‘Doing and Being’

By Patrick Trottier

Abridged From ‘The Organizational Development Workshop’

Organizational Development is not just a bunch of theories, interventions and technical methodologies.

As part of the ’mastery’ of  the discipline and practice of Organizational Development, as well as many other professions and disciplines, one fundamental ‘awareness’ calls for some attention from time to time:

 ‘Doing’ and ‘Being’…

The ‘Doing’ emphasizes the methodology, theorems, constructs, tools and technologies of the discipline.

The ‘Being’ emphasizes the continuous development of ‘Who I am’ and the continuous ‘self-refection’ of how I see myself and how I ‘see’ the world through both my cognitive and emotional ‘filters’.

Both influence and systemically integrate with each other. (integral, is a word that comes to mind).

Galvin and O’Donnell (2005) talk about ‘Authentic Leadership’; balancing ‘Doing and Being’ and the seven ‘layers’ of Leadership.

I think they relate to many roles and functions:


Behavior – Directly observable verbal and behaviors, actions and activities.
Practices –Well established repeatable patterns, approaches and methodologies.
Skills – Acquired known knowledge and repeatable competencies.


Self – Unique perceptions of body, mind and spirit. How I see myself.
Framing – Assumptions, frameworks, mental models, perspectives and cognitive and emotional filters in use when engaging the world and others.
Character – Congruency of internalized principles and values that drive perspectives, choices, decisions and behavior.
Alignment – Being in step with a larger purpose – internal and external to oneself.

Three pioneers, now deceased, in the field of Organization Development discuss the principles that underline Pepperdine University’s Master of Science in Organization Development Program. In this video you first see Patrick Williams, followed by Dick Beckhardt and finally, Robert Tannenbaum.

What is interesting is that all three pioneers emphasize the “Being” as a life-long and constant journey of self-reflection and learning, and as a fundamental aspect in the continuous development of any OD practitioner .


In my experience, ‘acceptance’ is a key fundamental to begin a journey of ‘reflection and learning’ in order to facilitate development within oneself, within others, as well as within organizations. (To be further discussed in blog article “Rethinking Resistance”.)

The thing for me is not to expect ‘perfection’ from myself, or others – this would only lead to a high degree of judgement and frustration. Not being ‘perfect’ is one of the most normal and greatest aspects of being ‘human’.

I appreciate my imperfections – they give me many gifts to learn from.


About Patrick A. Trottier

I am a 30 plus year applied Organizational Development practitioner having honed my craft in the U.S., Canada and internationally. Presently living in beautiful Vancouver, B.C., I am currently developing the next evolution of O.D. termed; 'Emergent Organizational Development and Emergent Change® (EODC)®, and focusing on Emergent OD®, Emergent Change® and the development of Emergent Organizations® within my professional practice.
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2 Responses to ‘Doing and Being’

  1. Camille says:

    I love this article, Patrick! I’m a graduate from Pepperdine’s MSOD program and the integration of “being & doing” is so central to the training.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Patrick, you are right on point! Thank you! Marsha

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