About Laurie

Laurie Ford, PhD has combined her education in Cognitive Psychology and Operations Research Engineering to design effective methods of change implementation and management for business, government, and association organizations in the US and Europe.  She and her husband, Professor Jeffrey Ford of The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business have co-authored The Four Conversations book and “Other Publications” in academic and practitioner publications.

She has blended fundamental communication principles from her Social Sciences background with systems management principles of Engineering to provide a new and effective approach for organization change and management to:

  • Clarify the goals, measures and timelines for intended results and outcomes;
  • Establish performance networks of individuals and groups, both inside and outside of the organization by facilitating agreements for the delivery of resources and results to support goal accomplishment; and
  • Implement practices for tracking, reporting and updating results “scoreboards” by using productive communication methods in team meetings (see Management 1-2-3).

This approach consistently shows 50-200% improvements in financial and operational measures for all kinds of “performance”, including efficiency, profitability, and the satisfaction of both customers and personnel.

On a more personal note, I’ve done a few outrageous things. I motorcycled solo across the US on a 6-week break between a career as a computer programmer and my return to Buffalo for graduate school. After grad school I took 9 months to backpack around the world – Tahiti, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia for 3 months; Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Burma (now Myanmar) for 3 months; and India, Nepal and Kashmir for 3 months.

Jeffrey likes to say he teaches what I practice, and I say that I practice what Jeffrey teaches. Our collaboration has resulted in a unique approach to making management easier and organizational change less painful. Jeffrey’s MBA classes, where I was a frequent visitor, were recognized for their unique perspective and immediately usable content, making Jeffrey an award-winning teacher.


Ph.D., Operations Research, 1975, State University of New York at Buffalo.  Network, circuit, and system design and analysis; integrated systems and process networks.

M.S.I.E., Industrial Engineering, 1973, State University of New York at Buffalo.  Human factors engineering and the design of human-machine systems.

B.A., Psychology, 1970, State University of New York at Buffalo.  Human learning, understanding, and communication; social sciences and philosophy.


2017 to present. Still producing written materials (books, articles, and learning materials) on management and communication. But now, also a Senior Fellow with the US Nuclear Industry Council, facilitating the Decommissioning Task Force and the Back End Working Group. In other words, I’m working toward the safe and permanent disposition of radioactive wastes from nuclear power facilities. Every girl needs a hobby, right?

2013 to 2017. After a career of consulting with defense, energy, utilities, and business organizations, Laurie Ford is now focusing on producing written materials (books, articles, and learning materials) to support executives and other managers in effective management and change implementation.

1989 to 2013. Organization change and management design Consultant and Facilitator with Associations, Businesses, Industry, and Service Organizations, and Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies. Workshop and seminar leader for in-house and Conference programs on change leadership, management, and accountability implementation. Author of change management books and professional and trade journal articles for practicing managers.

2002-2009: Columbus Department of Utilities, developing: Communication requirements and agreements between groups; Standard operating procedures; and Workflows, measures and internal communications to support individual and group performance and asset management. Including Executive Team, Operations Managers (running 100-200-person sub-organizations) and Unit Managers, Supervisors, and Technical Specialists.

  • 1993-1995: Intel Corporation. With internal consultants, fabrication plants, and administrative offices, develop methods that support coordination within and between teams, departments, and divisions.
  • 1992-1994: Ohio State Research Foundation. With senior executives, managers and staff to integrate objectives, streamline communications and clarify accountabilities.

And a partial listing of other clients from 1992 to 2017 includes:

  • Business/Industry – Escada., Munich Germany (Senior Executive Retreats); Intel Corporation, Portland OR; Phoenix AZ; Albuquerque NM; Santa Clara CA (Consulting projects and programs) ; Martin Marietta Corporation, Oak Ridge Tennessee (Consulting projects) ; Mead Fine Paper, Chillicothe Ohio (Consulting projects and programs) /
  • Associations – American College of Emergency Physicians, Central Ohio (Retreats); Ohio Hospital Association, Columbus, Ohio (Consulting projects and retreats); Ohio State Medical Association, Columbus Ohio (Consulting projects).
  • Government Agencies – US Naval Air Center, China Lake and Pt. Mugu; Indian Health Service, Tempe AZ (Programs); NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt Maryland (Consulting projects); US Department of Energy, Germantown Maryland (Consulting projects); US Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Tennessee (Consulting projects); Ohio Bureau of Worker’s Compensation (Consulting project); Ohio Department of Development, Columbus Ohio (Consulting projects); Ohio Department of Human Services, Columbus Ohio (Consulting projects); Columbus Department of Public Utilities (Consulting projects and retreats); Columbus Mayor’s Office (Programs).

1985 – 1988. Consulting w/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center managers on management planning, design, and coordination.

1981 to 1984. Consulting w/Jaehne Associates on security feasibility studies with the US Department of Energy’s Military Applications Division at Germantown DOE offices and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


The Four Conversations: Daily Communication that Gets Results  Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.; August 15, 2009; Authors: Jeffrey Ford PhD and Laurie Ford PhD. This book is a practical introduction to the four types of everyday productive conversations people  use to get their work done: Initiative, Understanding, Performance, and Closure. When these conversations are used appropriately, people and teams are able to be engaged, accountable, and successful in reaching organizational goals, including change objectives.  Won “Best Management Book of the Year” award from 800-CEO-Read.  See also our website on this book at www.usingthefourconversations.com.

Other publications are listed under the tab “Other Publications” on this site.

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