Michael Sales

Michael Sales


Michael Sales Ed. D. is a skilled coach, program designer, teacher, and facilitator who combines a detailed knowledge of personal, group and organizational change technologies with a broad background in business, entrepreneurship and education. Michael has extensive knowledge of the challenges of participatory management, the introduction of technologies into organizations, and the dynamics of life in family-owned businesses. He has helped many individuals, teams and organizations achieve their objectives. His expertise: The mobilization of energy and talent in support of results. Michael’s doctoral work at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (supervised by Chris Argyris) focused on the interpersonal skills required by participative management. He has a Bachelor’s degree from the Universtiy of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a Masters in Broadcast Communication Arts (California State, San Francisco), which explored institutional resistance to new technologies. Michael also has a training certificate from the National Training Laboratory and from Global Foresight Associates, where he was trained in scenario construction. He has served for twenty years as a senior associate of Barry Oshry’s Power and System Training, the developers of the Organization Workshop, and the Power and Leadership Conference. Michael was a founding principal of New Context Consulting, providing customized experiential education for organizational learning and change. Michael is a believer in positive energy and good strategy. When the members of a workplace team back an organizational or a social strategy, remarkable accomplishments happen fast. Michael has degrees from Wharton and Harvard but he learned his most profound lessons from three generations of entrepreneurs and strategists on both sides of his family tree. He is instinctively entrepreneurial, and he can turn any idea into a value proposition with a strategy for action. His background and business acumen inclined him toward a broad range of interests in the future from a very early age. In the early 70s, Michael had a business producing granola and other natural foods. He was in at the ground floor of what has become a huge industry with leaders like Whole Foods, and he was positioned to be very successful financially as an innovator in this burgeoning field. But a career with a self-interested focus alone would not have satisfied his aspirations to make a broader social contribution. Fascinated by the workings of complex systems, Michael sold Ma Gret’s Granola and undertook an analysis of why it is so difficult for organizations to adopt new technologies. His insights into the political context of technology decision-making won him distinction as a researcher and led to his acceptance at the Harvard School of Education program in Organizational Studies led by Chris Argyris, Lee Bolman and Terry Deal. Michael became active as a leadership consultant upon graduation from Harvard. His engagements have spanned a broad range of economic sectors. In the last seven years, he has increasingly honed in on futurism as the key question confronting leaders. This is an era that stresses short term thinking and it is uncommon to find executives, managers and/or line workers who want to focus on the future in a disciplined yet creative way. And it is exactly these sorts of visionary leaders, wherever they might exist in the organizational or social hierarchy, that Michael wants to work with. Toward that end, he has co-founded Art of the Future with a co-visionary, Anika Schriefer. Together they focus their energies on making a difference in the future of work and the future of the workplace. In addition to authoring multiple reports for clients, Michael frequently writes for publication. He has served as a contributing writer to the World Future Society’s Future Survey. His authority on the dynamics of closely held corporations is reflected in his publications on the subject. Michael co-authored an article on the management of mature workers that was selected as one of the pre-eminent publications in the training literature by Prentice Hall in 2001. Michael was also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Employee Relations Bulletin, which published a number of his articles. He is a member of the Society for Organizational Learning and the World Future Society. He has been included in the International Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs and Who’s Who in the East.

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Treating America’s Health System with Structural Dynamics

Ours is an era of discontinuity. The tectonic plates of history are shifting, causing powerful and complicated stresses for nearly every human system —…

Leveraging the Assets of Older Workers

There’s a tempest brewing in the American workplace. The graying of the vast baby-boomer generation, cultural misconceptions about aging, and an impoverished sense of…

Future Thinking by Middle Managers: A Neglected Necessity

This is a story about what happened to a group of technical managers working in a multinational corporation, the Big Can Corporation (BCC)*, when…