Most engineers build, model or investigate physical systems. I help people build social systems.

Bridges are a nice metaphor for place-based organization development because they are designed for a specific location and are built to support people in moving from one place to another. Maybe I find the bridge metaphor appealing because I am an engineer (i.e., a Sociotechnical Systems engineer who studies the health and productivity of people at work), and many of us think of bridges when we think of engineers.

BridgeBut the metaphor works for me on a few levels. Bridges can be pleasant or unpleasant, sturdy and well-designed, or shaky and poorly maintained. They can be beautiful and downright inviting. They can be marked well, with signs that let folks know where they’re going. Or they can be part of the confusion of a complex traffic pattern, like the one flowing through Philly – where you might take a bridge unintentionally and end up in New Jersey by accident!

I design place-based programs and initiatives – customized educational conversations – to help people make informed choices.

I do this by helping participants:

  • Learn core concepts necessary to understand how a particular system works and how key components are interrelated,

  • Develop awareness of other’s experiences and needs,

  • Grow in self-awareness of their own assumptions, needs and behaviors,

  • Preserve the complexity, interrelatedness and uniqueness of social systems,

  • Create a safe space to test ideas and assumptions about healthy and productive work systems.

If your organization is seeking a way to move towards creating an even healthier and more productive workplace, contact me to discuss the possibility of a customized program.

Be Effective Series logoThe Be Effective Leadership Series teaches a systems approach to organization development that can produce a healthier climate for change initiatives. It provides an essential, research-based foundation for leaders at all levels. Participants become inspired to dream bigger.

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