Dannemiller Tyson Associates (DTA) was founded in 1984 by the late Kathie Dannemiller and Chuck Tyson to help organizations achieve fast, long-lasting change. DTA’s first work was with the Ford Motor Company as it sought to move its culture from “command and control” to a more participative style. Those early Ford Participative Management Seminars marked the first time that large groups of executives from different levels and functions were brought together to think and plan in what was known then as the Large Group Interactive Process.
In the 1990’s, DTA expanded its work by engaging whole organizations in creating “preferred futures” that would shape strategic action. We were known originally for our ability to design and facilitate meetings for very large groups (up to 2,000) that achieved results which had never been seen before. Many of our large group concepts are now part of mainstream organization development thinking.
As the 21st century dawned, the partners of Dannemiller Tyson published two seminal books that remain in use to this day. By then our emphasis had broadened from simply creating transformative large group meetings to designing and implementing long-term change journeys with those meetings still playing a central role. Whole-Scale Change: Unleashing the Magic In Organizations provides the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of our approach. The Whole-Scale Toolkit offers practitioners guidance for implementing these concepts, especially in designing and facilitating large group meetings. The term Whole-Scale® was adopted as a way of signifying that we are thinking whole system regardless of the scale (individual, team, whole organization) where we are engaged.
When organizational development was just maturing as an academic discipline in the mid-90’s, DTA pioneers Roland Loup, Sylvia James, Paul Tolchinsky and others worked with Kathie to document the models and processes that “worked every time,” and to create a set of concepts that could produce replicable results. Former DTA partner Robert Jacobs authored a book called “Real Time Strategic Change” that brought these ideas to a wider audience, especially in Europe. DTA’s work grew to include work design projects and assignments in Europe, India and other locations around the world.
Over the years, DTA has worked with literally hundreds of clients in the profit, non-profit, education, healthcare and governmental sectors around the world. In the last decade, our methodology has evolved steadily to embrace the challenges our clients are facing. The boundaries of organizations have blurred as suppliers, strategic partners and customers comprise a much larger system that needs to be engaged. Teams and organizations now work virtually more and more, and we have developed technology strategies to meet this need. Our thinking and our methods continue to evolve while maintaining our basic principle that people support what they help create.
Kathleen D. Dannemiller (1929-2003)
Our beloved friend, mentor, partner and founder, Kathie Dannemiller, passed away in 2003. Kathie was a passionate advocate for whole system change for more than thirty years, and a worldwide authority and author on the complexities of whole system change. Kathie touched each person she met, whether they spent a few minutes or a lifetime with her. We continue to miss her unending caring, strength, passion, and wisdom.
Kathie used to say that she was “standing on the shoulders of giants” because of what she had learned from her mentor, Ron Lippitt, and pioneers like Kurt Lewin. In a real sense, we stand on her shoulders. Kathie encouraged us to continue to explore and create new ideas. Near the end of her life, Kathie received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Organizational Development Network. Her spirit, values and passion live on in each of the thousands whose lives she touched.