Education teacher will receive national award for organizational development

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William Brendel, Assistant Professor of Education (Organizational Development and Change) in the Department of Learning and Performance Systems, will receive the Organizational Development (OD) Award for the evolution of OD by connecting people and ideas during of a virtual ceremony on November 12.

The OD network is made up of leading academics and practitioners who guide the practice of organizational development and serve as agents of change by creating a global community for meaningful connections and exchanging best practices.

“One of the most famous people in our field, Lisa Kimball, was renowned for connecting people and ideas, not just connecting people so that they could talk to each other and share ideas, but connecting them to that they can co-create ideas. It meant bringing together diverse and quite different people, and also pushing the boundaries of what we are currently doing on the ground. This (award) is in his honor. And I was very lucky to be nominated for the same reasons, ”said Brendel.

Brendel’s research examines how mindfulness theories and practices can be incorporated into organizational development to improve the conditions for strategic innovation, healthy organizational cultures, effective leadership, and a navigable workforce. in complex changes, to manage stress and to interact with others with more compassion.

“Mindfulness is built into leadership training in over 60% of Fortune 500 companies; that’s a lot, ”said Brendel. “I was there when it was very experimental. And I am cited as a pioneer in what is now called conscious leadership.

A Google search for conscious leadership will yield millions of entries, but Brendel was the first to conduct an empirical study with real business leaders, comparing a leadership development course to leaders who practiced mindfulness for 45 years. minutes per week instead of taking a leadership development course. Classes.

Brendel said the group that practiced mindfulness had an increase in creativity, resilience, and tolerance for ambiguity.

“It shows the distinction between traditional education, which focuses on putting knowledge into someone’s head, and those awareness skills of metacognition and letting go of your ego and your expertise and welcome from various perspectives. This is the way of the future, I am convinced of it, ”said Brendel.

Brendel, who has been teaching, giving workshops and conducting research for 22 years, said the genesis of his mindfulness research came when his sister died aged 30. He said he didn’t have any tools to make him feel good and think clearly after her. death.

“I felt so locked in and tightened up that I went to Google and typed ‘What are you doing to stop thinking about things … – based on stress reduction at the University of Massachusetts. It’s probably his. only the person responsible for popularizing mindfulness in the United States, “Brendel said.” I researched him, and learned from him directly and immediately saw applications in the business world, not just to reduce stress, but also for meditation – the type he uses is secular, so there is no religion in it. “

He said he focuses on innovation and inclusion. “I remember walking through a supermarket the day after my sister died, passing strangers and thinking, ‘Any of these people can suffer to the same degree as me and I wouldn’t know. never “. Brendel said. “I felt a real connection with people and thought how good that would be for businesses, schools and any organization? Isn’t that exactly what we need right now? So that’s kind of the genesis of everything I’m playing with.

Organizational development continues to evolve to meet new needs of organizations and communities, such as a growing investment in understanding and implementing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DCI).

Brendel cited two false positives that are currently occurring within DCI. “One is that organizations create checkbox lists. If we do ABCDEF and G, we can officially say that we are diverse, inclusive and fair, ”he said. “Although this is partly true, it is not all, because you can tick every box and you can still feel that this is the least inclusive and fair place, that there is a false sense. As human beings we understand this; we can tell when excuses are bogus there are tons of studies out there.

“The other false positive is just feeling inclusive and not doing anything about it, not actually taking action but thinking that you are inclusive. This opens a valve for good people to suffer from their own unconscious biases. ”

He said the question he’s interested in is how to integrate the two, and he thinks the answer is to establish an integrated consciousness. Behavioral science consciousness studies say that human beings experience the world through access consciousness, or by making sense of language and thought, and phenomenal consciousness, or experience. intuitive to be.

“You can’t think or feel your way to inclusion,” Brendel said. “Incorporating these two is very much possible through the practice of mindfulness. I developed the theory of conscious OD. And this approach is to stretch out where people spend most of their day – that is, in that place of reflection – and stretch it into phenomenal consciousness so that we can both think and simultaneously feeling this thing that we call inclusion. “It’s just opening our minds to what we’re feeling and what we’re feeling and integrating those two instead of favoring one or the other.”

From that work came the letters of nomination from his peers, and Brendel said it “meant everything to me” to be nominated by his peers. “And not just any peers, but really very eminent people in the field. This award has been reviewed by people I admire for decades, and to hear what the comments were like, I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is awesome,” Brendel said.

“I feel really happy and lucky to be part of this crowd, but I fell into it. It’s good; it’s encouraging to feel like someone is saying ‘Atta boy, keep going, you are on the right track.’ ”


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