Saturday, April 25, 2009

Roland Sullivan: Spirituality and Whole System Transformation

In the past months I've looked under many rocks for stories of deep transformation within large organizations. I hadn't come up with many stories--until I interviewed Roland Sullivan this week. Roland has worked on "whole system transformation" with more than 1,000 organizations since the 1960s. He's been one of the pioneers in the field of Organizational Development. He's also been practicing yoga for 45 years, and he has an amazing amount of energy. You might want to fasten your seat belts as you watch some of these video clips from my conversation with Roland:


The value of self-transformation / Continually grow towards the love of God by changing to become more according to his will / Every time I work with a client I tell them "please help me change"

More video clips:

A challenge to YOU to stay in step with the pace of change in the world

Spirit is truth / I try to get organizations to find their truth in a safe way. I have all kinds of tricks. / Getting to organizational intelligence

Everyone is using the word "transformation" / Very few know how to create it

Competencies of a change agent: Being, Skill, Knowledge

How I transform an organization:
1. Transform a leadership team
2. Transform a critical mass of the organization
3.Transfers to an internal change agent, who is able to sustain the change work long term

7 comments:

Emily said...

holy smokes does he have energy! Yet I like how he says it isn't necessary to doing the work. Made me curious about his process tools.

My favorite part was about how "we need you" to be a change agent for the profound change in the coming 20-30 years.

Tom Allen said...

I have always liked Roland's energy and vision. He thinks in such large ways.

I used to do organization development and did several whole systems transformation processes. As I watched Roland, it reminded me that my desire is to work with individuals, rather than whole systems. While whole systems was exciting work, I realize now that it was a way to feed my ego.

So, I like when Roland says it is not about us, it's about the system. And yet, when I listen to Roland, I find myself comparing myself to him - a sure sign that I am caught in my ego again. There it is again, my desire to be in control, to be known as competent.

Michael Bischoff said...

Tom: I've always admired your willingness to speak vulnerably about the shadows of your own leadership. I certainly notice a desire in myself to "do" whole system transformation in deep and meaningful ways as a way to build my own ego.

In this past year of sabbatical learning, my distinction between individual and whole system intervention has been blurred. I'm drawn to work in ways that listen for and follow the movement of the Spirit within organizations--and that seems to almost always have both personal and whole system implications.

Michael Bischoff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
viagra online said...

I think changing is natural and necessary, but we have to be careful because there are some changes that don't bring good things to us.

Roland Sullivan said...

Personally I felt I was insensitive and shared to much spirit. Oh well. When u get to b my age and the ego is not important any more, one just accepts who one is.

I fear my corporate clients may not appreciate the energy.

A message to them. Once I get the internal change agent set, i calm way down and let him or her be the star.

Roland Sullivan said...



Allow me to comment on my video. I have avoided sharing this with any of my corporate clients because I believe I was insensitive. I demonstrated too much passion. I have changed. Now I'm working on managing my energy and preserving the excitement to be more refined.

I would be embarrassed if my corporate clients see this video. Still when you become free and my age and the ego is not important, one just accepts oneself as they are. Well this is me.

Yet, I want my sophisticated corporate clients to understand that my mode of operation is to empower the system with energy especially... the internal change agent so that I can be the butterfly flying around in silence only buzzing those that need some extra help to lead and facilitate the transformation in their organization

My purpose in life is to carry on the legacy of Ron Lippitt through the use of whole systems change.
Ron wrote the first book on change in 1957.