Learning & Organizational Change LOC 391:Organizational Planning and Analysis

Learning & Organizational Change LOC 391:Organizational Planning and Analysis

Learning & Organizational Change
LOC 391:Organizational Planning and Analysis

Winter 2017
Instructor: Cecelia Burokas
Room: Annenberg 303
Time: Mondays, 1 pm to 3.45 pm
Phone: 773-771-4025
Office Hours: By Appointment

LOC 391 Course Description:

In this course students will apply their knowledge of Learning and Organizational change models and concepts to a real organization requiring assistance with a large-scale change.

In learning how to apply current and new tools, students will leave the class with a practical toolkit of basic consulting skills they can apply to organizational planning and analysis.

These skills will be developed within the context of:
1. Leadership Self.Awareness—Learning Style, Communication Style, Derailers
2. Conscious Team Development—Listening, Stages of Team Development,Team Skills, Curiosity and Observation
3. Consulting Project Development and Management—Executive Presentation of Findings and Recommendations

Class Format

Project and discussion-based, with introductory concept and model overviews by the instructor. A significant amount of class time will be devoted to directly working on a real-time client project, with guidance from the instructor. The class will function as a consulting team. Students/consultants will be expected to review and think about weekly readings and journal assignments and to come prepared to discuss the readings and assignments as they relate to the client project and team functioning.

Our Client

We are extremely privileged this year to have as our client the Anixter Center. The following is an overview of the Center, its work, and the project:

The mission of Anixter Center is to provide an array of services and supports for individuals with disabilities and related challenges to live, learn, work and play in the community.

Anixter Center is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the Chicago area serving children, teens and adults with disabilities. Through more than 30 programs at dozens of locations across the greater Chicago area and the country, Anixter Center touches the lives of more than 8,000 individuals annually through residential, employment, therapy, educational and community support services.

The disability field, both in the focus of the work and the way the work is funded, has gone through significant changes. Disability services are moving from segregated spaces into a more integrated, community based model. Funding is no longer received in large block grants, but rather is now fee for service. All of these changes impact the structure of an agency, the way staff spend time, and ultimately how programs are implemented. Anixter is in the midst of significant changes as it makes these adjustments. Additionally, since June of 2015, there has been a new CEO who has brought in an entirely new leadership team.

The project:

Anixter Center seeks a consultant to develop a plan to help the agency move its programming for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities into the next generation. The work will involve researching best practices related to programming (day, employment, residential), gathering feedback from critical stakeholders (both internal and external), understanding the impact of change on the population of people served by Anixter, and developing a series of next steps to move the agency forward. This work around program design will inform the strategic planning process that the agency is embarking on.

You will meet and work directly with Rebecca Clark, VP, Program and Development, Innovation and Accountability, as well as other Anixter managers and staff, all of whom are subject matter experts and can provide background, ideas and support for your project. NOTE: You will sometimes have to travel to Chicago to meet with your client. This may happen both outside and/or during regularly scheduled class time.

A primary deliverable of the class will be your presentation (with written executive summary) of your recommendations to Rebecca Clark and others she may designate. You will also provide a ‘proof of concept’ that the recommendation will result in positive change for the organization.

Please keep in mind that you will be working with confidential information. Your discussion of this project must be limited to classroom discussions, papers submitted to Canvas, and conversations with the instructor and current LOC 391 students.


Announcements for this class will be posted in the Canvas course site. It is important for you to review your Canvas notifications settings to make sure that you receive important class information. It is recommended that you receive e-mail notifications whenever an instructor creates an announcement (select ASAP for the Announcements notification).

Required Reading

The readings will include all of The Heart of Change by John Kotter (ISBN 978-1578512546) and Managing Transitions by William Bridges (ISBN 978-0-7382-1380-4); these may be available in the bookstore, but, if not, you may order them from your favorite online site. The first reading assignments from these books will be discussed during class on January 9, 2017.

Other articles not in the syllabus may be assigned to meet the needs and interests of the class. Recommend but not required reading will be referenced in class and/or posted in Canvas.

Class Format

  • The course is designed and structured to support successful completion of a group project
  • All students will be required to participate in contracting with the client. This will include and will not be limited to scoping the project, project research, analysis, brainstorming, design/recommendations, development, and identification of project metrics and creation of a formal presentation to the Anixter VP and members of her team
  • Students will interact directly with Anixter management and staff, in addition to other project stakeholders as needed. Initially, all client contact will be under the guidance of the instructor. Students are expected to take ownership of the project, suggesting and managing relationships with senior clients.
  • Each class session will be focused on actively working on tasks required to successfully complete the group project. Attendance at these working class sessions is critical. Your group relies on your active involvement.
  • Students will also be expected to complete additional project tasks outside of class
  • Class discussion and additional work assignments will focus on self awareness and reflection. The course will include an individual coaching session with the instructor. This coaching will help you create an Individual Development plan for the class.
  • Relevant LOC concepts and frameworks will be utilized throughout the course.
  • Readings, videos, podcasts and other materials may be used to support project-related issues

Expected Learning Outcomes from This Class:

  • Experience in working on a real-time consulting project
  • Application of planning, analysis, and organizational change tools to a real organization
  • Experience in researching organizational situations, identifying key issues/problems/root causes, assessing the relevance of hypotheses, setting metrics for projects, analyzing findings, developing coherent recommendations and presenting recommendations to a senior client team.
  • Experience and reflect on with each stage of team development.
  • Experience with understanding and reacting to resistance to change.
  • Experience with research in a variety of relevant fields.
  • Experience in working with a team that focuses on the outcomes, individual and team learning, and creating and implementing group process (Action Learning).
  • A work product (final course project materials delivered to Anixter Center) suitable for use as an example of professional capabilities.
  • A planning, analysis and change management toolkit
  • Increased self-awareness and reflection as a guide to who you are as an authentic consultant


Course Contribution/Active Participation in Class (100 points):

Class time should be viewed as a weekly working session of a professional project team. Attendance is critical as class time will be used to perform or review key project tasks. Students are expected to be on time, fully prepared to engage in class activities and with all project tasks for that week completed, including weekly reading when assigned. Students must notify the instructor before class begins (via email, text or phone) of any unavoidable absences. Students are expected to make their own arrangements to ensure that any project task assignments due for that class session are still submitted on time. Unexcused absences or late assignments will result in a lower course contribution grade.

This course will also incorporate the use of individual and team reflections (see Written Assignments, below). Consider the course reflections as an extension of class discussion. The course will also include a customized survey to evaluate group participation.

A total of 100 points will be awarded for course contribution/active class participation and listening according to the following:

  • 50 possible points for in-class participation and responsible project task contribution. The instructor’s observation will be augmented by team evaluations during the quarter.
  • 50 possible points for demonstrating the verbal and non.verbal behaviors of listening “as if the other person has the answer”:
  • Clarifying comments using open ended questions, paraphrasing, repeating and other listening tools.
  • Using process tools like ground rules, agendas, facilitation, plus/deltas, LOC models, non-verbal attention and focus, tools to prepare for listening and
  • Intention and attention during each class

The following guidelines will be used to assess participation:

Outstanding Contributor: Contributions in class reflect exceptional preparation. Ideas offered are substantive, provide major insights, and help direct the discussion. Student is eager to volunteer, interacts and negotiates with other students, always goes beyond what is expected, demonstrates initiative with relevant examples and is always well ;prepared.

Importantly, the outstanding contributor is willing to take risks in order to learn and change their own behavior.

Good Contributor: Contributions reflect thorough preparation. Ideas offered are usually substantive; provide good insights, and sometimes provides direction for the class. Student is attentive, responsive, and goes beyond what is required, if not always successfully. The student is usually well;prepared.

Adequate Contributor: Contributions in class reflect satisfactory preparation, but waits to be called upon.

Non Participant: This person says little or nothing in class and contributes minimally. There is little effort to participate; the responses are generally incorrect and reflect little preparation.

Unsatisfactory Contributor: Contributions in class reflect inadequate preparation, erratic oral and written performance. The student contributes minimally to the class as a whole.

Individual Written Assignments (100 points):

Two types of individual written assignments are required:

  • A 2 to 3 page Individual Development Plan, developed under the guidance of your coach (TBA)
  • Eight required reflections/blog entries. Each of the required postings will be a student’s answer to a question assigned to the entire class and relevant to the CPL project and/or the readings. Reflections will be no longer than 1 (one) typed page, and will be due in Canvas before the start of the next class. A blog site will be announced. Initial reflections will be primarily individual, with joint and team reflections possible later in the quarter.

Individual written assignments will be graded against 1) the assignment criteria (to be specified during class, and listed in the class assignments below) and 2) the extent to which you present your thoughts in a clear, concise, grammatically correct manner. Individual written assignments submitted late will result in a lower grade (20% of possible points for every calendar day late).

100 points will be awarded for individual writing:

  • 20 possible points for the Individual Development Plan for the class. This will be based on previous assessments and an additional personal strengths survey.
  • 80 possible points for reflection assignments (10 points per required posting). Submit all reflection papers in Ariel 12 point, 1.5 line spacing.

Group Project: Work Products and Final Presentation/Solution (200 points):

To successfully complete the Anixter project you will organize your efforts around individual and small team tasks and full team activities. Every effort will be made to divide individual work tasks in an equitable manner and according to student interests, talents and expertise. It is your responsibility to define and discern the workload, so that you fairly distribute the work among individuals and subteams. A key best practice of previous teams is to divide into subteams as quickly as possible.

Working together on the team will become a shared responsibility, with the individual student and the team being responsible for the work they commit to and complete. The group is responsible for analyzing the problem, developing solutions, and creating a clear implementation plan. You will be given tools and support to identify your strengths and development areas.

In cases where this is not possible the instructor will first engage the project team in devising an acceptable solution; should that not result in a solution, the instructor reserves the right to assign tasks to individuals in a manner required to meet project milestones.

It is important to note that there will be one grade (total points as defined below) awarded for group project work products and the final presentation/solution. Every individual member of the class will receive the same point award. This is contingent on the perceived equal and fair contribution by each individual on the team. This will be evaluated by both the instructor, and by a quantitative survey completed at the end of the class measuring several components of teamwork.

Importantly, please note that the final project consists of:

  • 20 minute presentation with 20 minutes for Q&A
  • 3 to 5 pages Executive Summary

A total of 200 points will be awarded according to the following breakdown:

  • 100 possible points for completion of the situation/problem assessment, root cause and design vision, as developed in the proposal/statement of work and other interim documents. Points will be awarded for completeness, quality, design fit and timeliness.
  • 100 possible points for development of the solution and presentation to Anixter. Points will be awarded for completeness of the solution idea, applicability to the situation, and quality of the presentation and handoff (e.g., Change Readiness) to Anixter.

Assignment Overview

Assignment / Due Date / Submit via / Points
Learning Reflections— / Before every class (not including the first class and last class) / Canvas / 80
(10 per reflection)
Individual Learning Plan for LOC 391 / January 30 / Canvas / 20
Team Evaluation / TBA / TBA / N/A
Group Project / March 6 (or TBD based on client and class needs and agreement) / In Class (presentation and executive summary) / 200
Active Participation: In Class / Ongoing / In Class / 50
Listening/Learning Participation: / Ongoing / In Class / 50
TOTAL / 400

Late Assignments:

Late assignments (except where special consideration has been officially given) will lose 20% of the maximum assignment grade for each calendar day (including holidays) late; assignments more than 4 days late will not be graded.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Northwestern is committed to providing an accessible, supportive, and challenging environment for all students who attend the University. Any student requesting accommodations related to a disability or other condition is required to register with AccessibleNU (; 847-467-5530) and provide professors with an accommodation notification from AccessibleNU, preferably within the first two weeks of class. All information will remain confidential.

Academic Integrity

As a Northwestern University student, you have entered a community of scholarship in which academic integrity is of the highest value.

Students in this course are required to comply with the policies found in the booklet, "Academic Integrity at Northwestern University: A Basic guide". All papers submitted for credit in this course must be submitted electronically unless otherwise instructed by the professor. Your written work may be tested for plagiarized content. For details regarding academic integrity at Northwestern or to download the guide, visit: http://www.northwestern.edu/provost/policies/academic-integrity/index.html

Sexual Harassment Policy

It is the policy of Northwestern University that no male or female member of the Northwestern community—students, faculty, administrators, or staff—may sexually harass any other member of the community. Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute harassment when: submission to such conduct is made or threatened to be made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; or submission to or rejection of such conduct is used or threatened to be used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating what a reasonable person would sense as an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment. For more information, visit: http://www.northwestern.edu/sexual; harassment/policy/index.html

Class Topics and Agendas

Week 1: January 3, 2017

  • Introduction—Who I am, why I am in this class, something about me others probably do not know
  • Intent—What are you willing to contribute and learn during LOC 391?
  • Course introduction and Syllabus overview
  • Creating a community and culture for LOC 391
  • Anixter Center Project overview
  • Preparing for meeting with Rebecca Clark
  • Review information about Anixter Center
  • Contracting with a Client—key principles (handout)
  • Meeting with Rebecca Clark of Anixter Center
  • Next Steps—who does what and when
  • Plus/Delta

Strengths Survey—

  • Take survey read results, share results with class (for week 2)
  • How does knowing more about your classmates help you build a team?

Week 2: January 9, 2017

  • Who are you? Leadership Strengths and impact on planning and organizing a project.
  • Kotter Eight Stage Model Overview
  • Introduction to Individual Development Plans
  • Draft proposal to client

Written reflection due in Canvas by noon Jan 9: “What is the most important thing I learned about the Anixter Center leader and/or project, and what have I gotten myself into?”