Category Archives: Organizational Development

Meeting the Moment in Organization Development

This post was shared by the faculty of the Executive Certificate in Organization Development Consulting  & Change Leadership in Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership.

Since the 1980s, Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies has been a leader in training Organization Development (OD) consultants & change leaders to support the changing dynamics of the systems they serve.  In 2021, this academic history has been leveraged in a redesign process to meet the moment – where concepts of of work and workplace are being reimagined, where diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI) and OD have become inextricably intertwined, and where OD learning and practice can be maximized via multiple modalities.

We are proud to reintroduce the Executive Certificate in Organization Development Consulting & Change Leadership (ODCCL).  Some key factors that set this program apart from other types of OD training include:

Diversity of Faculty

We are thrilled to bring a 12-member faculty team to this program. At least two faculty members teach each of 8 modules which gifts students with the expertise and experience of a broad range of practitioners. Our faculty bring diversity in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, as well as in work experience. We have faculty who have worked as external consultants, as internal OD consultants, and as change leaders inside organizations. Our faculty also hail from multiple sectors — corporate, nonprofit, government, military, education, healthcare, and community organizing.

Cohort Model

Learning in community is at the heart of the program design.  Students will start and end the program in cohort with the same students who will take the entire program together. As the program is highly interactive, students will meet and work with more than 20 others who come from similar and different disciplines and backgrounds, which will deepen the learning experience.

Reflection Through Lines

The ODCCL program is greatly enhanced by five powerful themes that are woven throughout the 8-month experience.  Students will be encouraged to continually reflect on the content with the following through lines:

  1. Use of Self (including Emotional Intelligence and Embodiment)
  2. Power and DEI
  3. Polarities and Complexity
  4. Organizational Context and Culture
  5. Application by Professional Identity (external consultant, internal consultant, organizational  leader)

Multiple Modality Learning

Leveraging the lessons of 2020-2021, the ODCCL program engages students in synchronous and asynchronous modalities that maximize learning in our time apart and together. Students experience and learn multiple methodologies that support learning, dialogue and decision making — tools that can be applied to work as a practitioner.

Practical, Applied Learning

For 30 years, this has been, and continues to be, a practitioners’ program. Our faculty are all OD practitioners, and the program has been redesigned to harness the richness of the three primary streams of people this program attracts: External consultants/coaches, internal HR/OD/DEI professionals and internal change leaders. Students will be continually invited to ground what is learned in current work situations, and will benefit from hearing the perspectives of others who occupy roles different than their own. We also continue to work with real life applications of OD on current workplace challenges such as managing the polarities of returning to face-to-face work, equity and justice in the workplace, and the impact that virtual and hybrid workplaces have on engagement, supervision, management and culture. Most importantly, a cornerstone of the program is an OD project with a real client, which gives all students the opportunity to apply the learning, to work in teams, to receive coaching and support, and to learn from each other’s experiences.

Learn more about the Executive Certificate in Organization Development Consulting & Change Leadership  in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.  

Change Is Inevitable; Transformation Is a Choice

This post was shared by Marcia Feola, MCC, faculty in the Principles of Transformation program and the Executive Certificate in Organizational Consulting and Change Leadership in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.

In these disruptive and changing times, many of us feel the world shifting before our eyes and under our feet. As the challenges become more dramatic, we encounter our own vulnerabilities and fears.  We can let fear stand in our way, attempt to deny what is happening, become immobilized, fight with the changes, or we can transform ourselves and the organizations of which we are a part.

The journey can be both scary and exhilarating.  John F. Kennedy once observed that the word “crisis” in Chinese is composed of two characters—one representing danger, the other opportunity.


This time in history is an opportunity for transformation.  Transformation entails a letting go, a shedding of beliefs, habits, behaviors that no longer serve. This shedding, in turn, opens up space for creativity, innovation and freedom, making this an exciting time. It’s a time to reflect, to imagine a different future, to experiment with new ways.

We are all invited to engage in a transformational process. What do we need to shift, change or transform?  What are old habits, beliefs, or behaviors you wish to change? What do you want to see different in this world? How do you want to be different? What is your vision and how do you move towards it?

Are you interested in exploring the principles of human transformation at individual, group, and systemic levels? Click here to learn more about the  “Principles of Transformation” program in the Institute for Transformational Leadership.


Honoring Our Graduate Community

As 2020 comes to a close, we want to take a moment to honor the work the graduate community of Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership has done this year to support our leaders, our organizations, and our communities.

To our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practitioners, you have helped us see a way forward as individuals, organizations and as a nation as we grapple with injustices and inequalities.  Your knowledge and skill has been called upon to assess organizations and propose strategic solutions to long-standing issues that prevent all employees from thriving and succeeding.  You have invited us into difficult conversations and encouraged us to stay with the discomfort of this work as we examine our own biases and role in oppression.   You have used yourself as an instrument of change sharing your personal journey for the greater good. 

To our leadership coaches, you have supported leaders through the most challenging of times.  You have been there as leaders have been tested in ways that dramatically exceed the scope of any prior situation.  You coached them to think differently, act boldly and lead compassionately. You helped them build the resilience necessary to sustain themselves and their organizations for the long-term and helped them learn about themselves and leadership along the way.     

To our health & wellness coaches, you supported health and well-being during one of the most dramatic and stressful changes of our time.  You have helped clients adapt to the realities of this year by helping them to align their daily choices in this new environment with their personal values.  You have served as pioneers in a field that is emerging as a critical component in empowering patients to actively participate in their own care. 

To our Organizational Development (OD) professionals, you have paved the path for how OD will be done in the future.  The year has necessitated new ways of leading people, managing teams, and working with data.  You have exercised creativity, resilience and supported organizations in re-imagining what is possible.  You have brought optimism and compassion to help sustain organizations well into the future. 

To our facilitators, you have created a new standard in how to lead virtual gatherings.  Your design skills have been tested as you reimagined business events that connected participants’ ideas while also tapping into their bodies, spirits and emotions. You have been called upon to design and facilitate intimate personal events from honoring individual milestones to end-of-life celebrations that were once unimaginable in the virtual space.  While physically apart, your creativity, presence and grace has brought us together in meaningful ways.

Because of all of you, leaders are more reflective, compassionate and in tune with their personal wellness, organizations are better positioned to see themselves and create lasting change, our virtual gatherings are more engaging and inclusive, and individuals and systems are starting to see prevailing inequality and injustices and making strategic moves to promote diverse, equity and inclusion.  Please know that the work you do, especially in 2020, has made a difference as we all work to create a more sustainable and compassionate future.

In Solidarity with our Black Community

A version of this message was originally shared with the ITL community via graduate email listserves on June 2, 2020.

On behalf of the Institute for Transformational Leadership in Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies, we find ourselves in a time of great uncertainty, loss, heartache, and persistent racial injustice.  The recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Rayshard Brooks and many more have ignited deep sadness, frustration, and intolerance for systems that continue to create results that are contrary to our values and beliefs. We are in solidarity with the Black community, and we unequivocally affirm that #BlackLivesMatter. 

In a message to the Georgetown community, Georgetown’s President John DeGioia asks each of us to confront racism by looking inside ourselves to examine how we individually might be perpetuating injustice and sustaining racist structures.  As you know, this type of deep reflective work is at the heart of what we do in the Institute for Transformational Leadership. Once we are able to see and feel where this resides in ourselves, we can compassionately begin the work of entering into the hard conversations and doing the work that so desperately needs to be done. 

While this is life-long work, never has it been more important to use ourselves as an instrument of change in this world.  As a community, we are leaders: coaches, facilitators, and consultants supporting leaders in all of their humanity as we work to create a more sustainable, just, and compassionate future. 

It is up to us to not only to expand our knowledge on these issues but also to take meaningful action within our families, communities and organizations to promote racial justice. Learn and then act.  We invite you to share your stories, your resources, your challenges, your inspirations, and your leadership with our community as the road ahead has yet to be paved! @GeorgetownITL


The Power of Vision in Turbulent Times

This post was shared by Marcia Feola, MCC – Director of the Executive Certificate in Organizational Consulting & Change Leadership program and Bill Pullen, MCC – Director of the  Executive Certificate in Leadership Coaching Program .  Both Marcia and Bill are faculty in Principles of Transformation. 

Today’s business and institutional environments are characterized by rapidly evolving challenges on multiple fronts that require leaders to be able to respond correctly in a variety of areas.

Truly great leaders, however, do more than simply engage in crisis management. Instead, every decision they make is in service to a broader picture – a vision – towards which they guide their organization.

A clearly articulated vision of the future is crucial in providing a framework that allows a leader to be able to execute upon their other responsibilities:

  • A compelling vision keeps an organization focused on the future.
  • A vision creates a compass that allows an organization to see various routes – not just one – to get there.
  • A vision ideally needs both structure and flexibility. Leaders should be prepared to make modifications as conditions demand.
  • A vision serves as a useful analytical tool, allowing an organization to compare where it is currently with where it wishes to go.
  • A vision can provide permission to engage in creativity and experimentation, as members of an organization consider various ways to meet their goals.

In addition to its practical benefits, a vision also provides motivational energy to other members of the organization. During chaotic times, leaders play a vital role in maintaining institutional focus and projecting a calm, confident demeanor. This combination is key to supporting the mental and emotional well-being of the organization’s employees. It sends a powerful message to which allows them to remain loyal, steadfast, and productive.

Powerful, compelling visions challenge our current ways of thinking, being, and doing. They challenge us to grow and change. They ask us to step out of our comfort zones and habitual ways of doing things.

In turbulent, uncertain times, it is perhaps natural to feel a compulsion to “keep one’s head down” and focus on immediate challenges. A compelling organizational vision can act as a catalyst to resist this impulse. Leaders who are able to act with purpose during disruptions of the status quo will be best positioned to capitalize on the opportunities that come with major realignments in the institutional environment. Their employees will be better psychologically suited to weather the chaos. They will have a map for navigating through the turbulence that can cause poorly led organization to flounder.

Click here to learn more about Principles of Transformation.