JLTalley & Associates

Making the complex clear

After 45 years of providing services to hundreds of organizations, I have decided to shift my practice. I am surprised at the lessons about organizations and about consulting that became so clear in the last ten years that somehow escaped in the first 35 years of work. I am hoping to shorten the learning curve for the emerging and even seasoned consultants coming up behind me. I am focusing on teaching, writing, and mentoring for whatever years I have left.

The topics of the courses I am offering include the following:

  • Advanced Problem Solving: A reviewing of the problem typology that ahs been the backbone of my practice; the main premise is that there are only 6 types of problems in the world, and the key to addressing any problem is to be crystal clear on its fundamental structure. Solutions will emerge from candid exploration of the problem, but only if you have a map of the terrain.
  • The Art & Science of Survey Design: Surveys remain a powerful tool for more than just feedback. A well structured survey can engage employees, highlight insights about the nature of problems, and enable decision-makers to focus on their best choices. Special survey formats can help companies better understand critical segments of their staff as well as support implementation of major change efforts.
  • Work Design: When companies face productivity problems, they too quickly turn to the worker. We try to enhance motivation, technical skills, group skills, or management styles. In most cases, the source of the problem is in the structure of the work. But we have only tepid tools for viewing and designing work. Process Improvement -- as a field -- has lost its way and fallen into mere procedural refinement and automation. We need a robust conceptual framework capable of illuminating even the complex and highly customized work of organizations.
  • How To Be a Consultant: The solo practitioner has an unusual business model. Aside from providing valuable services, usually there is only one person to attend to visioning, strategic planning, building capability, marketing, proposal writing, contracting, and all the other components to the business of consulting.

I offer these courses through universities, professional associations, and privately. Please contact me if you would like to notified of the next offering.

In addition to the courses mentioined above, I am actively involved in mentoring organizational development consultants through the National OD Network.