Dialogue: How to create change in organisations through conversation

In organisations people spend up to 80% of their time in conversation. “Talk” is our key action tool – and often a neglected discipline. Changing the nature of conversations in organisations may be the single most powerful way to bring about performance breakthroughs.

Dialogue is a leading edge OD approach that benefits from being tried-and-tested in organisations as well as substantiated by theory. It is being increasingly used in organisations to help build trust and cohesiveness in teams (Nath, 2009), a key benefit in times of uncertainty, complexity and rapid change. People who engage in more substantive conversations have been found to have higher levels of well-being and happiness than those who don’t (Isanski, 2010).

Empirical research shows that high performing teams talk together in distinct ways (Losada and Heaphy, 2004) that lead to:

  • Greater productivity and profitability
  • Higher levels of customer satisfaction
  • Better relationships with colleagues

This 1-day workshop is for psychologists, leaders, managers, consultants and other change agents who need to convene conversations to engage people’s hearts and minds. It equips participants with skills and knowledge to lead and participate in powerful conversations at work and to re-focus conversations when they become dysfunctional or difficult.


09:00 Registration/Tea and Coffee
09:30 Workshop starts (there will be a 30min break for lunch)
17:00 Workshop ends

"Excellent facilitation, very interesting approach, will use it in my practice!" - 2011 delegate


This workshop is for psychologists, leaders, managers, consultants and other change agents who need to engage others in more productive conversations. There are no prerequisites other than coming with an open mind and a readiness to participate. The workshop is for any practitioner who wants to:

  • Build conversational skill using empirically derived models of practice which have been tried and tested in organisations
  • Use conversation as a key action tool – a fundamental and primary means through which change happens in organisations
  • Understand how dialogue differs from debate and how to move people on from debate into dialogue for more effective decision-making
  • Learn about dialogue as a leading edge OD approach that has a substantial body of theory and empirical research to guide practice

Participants will be asked to bring with them a Left Hand Column Case – full guidance will be given.

Learning outcomes and objectives 

Participants will learn:

  • What makes conversations dysfunctional and how to make successful interventions to re-focus them
  • How to generate new possibilities for action through getting people beyond posturing by balancing inquiry with advocacy
  • How to create a positive atmosphere and gain maximum engagement through using some tried-and-tested dialogic processes
  • How to prepare for and engage in difficult conversations
  • Assess their own conversational skills and identify how they can develop these further using a shared language based on dialogic models of practice

Facilitators: Sarah Rozenthuler CPsychol & Andreas Priestland

Sarah Rozenthuler is a Senior Associate with Dialogos, the leading global consultancy in dialogue facilitation and capacity building. Sarah has worked as a dialogic practitioner since 2003 with clients such as BP, the World Bank and the National School of Government. She equips individuals, teams and organisations to bring about change by engaging people in powerful conversations about what matters most.

A Chartered Psychologist, Sarah launched her career working for SHL and then spent several years working in the UK Civil Service, including the Cabinet Office. She has worked with some of the thought leaders of dialogue including colleague Bill Isaacs (author of Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together) with whom she has worked as faculty on Dialogos’s 10 month “Leadership for Collective Intelligence” programme for senior executives. Sarah is an accredited workplace mediator and has led several workshops on dialogue for the BPS in 2009 and 2010.

Andreas Priestland is an organization learning consultant with over twenty years experience of international consulting, working in both the public and private sector. He is a Senior Associate with Dialogos and co-author of the Harvard Business Review article ‘Developing First - Level Leaders’.Andreas’ experience of organisations comes from spending his career in market research, teaching, community affairs, and OD, in large and small companies, and in traditionally and non-traditionally organised work places. His clients have included the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, AirFrance/KLM, TNT, BP, PWC, Castle Cement, Oxfam, GSK, the BBC and others. He has spoken at, and run workshops for the Society for Organisational Learning’s Global Forum, various business schools, and has written articles on change and leadership development. Andreas has degree in Environmental Science, a postgraduate certificate in Education, a diploma in market research, and NTL Institute certificate in OD.

Booking information


  • Concessions: £60 + VAT
  • DOP members: £95 + VAT
  • Society members: £130 + VAT
  • Society non-members: £200 + VAT

Persons eligible for concessionary rates are student members of the Society, graduate members registered under Rule 15.ii, Rule 21 members, and members who are unemployed. For evidence of unemployment, we will require a copy of your job seekers allowance book.

How to book:

This event is fully booked.

Mon, 14/05/2012 (All day)
Contact Information: 

BPS Learning Centre

Tel: +44 (0)116 2529925

Division of Occupational Psychology & BPS Learning Centre