Seashore and Weisbord: Two Legends of OD

Edie Seashore and Marv Weisbord, two living legends in the field of Organization Development, appeared tonight in a special program of the Philadelphia Regional OD Network (PRODN) on the PCOM campus, off City Avenue (aka Rt. 1) in the City of Brotherly Love.

In a two hour conversation, moderated by Michael Broom, Edie and Marv reflected on the beginnings and the evolution of the OD field, through the prism of their own journeys.

Here are some of my fragmented notes:

Edie: John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, group dynamics, social change, sexism, civil rights movement, Dick Beckhard, NTL, Warren Bennis, Ken Benne, Charles Seashore, triple impact coaching, and experiential learning.

Marv: T-Groups, McGregor, Theory X and Y, dignity, community, self-managing teams, action research, productive workplaces, the six boxes model, Future Search, and "Get the whole system in the room."

As I listened to Edie and Marv, I was reminded of my own journey as an OD practitioner, and the many teachers I have encountered over the years who helped shape and form me, including Brent Ruben, Dave Davidson, Karl Weick, Stan Epstein, David Hanna, Edgar Schein, Peter Block, Doug Campbell, Wilts Alexander, and Catherine Woods.

Toward the close of the two-hour session, Michael Broom asked them about the future.

Edie said she is exploring coaching by working through leaders to effect change. Her forthcoming book, Triple Impact Coaching, will address this approach.

Marv is "retired" but active in running the Future Search Network. He is concerned about the rapid pace of change in today's world and wonders if OD people can be effective with the tools of the past.

Then the time ran out. I could have kept going, listening and learning, for hours.

Though I haven't been to NTL in Bethel, Maine, I got a taste of the magic tonight. It was one of those special events, never to be repeated.

I am thankful to my networking buddy Mark Hollern and PRODN. And glad to have been there.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 10/26/06


Matt Minahan said…
Hi, Terry. Edie seems to be bi-coastal these days . . . as I just saw her in SF at the OD Network at the beginning of this week . . .

And Marv was a Lifetime Achievement Award winner at last year's OD Network conf in Minnesota.

It must have been great to see them together for the evening! Matt Minahan
Astha said…
As I read the post I felt myself wishing they had captured the chat- perhaps podcasted it.

Thanks for sharing the nuggets :)
Terrence said…
Hey Matt,

Welcome to my blog.

Yes, when I saw Edie in Philly she was still feeling some jet lag from her trip back home from California.

BTW - Thanks for the daily messages you sent to ODNET re the conference in SanFran.


Loretta Donovan said…

This past summer was my second NTL experience. And this time Edie was there telling her stories of NTL's journey. It was a real treat to see her a couple of weeks later at the Academy of Management on the panel with several other illuminati of the OD world sharing some of what you likely heard about the network of relationships and theories that they/we can call our inheritance. I'll be blogging today about NTL at

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