Prepare for the New Year – Your 2019 Vision Board

Author:  Laiza N. Otero, MSOD, Organization Development Consultant

What’s a vision board? In a nutshell, a vision board is a visual representation of one’s desired future with the goal of “if I can see it I can achieve it.”  One of the many things I love about vision boards is how they beautifully intersect with the philosophy of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). Following are some AI and vision board basics to help you celebrate 2018 and welcome 2019.  Happy New Year!
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Change Platforms: Less Burning, More Inspiration

Author:  Laiza N. Otero, MSOD, Organization Development Consultant

During change initiatives, it is not uncommon to hear questions about the urgency of the effort, the business case/need for it, or what the “burning platform” is that drives the change.  But what if we reframed the conversation to one of inspiration and energy? That is one (out of many) ideas  David Cooperrider challenges one to think about during the course “The New Change Equation” at Case Western Reserve University.

Cooperrider’s question led me to reflect about the different organization development (OD) models and tools I use with my clients. Were they in alignment with the appreciative, strengths-based approach I prefer to use in my work? Were they inspirational? If no, how could I reframe them? Continue reading

Leadership Refresher from a 4-Year Old

Author:  Laiza N. Otero, MSOD, Organization Development Consultant

Our actions and words matter, at all times. And unless we walk around like an annotated book, everyone we encounter will interpret our actions and words differently according to their mental frameworks of the world.  Furthermore, others’ interpretations go beyond what we say or do to what we do not say and do not do.  Given this, it is critical that we check-in with each other to ensure or create a shared understanding of what is happening around and among us — especially in our roles as leaders, whether at work, community, or home.

As a leader, we explicitly and implicitly set the tone, culture, and norms of our organizations.  Others take their cues from us as to what behavior is permissible or not, often times without us even realizing what is happening.  That was the case last December with my 4-year old daughter. Continue reading

Ask and You Shall Receive

A beautiful reflection of one person’s spiritual (and physical) journey and transitions

Fired & Free

I was asked a good question the other day, “what on this trip has surprised you?”  Other than finding it possible to live with and around my kids for 24 hours a day, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how kind everyone we have come across has been.  Back in April, as we got ready to embark on this adventure, I heard a lot of concerns about safety.  Some were worried about the people we would come across at RV parks and some recommended that we take a gun or weapons for the open land.  Other than a run-in with a bear, the creatures we have met have been nothing short of wonderful.  We have met people from all over the US and the world, across all socioeconomic backgrounds, and spanning the political spectrum.  Maybe, we’re just incredibly lucky.  Maybe, we just bring out the best in people.  Or maybe, just…

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Teams Need a Vision to Guide Action

Author:  Laiza N. Otero, MSOD, Organization Development Consultant

Lately I’ve been thinking about how the clarity of the vision and the sense of team within an organization interact with each other. To help me sort and structure my thoughts I created the matrix below.  It is based on my personal and professional experiences within organizations, and not any formal research.  However, it is undoubtedly influenced by many great thinkers in organization development studies.  In particular, the work of John Kotter, William Bridges, and Patrick Lencioni. Continue reading

How Melodic Are Your Vision and Mission Statements?

Author:  Laiza N. Otero, MSOD, Organization Development Consultant

What does melody have to do with vision and mission statements? For me, quite a bit.

Merriam-Webster defines melody as 1) “a sweet or agreeable succession or arrangement of sounds” and 2) “a rhythmic succession of single tones organized as an aesthetic whole; a hummable melody.”  When I write – whether it be articles, essays, poems, or even client reports – I intentionally arrange my words and thoughts to construct a melody.  I strive for my words to be rhythmic, flow, and provide an experience for both my audience and me. Continue reading

S.O.A.R. Into Results

Author:  Laiza N. Otero, MSOD, Organization Development Consultant

Over the last year, few models have impacted the way I conduct my work more than S.O.A.R.

Developed by Jacqueline Stavros and Gina Hinrichs, S.O.A.R. is a simple yet powerful tool for framing dialogues within organizations.  A lot of us were trained long-ago in the use of S.W.O.T. analyses. In the latter, the discussion traditionally revolves around identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  What I kept running into was that the dialogue got stuck in the weaknesses and threats, and I found it difficult to excite myself and the audience around the strengths and opportunities.

Then a consulting trip last year to Johannesburg, South Africa, changed my world.  While there, I got to work with three amazing consultants whose work is based on Appreciative Inquiry:  Anastasia Bukashe, Enrique Zaldivar, and Joep C de Jong.  It was through them that I learned about S.O.A.R. Continue reading