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About David Sibbet

DAVID SIBBET is a master facilitator, process consultant, information designer, and pioneer of visual facilitation—the use of large-scale, interactive graphics to support group process in meetings, teams, and organizations. For more than 47 years he has been helping people work together by transforming their ability to communicate and collaborate in groups. He specialized in large-scale system change processes, strategic visioning, and creative, future-oriented symposia. Now retired from meeting facilitation, he is focused on writing and mentoring leaders and practitioners, as well as sharing his extensive experience online in various formats.


Sibbet is the founder of The Grove Consultants International, a San-Francisco-based organization development firm that has pioneered visual methods for working with groups. The Grove’s services and tools provide an integrated, creative way to engage people and organizations around a vision. In addition to his work with The Grove, he was co-founder of The Grove’s Global Learning and Exchange Network (GLEN), a global learning community. The GLEN’s purpose is to evolve the methods and practices of collaboration within and across organizations and cultures.


Sibbet is co-author (with Gisela Wendling, PhD) of Visual Consulting: Designing and Leading Change (2018), the fourth volume in the Visual Facilitation Series published by John Wiley & Sons. He is sole author of the other three books in the series:

Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes & Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity (2010)

Visual Teams: Graphic Tools for Commitment, Innovation & High Performance (2011)

Visual Leaders: New Tools for Visioning, Management, & Organization Change (2013)

Sibbet also wrote many of The Grove’s integrated process-consulting tools and guides, including The Grove Facilitation Model and The Grove’s Facilitation book series. He also co-authored the Drexler/Sibbet/Forrester Team Performance™ System, the Sibbet/Le Saget Sustainable Organizations™ Model, and The Grove’s Visual Planning Systems.


The Grove works with organizations in all stages of development—leading strategic-visioning processes for groups and divisions, helping develop leadership and team development programs, and designing Grove Storymaps® to communicate visions and strategies. Recently David’s colleague and spouse, Gisela Wendling, Ph.D. has become COE of The Grove and is adding transformational consulting and leadership coaching to the service lines. Historically Sibbet and The Grove were involved with the growth of Apple Computer in the 1980s and facilitated the change-management team at National Semiconductor during its turnaround in 1990. Sibbet and The Grove team worked with HP, Agilent Technologies Procter & Gamble, Juniper Networks, Autodesk, Otis Spunkmeyer, Nike, and Adobe.


In addition to private-sector work, David has sustained a diverse involvement with foundations and nonprofits like like UC San Francisco, UC Merced, Cal Poly Pomona, American Institute of Architects,  Ford Foundation, Pacific Forest Trust, Save the Redwoods League, Yosemite National Park and the National Park Service.  Over the years he has helped design and lead numerous board/staff retreats, strategy sessions, and cross-organizational social change projects. He shared a long partnership with the Institute for the Future in Menlo Park and has been a longtime member of both the Organizational Development Network and the International Forum of Visual Practitioners. He is current on the Board of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners Institute, a non-profit focused on bringing visualization to social action.


Sibbet holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and a B.A. in literature from Occidental College. He was awarded a Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs in 1965 to study metropolitan public affairs in Los Angeles. Prior to founding The Grove, for eight years in the 1970s he was executive director and director of training for the Coro Center for Civic Leadership (now Coro), a leadership-development institute known for its pioneering work in experience-based education. He is a past chair of the Coro board.


In 1998 the Anodos Foundation awarded David the Arthur M. Young Award for the most practical application of the Theory of Process, a remarkable integration of physics and metaphysics in one cosmological system describing the characteristics of evolutionary process. The Grove’s extensive innovations in the field of organization development have all been informed by this work, which functions as a sophisticated operating system beneath all of The Grove’s applications.


In 2007, the Organization Development Network awarded David and The Grove its Membership Award for creative contributions to the field of organization development. David received ODN’s Lifetime Achievement award in 2013.


Currently David is President of the Board of California Poets in the Schools, a non-profit supporting practicing poets teaching in the classroom and on the board of the International Forum of Visual Practitioners Institute.