Category Archives: Meetings-2011

December: Annual Networking / Social Meeting (12/08/11)

Annual Networking/Social Meeting
and “Gold Elephant Book Exchange”

Meeting Goals:  
–  Connect – get to know one another better, personally & professionally
–  Learn – share knowledge informally during the book exchange
–  Enjoy – fellowship + creative responses (and humor) of the game

Please bring a gift-wrapped book that is meaningful to you – perhaps a book from your own library to ‘pay it forward’ or one from a second hand bookstore. Don’t spend a lot of money – it’s the thought that counts!

The game will be similar to a traditional white elephant gift exchange — each person in turn will unwrap a book or ‘steal’ one that someone else has already opened. Unlike ‘white elephants’ (which are often useless), the books are ‘gold elephants’ that will contain some unique nuggets of wisdom when opened (or stolen) by the right recipient! Discovering those golden nuggets will be part of the game as people talk about the books they give (and the ones they get)!

Handout/Procedure for the ‘Gold Elephant Gift Exchange’

Session Presenter/Facilitator:  Jim Jameson
Jim Jameson is the owner of Treetop Transformation.    We support change initiatives and strategies to improve the success rate of technology adoption.   Our goals include improved ROI on IT solution deployments while fostering a culture of collaboration, learning, and innovation.   We focus on the people side of technology change to broaden the perspectives of business users.


Cutting Edge Trends in Leadership Development (11/10/11)

Cutting Edge Trends in Leadership Development:
Behavior Change vs. Knowledge Acquisition

Program Description:     This is an exciting time in the field of Leadership Development as we are seeing the movement from knowledge acquisition- “It’s all about ideas” to Behavior Change- “It’s all about leaders’ behavior and how it impacts and empowers the people they lead.” This program will be highly participative and experiential. It is based on the work of Gene Ruckle and the talented and diverse team of eight people that helped him complete the design for Leading in the 21st Century, a new cutting edge corporate leadership development program (Brochure). As part of the roll out Gene had meetings with 25 CEO’s and high level corporate leaders. And by the end of the evening the experiences of everyone in the room will have been added to the mix.

Session Presenter/Facilitator: Gene Ruckle
Gene Ruckle will serve as the Leading in the 21st Century’s program director. Ruckle founded and owns an organization development (O.D.) consulting practice. He was formerly the director of the masters program in O.D. and change management at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is a graduate of the American University/NTL masters program in O.D. and has spent the last two years developing and refining the concept for this program. While developing this idea, Ruckle met with a number of associates working in corporations such as Texas Instruments, American Airlines, Lockheed-Martin, Bell Helicopter, Thomas S. Byrne, L.L.C. and the Sammons Corp. These engagements underscored the true potential for a corporate sponsorship based leadership development program.

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The Power of Paradox: Importance and Practicality of Improv (10/13/2011)

All Day Workshop and Evening Program  Meeting


Presenter:  Izzy Gesell, MS Ed, CSP, Head Honcho at IzzyG & Co

    Izzy Gesell is a self-proclaimed humorologist and pioneer in using improvisation for personal and corporate skill building. He was one of the first to bring concepts of Improv Theater into the business world.  To learn more about Izzy go to   His humorously serious-and seriously humorous! programs help people not only thrive and prosper, but survive.
Izzy is a Certified Speaking Professional from the National Speakers Association as well as an author, presentation coach and facilitator. He has contributed to the International Association of Facilitator’s Handbook and Humor Me, a compilation by America’s most prominent humorists.

Program Description:
This is a fun time to be in our business. Our clients hunger to get themselves involved as we look for new ways to keep them focused and interested. That means we can play and be taken seriously at the same time! As we start to incorporate more playfulness into our work and our lives, we need to know which games to choose and how to use them most effectively. 

Why Improv?        Improvisation theater games are wonderful resources because they call for participants to respond to an experience as it happens. This moment of involvement and spontaneity sparks discovery, creative expression, shared laughter and behavior change. Improv is exciting, scary, challenging, immensely enjoyable and paradoxical for facilitators and participants. In my experience, very few people are indifferent to the idea of participating in an improv structure.  The premise behind the use of Improv is that the skills that make Improvisers successful are the same ones that make all of us successful.

The hazard for us in using these games lies in the fact that no one can know how an improv game is going to turn out. Therefore, when using these games, we can’t plan ahead; we can only step into the uncertainty with confidence in ourselves and our ability to make use of whatever comes up. In other words, we have to experience exactly what we ask of our participants – trust, vulnerability, spontaneity, eagerness and openness to being uncomfortable in public. As an added kicker, we have to endure it at exactly the same time as they do.  Why do it then? What’s in it for us? There are certainly safer ways to make a point.  

Net Results:    
  The greatest fear of “working without a net” is looking foolish, incompetent or wackier than others. When you experience the games from the same perspective and emotional level as your participants, your words and ideas carry more weight because you’ve shared their struggles. You have established rapport. You’re now in a great position to help your clients overcome the usual obstacles to success: self – doubt, fear of looking foolish, thinking too much about what to do, and being resistant to change. Joanne Schlosser, of Phoenix, Arizona uses improv because “it puts people in the right frame of mind to achieve breakthroughs in thought.” Because improv games are tools, their real value lies in what they create for the people we work with- the ability to balance spontaneity and control.

Another convincing reason to use improv games stems from the effect they have on the people watching the players. Observers of improv games experience a level of intensity and involvement similar to the participants. So you can link to everyone in the room without having to have everyone up there with you! The energy in the room becomes electric.

What You See Is Who They Are         Improv is helpful because people don’t often take the time to analyze their interactions and processes. We’ve found that the way a person behaves during an improv game is an insight into how they will behave in other stressful situations. Their thinking is also indicative of what they believe in those situations. So by asking certain basic questions we illuminate what’s going on for the players and enable them to intuitively understand how they’re own thinking affects their outcomes. Through improv we’re able to see how a specific behavior or thought pattern leads to a result. It’s like looking into the workings of the mind!

The opportunity in the “instructional moment” for us is always in investigating WHY the game does or doesn’t work and what QUALITIES are present or absent. We always try to keep a participant playing a game until they have a successful experience. That gives everyone, audience included, a complete, participatory encounter and illuminates the workings of the interactions.

We’ve found it most effective to let players continue a game until they’ve had a “successful” experience. This allows them (and the audience) to truly experience transformational change.

Innovation Part Two – The Organizational Perspective: It’s About How We Think and What We Do! (09/08/2011)

We are in unprecedented times in our global societies. We must
navigate out of our economic and social morass by re-building the
organizational and social fabric of the nation and the world.
Innovation is the path to get there, but leaders and organizations are
focused on the status quo.

In part one (August) we explored the individual perspective:  How can
I think like an innovator? What skills and new behaviors do I need?

Now we move to the collective perspective:  How does a world-class
innovative organization think? How do you create that mindset — i.e. a
culture that creates, nurtures, and supports innovation?

Dyer, Gregersen, and Christensen in The Innovator’s DNA say that
world class innovative organizations create “People, Processes, and
Philosophies” to create, nurture, and support innovation.  We will
explore how these capabilities are crafted in organizations like Google,
Apple, and Cisco, and look for approaches and tools to use in our

Several examples from Google will be explored, including their
practice of engineers spending 20% of their time on projects they think
are important. Attendees will also share examples and dilemmas in this
rich discussion.

PRESENTER: Peter Jay Sorenson, CMC, is an independent strategic
organization design and change management consultant, coach, and social
entrepreneur.  He is known for his ability to see the big picture, make
sense of messes, and lead teams in resolving complex issues.  Pete’s
practice ( focuses on strategy,
intentionally designing organizations (with webs of intangible assets),
creating change, and assessing what works.

Innovation: It’s About How You Think and What You Do (08/11/2011)

We are in a virtually unprecedented time in our global societies. The
economic and social hardships of the last several years, especially in
the US, are causing us to rethink our models about what is an effective
organization and who are competent contributors to organizations. If we
are to navigate out of this morass, it will need to be driven by
innovation at all levels:  individual, team, organizational, and

Fueled by his recent reading of The Innovator’s DNA (Dyer, Gregersen,
Christensen) and recent visits to and research on Cisco and Google,
Pete Sorenson is developing insight and an attitude about innovation.

Dyer, Gregerson, and Christensen have developed innovation related
models based on interviews with nearly 100 of the world’s most
innovative leaders. Their findings are built on the foundation of
Christensen’s earlier works on disruptive innovation.

You will walk away from this evening with a list of personal and
organizational insights that will aid you in becoming more innovative
and in influencing people and organizations you inhabit to increase
their DQ (Discovery Quotient).

PRESENTER:  Peter Jay Sorenson, CMC, is an independent strategic
organization design and change management consultant, coach, and social

He is known for his ability to see the big picture, make sense of
messes, and lead teams in resolving complex issues. He relates well to
people from all stations of life, speaks frankly, and has a practical
eye for getting things done.

Pete’s practice ( focuses on
strategy, intentionally designing organizations (with webs of intangible
assets), creating change, and assessing what works.

Ed on Led: The Thirteen Secrets of Effective Leadership Development You Can Do!

July 14, 2011 – Program Description:

There are thirteen secrets to effective leadership development. Learn what these secrets are and how to apply them. Anyone can deliver effective leadership, quickly, efficiently, and without breaking the bank. The beauty of the thirteen secrets is they are not a methodology that forces you to one solution. The secrets provide you with a flexible platform that helps you create quick and effective custom solutions.

Learn about these thirteen secrets and their application from the leadership doctor. Doctor Ed will share how he has used these secrets to build several effective leadership development programs. Ed will describe concrete examples of actual programs.

Ed will show you that effective Leadership development can be as simple or complex as you want.

Learn about the thirteen secrets and about these and other leadership development programs and approaches with Ed. What better way to spend a hot July evening!

Presenter/Learning Facilitator
Ed is the Manager of Training and Development for L-3 Communications Mission Integration Division. He is the Program Manager for design, development and delivery of the business’s  “Presidents Leadership Program.” Ed is also on a team designing a corporate executive Leadership Development Program.

Growing Change Leaders and Doing Change Right (06/09/2011)

Growing Change Leaders and Doing Change Right    June 9, 2011

rogram Description:    This will be an experiential program based upon Gene’s work in the field of “social change” and his work with companies on doing change that results in measurable value-added for the company.

The key to effective change initiatives is not “buy-in” but ownership. Ownership results from a genuine invitation by the change leaders to everyone in the system, involved with the change, to make the best design and, when it is being implemented, to step in and tune it up so that it is successful. Each of these people has a unique view of and expertise for their piece of the process.

Gene will discuss the use of Action Learning as both a process and a powerful program that involves a small group of people solving real problems while at the same time focusing on what they are learning, and how their learning can benefit each group member and the organization as a whole.” Michael Marquardt

The program is based on two key foundation areas of change theory and methodology. First are the principles contained in self organizing systems theory and their application in complex adaptive systems methodology. Second is the work of John Kotter and Dan Cohen codified in the books, The Heart of Change and The Heart of Change Field Guide. The first describes the eight steps to effective large scale change processes, documented by a substantial survey of 200 companies around the world, reporting successful change initiatives. The second describes the subtleties of implementing the model based on the experience of Cohen as leader of the Deloitte Consulting National Large Scale Change Practice.

Presenter/Learning Facilitator:   Gene Ruckle

In addition to his O.D. consulting practice, Gene is the Director of Leading in the 21st Century, a “High Potentials” Corporate Leadership Development Program, which he developed, at the University of Texas at Arlington, College of Business. Gene also has a program called Leading in the 21st Century. Leading Change in the 21st Century was a featured program in the Leadership track of the national Organization Development Network’s Annual Conference in Nov, 2005 and drew standing room only attendance of 55 people. Gene and Reagan Stephens, his long term customer presented.

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Culture and Performance – The Beryl Companies (05/12/11)

Culture and Performance – The Beryl Companies      May 12, 2011

Our May program features Paul Spiegelman of The Beryl Companies.  He will be sharing his perspectives on culture and performance.  The success of The Beryl Companies is grounded in his Circle of Growth and his 10 C’s of Culture.

Paul Spiegelman is founder and chief executive officer of The Beryl Companies, which includes: Beryl, a technology-focused patient experience company dedicated to improving relationships between health care providers and consumers; The Beryl Institute, a research and educational entity that publishes information about improving the patient experience and how that activity links to better financial outcomes for health care providers; The Circle, a training company that helps businesses enhance employee engagement and develop more positive workplace cultures; and The Small Giants Community, a global organization that brings together leaders who are focused on values-based business principles.

Paul is leading a unique, people-centric culture that has remarkably high employee and customer retention rates.  Beryl has won nine “best place to work” awards, including being voted the #2 Best Medium Sized Company to Work for in America. Recently, Spiegelman was honored with the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Paul is a sought-after speaker and author on executive leadership, entrepreneurship, corporate culture, customer relationships and employee engagement. His views have been published in Entrepreneur, The Dallas Morning News, Inc. Magazine, Healthcare Financial Management, Leadership Excellence and many other noteworthy publications, as well as in his first internationally published book, Why is Everyone Smiling? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity and Profit.  His next book, written by Beryl employees, is called Smile Guide: Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty and Profit.

Paul practiced law for two years prior to starting Beryl. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California Los Angeles and a law degree from Southwestern University in Los Angeles. He mentors MBA students at Texas Christian University and Southern Methodist University, as well as nurse executives in the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Program. He also is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and on the board of the Entrepreneurs Foundation of North Texas.

What is the hidden asset most corporations are neglecting and how can you leverage this information? (04/14/11)

ODNet April 14, 2011

Dr. Virginia Trevizo Wells will share her dissertation findings regarding Latinas climbing the corporate ladder.      During this exciting session you will learn:

• The barriers/challenges that women especially Latinas face regarding their upward ascent into competent executives.

• The accelerators that women can utilize to move them upward and forward in their careers.

• Recommendations that corporations can use to attract Latinas and retain them.

• Discover the ideal characteristics and profile of top performing Latinas.

Presenter:     Dr. Virginia Trevizo Wells   is the CEO/President of Organizational Behavior Consulting & Training (OBC&T), a firm that focuses on coaching, consulting, and training top level executives and organizations on leadership development and how to strategically leverage each individual’s talents.  Recently she was hired by the University of Phoenix to teach masters and doctoral students in their new Industrial/Organization Program.  Currently she is teaching Small Business Management at Mountain View College.

Organization Development Education (03/10/2011)

Organization Development Education  –  March 10, 2011

Doctors Don and Tammy Ledbetter will take us on an exploration of OD education opportunities.  Learning and improving OD knowledge and skills is an ongoing challenge for OD Practitioners and HR professionals.  They will also discuss (among other things) their innovative approach that uses the internet for team-building.

This is a session not to miss! As business and technology evolve, our approaches to learning must also evolve. Come participate in this dialogue on OD Education with these dynamic thinkers.

Presenter Bio:     Don Ledbetter is the Corporate Director of Management and Organizational Effectiveness with L-3 Communications, a leading provider high technology products for the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security. Don has a doctorate in business administration with an emphasis in organizational leadership, and he is now working on his second doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He is certified by the Society for Human Resources Management as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). He is also a certified Knowledge Manager (CKM).

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When 70%+ Fail – How Do You Make Mergers Work? (02/10/2011)

When 70%+ Fail – How Do You Make Mergers Work? – 02/10/2011

As we move out of the recession, predictions are that M&A activity is heating up.  But the research data shows that 70 to 85% of mergers and acquisitions fail or at least severely sup-optimize.

•With those odds against you, why do so many organizations eagerly enter into the M&A game?

•Are leaders really “results oriented” when they engage in such risky, unsuccessful approaches?

•And what can we do to change those odds?

•What are the problems with M&A integration that create such lousy results?

•How can we set up and execute mergers and acquisitions so that those problems are prevented and resolved so that the odds are better of achieving positive results?

Join us to explore these and other related questions with a balance of strategic and tactical, theoretical and pragmatic perspectives.


Nicole Gann, SPHR  (  is the Vice President of Human Resources and Information Technology at Presbyterian Communities and Services.  Nicole has also had Accounting and Finance under her stewardship in the past.

Located in Dallas, Presbyterian Communities and Services is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization that provides exceptional continuing care retirement communities and leading hospice services.

With her broad competency in several organizational functions and her experience as an organizational development professional and leader, Nicole has acquired and used a solid C-Level, general management perspective.  Additionally she has deftly navigated a messy merger integration process, which gives her a unique insight into this topic.

Peter Jay Sorenson, CMC ( is an independent strategic organization design consultant, coach, and social entrepreneur and has recently re-branded his practice under the name “Strategic Organization Design, Inc.”

Pete’s consulting and coaching practice focuses on crafting strategy, intentionally designing organizations (with webs of intangible assets), doing change, and discovering what works.  Pete also designs and facilitates meetings and does executive coaching to support those practice focus points.

As a social entrepreneur Pete works to create economic, social, and cultural self-reliance and sustainability for individuals, families, and organizations in the developing and developed worlds.