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Organization Development Journal, Fall 2000 | Go to article overview

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Dear Don,

I recently wrote a BRIEF article that you might get a kick out of! `QUILTING SQUARES,' `PLANNED CHANGE' AND THE PROBLEM OF `CORPORATE CONTINUITY'

R. Ronald Shepps, Ph.D., RODP Productivity Strategies Lima, OH sheppsron@ yahoo.com

Several months ago, I attended a unique event held by a community - the town of Hudson, Ohio that became, for me, a quiet Model for what we, as O.D. professionals working in the area of Culturebuilding and `Planned Change,' can do. My thought was that I was seeing a model of what could be done to help corporate as well as other organizations to address an increasingly widespread issue cultural continuity.

What happened was in itself, as I experienced it, an impressive community-building dynamic. A 49-square Bicentennial Quilt was unveiled to the community on what was, in reality, "a dark and snowy night' in mid-November, 1999, at a lively gathering of new and longtime residents of the historical town of Hudson, Ohio.

The quilt, a square or 7 x 7 design, is the town's way of celebrating its history - and its continuity. It is organized chronologically around four broad eras of the town's history (1799- 1850; 1850 1900; 1900 - 1950 and 1950 2000). Commemorated, in a variety of patterns and with various methods of quilt making - many actually family Heirlooms dating from the 1800s - are a truly stunning array of such scenes as:

The epic journey of the town's founder, David Hudson, from the East Coast to Ohio; many historical and well known homes and churches prominent in the town's history; Hudson's role as a stop on the `Underground Railway, the town's `Great Fire' ( 1892); the old Hudson Township burying ground; the town's historical drug store; its Clock Tower in Town Square; and such traditions as the annual Ice Cream Social, the HAS Clothesline Show, and the annual House and Garden tour.

In today's climate of increasingly frequent corporate mergers, acquisitions, downsizings and restructuring, can our profession perhaps renew our commitment to `continuity-building' - inspired, perhaps, by the work of the group of 100+ ladies of Hudson, Ohio who cooperated with the Hudson Bicentennial Quilt Show Committee?

Much more needs to be done, in my view, to aid corporate and other clients with Cultural Continuity challenges, and with their need for Cultural Integration after merger, acquisition and take-overs. …

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