Initiating and Inviting Generative Change: Entry and Contracting for Emergent Outcomes in Results Driven Organizations

What can you offer and how do you get hired when you can make only a few promises about what will happen? Tova Averbuch provides tested and useful advice on how to enter and contract for consulting when the outcomes cannot be predetermined.  But this book is much more than that. Tova gives a step-by-step description of a way of being that most professional Dialogic OD practitioners learn only through apprenticeship.  She describes how to show up authentically, (transparent. expressive, curious) and through ones’ presence pull others into a  different mindset about leadership and change.  Tova offers a compelling image of how the Dialogic OD practitioner, through their way of being in covenant relationships, co-creates a network that will enable a large-scale, emergent, generative change process.

One of her unique insights is that the qualities that make any Dialogic OD large group event explode with passion, creativity, and the energy to move forward and generate change, are the same qualities that need to be cultivated in each new set of relationships.  Tova emphasizes that energy for generative change requires a burning issue, a passionately held purpose, or some emotionally charged focus that will draw and engage people into generative conversations that produce new decisions and actions.  Those conversations are aided by qualities like curiosity, authenticity, regard for others, openness to new perspectives, and psychological safety. Through cultivating those qualities and attending to purpose in every interaction, the dialogic practitioner prepares the ground for ever-larger groups of stakeholders to be able and want to participate in generative conversations.

With numerous real examples, the book illustrates and explains how a consultant enters and establishes an authentic dialogic presence with an ever-expanding group of people.  Tova takes us to the point of establishing a planning team that will design the change process.  Her model identifies a series of transitions or beginnings, from the caller to the planning team, each requiring the establishment of a ‘covenant relationship’, which she argues is an essential quality for doing Dialogic OD and traveling unknown paths together.  She further identifies four conditions, that operate across levels, which have to be satisfied to complete entry and move onto the next transition.

In the chapter on contracting, Tova continues the OD tradition of emphasizing the psychological contract over legal contracts.  But there are practical hurdles to how you offer consulting services for emergent change processes. How can you structure a deal when you can’t make promises about what will happen?  Tova’s practical advice on how you negotiate and price Dialogic OD is well worth the cost of the book.  She has developed a novel solution to how to be in a continuous process of evocative inquiry from the first moment of contact with the client that satisfies the needs of both client and consultant.

Chapter Titles:
1.  Dialogic Work in Organizations
2.  Swirling Spiral Model of Initiating Emergent Change
3.  Beginnings and Endings
4.  Readiness: Initial Screen for Suitability
5.  Pre-Contracting: Caller and Sponsor Circles
6.  Contracting for Emergent Outcomes
7. Management Team and Planning Team Circles
Beginning today – a concluding note

Watch a 13 minute video of Tova talking about her book

About the Author

Tova Averbuch

Tova Averbuch has practiced Organization Development for 40 years and since 1999 has applied a dialogic mindset to her work with businesses, government, and communities in Israel and internationally. Tova specializes in using generative change methods that liberate life energy and collective intelligence, inviting self-organizing and personal leadership. She designs and facilitates accelerated change by working with the whole system in the room.

She earned a BSW at Hebrew University and an MSc in Organization Behavior at Tel Aviv University. She has taught in various university training programs including the Masters in OD program at Tel Aviv University School of Business from 2010-2015. Tova contributed chapters to The Handbook of Large Group Methods and Dialogic Organization Development.

Her writing is aimed at sharing her practice and lessons learned with consultants and leaders interested in dialogic emergent change.  This book is her legacy for how to prepare leaders and members to successfully begin a dialogic and emergent process. She lives in Holon, Israel.