DeVry University | Instructor Insights

Dr. Bert Lindstrom on Organizational Change

By Daisha Hankle

May 18, 2023
8 min read

Assistant Director of Workforce Learning Solutions, Daisha Hankle, interviewed Dr. Bert Lindstrom, faculty chair, delving into organizational change management (OCM) and how it can benefit an organization. As an organization is implementing a transition in culture, technology, leaders, finances, or the like, organizational change management is a resource that supports the workforce during these critical changes. The key skills of an effective leader in OCM are attention to detail, emotional intelligence, big-picture thinking, and the ability to make decisions.

What’s the hot topic/latest trend in your industry?

As a Faculty Chair at DeVry University, my colleagues and I are currently exploring the latest trends in our department and specifically on organizational change management (OCM). These are important classes that are held as a part of the MBA at Keller Graduate School and in Human Resource Management.

The first is the impact of remote, hybrid, and onsite staffing models on organizational change. With the pandemic shifting the way we work; it is essential to understand how these different models affect organizational change efforts and how we can adapt to them. To thrive in today’s environment, organizations need to not only be agile and mindful of the bottom line but also, employees’ mental and physical health, business productivity, collaboration, family dynamics, commute and cost of living.

The second topic we are focusing on is retention. As leaders increasingly recognize the importance of retaining talent, we are exploring how to create effective change management strategies to retain employees and improve employee engagement. Change is necessary to keep up with today’s trends, while talent acquisition is essential for finding the right people to help drive the organization forward. By understanding the importance of both, organizations can ensure they are well-positioned to succeed in the future.

Lastly, we are looking at the role of professional and personal development in organizational change. We believe that investing in the development of our team members is critical to achieving successful change, and we are exploring new and innovative ways to promote learning and growth in the workplace. By staying up-to-date with these hot topics and the latest trends, we can better prepare our learners to lead change efforts that make a positive impact on their organizations and communities.

How does your program help an organization solve its talent challenges?

Organizational change can help an organization solve its talent challenges by allowing it to adapt to the changing needs of the workforce. By implementing changes such as flexible working arrangements, job redesign and professional development initiatives, organizations can better attract and retain the right talent for their needs. Additionally, organizational change can help leaders create a culture of innovation and collaboration, which can help them stay ahead of others in the marketplace and remain competitive.

At DeVry University, students blend theory and real-work application in our live sessions and in our lessons. The course objectives all revolve around helping students solve organizational change initiatives but also apply what they learn to personal issues or what they’re tackling in their roles.

How can an organization increase its workforce diversity & what are the benefits?

Organizations need to be purposeful in increasing workforce diversity. The focus needs to be on inclusion, recognition and access to education. Diversity enhances decision-making through broader and deeper experiences that are brought to the organization. Sharing these robust experiences opens everyone up topossibilities and helps us discuss not only the “what’s if’s” of a situation, but also the “how’s” and the “why’s” of a situation. Time and again, studies show that diverse organizations also correlate to the highest financial performance.1

How do you see the rise in generative AI (like ChatGPT and Bing) impacting your program – both positively & negatively?

The rise in generative AI, such as ChatGPT and Bing, is likely to have a significant impact on organizational change. On the positive side, AI can help automate mundane tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more complex and creative tasks. AI can also help organizations make better decisions by providing data-driven insights. On the negative side, AI may lead to job losses as more tasks are automated, and it can also lead to a lack of human interaction and empathy in the workplace. My goal in the department is to leverage the newest technologies to benefit our learners through application, thoughtful dialogue, and real-world experiences. Ultimately, organizations must adapt to new technology and harness the benefits.

As our President and CEO, Tom Monahan states, “I’m sure glad we are a university. And particularly a skill-focused one. Our ability to marry bedrock professional skills (critical thinking, quantitative literacy, communication skills) with currently relevant skills (think Python, Splunk, 2023 GAAP standards) is core to who we are as an institution. We even talk about a world of ‘constant technological change’ in our mission statement.”

Describe how students receive real-world experience in your program, allowing them to join the workforce prepared.

More than 53% of faculty are current or former practitioners in the field in which they teach.3 Our live lessons also bring faculty and students together to share experiences in real time. In addition to live classes, we hold asynchronous discussions where we exchange ideas. Learners often bring work situations to the classroom where they can gain insight from their professor and other learners.This allows our leaders to either apply their learnings at their current job or join the workforce prepared and with the skills they need to help them be successful.

Where do you see organizational leadership going over the next 10 years?

Over the next 10 years, I believe that organizational leadership will continue to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing business landscape. One of the most significant changes we will see is the increased importance placed on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) within organizations. Leaders will need to create and implement strategies that prioritize inclusivity and promote a sense of belonging among employees from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, there will be a continued shift towards more collaborative and participative leadership styles, where leaders empower their teams to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Finally, with the ongoing advances in technology, leaders will need to remain vigilant in staying up-to-date with the latest tools and strategies to optimize their operations and ensure their organizations remain competitive in a rapidly changing market.

1Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performance Teams. Gartner (September 2019)
2Diversity wins: How inclusion matters. McKinsey & Company (May 2020)
32022 Annual Impact Report. DeVry University (January 2023)

About Dr. Bert Lindstrom

Dr. Bert Lindstrom is a first-generation college graduate, in his 25th year in education. Dr. Lindstrom has worked as a dean, professor, department chair, and program director. He holds a bachelor’s degree in management, a master’s degree in hospitality, and a doctorate in organizational leadership. 

About Daisha Hankle

Daisha Hankle was born to be a coach, she lives each day by the motto, by Jimmy Johnson; “the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is a little EXTRA.” She is a dynamic and energetic webinar facilitator who has spent 15 years honing her training and motivation skills on the sidelines of the basketball court to currently leading DeVry University’s corporate virtual workshop program.

Related Content