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 6 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 is a practical introduction to the four types of conversations people use every day to get their work done: Initiative, Understanding, Performance, and Closure. When these conversations are used appropriately, people and teams are able to be productive, engaged, accountable, and successful in reaching organizational goals, including change objectives. Won “Best Management Book of the Year” award from 800-CEO-Read.
Decoding Resistance to Change Harvard Business Review; March 23, 2009; Authors: Jeffrey Ford PhD and Laurie Ford PhD. It’s true that resistance can be irrational and self-serving. Still, it is an important form of feedback.
Engaging Citizens in the Nuclear Conversation Radioactive Waste Management Symposia; February 27, 2011; Author: Laurie Ford PhD. Engaging people in productive interaction requires constructing a dialogue to help the public engage effectively in a new nuclear future.
Project Management: Using Performance Networks Radioactive Waste Management Symposia; February 27, 2011; Author Laurie Ford PhD. Traditional activity-based project management tools need to put work product delivery ahead of “doing things”.
PUBLICATIONS IN REFEREED JOURNALS, partial list
Resistance to Change: The Rest of the Story, Ford, J.D., Ford, L.W., and D’Amelio, A., Academy of Management Review, Vol. 33, No. 2, 2008.
- Publisher’s communication July 2012 regarding this article: “Your article ‘Resistance to change: the rest of the story’ (Academy of Management Review, 2008) has won one of the prestigious Emerald Management Reviews Citations of Excellence Awards for 2012 (full press details here). It has been chosen as one of the top 50 articles with proven impact since its publication date from the top 300 management journals in the world.”
Conversational Profiles: A Tool for Altering the Conversational Patterns of Change Managers, Ford, J.D. and Ford, L.W., The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 2008.
Resistance and the Background Conversations of Change, Ford, J.D., Ford, L.W., and McNamara, R., Journal of Organizational Change Management, 2002.
Conversations and the Authoring of Change, Ford, J.D. and Ford, L.W., in The Manager as a Practical Author, David Holman and Richard Thorpe (Eds), Sage Publishing, 2002.
The Role of Conversations in Producing Intentional Change in Organizations, Ford, J.D. and Ford, L.W., Academy of Management Review, Vol. 20 (1995), 541-570. Awarded Best Published Paper by the Organizational Communication Division of the Academy of Management, 1995.
Logics of Identity, Contradiction, and Attraction and Change, Ford, J.D. and Ford, L.W., Academy of Management Review, Vol. 19 (1994), pp. 756-785.