Meet Marie

About Marie Sonnet

While building a career in corporate training, quality improvement, and organizational development, Marie found that combining people effectiveness with the analysis and redesign of work processes led to business improvement. This intersection of optimal people performance and improving organizational performance became her passion.

“Dr. Sonnet’s assessment helped us focus not on what’s wrong with our organization, but making more of what’s right.”
– Robert J. Berklich, Controller, Global Services

Marie began to focus on quality improvement initiatives in the healthcare, education, telecommunications, and utility sectors, becoming certified in Lean and Six Sigma methodologies and utilizing project management expertise as a framework for delivery. Over twenty years, she broadened her practice to include Human and Organizational Development with a focus on the structure and deployment of increasingly frequent change initiatives from a systems perspective.

While teaching quality improvement and consulting on achieving and sustaining project gains, Marie found that project leaders were encountering delays and pushback unrelated to project plans and resources and data collected. These were challenges related to the human dynamics surrounding new, disruptive, or unexpected challenges.

In response, Marie created a course concentration on the “people side of change”, an often overlooked, misunderstood, or taken for granted dimension of change leadership. One day, a participant remarked, “Can’t we just measure people’s readiness for change?” That question initiated a quest for a way to make change capability a tangible and operative dimension of organizational planning.

While individual resilience, the ability to respond productively to change or challenge, had been studied for a long time, collective or organizational resilience was an emerging field of study. Marie decided to focus on this field as a practitioner-scholar, asking the research questions “What are employees doing, as they interact with one another, that creates a ready capacity in the organization to respond to change or adversity?” “What does the organization do to support those change capabilities?” Getting to specific desired behaviors gives the practitioner a critical advantage. Marie earned her doctorate in the field of Human and Organizational Systems and is a Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation, at Fielding Graduate University.

Marie’s passion is to raise awareness of the often-unrecognized asset of employee-built resilience in an organization, gather data on the presence of employee-built capabilities, identify strengths and potential faultlines, and show a company’s leaders and managers how to proactively and deliberately support and develop its resilience advantage.

I look forward to discussing how to measure, strengthen, and fully activate this resilience advantage in your organization.