Welcome to the new Organizational Effectiveness Institute (OEI) Website! We are working towards big things and would appreciate you being part of the journey, so please visit and communicate with us often.
From our previous communications you are aware of the book about the Army’s OE School that we are writing and some of the background there. However, you are probably not yet familiar with the new OE Institute that we are in the process of building.
While the Institute and website’s initial focus is to support the writing of the book and facilitate communications between us, there are other longer-term plans that we are very excited about, and that we would like to outline for you here.
What you will learn about as you read on includes:
- Where and how the idea for the OE institute, this website, and the book that they support came about
- The purpose of the Institute, and
- A look at the first pass of the Vision we are developing for the Institute
We would greatly appreciate any and all reactions, comments, and questions you may have about any part of what you are about to read. Please send us your feedback and we promise to get back to you quickly.
Thanks again for your interest in the project and for visiting the website!
Jerry & Tom
The Oganizational Effectiveness Institute
The idea for the OE Institute came about in discussions between Dr. Jerry Eppler, former Dean of Training for the United States Army’s Organizational Effectiveness Center and School (OEC&S) from 1975 to 1985, and Tom Helton, one of Jerry’s students and a graduate of the first Organizational Effectiveness (OE) Course in 1976.
Jerry and Tom are writing a book in the form of a “collective memoir” that tells the story of the graduates and former staff and faculty of the US Army’s Organizational Effectiveness (OE) School in Monterey, California from 1975 to 1985.
To gather the personal stories of this group, they are planning to conduct over one hundred and fifty one-on-one telephone interviews with graduates of the Army’s OE Course and former members of the School’s staff and faculty. The story of the OE School is a story that needs to get out into the world and it is time that it is told!
The first part of the working title of the book is, Teaching Toward Peace. A colon follows these first three words that sets up the subtitle that is, as yet, undecided. We would love to hear your ideas.
The purpose of the OE Institute is threefold:
- To bring together graduates and former members of the staff and faculty of the US Army’s Organizational Effectiveness (OE) School to establish a vital, energized, and engaged “alumni association”.
- To source and attract the best and brightest young people that we can find who have an interest in learning more about leadership, leadership development, and organizational effectiveness/improvement, and recruit them to become active members of the Institute.
- With the help of both the OE Alumni group, and new members of the Institute, to design, develop, and launch a 21st Century version of the OE School in some form to help prepare new generations of prospective Organizational Effectiveness (OE) practitioners acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for them to become successful providers of organizational effectiveness/improvement and leadership development training, coaching, and facilitation services.
In the early days of rock and roll and the dawn of what has been called the Great Consciousness Awakening of the 1960s and 70s it was almost impossible to listen to the radio without hearing one of the big power ballads of the time, Jackie DeShannon’s, “What the World Needs Now”. You know the lyrics.
The corollary to Ms. DeShannon’s declaration, also worth noting, comes in the form of an Irish proverb, “If you pray for potatoes, pick up a spade”.
The Vision for the OE Institute is an amalgam of the themes of “love, peace, and hard work toward those things”, and emanates from the same hopeful but pragmatic place in the firmament from whence these themes come.
Each of us can choose to consciously aspire and learn to become better people, create and nurture healthier families, design and lead more effective organizations, build kinder communities, and work together to leave, as our legacies, a better world for the generations that will follow us.
Most graduates of the Army’s OE School agree with these assertions, and possess an extra dollop of hopeful optimism because they have acquired a timeless and core body of knowledge and were taught the basic skills one needs to be able to help turn these aspirations into realities, and change people’s lives.
The United States Army’s Organizational Effectiveness (OE) School, a post-Vietnam War Era “teaching organization” in the finest sense of that concept, operated from 1976 to 1985 teaching and graduating over 1,800 men and women who were subsequently deployed worldwide to help the Army units learn to become more effective.
During the decade between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s while the OE School continued to fulfill its mission of preparing OE practitioners for their new roles, graduates of the Course, already deployed and practicing, were using the knowledge and skills they learned during the four-month long OE Course to teach leaders throughout the Army these same skills.
The skills taught at the OE School included how to:
- Improve communications and teamwork
- Upgrade planning techniques
- Deal with conflict
- Engage soldiers
- Streamline meetings
- Facilitate changes of leadership, and
- Rethink and reengineer managerial leadership processes
These skills and the body of behavioral science knowledge that surrounds them were taught at Fort Ord in service of Amy’s mission to be prepared to win future battles and wars in defense of the United States and her allies. This all happened, to be sure, but something else, a fortuitous and unintended consequence, also occurred simultaneously for hundreds of students going through the Course.
Today over a beverage of choice, and in an atmosphere of bonhomie, a number of former students and graduates of the OE Course almost forty-years ago, will tell you very candidly, sometimes as an aside, that they experienced a subtle shift in their, for lack of a better description, “personal psychology”, or sensibility, at some point during the four-plus month period of their training to become organizational effectiveness and leadership development practitioners.
Entering the Course as warriors, many with recent, and even multiple combat tours in Vietnam still fresh in their psyches, speak of this shift as a slowly dawning awareness and new sense of the possibility of peace versus conflict in their own lives, relationships, families, teams, communities, and perhaps someday, the world. It is this spirit that the OE Institute seeks to recapture and rekindle.
We have found no better explanation of what happened at the deep “process level” of the Army OE Course than that offered by Dr. David R. Hawkins in his terrific and illuminating book, Power vs. Force, Hay House, Inc., 1995.
Tip: If you decide to read Hawkins’ book, we recommend that you start reading at Chapter-3 unless you are interested in kinesiology (muscle testing). Chapters-1 and-2 are okay, but the real juice in the book starts to flow in its third chapter.
Power vs. Force is, no pun intended, an extremely powerful book. If you have at some point experienced the “subtle shift in your personal psychology or sensibility” mentioned above, this book will explain beautifully what happened. The book affected us strongly and we believe that it will affect you similarly.
No, a chorus of, “Give Peace a Chance” is not going to start playing from your computer’s speakers. While a “chance” is necessary for peace, it is definitely not sufficient. That is where the “pick up a spade” part of things, and the essence of the Institute’s Vision make their entry.
It is the intention and Vision of the OE Institute to work to begin making the same knowledge and the same skills that were taught at the OE School available to new generations of prospective OE practitioners by designing and building an organization whose business is “Teaching Toward Peace” while simultaneously providing the knowledge and skills necessary to help improve organizations, or parts of organizations, through improved communications, better teamwork, and more effective engagement.
“Teaching toward” is a pragmatic approach that will yield tangible results. Trying to simply “Teach Peace” would be like trying to teach happiness. The effort would end predictably in disappointment and failure.
During our journey of “teaching toward”, we intend to make the same kind of positive and lasting contribution that the Army and the OE School made so many years ago. We cannot think of a more worthwhile legacy than to help prepare new generations of OE practitioners to carry on the work that is so desperately needed in the world today.
We invite you to, and we hope that you will, join us on this journey!
Following are some of the value-added services that we intend for the OE Institute to offer:
The OE Institute will offer a significant number of value-added services will be designed, developed, and phased-in over the next two-years and beyond. We want the Institute to become a “one-stop shop”, resource hub, and professional and intellectual “base camp” for anyone practicing, or interested in, organizational effectiveness anywhere in the world. Following is a listing of these planned service offerings.
- Launch of the OE Alumni Association, and the Inaugural OE Alumni Association Meeting and OEI Practitioner Roundtable Conference
The Institute will launch its first event in Q2, 2019 in the form of its Inaugural OE Alumni Association Meeting and OEI Practitioner Roundtable Conference in Carmel, California. Two such Alumni Association Meetings and Roundtable Conferences will be conducted each calendar year, once during the springtime, and the second in autumn.
OE Alumni Association and OEI Roundtable Conferences will feature personal and professional networking opportunities, knowledge building and lessons-learned sessions, skill building workshops, presentations by members and notable outside guest speakers, and topical panel discussions.
The conferences will typically be scheduled to begin on Wednesday evenings with a welcome cocktail reception, run through a full day’s working agenda on Thursday, including a hosted “OEI Signature Dinner” Thursday evening, and continue during Friday for a half-day’s agenda.
Conferences will be held at comfortable venues in desirable locations with opportunities for leisure time activities in the surrounding locale either before or after the conference proper.
The Inaugural Conference in 2019 is currently in the early planning stages. Your ideas and suggestions are welcome. More information will be forthcoming via oe-institute.com and other special announcements.
- The OE Communiqué 2.0 Blog
The OEI website will feature a monthly blog post, The OE Communiqué 2.0, to honor and commemorate the original “OE Communiqué” quarterly magazine published by the US Army Organizational Effectiveness Center & School (OEC&S).
The monthly blog will be an informative and thought provoking piece of original writing by members of the Institute, the first iteration of which, entitled, “Elvis Was Right: ‘We Can’t Go on Together With Suspicious Minds” will be posted the last week of September, 2018.
If you have an idea for, or want to submit a blog post, please let us know by leaving a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you regarding details.
- OEI Practitioner Forum
The Practitioner Forum is intended to be a place on the website where peoples’ thoughts or questions can be shared, read, and responses offered. Subjects may include recommendations of professional books or articles, best practices, lessons learned, and/or simply ideas that might encourage discussion.
The Forum is the “dealer’s choice” part of the OEI website, and everyone is the dealer.
- Recommended Reading List and Library
Professional reading is widely recognized as one of the most effective ways to build ones’ knowledge base. There are literally hundreds of professional books, and thousands of articles worth reading in the fields of organizational effectiveness/improvement, leadership, and leadership development, with more being added daily.
There are so many good books that one person could never find them, let alone read them all. Working together and sharing however, OEI members can narrow and reduce the search time for a relevant book or article and point others toward worthwhile titles.
- Teaching Toward Peace Book News
Jerry and Tom will post monthly updates on their progress with the book project in this section of the website.
Updates will include: information about individual interviews for the book now planned to begin in October, inside looks at the structure of the book once it starts to take shape, and other information deemed either relevant or interesting to everyone.
If you have any specific ideas or thoughts about the kinds of information that you would like to see in the book updates, please leave a message at email@example.com
- The Organizational Effectiveness Institute (OEI) Academy
The OEI Academy is the centerpiece of the Vision. The idea behind it is to use the lessons learned from the Army’s OE School along with contemporary OE/OD learning and development needs to design and develop a “2.0-version” of the OE School curriculum, actively market it, and begin identifying and recruiting prospective participants in Q3 2019. The first cohort of twelve to fifteen students who are selected will enter the first Academy Course in early Q1 2020.
The OEI Academy is envisioned as the commercial, 21st Century version of the US Army’s OE School, mirroring the subject areas taught there deemed to be the most relevant and best suited to the practice of OE in the field today. The new curriculum will incorporate lessons-learned from the School’s ten-year history, and feedback from graduates and former members of its staff & faculty.
Regarding faculty for the OEI Academy, the goal is to successfully recruit a number of graduates of the Army’s OE School to serve as paid instructors and facilitators for the program, supplemented by outside guest lecturers and relevant subject matter experts.
Identification and recruitment of members of an OEI Academy Design and Development Team will begin initially during the individual interviews Jerry and Tom will conduct for the book project and finalized during Q2 2019.
Designing, developing, and delivering OEI Academy courses to prepare new generations of OE practitioners is an exciting and rewarding undertaking, the most tangible and lasting accomplishment of OEI and its membership, and our collective legacy for the future.
- Public Leadership Development and OE-Related Workshops
Public leadership development knowledge and skill building workshops will be offered quarterly or on-demand across the United States initially and then abroad as needs are identified. As in the OEI Academy, these workshops will be co-led and co-facilitated by interested and available OEI members.
Additionally other knowledge, skill, and teambuilding workshops/ educational events including: consulting and platform skills workshops, practitioner skills development and continuing education events, and new practitioner boot camps will also be offered by OEI.
Thank you for taking time to read this lengthy “Learn More” document.
Putting it together we decided to err on the side of too much, versus not enough, information.
We are very sincere about wanting your comments, feedback, ideas, points-of-view…whatever you have and would like to tell us.
You may contact us collectively by leaving a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively you can email any or all of us at the email addresses below.
Thanks again for your involvement, encouragement, and feedback.
Teaching Toward Peace,
Jerry, Tom, Ida, and Kellen