Are we Tour Guides or Expedition Specialists?

Plus Delta Team with Rob and Harry

Last night, several of Plus Delta’s team members attended a reception hosted by Geoff Bellman in Seattle. It was designed to be a warm welcome to kickoff this year’s OD Network annual conference, and boy was it ever! The food was excellent, the wine was superb, and the conversation with our OD brethren – some long-time friends and colleagues, and others new acquaintances – quite delightful. The high point of the event though was a presentation by Rob Fijlstra and Harry Wullings, two seasoned OD practitioners from the Netherlands (click here for more on them).

Fijlstra and Wullings

In their talk, Rob and Harry posed the question of whether or not those in attendance were “Tour Guides” or “Expedition Specialists”. To paraphrase them a bit, a tour guide is someone who leads his/her client group on a safe and well-planned journey to sites that he/she has probably experienced many times over again. While the metaphor may sound reasonable for many – and even necessary at times – this type of OD guidance may never get a client group out of their comfort zone or beyond something that might be called incremental change.

An expedition specialist, on the other hand, takes his/her client group off of this somewhat traditional path. In essence, he/she would say, “You know, I’ve never been down this road before, but I think you’ll enjoy the journey. Just trust me. Everything will be OK!” And the right type of client with ample trust in his/her OD guide might just agree. That’s the type of relationship and type of work I aspire to. Realistically though, I’m still committed to meeting my clients where they’re at and believe that incremental change is better than no change as long as it puts them on the path.

So are you a tour guide or expedition specialist? Check out these links to their presentation to learn more from Rob and Harry’s approach to OD:
Presentation part I
part II
part III
part IV
part V
part VI

Posted in Events, OD Insights, Workplace Policies Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
One comment on “Are we Tour Guides or Expedition Specialists?
  1. harry wullings says:

    Rob and I had a wonderful experience Food for thought. Go and see our website and read our book “Honesty the best Policy.

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