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Lynne Forbes-Zeller

Reflection Essay

Lynne Forbes-Zeller

Pepperdine University

MSOD 618 – Organization Development and Large Scale Change

Dr. Gary Mangiofico


Lynne Forbes-Zeller

Reflection Essay

AI Contribution to My Understanding

Working together, the Western Union (WU) AI intervention team included Hannah

Nichols, Shelly Dhamija, Melanie Morris, with Maegan Scott as our advisor. We began our

planning meeting with a MAP, we discussed our group norms, and offered self-learning to help

the group perform more collaboratively.

I assumed the lead role in organizing the flow of the project and volunteered to

introduce AI during our client presentation. Ultra tight timelines bring out my perfectionist side. I

recognized my leaning towards this tendency and used AI to reframe my conscious choice to

create a positive future (Kelm, 2005). The entire group was mindful of their desire to overthink

the plan. We used humor to set the group tone, we planned tight, every voice participated, we

over-communicated, and we supported each other through the entire process.

Upon arrival for the client meeting, I reviewed the AI exercise presentation outline with

the client. The client and the consulting group co-created an updated project outline.

Collectively we were forming the kind of relationship we wanted to experience. We intentionally

created positive conversations surrounding the possibilities that this AI exercise would create.

During the AI exercise, a client-side participant (HR Director) had to leave for a 30-

minute meeting. The consulting group encouraged the remaining participants to continue

working on the task, which they agreed to do. The HR director rejoined the participants and

resumed the exercise as if she had never left. The positive contributions and subsequent

conversations formed positive images. Everyone’s present thinking and actions connected with

positive images of the future moving us closer to what we desired (Kelm, 2005).
Lynne Forbes-Zeller

In conclusion, the attitude I bring to my work and the questions I ask in large part impact

my ability to influence, partner, lead, and creates my experience. I also believe our collective

planning approach, the plan tight-hang lose mindset, set a constructive tone that positively

impacted our group dynamics and time together.

Change Interventions

Reflecting upon my experiences in community, I developed a broader understanding of

the being states that set the groundwork for change. AI may help leaders better respond to

change, and self-fulfillment if the members accept a shared set of values (Dolan, Garcia, &

Auerback, 2003). Values, along with leadership approaches, play a vital role in aligning a

complex set of viewpoints. Values guide people’s behavior towards their maximum potential;

shared values mitigate the risk of short-term chaos.

WU’s shared values and vision is an organizational strength and visible in their culture

and success. Values are the framework of a structure; they are the glue that holds an

organization together when confronted with chaos and the need for change (Dolan et al. 2003).

Personal Awareness

Thinking back over my experiences during the practicum, my point of view about

community changed. Specifically, I gained insights about building community and identifying

ways for a deeper connection. I think some of the most important aspects that I will take away

from this practicum is how to develop and sustain a stronger sense of community with my

peers and for my client. Some of the insights I will bear in mind include:

The Power of Vulnerability. Author Brene Brown talks about being vulnerable, leading

from the heart instead of from the hurt. During our group exercises, I witnessed how

vulnerability creates space for community. I observed daring community members who were
Lynne Forbes-Zeller

willing to take off their armor, be curious and humble; they created spaces where hearts were

seen. I will never underestimate the transforming power of vulnerability when an individual is

willing to show up and create brave, safe spaces where individuals can learn, grow, and be

seen.

Value the quality of relationships. Relationships are fundamental to the reality we co-

create. Both dialogic and listening skills are needed to nurture and build relationships that

allow groups and individuals to surface and form an understanding of their assumptions about

each other and their notion of reality as opposed to that of others (Kenne, 2000).

My intentions matter. One of the consequences of privilege and social power is that I

have less capacity to see the effects of my words and actions. Understanding my intentions

will help me orient towards building relationships.

Embrace humanity; probe for more profound clarity. The courage to speak up in the

midst of community may not be easy. When I/cohort commit to getting closer, I/cohort are also

committing to experiencing conflict. I am hardwired to attach meaning to words; it is easy to

slip into a rigid position and demonize the enemy. Dehumanizing starts with language and

behavior; it is a process. I am responsible for recognizing it, setting boundaries, and probing

for more profound clarity.

References

Dolan, S., Garcia, S., & Auerback, A. (2003). Understanding and Managing Chaos in

Organisations. International Journal of Management, 20, 1, 23-35.

Keene, A. (2000). Complexity Theory: The Changing Role of Leadership. Industrial and

Commercial Training, 32, 1, 15-19.


Lynne Forbes-Zeller

Kelm, J. B. (2005). Appreciative Living: The principles of appreciative inquiry in personal life

(3rd ed.). Charleston, NC: Venet.