Blog

I hope you find these entries as enjoyable to read, as I find them enjoyable to write…

Grappling with Groups

Posted by on Nov 30, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 4 comments

Grappling with Groups

Back in the 1970s, I was trained to run sensitivity- training sessions when I was in graduate school at UCLA. I wanted to better understand what my father did for a living. Our family spent every summer up in Bethel, Maine where the National Training Laboratories, or NTL, took over a prep school and led T-groups, or sensitivity- training groups, from the 1950s through the 1970s.

It was an intensive learning experience for me. I remember long 4-hour sessions facilitating a group of 8 to 10 UCLA undergraduates. I was also observing another group behind one-way mirrors. There was no agenda for these sessions—no explicit structure or goal. If no one chose to talk, it was quiet. Some people got angry and frustrated. Others tried their best to create structure. And some just withdrew. The emphasis was on sharing emotions. In this way, the participants could learn how their words or actions triggered emotional responses in other people. I remember Carl Rogers, the famous psychologist, describing the T-group as the most significant social invention of the century.

Years later, when I was teaching Masters students at Antioch University in Los Angeles with my friend and colleague, Ken Goldstein, I had an opportunity to bring my father into a class. He was visiting Farn and me so I invited him to join us one evening for class. Ken and I were teaching an Organization Development class and we thought that Dad could talk about the origins of the profession in the 1950s.

Dad was reluctant to give a speech so I told him to just relax and respond to questions from the students. We got into a nice discussion about his work leading T-groups when all of a sudden, a student asked, “I still don’t understand. What is a T-group?”  Dad sat there quietly and didn’t say a word. It was totally quiet for almost 10 minutes. I’m not exaggerating—it was painfully long. Students were squirming, looking at him and each other, yet too uncomfortable or polite to ask him why he was so quiet. One student just got up and went to the bathroom. So, the silence just sat there. Finally, Dad looked out at the group, smiled, and said, “That’s a T-group.” And with that, he began to explain how a T-group works.

Happy Holidays, everyone!!!

Enough Being Quiet

Posted by on Oct 28, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 6 comments

Enough Being Quiet

I’ve always been reluctant to share my political views. I tend to keep quiet. But right now I’m about to burst. I think my reluctance came out of childhood. (more…)

Both Sides of the Coin

Posted by on Oct 2, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 3 comments

Both Sides of the Coin

I’ve been thinking back over my consulting career quite a bit lately. It’s because Tony Petrella died recently in a boating accident. (more…)

Looking Through the Lens of Family

Posted by on Sep 4, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 5 comments

Looking Through the Lens of Family

I lay in bed this morning thinking about both my immediate family and my extended family. (more…)

Capacity to Chomp

Posted by on Jul 31, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 7 comments

Capacity to Chomp

One of my all-time favorite writers, Jerry Harvey, died three years ago today– August 1st, 2015. He was the author of The Abilene Paradox as well as one of the best titled books around, How Come Every Time I Get Stabbed in the Back, My Fingerprints are on the Knife? His writing in Organization Development helped shape my own writing more than any other person and I miss him dearly. (more…)

Dancing in Africa

Posted by on Jul 1, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 7 comments

Dancing in Africa

Recently I was watching a movie on TV entitled Get On Up, a biography of the R&B singer, James Brown, starring Chadwick Boseman, a great actor who has also starred as Jackie Robinson in 42 and in Black Panther. Seeing the movie rekindled a memory that I thought I’d share. (more…)

Reflections on His Life

Posted by on Jun 4, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 7 comments

Reflections on His Life

I can’t tell you how many of my friends have told me, “ I wish I had done a better job of capturing my parents’ stories before they died. I just wasn’t interested in hearing those stories until it was too late. It’s such a loss.” (more…)

The Art of Listening

Posted by on Apr 30, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 8 comments

The Art of Listening

I’ve written about my love of books and my love of films so it’s time to write about my love of music. I grew up as a child hearing Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Bill Evans, and classical music. I remember standing at the top of our stairs and yelling down to my father, “Dad, can you put on Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto so I can get to sleep?” (more…)

Community Building

Posted by on Apr 2, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 9 comments

Community Building

Farn and I recently invited our neighbors over for an Open House…some late afternoon wine and appetizers. It took about 15 minutes of effort to write an email to all of them inviting them over. (more…)

Helpful vs. Sharing Husband

Posted by on Mar 1, 2018 in Blog, Featured | 4 comments

Helpful vs. Sharing Husband

I read an interesting article a few years ago written by a woman. In the article, she was saying that when she asks her husband to help out, he always says, “Sure, I’d be glad to.” “Honey, would you please take the garbage out?” (more…)