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The OD Gathering 2018 and The Path Forward

An email sent on 20 December 2018 by Fred and the OD Gathering Founding members

WOW!!!! What a Gathering!!! Thanks to all!!!! Thanks for bringing your energy, thinking, and caring about OD and the world that is evolving.  


This year's discussions were spirited and exactly the stimulating dialogue that the profession needs in order to move forward.


We were 109 people who identify themselves as members of a community that has many names, not always OD, but who have a commitment to partnering with clients and colleagues to make the world a better place. I want to appreciate the broad range of ages, races, backgrounds, and nationalities who were there, especially our colleagues who traveled from China, Ireland, Hungary, and Canada. Finding common ground about OD across these multiple perspectives is a huge accomplishment which we want to acknowledge and appreciate.


We turned a corner this year, built greater alignment, enhanced our collective community, got clearer about our goals, and positioned ourselves to produce definitions that we can share with the world for them to enhance through their review.


And, for those who were not able to attend, we hope you will continue to find ways to be involved with this community and be among the 100 people who come together next year....our third and final year. And, thank each and every one of you for your contributions to The Gatherings. 


One image that emerged from this year's Gathering was to create/grow/work in and out of a garden. To see the profession and the boundaries that defines the profession as a garden. Not with walls and maybe not with fences, but an open field and yet a defined that has clarity and has openness. Not sure that IS the image that we will use, or even if we need an image, but it was an image that was floating through the room.


As a collective we moved a giant step closer in exploring:

  • Vision/Essence/Critical needs of OD in the future

  • OD values for the future

  • Definitions of OD for the future

  • OD competencies for the future

There were many, many highlights from the Gathering: one was organizing into Circles of Work to start addressing the above areas of exploration and definition development before the 2019 Gathering. People self-selected into Circles to work on them during the coming months. We, the Planning Team, are very excited about the Circles of Work. I know that people are already making plans and getting organized in just the few days since we have been back.


The following is the emergent process track we are on as a community:

1. Continue to create the membership of the 4 Circles of Work.


2. Each Circle has identified conveners. If you are interested in joining one of the Circles please contact the convener(s). Please contact Alison at for contact information for each of the Circles conveners. 

3. The task of each Circle is to move the specific area forward with goals:

  • In 90 to 120 days, build on the work in that area started at the 2018 Gathering.

  • Via video conferencing, share that output with the larger Gathering community for enhancement and support.

  • Review, revise, and enhance based on the feedback/comments and present at the 2019 Gathering.

  • At the 2019 Gathering, presentations of the revised (if needed) 90-95% version, and buy-in from the Gathering.

  • After the 2019 Gathering, we will share the results with as many OD-related organizations as we know and ask them to review our 90-95% thinking, give us suggestions for enhancements, and ask them if they can live with the results as working definitions that we all use. We would ask:

    • Can you/your organization support these definitions? (Note: they might be modified through this process; however, can we have your support for where they stand now? Are they enough directionally right for you to support them?)

    • If the definitions are not "right" for you, what would you add/change to make them more right for your organization?

    • If you cannot support the definitions in any way, we regret that and hope you will stay open to reconsidering when we have our final products.

The following Planning Team members are partnering with the Circles:

  • Bridget O'Brien

  • Karen Parker Thompson

  • Keith Early 

This is our path forward. It will adjust as we learn on the journey. We, the Planning Team, hope you will continue to be a member of this process. We hope you will join one of the Circles. We hope you will join us for the 2019 Gathering (again, limited to 100 people).


We are working to pull together all of the materials from The Gathering. Once we do, we will post them to The Gathering website and send you a note.


We are thinking about having a CEO or Senior Leader panel at the 2019 Gathering. If you

personally know a CEO or Senior Leader that would be great for a panel talking about the future of organizations, please let us know.


Please send us the names of "OD" and "OD" sister, brother, and cousin organizations and contact person's name (if you know the name) that you think we should include in our process of sharing our 90-95% versions after the 2019 Gathering. We will probably give them a heads-up about our process in the coming months. And, feel free to let organizations that you are a part of know that we are meeting and will want their participation/input.  


Again I want to say how excited we are with our progress and how thankful to everyone who made it so.


Registration for the 2019 Gathering is now open If you're not ready to register yet or do not plan on attending in 2019, please click the RSVP button so we know your intentions.


Take care and enjoy this season, and the New Year....we hope it is a better one for planet earth.


and the OD Gathering Founding members


PS: There is early registration pricing of $300 for the first 30 people to register or until 31 May 2019. After that, the price of the Conference will increase to $325.   

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