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Igniting Leadership at all Levels: EPA-ORD Working Together to Ensure the Earth’s Vitality. Pervasive Leadership • Liberating Collaboration • Engendering Trust

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igniting leadership at all levels epa ord working together to ensure the earth s vitality
Igniting Leadership at all Levels: EPA-ORDWorking Together to Ensure the Earth’s Vitality

Pervasive Leadership • Liberating Collaboration • Engendering Trust

* Slides for the ORD’s Leadership Summit Jan. 2003 in Baltimore. See http://ai.cwru.edu for David Cooperrider’s articles on Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and the “AI Summit” Large Group Planning Process.

internal external stakeholders caring voices

STAR fellows

Regional and other EPA staff

Other government agency staff

Business leaders

SES candidates

Program office representatives

College dean






“Internal & External Stakeholders”Caring Voices

Creating an ORD Where Everyone Counts

Henry L. Longest


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Office of Research and Development

Presentation to ORD Leadership Summit

January 2003

our recent history
Our Recent History
  • We started in 1995 when ORD was reorganized
  • We held Williamsburg I and II-to listen to our people about change
  • Management Meeting on our Strategic Plan
  • Administrative Conference -“Partners in Excellence”
  • The Science Forum, May 2002 and now a Leadership Summit to ignite Leadership at all levels
our commitment to change
Our Commitment to Change
  • Throughout the last six years we have also implemented five ORD Organizational Climate Surveys with the last survey resulting in 75% response from you
  • We continue to ask you and you continue to tell us!
  • We are committed to continuing our change efforts and today begins a new era for ORD
the question
The Question
  • “Is this the BIG one?”
the answer
The Answer
  • Yes, this is the BIG one!
why we need pervasive leadership
Why We Need Pervasive Leadership
  • Our theme today and for the next few days is pervasive leadership—why do we need it
    • A “retiring” explosion in the next few years with high projections of turnover
    • Need new energy and new blood
    • SES Candidates-None from ORD
ord rankings executive core qualifications
ORD Rankings –Executive Core Qualifications
  • The Agency used a selection process based on 5 Executive Core Qualifications. ORD ranked this way

1. Highest Communications/Building Coalitions

2. High Results-Driven

3. Medium Leading Change

4. Lowest Leading People and

5. Lowest Business Acumen

ord results ses selection
ORD Results – SES Selection

Total number of applicants 655

ORD applicants 40 (6%)

(ORD is 10% of the Agency)

Round 1

Of the Top Ranked 200

ORD applicants selected to move on 11 (5.5%)

(Based on core qualifications review)

Round 2

After SES Panel review

Round 3 4

After Assessment Center and Interview Panels

ORD applicants selected for program

ord results ses selection11
ORD Results – SES Selection


  • Our history is top down and it doesn’t work anymore!
high point leadership experience
High Point Leadership Experience
  • Senior Master Sergeant relied on group leaders
  • Group leaders relied on their people
  • Their people relied on each other and their leaders
  • They listened to each other, helped each other
  • And got the job done
high point leadership experience13
High Point Leadership Experience
  • The result?
  • Completion of the 40 units
  • Everyone pulling their weight
  • Relying on each other
  • Trusting each other
  • Celebration of getting the job done together!
leadership lessons from football
Leadership Lessons from Football
  • The New York Times reported the reason why the Jets won:
    • ...” We had energy out there and we were feeding off each other...among the Jets now, players listen to coaches, coaches listen to players, players listen to players. They are all absorbing the teaching, the preparation, sharing knowledge, trusting each other.”
  • Struck by the collaboration at every level resulting in a BIG win, the reporter wrote. “You get that and you get a beautiful thing!!! (41 - 0) !!!
my charge to you
My Charge to You
  • Make the most of the days ahead
  • Step outside of the box
  • Talk with each other
  • Discover, dream and plan
  • Create an ORD where EVERYONE counts
    • An ORD for tomorrow
    • An ORD working together to ensure the earth’s vitality!
it is not just change but change in the order of magnitude of change
It is not just change, but change in the order of magnitude of change…

The change that is taking place on the earth and in our minds is one of the greatest changes ever to take place in human affairs, perhaps the greatest, since what we are talking about is not simply another historical change or cultural modification, but a change of geological and biological as well as psychological order of magnitude. We are changing the earth on a scale comparable only to the changes in the structure of the earth and of life that took placeduring some hundreds of millions of years of earth development.. --Thomas Berry,

Dream of the Earth

a time to re think human organization and change
A Time to Re-think Human Organization and Change…
  • Thank God our precious time is now – M.L. King
  • Global Context of Democratization
  • End of Apartheid
  • No Limits to Cooperation & No Boundaries in Knowledge
  • Anticipatory Learning… and Whole Systems Thinking Together

We are at the very point in time when a 400-year old age is dying and another is struggling to be born, a shifting of culture, science, society, and institutions enormously greater than the world has ever experienced. Ahead, the possibility of the regeneration of relationships, liberty, community, and ethics such as the world has never known, and a harmony with nature, with one another, and with the divine intelligence such as the world has never dreamed.

--Dee Hock, Founder & CEO--Visa

ap pre ci ate v
Ap-pre’ci-ate, v.,

1. Valuing …

  • The act of recognizing the best in people and the world around us;
  • Affirming past and present strengths, successes, and potentials;
  • To perceive those things that give life (health, vitality, and excellence) to living systems.

2. To increase in value, e.g. the economy has appreciated in value.

  • Synonyms: valuing, prizing, esteeming,and honoring.
in quire kwir v
In-quire’ (kwir), v.,

1. The act of exploration and discovery.

2. To ask questions; to be open to seeing new potentials and possibilities.

  • Synonyms: discovery, search, studyand systematic exploration.

The AI Summit:

Key Characteristics

  • “Whole System” in the Room
  • Task is Clear
  • Future Focus & Continuity Search
  • Self-Management, Dialogue, Inquiry
  • Honor Differences, Discover Common Ground
  • 3-4 Day event/100 to 2000 Participants
  • Uncommon Action/Follow Through—Leadership at Every Level
  • Exciting Examples: Navy, Cleveland Clinic, Roadway, etc.

AISummit “4-D”


  • Discovery
  • Opportunity & Call
  • Positive Core
  • Destiny
  • Actions/Projects
  • Pilots
  • Improvisation

Igniting Leadership

Every Level:

Working Together

to Ensure

the Earth’s Vitality

  • Dream
  • Images of Future
  • Shared Visions
  • Design
  • Possibility Propositions
  • Ideal Organizational Designs


  • Opening Inquiry
  • Forming Groups: Trends, Events, Opportunities, and patterns/causes of moments of effectiveness
  • Analysis of the “Positive Core” for Our Future
  • Continuity, Novelty, Transition: Three Tasks of Leadership
  • Stories of Change In the Area of “Pervasive Leadership at Every Level” e.g. US Navy, Roadway
  • The Future of Science…Getting Ready for Tomorrow

Opening Conversation(using all 6 questions on page 4-8)

  • A-->B (40 min)
  • B-->A (40 min)
  • Spirit of discovery
  • Someone from a different function, level, etc.
  • Take brief notes, search
  • At the end.. summary & thanks return at: 10:50
self management and group leadership roles
Self Management and Group leadership roles…
  • Discussion leader
  • Timekeeper
  • Recorder
  • reporter
groups form 2 2 2 2 8 see worksheets p 10 11
Groups Form: 2+2+2+2=8see worksheets, p. 10-11
  • Introduce your partners vis-à-vis your interviews—share highlights, insights—using questions in #1 abc & #2 ab.
  • Everyone listen for patterns/insights in two areas (see worksheet on page 11):
  • High Point Stories of Change: Root Causes of Success?
  • Key Trends, Events, Developments ORD Opportunities?
  • PLUS: choose one “high point” story from your group for someone to re-tell
  • Reports at: 11: 40
on the theme of leadership
On the theme of leadership…

“These are hard times in which a genius would wish to live. Great necessities call forth great leaders.”

Abigail Adams in a letter to Thomas Jefferson



Leading Change:

Searching For Vital Balance

Management of


Management of



Management of



Functions of Continuity

  • For Individuals:
  • Pride, confidence to act, ethical guidance connection to others, freedom
  • For the Organization: Strengthened commitment, better decision making; decentralized control; mission stability; organizational learning; long term thinking; customized change.
what we want to carry forward positive core ord
What We Want to Carry Forward… “Positive Core” ORD
  • See page 12-13 for groups
  • reports @_2:10______
the us navy story of change
The US Navy Story of Change
  • V. Admiral Al Harms, Chief of Naval Education and Training
  • Served on many ships: USS Ranger, Commanding Officer USS John F. Kennedy
  • Many decorations of merit
  • Leading “Bold and Enlightened Leaders at Every Level: Forging a Culture of Excellence
  • A great person!
an exciting story example of ai in action
An Exciting Story & Example of Ai In Action
  • Recently Featured in Fast Company.
  • From 300 to Zero Grievances, e.g. Akron Terminal
  • Powerful Product Innovations, e.g. Mannhatten Project
  • New Culture of Leadership…Leaders Developing Leaders at Every Level
  • Powerful Learning Partnerships: Alcoa, Boeing, Cisco, Harley-Davidson, US Navy.
  • Beyond Negative Culture (“Internal Dialogue”) to a Narrative Rich Positive Revolution in Change
  • Many thanks…Sheri Schulte!
pioneering research across many fields

Pioneering ResearchAcross Many Fields

An Emerging Vocabulary of “Positive Change”


Many Disciplines

Positive Images of Future ---> Positive Action

  • Positive Health…Placebo, etc.
  • Pygmalion: We are Made and Imagined In Each Others Eyes
  • Imbalanced “Inner Dialogue”
  • Rise and Fall of Cultures
  • What Good are Positive Emotions? Inspiration, Hope, Joy, Curiosity…
  • Affirmative Capacity
images of the future dreams of ord we want
Images of the Future: Dreams of ORD We Want
  • See worksheet page: 15--16
  • Creative presentations at: 11:10
what do we mean by design
What Do We Mean by “Design” ?

Both a product and a process

As a verb…”to design”…Is to invent, to innovate, to conceive and to make choices - about the purpose, principles, roles, processes, practices and structures which will house, support and give life to the organizations members and the dream they have created.

As a noun, “the organization design” …Is the set of choices we have made about the above

does design matter
Does Design Matter?

“ First we shape our structures and then

our structures shape us ”

Winston Churchill

does design matter39
Does Design Matter?

“ Most people spend 50% of their time not just doing their job but fighting their own institutional bureaucracies ”

- Dee Hock, Founder, Visa International

does design matter40
Does Design Matter?

“ All systems are perfectly designed to achieve the results they are currently achieving”


Choices/Elements in the Formal Organization

Processes for understanding

the business context

and setting priorities

Ways of connecting

with the BU’s

Ways we move, assign

and develop people

How people are

grouped together




Key Relationships/Partnerships

(Internal and External)

Mechanisms we use

within to stay

linked and

in sync

Technical VP’s

Our Staff

Who makes

what decisions

Gov't and



The Dream


Who has what


and how?



Bus. Unit


External Suppliers

Professional Bodies

Tools and Equipment

Physical layout

And location

Goals and


of Performance

That we use

Our practices for challenging ourselves.

renewing ourselves And continuously improving

Processes for


design elements in the dreams
“Design Elements” in the dreams:
  • See page
  • Open forum discussion @
design elements things heard implied in presentations
Design elements…things heard, implied in presentations
  • High quality magnetic work environment—work is exciting, attracts great people
  • Scientific Excellence: World class reputation for science (how we are seen)
  • Elevated, ignited sense of purpose
  • Proactive partnerships with industry, ngos,
  • Collaborative, team based work environments
  • Enthusiastic people, fun, high passion
design elements things heard implied in presentations44
Design elements…things heard, implied in presentations
  • Organizational agility, capacity to change
  • Organizational learning capacity—foresight, anticipation, innovation,
  • Technologies for virtual team and collaboration (virtual office)
  • Positive climate of trust, enthusiasm,
  • Diversity and valuing diversity
  • Global environmental relationships (international partnerships and impact)
design elements things heard implied in presentations45
Design elements…things heard, implied in presentations
  • Great training and leadership development opporunties
  • Structures—networked, flat, flexible
  • Rewards and recognitions systems (valuing, celebrating)
  • Effective communications and connectivity with public
  • Business (financial excellence) and collaborative use of resources
  • Organizational agility, capacity to change and grow
design elements things heard implied in presentations46
Design elements…things heard, implied in presentations
  • Internal communications
  • Decision making
  • Career development, mentorship, performance appraisal
  • Mechanisms for best practice sharing
  • Planning Processes for the future and clarity across all levels
  • Collaboration with and support of the Program Offices
  • Education of the public
what area design element generates the most energy for you
What area (design element) generates the most energy for you?
  • Look around the room at the design elements on flip charts on the walls.
  • Think about one area (e.g. communications, training, organizational learning, etc) that generates energy for you—something that you can contribute to—on behalf of the whole.
  • Go to that flip chart and form a new group of 8. If there are 16 people there, then form two groups of 8. Its OK to have several groups using the same design element.
organizational design elements we heard in the dreams
Organizational Design Elements we heard in the Dreams
  • Structures (from vertical hierarchies to networked systems)
  • Communications in ORD
  • Communications with the world (marketing etc)
  • Organizational learning processes/events
  • Partnerships with industry

A Possibility Proposition is...

A statement describing your ideal organization.

It is a bridge from the “positive core” of past and present to the desired and new future.

Its like being an architect…a social architect.

example proposition strategic impact in world
Example Proposition:Strategic Impact in World
  • ORD is a vital force in the EPA and is the world’s premiere environmental research organization. Through our science and massive public education and awareness building capabilities, an environmental ethic is replacing ignorance, and ecological awareness based on good science is shared throughout the country.
example proposition design element org learning
Example PropositionDesign Element: Org. Learning
  • Fairmont Minerals is an organization that is productive with learning where everyone is part of an online positive change learning network, constantly searching for and spreading stories of innovation, achievement, and generosity. Our online positive change web is alive with sharing because every year we bring together all stakeholders in a person summit to do the annual best practice sharing for the future. Through this process we have created a climate of participation where the organization is in “full voice” and everyone feels part of one seamless and integral whole.
your propositions enter them on disk
Your propositions…enter them on disk
  • Choose someone to finalize your draft proposition
  • Type these onto a disk (word perfect)—there are 8 computers in KENT A&B on harborside level—leave your disk in the box right there…by 6:30pm!
  • Also bring the proposition (well written) on a flip chart and leave in KENT room
  • Tomorrow we will …move to action…destiny.
  • Joyce…closing tonight.
good design propositions
Good (Design) Propositions
  • They are bold…they are a stretch “provocative”
  • Build on strengths (continuity) and vision (novelty)
  • Represent real beliefs you hold about the healthy, vital, significant organization of the future (are not platitudes but point the way toward actionable practice)…think of them as guiding principles, like a constitution.
  • Stated in the present…”ORD is an organization that…”
group task see page 18
Group task: see page 18
  • Craft a possibility proposition, and write your draft on a flip chart page.
  • Presentations on propositions at:
today moving to action destiny
TodayMoving to Action “Destiny”
  • Improvisation and Creativity , Frank Barrett Phd.
  • Re-visiting our possibility propositions for the future as a prelude to moving to action
  • Leadership and open space—what is open space?
  • Open space: round one
  • Open space: round two
looking at all the propositions as a package
Looking at all the propositions as a package
  • We will review and get a sense of the meeting with a polling process;
  • We will have a chance to write post-it notes to add, edit, challenge, change.
  • All this will be taken up by a group to go through more drafting and improving.
overview of all the propositions
Overview of all the propositions
  • Green: “I like the substance of the proposition and (assuming some editing) feel like it is an ideal we should aspire to”
  • Yellow: “ I like the substance mostly and would like to add some notes for either 1. stretching it further 2. making some additions or changes, or 3. deepening our discussion of it.”
  • Red: “ This is a red light for me…not a direction I think we should go”
open space if anything imaginable was possible
Open Space: If anything imaginable was possible…?
  • Conveners can convene and open space group around an initiative, a project, a topic for learning, a possibility—ways to help us move in the direction of igniting leadership at every level
  • Whoever comes is the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • When it starts is the right time
  • When its over it is over
  • “the law of two feet”
possible roles in open space
Possible roles in open space
  • Convener—proposes the “first note” of an idea for an initiative or project or simply a topic for dialogue.
  • Collaborative partners —might co-create and commit to helping make something happen….
  • Thinking partner– interested in the topic/initiative today…and wants to help today to lift up or enrich the action plan.
  • Round one open space sessions 1:00—2:30
  • Round two open space sessions 2:30—4:00
  • Closing our day getting ready for presentations next morning 4:00 (ballroom)

Conveners see: Action planning sheets, pg 21-22…bring these tomorrow

Tomorrow presentations (e,g collaboration website, etc)

action planning sheets page 21 22
Action planning sheets, page 21-22
  • Conveners and reporters will bring summary of the initiative or project to whole group.
  • All summaries will be part of the summit report.
  • Presentations on morning last day (Thursday).
  • Projects, Initiatives—Highlights and Summaries
  • Chance for one more quick “huddle”—set very next step
  • Key learnings, reflections on our work
  • The power of appreciation
  • Closing
open forum on highlights from your open space planning
Open Forum on Highlights From Your Open Space Planning
  • Highlights…group name, contacts, purpose, next steps
  • Up to 2 minutes
  • Also: need hard copies of everyone’s project/pilot/action ideas (see page 21-22 for forms) before leaving today (box up front). Thanks conveners!
we are born to appreciate three facts about all human beings
We Are Born To Appreciate: Three Facts About All Human Beings
  • Exceptionality
  • Essentiality
  • Equality/Voice and Vision

Wide Ranging Applicability of Appreciative Inquiry

  • AI Organization Summit Method
  • Strategic Change/Planning
  • Full Engagement of People: Organizations, Schools Communities. Networks.
  • AI Benchmarking Tools/Learning Partnerships
  • Labor-management Partnerships
  • Transformation of Measurement Systems
  • Project Teams, Rapid Design Events
  • Mergers, Alliances and Customer Partnering
  • Knowledge Magnification: The “PLN” Software
  • Action Learning & Leadership Development
  • Call Monica: CWRU for training 216-368-6405
being a coach turn to person next to you
Being a Coach(turn to person next to you)
  • What do you do best already--from a life-affirming leadership perspective?
  • What would you like to do more of?
  • One leadership or personal development initiative (small or large) you would like to take on-- to develop yourself and/or others?
  • What one message, positive action, or commitment do you want to take from this summit and share with others that were not here?
closing reflections and learnings about our work here
Closing Reflections and Learnings About Our Work Here
  • Insights, learning, new understanding?
  • Feelings?
  • One big hope?

Website Sharing AI Tools and Writings... Leading Positive Change

  • http://ai.cwru.edu
  • www.worldinquiry.org

“Appreciative Inquiry Commons”

Weatherhead School of Management,

Case Western Reserve University