Creating Energized Commitment to the Dialogic Approach

If you want to know how to bring Dialogic OD into an organization that needs it but doesn’t know what it is, this is the book you want to read. Sarah Lewis brings her considerable experience and intellect to overcoming many of the barriers you will likely encounter when you are the first to use a dialogic, emergent, generative approach.

In Dialogic OD change teams (also known as planning groups, design teams or steering committees, among other terms) are much, much more than just a group of people planning a project. They are the beginning of the change and key to success. Your expertise in developing a dialogic mindset in team members will greatly determine the success of the entire change effort.

In organizations that are used to top-down management, the change team plays many roles, including:

In this short, lively book, you follow the unfolding interactions with the change sponsor, internal change agent(s), and change team as the OD practitioner lays the essential groundwork for successful organizational transformation.  Sarah provides detailed descriptions of the many issues and group dynamics you are likely to face and appropriate responses to each of them. Supporting you as you enter the organization, gain the support of a key sponsor, set up a change team, and then help that team let go of traditional, problem-solving approaches to planned change and instead embrace a generative change approach.

We follow a case of an experienced Dialogic OD practitioner beginning a new assignment for a leader who says he wants to create an empowering, engaging approach to dealing with people issues identified in a staff survey but doesn’t understand what it takes. We watch her work with an internal change-agent partner who has trouble letting go of mechanistic, bureaucratic processes, and a change team who initially assume their job is to provide solutions for managers to implement. Over a few weeks, a developmental process takes place as they test, challenge, learn and eventually become the core from which the entire organization gets ready to engage in generative change.

Chapter Titles:
1.  From Initial Call to Sponsorship
2.  Forming the Change Team
3.  What Does the Change Team Do?
4.  The First Team Meeting
5.  From Presenting Problem to Readiness for Emergence
6.  Preparing for the First Dialogic Event
7. Addressing Some Specific Concerns of Sponsors

This book was previously entitled Co-creating Planning Teams for Dialogic OD

What this 11 minute video of Sarah talking about herself and the book

About the Author

Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis is a chartered organizational psychologist and a Dialogic Organizational Development practitioner. She is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Principal and Founding Member of the Association of Business Psychologists. A well-respected positive psychology author, she lectures at the post-graduate level in Singapore and the UK. Sarah was one of the first people in the UK to be trained in appreciative inquiry and has since expanded her expertise into other dialogic methodologies. She works with both commercial and not-for-profit organizations to achieve effective, sustainable, positive change throughout Europe and further afield.

Sarah runs her own consulting business Appreciating Change and hosts The Positive Psychology Shop, a source of development resources. Her previous books include Positive Psychology at Work (2011) and Positive Psychology and Change (2016). She is a regular conference speaker at national and international conferences. You can reach her at