In this dialogue, Bill Torbert shares with us what has led him on his lifetime quest to understand the nature of human collaboration and development. How do we practice learning in daily life? How do we create the conditions for transformative effects in our own selves, and why is collaborating with other people so difficult!?
As a special treat, Bill also takes us through the one minute excersise that has enabled him to get through his own confusions in consulting situations throughout the years.
In this interview we discuss…
- How to become collaborative with people who aren’t neccesarily interested in becoming collaborative
- Why it is important to confront your own current assumptions and how to gradually move beyond them.
- Why it is of critical importance to find other “volunteers”, who want to help each other in practice for their conscious development
- AND…. participate in a quick 1-minute exercise that Bill uses to be more conscious in difficult situations.
Now Professor Emeritus of Management at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, Bill Torbert has also served as the school’s Graduate Dean and Director of the PhD Program in Organizational Transformation. He has been involved in the founding of many academic programs, institutions as well as serving on the boards of numerous scholarly journals.
Outside the academy, Bill has consulted widely including projects with Odebrecht Construction [Brazil], Volvo and UBS Warburg [England], Lego [Denmark], Center for Creative Leadership [USA]) and served on the Boards of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Trillium Asset Management (the first and largest independent social investing advisor).
Bill is well known for his theories, cases, surveys, and lab and field experiments in regard to developmental transformation at both the personal and organizational levels, as well as within science itself, undergirded by an action research process exercised in real-time, everyday life, called “developmental action inquiry.” Unlike most purely third-person, analytic social science research, action inquiry integrates first-person, second-person, and third-person research/practice in real-time. He has written numerous books, perhaps most famously: Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership (Berrett-Koehler, 2004).
Torbert received a BA, magna cum laude, in Political Science & Economics and a PhD in Administrative Sciences from Yale University, holding a Danforth Graduate Fellowship during his graduate years. He taught at Yale, Southern Methodist University, and Harvard prior to joining the Boston College faculty in 1978.
Most of all, though, he takes great pleasure and pride (not to mention occasional pain) in the ongoing development of his friends, his students, and his three sons, Michael, Patrick, and Benjamin.
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