Bob’s Personal Statement
My experience over the past twenty years in industry, the university and personal research
clearly indicated that improving the way work is managed is a key success factor in today’s complex and rapidly-changing
marketplace. I have developed a strong conviction that what works best is a management system that focuses
on managing and improving the process network the organization uses to develop, produce, deliver and support products and
services. Also important is the development of people, in particular, understanding and improving the organizational
and human competencies that enable the functionality of self-organizing multidisciplinary teams.
It is my view that organizational
success is built on a foundation of cooperation within the organization and social and environmental responsibility.
I believe the cultural emphasis within Western societies on individual competition and individual success has resulted
in a tendency of individuals and departments within an organization to compete with one another. Also,
this has adversely affected the organization’s performance and taken attention away from what Willis Harman called “responsibility
for the whole.”
educational system is based upon a paradigm whose age is past—a paradigm that focused primarily on developing specialized
skills and structures within which these skills could be effectively used. It is still important to develop
these skills, but also to understand and develop the new skills and new technology that are needed to be competitive in today’s
few years ago, I was listening to the Dean of the College of Engineering at San Jose State talking to graduating students
and telling them that he strongly believed it was important to focus on the basics of engineering education. I
agree with his statement, but also, I believe strongly that the basics have changed. Today’s “basics”
include the technology necessary to manage and integrate work in complex multidisciplinary organizations and the human skills
that are necessary to work effectively with others.
In 1986 I wrote my first paper on process theory.
Since then, I have been extremely fortunate to be exposed to the work of many management theory pioneers, such as W.
Edwards Deming, Peter Senge, Eliyahu Goldratt, John Kotter, Margaret Wheatley, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Willis Harman, Riane
Eisler, and Peter Drucker. These theorists and many others describe the future we seek to create and why
it is important to do so. There is, however, a shortage of practical information on examples of how to
achieve the transformations we seek. Developing this information and making it available to others has
been the focus of my work for more than thirty years.
To gain understanding of what worked, what didn’t work, and why, I studied the organizational
transformation efforts of others. I have held functional management and project management positions in
industry and gained knowledge in the hard school of experience. I have developed and taught courses in
industry and the university and gained understanding of the importance of connecting new concepts to course participants’
experience and of the value of experiential learning. Together with my colleagues I have developed education
and training resources that help organizations and people achieve the changes needed to improve the quality of life at work
and be successful in today’s marketplace. I have been fortunate enough to lead and participate in
numerous on-site projects in business and industry, in which I have seen successful change occur. I have
learned that there is no one approach that fits all situations; however, there are some generic fundamentals that fit most
situations. One is that change needs to be led internally and built on existing capabilities.
Another is that the organizational culture needs to be supportive of learning. People embrace change
because they have an opportunity to learn what works effectively in their world, and this process takes time.
It has been my good fortune to work with many dedicated
people in the USA, Asia and Europe who are also seeking ways to help make the work place more organic, more socially and environmentally
responsible, and yet highly profitable. I feel in tune with organizations like Net Impact and the World
Business Academy, and continually seek opportunities to work with others who share my excitement and passion for the opportunities
we have to work together to help make this a better world.