Leading Edge Theory Panel

  • 18 Nov 2011
  • 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
  • St. Thomas Minneapolis Opus Hall (MOH) Room 202


Registration is closed


Lynn Olsen

Laird McLean

Debra Lindh

About the Program

As OD professionals it is important to keep up on the most up to date research. The leading edge theory panel will give you a chance to do just that. In this two hour morning program each of three presenters will discuss his or her dissertation. Each presenter will have time to cover their dissertation topic, key theories, research methods, contributions to the field, and recommendations for application. Following each short presentation will be a Q&A session.

Lynn Olsen will present his findings from his dissertation entitled “Edge Leadership: Using Senior Leadership Perceptions to Explore Organizational Turnarounds”. In researching and integrating nearly 800 sources across six domains of literature and conducting four empirical case studies, Lynn developed the concept of an Edge LeaderSM , that is, one who can mindfully turn around a troubled business to sustain it for the future. His work included key findings on six elements necessary to develop Edge LeadersSM, a practical Top-25 turnaround leader action items guide, and four factors seen by a senior leader and his executive staff as being the most important to their successful and sustained turnaround. Lynn’s work has implications for practitioners interested in advising leaders on how to develop leadership bench strength from within an organization, on ways of leading long-term transformational change, and on focusing on the things that matter the most in turnaround situations.

Debra Lindh’s dissertation discussion will be on employee stress, the human energy field, and GDV Technology from Russia. A new frontier in OD applied research.

Laird McLean will present the research he conducted for his dissertation titled, "Understanding creativity in organizations: The relationships among cross-level variables and creativity in research and development organizations." Laird collected data at four global R&D organizations and involved more than 700 supervisors and employees. Variables examined in his study included expertise, personality, supervisor style, and organizational learning culture. The conclusions of his research have implications for practitioners working to improve organizational innovation and creativity.

About the Presenters

Lynn Olsen is the Founder, President, and CEO of The Innovation Group, Inc., a Minnesota-based leadership development and organization improvement consultancy. He has nearly 40 years of managerial leadership experience including 23 years as a corporate executive responsible for leading change. He retired in 2010 as Corporate Vice President of Retail Operations from SUPERVALU INC., a Fortune 100 firm and the United States’ 3rd largest traditional food retailer.

Lynn served in various retail operations, merchandising, and executive leadership roles while at SUPERVALU. During his 12 years as a member of the corporate senior staff, he led a series of strategic enterprise change initiatives. He has international work and teaching experience in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Ecuador.

Throughout his career, Lynn has been active in industry, community, and education matters. He served five years on the University of Minnesota’s Food Industry Center Board of Advisors and on the food industry’s seminal Category Management Process Improvement Group. He has spoken at conferences held by ACNielsen, the Food Marketing Institute, the Professional Pricing Society, Kraft Foods, Accenture, Teradata, and Applied Data Corporation. While leading the Colorado Cub Foods division, he was appointed by the governor to that state’s Community College Curriculum Board and was named “Man of the Year” by the Colorado Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

He is currently a member of the Minnesota Organization Development Network, the Organizational Behavior Teaching Society, and the International Leadership Association. At the University of St. Thomas, Lynn serves as the founding Co-director of The Institute for Retailing Excellence. He taught Strategy in the legacy UST Executive MBA program for over four years, and teaches Marketing in the new UST EMBA program and a Leadership course based on his doctoral work in the UST Evening MBA program. He has lectured at the U of M, UW-Madison, and several community colleges.

Lynn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Cardinal Stritch University, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. His consulting, teaching, research, and writing interests are focused on turnaround leadership, strategic organization improvement, and developing thoughtful, ethical change leaders.

Dr. Laird D. McLean is owner and consultant at McLean Global Consulting (MGC) where he partners with clients to improve organizational performance through people, processes, and technology. Before forming MGC, Laird served as Director of Global Learning and Development for the Research and Development, Clinical Sciences, and Regulatory Affairs functions at Boston Scientific. Among other accomplishments, he played an integral role in implementing their corporate-wide innovation (product and technology development) processes. Laird also spent time working at Andersen Consulting and teaching English in Japan.

Laird received his PhD in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota, where he also earned his Master’s degree. He holds an Honors Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario.

Laird has lived in four countries and has traveled to more than 20 others. He currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and three children.

Debra Lindh is an entrepreneur, inventor, and OD research practitioner. She has provided consulting for over 10 years in a variety of industries including manufacturing, health care, financial services, and technology. Her proven track record includes building new business units, increasing revenue, new product development, operational redesign and best practices, brand development, and marketing research and development. Debra’s research interests include entrepreneurism and intuitive business practices.

Debra holds a U.S. patent and several trademarks from which she founded a business venture. Since then, she has received multiple awards and delivered presentations on the topics of entrepreneurism, innovation, and intuitive business strategy to local and national audiences. Debra is a member of the OD Network, MNODN and MN Inventors Congress. She received her B.S. degree in Philosophy and Organizational Communication from Eastern Michigan University; a MAOL from St. Catherine University; a Certificate in Energetic Practice from the Energetics Institute, and is completing her doctoral studies in Organization Development at the University of St. Thomas.

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