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Was delighted yesterday to see this post from the NEXUS4change group. The webinar/podcast referred to is one I recorded with them back in 2014, shortly after contributing an article on mindful OD practice and the OBREAU conversation framework (Observation, Reasonableness, Authenticity) to the US journal, OD Practitioner.

My experience since then, confirmed by feedback from many others, has been that OBREAU is a useful lens for approaching virtually any OD-related challenge through conversation.

If we want to understand “what’s going on”, it helps to step back from reactions and interpretations and ask what’s the observable data.

In one memorable example from my consulting experience, an executive group responded to an earlier employee survey by making a series of changes, particularly to amenity-related items such as building temperatures and parking. Satisfaction results from the next survey showed a decline. That much is potentially observable.

“The staff didn’t appreciate the changes we made; they’re an ungrateful lot”, said the chief executive. Well, that part is interpretation and suggests negative judgment towards the staff.

If we attribute reasonableness to the staff, however, if we pivot round to view the situation from their perspectives, perhaps there were deeper concerns driving the lower results in the second survey.

To the credit of the executive group – and to cut a long story short – they were able to pull back from their reactions and judgments and sponsor a process to learn more about the staff concerns through conducting a series of focus groups. Further, the executive group was able to own that they had reacted prematurely, and state that they wanted to understand what these deeper issues were about – even if the issues reflected badly on the executive. For me, this was a step in the direction of authenticity, and it helped trigger a highly productive transformational process that unfolded over the next two years.

Whether the issues are organisational, team-level, or even those faced by individuals, asking what’s the relevant data, including contextual data, what might be real for specific others, and what’s true for me/us, is a simple yet powerful way to help open-up virtually any issue.

Thanks for sharing NEXUS4change!

Originally posted on LinkedIn 17th August 2022

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