I’MDaniel Stone – and making change real has been a part of my personal and professional life for over 35 years.
I work with a wide array of organizations in many sectors: corporate, government, health care, education, non-profit, and others. I’ve worked with all levels, from CEOs and Cabinet Secretaries to front-line employees. My clients include top medical centers, universities, large governmental organizations, and multinational corporations – as well as smaller organizations and individuals from a wide range of cultures, styles, and disciplines. And I’ve done this work throughout the United States and across five continents.
I’ve been fascinated by how change works for my entire life, and it’s been my career since I was introduced to the field of Organization Development (OD) in the mid-1970s. In the 1980s, as a senior manager, I was given the responsibility of creating an OD consulting unit within the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services agency at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The unit became the top-ranked service organization out of 45 within the agency, and has been emulated as a model for other OD units throughout the federal government.
OD is a young field. I’m fortunate to have discovered it while it was still in its infancy, and I’ve been privileged to be a pathfinder within the profession. I conducted my first large group conference in 1977 – nearly 15 years before there was even a term for such an activity. Now, they’re commonly called “large group interventions.”
For me, the excitement of OD has always been in the “doing” – working with my clients to enable them to change and grow.
Change is natural and energizing. However, many issues can impede its progress.
My role as a change agent is to catalyze and support the people involved, at the individual and collective level, through a process which, when done correctly, feels natural and whole. This means creating a container – a process – that enables people to be honest with themselves and with one another. Creating open conversations about the current reality tends to lead naturally to the formation of a vision for the future. Having created that vision, the steps required to achieve it usually emerge readily.
In this process, people sometimes experience their different points of view as being in conflict with one another. However, my experience working with groups – some very small, some as large as several thousand at a time – has proven over and over again that, given the opportunity for authentic dialogue, apparent differences can be brought together and reconciled into greater understanding and a sense of shared possibility.
My commitment to change is part of my life as well as my career, and has included a lifelong interest in personal and spiritual growth and healing. That experience contributes significantly to my ability to understand what’s required to create change on an individual basis as well as at the organizational level.
Having had so much experience, I’ve been asked many times over the years when I’m going to write my book. I haven’t gotten around to it yet – and since I find actively supporting my clients in making change real to be far more interesting than writing about it, I’m not sure if I ever will! However, I’ve recently become interested in the potential of film and video, and I’m experimenting with how this active, visual medium might help stimulate and support change. And I’m also a musician, having performed professionally in my younger years.
When I’m not on the road for professional reasons, I divide my time among my main residence in Myrtle Beach, SC, my home in the stunningly beautiful area between the Delaware Bay and Prime Hook Wildlife Refuge, and my emerging new home in central India.
Education and Professional Credentials
- MA in counseling psychology, Antioch College
- Post-graduate program in Gestalt and Organization Development, Gestalt Institute of Cleveland
- Post-graduate program in Advanced Organization and Human Resources Development, Columbia University
- Fellow in Organization Development, Johns Hopkins University
- Professional Member of the National Training Laboratories
- Faculty positions include University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Gestalt Institute of Cleveland
- Past faculty positions at American University and Antioch College
- Numerous published papers, articles, and presentations at professional conferences on the subjects of organizational change and citizen engagement