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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

About Marty Goldberg


I'm Marty Goldberg. I graduated from the nu class in 1988. I'm the principal of my own firm, which is called Distant Drummer, which is an OD firm. I work with others occasionally and I also teach a couple of college classes and I write.

Well, MSOD had a big impact on my life and the course of my own work and development. I guess I would say it ended up as my life work, having spent about 35 years in the field. Doing OD consulting work, and change work. I ran a large practice for one of the large global consulting firms. We had, I don't know, 150 people we built it to. And before that, I worked with a commercial bank, mid-size, that George Graziadio, the name of the Graziadio School, was there, and I did quite a bit of work with him and his business partner, George Eltinge.

And for the last 10 years, I've been on my own doing this work, just a drummer with a variety of really good clients. The World Bank, Future's Industry Association, Washington University of St. Louis Medical Center. Traveling a bit around the world and in the U.S. And then, the other way that it really impacted me was it provided a context for me to do writing, which I always loved. So, I've written quite a bit. I've published probably 20 articles in the field. And developed some really deep friendships. So, Steve Pile,, who was in my class, Steve and I go back. There are others that I've developed enduring friendships and relationships with.

And I've taught a bit in the Pepperdine undergraduate program, as a MSOD learning group consultant, and at another university in the Eastern shore where I live. So, it's had an effect for good or evil on where I went with my life's work.

Yeah. I guess we all have legacies, whether we want to acknowledge them or not. And I hope I'd be remembered as a man of wise counsel, and candor, and a humane heart, and of some courage to sort of speak about issues that matter for me, and to see where it ... help provide forums where other people can do that, and to ... so, I would suppose that would be it. And as a friend, and as a loving father, and a neighbor, someone who's helped keep the flame of what the program was founded on, it's principles and values and its claims. Sometimes we think we're all, and I say this as a group as a whole, I don't leave myself out of this equation, we're spouting truths.

And that's ... your values are paramount, and same with the clients that we work with. So, helping clients get more in touch and articulate their voice and values is, in some ways, sort of the purpose of what my work has been about, and what I think is kind of a unique contribution that the field of organization development has versus other kinds of consulting that can help with more mechanical issues, or being more competitive.

And what we do should help achieve, help organizations or communities and people, ultimately. The organizations don't do any work. The people do it. But, achieve more. But, it's that they achieve more because they're giving of their voice, and their own ... their voice on what is important to them, right? So ... and of course, if people don't use their voice, and of course, they sing, they don't sing, well it's like open your mouth, you know. Right? You've got friends that say that. You've got a mouth on you. Use it.

And so, it's not much of a performance. And it matters to be soundful, and the way that you do that, and singing with others, and there's a role to play. There's certainly moments of silence and strategic pause and silence. But, it's about the use of that that matters. So, that's ... I would hope I have a legacy that this guy stood for that, and he encouraged that with other people, and that achievement mattered to him, business achievement mattered. It wasn't just about human stuff. But, and how it's sometimes thought of is sort of like mind things, or strategy, or business. It's about achievement, which is a very human thing. We don't ... people don't generally feel good about their work unless they're achieving something. And so, how you help them get out of their own way, where they can do that, and how we get out of our own way and be willing to own up to that. In a way, that's helpful.

35 years. So, about what contribution I'd like to do in the next 10 years, reflective of that legacy, or reflective of what I'm aiming at. And I'd like to codify some of the things I've done in a book. Like I said, I've published quite a bit. I think I have the make, and some stuff that's very recent, even something I'm doing at this conference based on a very recent thing. I have a historical perspective in the way that I look at things. I was trained as a professional historian at UCLA.

And then when I later moved into this field ... so, I think writing from things over a period of time in a set of essays is maybe collecting those in a book. I have sort of a mind to do that. Continuing to mentor others, I think. Like anything else, there's a distribution. I guess it tends to follow a bell curve of people that will make significant contributions versus there are people sort of in the middle, and then there are people that will drop off altogether. Fine, this isn't for them, or what have you.

But, I think helping more people that are sort of in the middle reach for more, what they're capable of. And this is just true in organizations or communities we work with, is tap into this inner vitality that they have, or ... and that people sort of at the top of the game, you can ... they're not hard to see even early in their development. They have a certain way of handling themselves, and a certain sensibility. And those are people that can go far.

So, I think working with people like that over the next 10 years, and mentoring, and then, I do a 3 day residential retreat at my house every year, where I take up 6, 7 people that come for the 3 days, and we do more advanced learnings in organization development concepts, and in technique, because technique matters. The touch, literally the touch, we have for people. And that doesn't mean you're mechanical about it, but it does mean that you have a certain touch.

And so, I just read something about where a social anthropologist was learning to play jazz improvisation on the piano, and he had played classical music. But, so it's literally a description, or an account, of how he learned to kind of free himself with the thinking, was in the hands, and about what you do. And technique very much matters in that, and it's not like he's trying to impose a thought on that. And they're kind of making it up as they go. You can see that in players like, guitar players like Clapton or Mark Knopfler, or I'm dating myself here, more current guys and gals.

So, helping people develop that capacity in themselves, for those that are sort of instinctive with that, and those that want to reach for more. And so, those are two important things I think for me in the field, I think would be writing, continuing to write and publish, and continuing to mentor and coach and teach others. Some of that is in a formal classroom, but it's as much online mentoring. Yeah.