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Get to know your Consultant!

Learn about your consultant, Dr. Bill Brendel

00:00 / 04:06

Helpful Reading

Helpful Reading

"The Appreciative Inquiry Handbook: For Leaders of Change" by David L. Cooperrider and Diana Whitney

This book delves into the concept of Appreciative Inquiry (AI), which is a positive and strengths-based approach to organizational change. It provides practical guidance on how to apply AI principles and processes in various contexts. Reading this book will deepen your understanding of the appreciative approach discussed in my podcast and equip you with tools to implement it effectively.

"Organization Development: A Process of Learning and Changing" by Donald L. Anderson

This book offers a comprehensive overview of organization development (OD) and its core concepts, principles, and practices. It explores how OD promotes positive change, employee engagement, and organizational effectiveness. By reading this book, you will gain a solid foundation in OD theory and learn how it aligns with the philosophy I shared in the podcast.

"Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used" by Peter Block

In this classic book, Peter Block provides insights and strategies for consultants to enhance their effectiveness and build strong client relationships. It emphasizes the importance of collaboration, trust, and mutual respect in the consulting process. This book will expands on my message of being a guide rather than an imposing consultant, and it offers practical advice for engaging with clients. This book isn't just for consultants - the same themes and practices apply to great leaders!

Helpful Reading


I remember watching consultants do things the wrong way for the first time in 1998, and wondering why are they here? And what are they going to change? And, what type of extra work are they gonna put on me?

They entered with these black suits and crossed arms, and these, even they had these ominous folders that I'm pretty sure only one or two people were able to look inside. Anyway, in most cases, my fears came true. I felt used, annoyed, and even a little bit angry. I observed people fight and sink into conflict, and it was awful. And I was compelled to find a method to organizational consulting that takes the exact opposite approach. And thank goodness that approach exists and it's widely successful.

Hi, and welcome to the Aiken Appreciation Podcast. This is Bill Brendel, your consultant. And in today's episode, I'm going to talk a little bit about my background and consulting philosophy. But why start with an episode about me? Well, it's because the person and process behind the consulting engagement should not be a mystery to anyone. More on that in a second.

But first, I invested in myself at that point. I attended graduate school at night. And during the day, I used my new organization as sort of a living case study for understanding and applying knowledge and frameworks that take what is known in the field as an appreciative approach to change because it invites people at all levels of the organization to share and expand on what is working really well; including the positive change that wants to emerge. And when I say everyone's involved, the invitation truly goes out to everyone. There are a lot of ways to get involved, and I'm going to cover those in a future podcast.

So this approach, which I'm going to take at Aitkin taps into stories that exemplify the best of what it means to feel deeply engaged at Aitkin County, and it entrusts you to dream and collaborate with each other to lead positive change in your own worlds. In other words, what you put into this process, you get out. So we want lots of participation. This facilitative approach is called Organization Development or OD. It's important to stress that the focus of OD is on the wellbeing, first and foremost, as well as the performance and prosperity of your organization and the path to getting there is a collaborative and caring approach. Period.

I'll be unpacking this approach in a series of workshops and videos. So it's been now 20 something years since I started consulting, and believe it or not, I still think back to that first job where the consultants were pretty awful. So, I'd like to ask you this favor. Don't think of me as a consultant per se, but instead as a guide.

I'm very confident in this approach. In fact, I started sharing success stories online and then began to teach organization development courses to graduate students I've been involved in with OD for a while now. And so people sometimes ask me what I think.  I was interviewed by Variety Magazine regarding. The role of complicit culture during the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and I've contributed a whole bunch to the Star Tribunes Outside consultants' column.

I need to close this by sharing that my greatest accomplishment of all is being an imperfect husband, a son, and a father of three beautiful kids in St. Paul, Minnesota. I'm looking forward to working with all of you and getting to know all of you at some point. Thank you for having me, and whatever you do. Don't be a stranger. Keep your eyes and ears out for new podcast episodes because we'll be using them to communicate what's going on in this project, and you may even be invited to be a guest. So stay tuned and take care!

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