Meet Wayne Woodson, Organizational Development

We're Here to Help

Organizational Development (OD) helps UVA leaders and teams reinforce training, influence sustainable behaviors over time, realize their collective potential, and achieve outstanding results for the University. The OD team provides strategic alignment, leadership and team development, change management, and the coaching expertise required to influence behaviors and improve organizational effectiveness.

Wayne WoodsonWe caught up with Wayne Woodson, Senior Organizational Development Consultant, to learn more about his role in contributing to UVA's success. Here's what we learned.

Please tell us about yourself and the Organizational Development Team.  

As a consultant to many industry-leading, forward thinking organizations over the past 25 years, I have provided organizational assessments, executive coaching, leadership development, goal development, and building strong, honest relationships. These skills allow me to help my UVA colleagues identify work challenges and build stronger and more cohesive teams. Our work in Organizational Development (OD) is a complement to the HR Learning and Development team, which offers group trainings and learning experiences for employees. 

Is there one project you have been working on that you’re most proud of that directly benefited the UVA community?

I think of this as a "goosebumps" experience - one that gives me goosebumps just thinking about it! There are a lot of projects with direct positive impact on the organization as a whole, but one that gave me goosebumps was working with a significant clinical group at the Medical Center. The director of the team was picked from a group of her peers to become their leader, which tends to be a difficult transition. In fact, Learning & Development has a course that relates to that type of transition. The other challenge for management is that there’s a big difference between being a leader versus a manager. So, I worked with the group for 2+ years, and they finally had a “come to Jesus” meeting to address some feedback about their leader that came out of an engagement survey, not from them directly to their leader. One of the tools that I use with a lot of my clients is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Awareness WheelIn using the Myers-Briggs framework, I realized that the director had developed her Thinking characteristics and was dealing with her managers from that perspective, though most nurses are Feelers. She was pragmatic and factual in her delivery, but through coaching was able to build relationships with the Feelers on her team, which broke the dam of dysfunction and helped everything flow. While she was very disappointed with her team's inability to be more direct with her, she used the "awareness wheel" framework, a five-step process (see diagram on left), to prepare herself for conversations with her team. She was able to then communicate clearly with her team about her expectations and to learn how they preferred she communicate with them about issues. At a later meeting with this same team, everyone was laughing together; it was a completely different experience! That type of experience keeps me coming back!  Thus, the “goosebumps.”

What is the most challenging part of your job? 

Sometimes when I'm in a coaching situation, the person I'm working with is tagged as "unsaveable" (ready to be fired), and this requires me to help my client “let go” of resisting the process. I worked with a director last year whose boss didn’t think she would make it. I had less than a month to get her to the place of letting go, as her boss was retiring soon. She needed to feel okay with the outcome, and I helped her get there, painful as it was at times. Fortunately, since then she has found work with another organization where she applies much of what I shared with her (such as the awareness wheel, silver bullet meetings (1:1) to build trust, and the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team model – see below). 

5 dysfunctions of a teamWhat is the most rewarding part?

The most rewarding part of my job comes when the light goes on with an individual or a team, and people understand their challenges and how to leverage their strengths and preferences. They finally say they understand why they feel tired when they go home. They begin to understand what's zapping their energy, and what they need to do differently to be more functional at work. And I love building relationships with my UVA colleagues; no matter how much time has passed, or where they are at UVA or in the world, it's as if there has been no lapse in our relationship. I love having the opportunity to continue to help people who I've worked with.

How has the COVID outbreak impacted your and your team’s work this year?

Because I'm a relationship person, I like to be in the same room as my client so I can see body language and facial expressions. However, I've discovered that doing the work on a Zoom call is just about as effective, and I've embraced it! Now I'm having fun with not having to drive 2 ½ hours each day to and from work; it's certainly much less wear and tear on me and my car. I'm one of four people on my team, and the only introvert. (Some of my team members look forward to going into the HR building and what I perceive as distractions there, and they have probably had a more difficult time adjusting.) They like to be on Zoom calls more than me, and, for those with young kids at home, would rather go to the HR building to create consistency for their kids and to manage the energetic demands of being at home.

What are some takeaways you would love your UVA colleagues to know about Organizational Development?

We all are doing what we love to do! It’s a passion for us. As the only introvert on the team, I sometimes go "quiet" while the others work through things out loud. And sometimes our work is simply just showing up; we have been thanked for our mere presence in some of the early morning Operating Room meetings. And so, our tag line is now: “Just show up.”

We’re here to help. All you have to do is reach out to us, just tell us the problem and we’ll help you figure it out, whether it's incohesive teams, or developing better leaders, or helping people deliver and receive information in a more effective way.

For more information about Organizational Development at UVA, please visit the HR Organizational Development webpage.