Stay curious and open - key messages from ODN Europe

Ruth Ball

Ruth Ball is the head of learning and OD at Moorfields Eye Hospital, London. In this blog, Ruth shares her experience of attending the Organisation Development Network (ODN) Europe conference which was held in May 2019.

This was one of the best OD conferences I’ve been to since I’ve been working at the NHS,

From the introduction to the final session, there was a host of great speakers who knew their stuff and explained it well, often with new and interesting approaches to the way they told their stories. 

I loved the jazz session with musical interventions to explain the points being made and lots of other innovative approaches to keep the audience’s attention throughout the two days and all done at pace.

But beyond that, it was the key messages woven into the conference like a stick of Blackpool rock - how to bring our true selves into work, how to be bold and practice who we are. This message formed part of the opening address from ODN Europe’s co-chair, Sherry Hossain, which was articulated strongly and with conviction at the beginning of the first day.

This was an invitation to peel away the layers, get in touch with our true selves and find ways to put it into action in a safe environment.

The first keynote speaker, organisational effectiveness coach Mary Anne Rainey, showed us how to use Gestalt theory in our OD practice to create a strong presence and have high engagement with  clients.  Within 10 minutes of opening, she had us working in small groups which produced amazing results of openness, transparency and real feelings from the gut, that bonded our small group for the rest of the conference. 

Mary Anne’s messages for success:
  
Perception bounds our experience so it’s critical to get underneath the meaning and the context in that situation.
Patterns are important so look for the patterns as you work with your clients. 
Presence is vital, how you turn up, your energy, your voice (tone and language), your approach.

And how to do it with:

curiosity
awareness
being in the moment
being in touch with your gut and what it’s telling you
the resilience to bounce back if you get it wrong.

Otto Scharmer, senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, continued with this theme in his key note address and said that: ‘in the age of uncertainty, stay curious and open’ with 90 per cent of what’s going on being under water.

Otto widened this to what’s happening in the world today and the rapid changes taking place in all aspects including healthcare. He talked about leadership development with his U Lab massive open online course (MOOC) run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and made available globally.  

131 participants
185 countries
1100 hubs

Now that’s a different way of running interactive sessions!

Otto’s message for us all to ponder was that ‘new comes from the periphery, not the centre’ so ask yourself, where are you working with your OD practice?


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