Focusing on the positive is not just a recent trend in O.D. it is argued, but has been with us since the beginning. The failure-phobic orientation of O.D. and giving a positive spin to O.D. work may have had its purpose, but we are paying a price for our rose colored glasses by denying our existential condition and the realities of our practice. There is much to be learned from our failures and we need to share them so others won't make the same mistakes.
Learning From Failures in O.D. Consulting
"For too many years individuals and organizations involved in organizational development and change have promoted their success while ignoring their failures and abortive attempts" (Armstrong, 1979. p.34). Phil Mirvis and David Berg edited a book entitled Failures in Organization Development (1977) that made a big splash but was soon ignored. What a shame! So much can be learned from failure. Just think of all the times Edison failed before inventing the light bulb. I have been intrigued with how little has been written about failures in O.D. Consulting while so much has been written about its successes. No doubt it is more satisfying writing about success than failure: it also helps in our marketing efforts. This positive spin was around long before Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider, D, Sorenson, P, Yaeger & Whitney, 2001) and Positive Psychology (Seli...