Articles and Resources


Mindful OD Practice and the Obreau Tripod: Beyond Positive/Problem Polarities

Don Dunoon
OD Practitioner, Vol. 46 No. 1 2014, pp. 18-25.

Some OD-related literature tends to present a dichotomy between positively-oriented approaches - which look to the future and strengths that can be built upon –and problem-based approaches, grounded in established OD diagnostic processes. Yet, if we can recognize and hold open the space between these orientations, we might gain access to additional mental resources in working through challenging issues. Tapping these otherwise latent resources requires that we recognize and overcome common default patterns of interaction including tendencies to react, make negative judgments about others, and dance around issues. A structure, the Obreau Tripod, is introduced as an antidote to these behavior patterns and as an aid to approaching difficult conversations. A case example of applying the Obreau Tripod is presented.

Download PDF of the article here.

Mindfulness and Leadership: Opening up to Possibilities

Don Dunoon and Ellen Langer
Integral Leadership Review, October 2011 (np).

This article frames leadership as emphasizing in-the-moment interventions, whether by formal leaders or others, toward building shared understandings to enable change with contentious—messy—problems. This is a departure from established approaches that tend to be grounded in concerns about who exercises leadership and the relationships between the actors, whether in conventional leader-follower configurations or more contemporary variants. Drawing on 30 years of research by one of us (Langer) into mindfulness in a variety of settings, the articlenot only considers leadership action in making headway on contentious problems but also reassesses the subject of leadership itself.

Some back story about the article: Ellen Langer’s work, particularly through her 1989 book, Mindfulness, has been a major influence on Don Dunoon in his thinking about leadership. Dunoon visited Langer at Harvard in 2010 and as an outcome of that visit they decided to write an article together. This piece is the result of that collaboration.

Download PDF of the article here.

“Reframing the Leadership-Management relationship” videos

These videos were produced from an in-house seminar presented by Don Dunoon at the New South Wales Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) on May 16th 2013. Don is Leadership Advisor at HETI. The videos, in 5 parts, present ideas on the relationship between leadership and management from Don’s book, In the Leadership Mode.

The videos frame leadership and management as different forms of action in particular moments for engaging with issues, particularly contentious issues.

Don is grateful to HETI for producing the videos, which you can view on the HETI website at this link.

Part 1 - Setting the Scene. This video looks at how leadership and management have been viewed previously, and discusses an alternative perspective based on leadership and management as two different forms of 'in the moment' action.

Part 2 - The Management Mode. This video looks at ‘management-mode’ action and its emphasis on achieving tasks to deliver results.

Part 3 - Leadership Mode Action. This video shows how people can use ‘leadership mode' action to promote meaningful conversations to enable change when dealing with contentious issues.

Part 4 - Interweaving Leadership and Management. This video looks at how 'leadership mode' and 'management mode' actions can complement each other for effective outcomes. It also discusses how 'management mode' is often the default and the implications this can have.

Part 5 - Q&A. Includes questions from seminar participants and responses from Don Dunoon.