend individual products by inspiring customers to something greater than just mindless consumption.” Your thoughts?

Four Roots of Employee Engagement

Culture U has this right: The Four Roots of Engagement
#1: People Want to Be a Part of Something Bigger Than Themselves
#2: People Want to Feel a Sense of Belonging
#3: People Want to Go on a Meaningful Journey
#4: People want to Know Their Contributions Make an Impact

What are you doing to engage employees?