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Dick Axelrod

Chicago, Illinois, USA

BK Expert
Community Member Author

Dick Axelrod co-founded The Axelrod Group, Inc., a consulting firm that pioneered the use of employee involvement to effect large-scale organizational change. He now brings more than thirty-five years of consulting and teaching experience to his work, with clients including Boeing, Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, and the NHS. Dick is faculty in Columbia University's Professional Program in Organization Development and the University of Chicago's Leadership Arts Program. He alaso serves on the board of Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Dick authored Terms of Engagement: Changing the Way We Change Organizations, and co-authored You Don't Have to Do It Alone: How to Involve Others to Get Things Done, which the New York Times called ""the best of the current crop of books on this subject."" His latest e-book is How to Get People to Care About What You Find Important.

Terms of Engagement

How can you manage change in a way that encourages employee engagement?

You Don't Have To Do It Alone

What if you could make collaboration an asset in your work and your life?

Collaborative Loops

from BK Fast Fundamentals

Let's Stop Meeting Like This

Is it possible to hold meetings that actually maximize productivity?

The Conference Model

from BK Fast Fundamentals

Let's Stop Meeting Like This (Audio)

Is it possible to hold meetings that actually maximize productivity?


Everyday Engagement: Watch people and productivity soar

Are you sitting with engagement survey results, not sure what to do? We offer employee engagement workshops that build understanding while increasing engagement skills. Our everyday engagement program improves productivity while spreading engagement throughout the whole organization.

ORGANIZATION DESIGN: Spend thousands, not millions, through better design and faster implementation

Can a cookie-cutter design work? Of course it can, but the redesign of an organization without input from those affected disengages your most precious asset—your workforce.

ORGANIZATIONAL TEAMWORK: Cats and dogs working together

We know teams and we know it takes for them be effective. We bring a common sense, straightforward approach to working with teams. Benefit from a method that helps teams understand barriers to success and build on their strengths as they develop more productive ways to achieve their goals. Whether you are trying to improve teamwork in one team or trying to create a team-based organization, we have the skill and experience to help you achieve your goals.

STRATEGIC PLANNING: Build a great plan, lasting support, and the capacity for future changes

Our high-engagement approach to strategic planning creates strategic plans that people actually implement. Instead of sitting on the shelf in a nice binder, your strategic plan will move forward with a life of its own.


You’ve heard a thousand speakers. Want something different? Want something more engaging? Tired of being talked at by an expert? How about an expert who talks with you?

Dick Axelrod will combine his 30 years of helping organizations stay ahead of the change curve with your organization’s unique challenges. Come away with more than entertainment and lectures. You will see how Mr. Axelrod’s knowledge and experience applies to your current problems.


The core philosophy of The Conference Model® involves pulling together organizational stakeholders from all levels and departments, as well as customers and suppliers, into a process that strives to avoid the confusion and chaos that usually slows down major system change efforts. The Conference Model® has been used in major organizations throughout the world to improve patient care in hospitals, redesign organizations, improve product development, and improve systems and processes.


Other consultants and major corporations such as Allstate, Boeing, and GE hire us to train their internal staff. Each course we offer is designed to meet your specific requirements. Here are some of our current offerings:

* Conference Model® Train the Consultant Program

* Consulting Skills For Human Resource Professionals

* Leading for Engagement

Our coaches bring a brained-based orientation to their work. Using the latest findings from neuroscience, this strength-based approach will help you achieve possibilities you don’t see in yourself.

SUSTAINABILITY: Beyond turning the lights off

What’s missing from many sustainability efforts? Recognizing that whether you are redesigning processes or creating a new sustainability culture, success requires integrating great sustainability practices with great organizational change practices.

American Management Systems
Bell South Telecommunications
The Boeing Company
British Airways
Calgary Health Authority
Chicago Tribune
Cincinnati Bell
Corning Incorporated
Detroit Edison
Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield
Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut
Erikson Institute
First Union Bank
Ford Motor Company
Helene Curtis
Inland Steel
Inova Health Care
John Deere and Company
Kaiser Permanente
Leeds University
Mercy Healthcare Sacramento
Moore Corporation Ltd
Multicare Health System
Naperville District 203 Schools
National Association of Security Dealers
Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission
Novartis Pharmaceuticals
R.R. Donnelley and Sons
Reichold Chemicals
SBC Ameritech
Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America Inc.
United Nations Development Fund
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Our fees are determined on a project basis. We are happy to discuss your needs with you and provide you with a quote. Please click on the "Contact Richard Axelrod" button above.


"Dick and Emily Axelrod are design geniuses. They create experiences that simulate the democratic self governing principles that, if taken seriously, can create large communities of committed and powerful people."?
Peter Block, author of Stewardship and The Answer to How is Yes

"By implementing Dick Axelrod's change principles and practices, our engineering team has a renewed vision for working together and a real hope for a brighter future. His engagement model is now a fundamental part of our people plan and the way we address significant change."?
Hank Queen, VP Engineering and Product Integrity, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

"We replaced our stalled change effort, marked by employee withdrawal and resentment, with an Axelrod-coached effort, driven by employee commitment and enthusiasm. The tangible results of this change? Twenty-six supply-chain improvement projects went into high gear, which have netted us millions of dollars in savings. From working with The Axelrod Group, I've learned that when people put their own thumbprint on a change process, selling them on the benefits of the process isn't necessary. They own the work."?
Joe Aresto, Director of Supply Chain Management, Detroit Edison

"The Axelrod Group approach is not for the weak of heart. Trusting in the wisdom of your organization takes courage. The results, however, are worth it: deep, sustainable performance improvement delivered by a committed workforce."?
Meta Dooley, Vice President, Strategic Development & Business Planning, MultiCare Health System

"For the past five years, we have been able to reverse a downward performance trend, and have gotten back to an average annual growth rate of 18 percent. Much of our success is due to The Axelrod Group's Conference Model® approach. It not only works, but it complements our other management and leadership tools as well."?
Mike Freeman, Hewlett-Packard

"I am impressed with Dick Axelrod's directness and honesty. People learn as a result of being in his presence and watching him work with others."?
Helen Lingham, Manager, Leadership and Organization Development, Fraser Health Authority, Canada

"I'm lucky. I learned from Dick Axelrod while he sculpted Terms of Engagement, and had the distinct pleasure of using his concepts to guide my work with large groups as well as to partner with Dick as Empire started on it's quest to be a successful e-business. Now when I have a roomful of bright people, I know how to draw upon their collective wisdom to create better solutions than any of us could have conceived individually. Using Dick's engagement principles, voices emerge, direction takes root, and behavior changes right away."?
Scott Gassman, Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield

Praise for Terms of Engagement

"Dick Axelrod is among the best there is when it comes to bringing together people from across silos and hierarchies, so they can make significant organizational contributions. In Terms of Engagement, Dick makes his rare wisdom available to us all. If you want your business strategy to be more than bright words on paper, heed his book's lessons."?
Peter Koestenbaum, author of Freedom, Choice, and Accountability and The Philosophic Consultant

"I have seen these ideas in action. This is the field book of Change tools and techniques!"?
Charlotte Roberts, co-author, with Peter Senge, of The Fifth Discipline Field Book and The Dance of Change

"[Axelrod] provides the reader an opportunity to become an active participant in a different kind of change: the change that will energize and organization to new levels of performance and satisfaction."?
Rich Teerlink, former Chairman, Harley-Davidson

"We know a lot about engaging brains and brawn in the workplace, but we are just beginning to understand what it means to engage the whole person—brains, brawn, imagination, spirit, and common sense. Dick Axelrod's personal story and practical insights take us to a deeper place. Thank you for this tremendous contribution."?
Sandra Janoff, Ph.D, co-author of Future Search, Co-Director, Future Search Network

"Terms of Engagement provides people with tools for learning and collaborating as they work towards a common purpose."?
Hugh McLeod, acting CEO, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

"Over the years, I've learned a great deal from Dick Axelrod about how to truly engage people in creating real organizational change. The learnings in this book are essential for us to understand in these times of relentless change."?
Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science and co-author of A Simpler Way

"The new 'engagement paradigm' that Axelrod challenges us to embrace is effectively demonstrated in numerous real-life examples—enhanced by guiding principles, graphics, and summaries at the end of each chapter. This is a 'must' book for anyone leading organizational change."?
Billie T. Alban and Barbara Benedict Bunker co-authors of Large Group Interventions

"A 'Must Read' for those involved in change."?
Business Executive Magazine

Dick has not added any photos.