“The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level at which we created them.”
Q. What Methodology do you use?
A. Our unique and proprietary methods help people gain access to powerful relationships, and effective coordinated action. In many cases, the results produced are beyond expectation.
- Phase 1 – Assessing the current state of the organization
- Phase 2 – Strategic design (creating a future and plan)
- Phase 3 – Implementation (includes training and coaching)
- Phase 4 – Developing Leaders and exercising leadership effectively
- Phase 5 – Structures to sustain results being produced
Q. How does it work?
- We provide Transformative Learning as distinct from Informative Learning.
The method utilized in this approach is known as transformative learning. Drawing on the ideas in, and using certain words and phrases from, “Learning As Transformation” by Jack Mezirow and Associates (2000, chs. 1-3):
Informative learning and transformative learning are both valuable and appropriate. However, transformative learning occurs in a different dimension than informative learning.
- Informative learning endeavors to increase the sum of what we know, to add to our available skills, to extend our already established cognitive capacities. Informative learning seeks to bring valuable new content to add to, or fill in what our prevailing worldview and frames of reference already allow. In summary, informative learning adds ideas and capacities that are compatible with what we already know.
- Transformative learning on the other hand, provides us with the opportunity to become aware of the interpretations and beliefs we hold as “the way it is”. That is, to critically reflect on the underlying network of ideas, beliefs, biases, social and cultural embedded-ness, and taken-for-granted assumptions that constitute our model of reality about the world, others, and ourselves, and our mindset relative to what we are working on.
We rarely consider the fact that we have a worldview and frames of reference. This leaves us ignorant of the impact of the constraining and shaping imposed by our worldview and frames of reference on our perceptions and consequently on our actions.
Transformative learning does not merely add to or correct your store of information. Using transformative learning there is an opportunity to discover and eliminate the constraints and shaping imposed by your worldview and your frames of reference relative to who you are for yourself, and who you are for others.
You find yourself being more open, at ease, and free to be. You produce results beyond what you thought possible.
Q. What allows for this approach to have a powerful impact?
A. Our approach is unique and different. For example, we come from the view that someone already is an effective leader and they have barriers to experiencing their effectiveness. As people identify those barriers, they discover for themselves the constraints that burden them. The obstacles, and hidden self-imposed patterns dissolve thus leaving them naturally effective.
Q. What allows for such remarkable, quick, and effective behavior changes?
A. In our programs, what people discover for themselves is that language – how they speak and what they listen to, shapes and constrains what they see as possible. Their worldview or frame of reference for what they are dealing with allows them to see certain aspects of situations and hides others. Thus they discover that their view of life is malleable. When problems, issues and challenges, can show up differently, people can take new and effective actions that they hadn’t seen before.
Q. How can this change one’s view of life so powerfully?
A. Neuroscience has now shown that the way we think, the words we use and dwell in, have the power to change our perception and thus our behavior and actions that follow. Language has the power to describe the world. It also has the power to create our view of life. By using language in certain ways, and viewing work as a conversation, participants become naturally more productive, satisfied, with less stress and overwhelm. New pathways for producing results become available.
Q. Is this success lasting?
Yes. There will be challenges maintaining the new environment. With the proprietary practices, new work habits and new conversations we introduce, the default culture will be interrupted. Just like learning to ride a bicycle, once you distinguish balance, even if you do not pick up the bicycle for years, you still can ride it anytime you choose.
Q. Will employees be receptive or resistant to accepting new ways to think, work and act?
Truthfully, it does not matter. I have seen many people drag themselves through a program and not want to participate or plain refuse the input. However, they cannot avoid the trip. As long as they are in the room, engaging and listening to what is discussed, at some point it sinks in and they “get it”. And, then their behavior naturally changes. Also, by participating with others the environment starts to influence their behavior in a powerful, natural way. The outcomes unfold organically.
Q. Will this method work on organizations that have been around a long time?
Yes it will. Our view is that the majority of the people that come to work want to make a difference and experience that they are contributing in some fashion. Certain oral traditions, “the way we do things around here” are to be appreciated and respected as they have gotten the company to where it is today. In corporate environments, things change over time and what was successful in the past may not provide what is needed for the future. Our processes help forward this change in a simple and workable fashion. As people discover new conversations, they find new ways to produce results. A by-product is a healthier, happier, and more satisfied workplace.
Q. Do you ever fail at projects?
A. Rarely, if ever. Given that 70% of all change efforts fail* we consider that our efforts are the best of the worst. Failure happens only when our sponsor gives up or backs down from their stand for success. Sometimes, you have to go through periods where things look like they are not working. This is temporary.
A caterpillar goes through a major transformation in becoming a butterfly. It literally returns to a state of “nothing” before becoming totally new. You must stand for your commitment for the results to occur. It takes some courage, but not doing so, leaves one with an almost certain future of more of what you already have.
What happened with a client using this approach:
An Outstanding Business Outcome for a Large International Mining Company
The exploration group of a large international mining company had a total of 60 employees. Each group was subdivided into smaller groups located all over the world. Their job was to explore and locate potential rich ore bodies to drill, develop and turn into profit making ventures. Their budget was around $60 Million for exploration, drilling and development.
Every year the group would meet and try to distribute resources to locate world-class ore bodies. Each region would fight to fund their projects for drilling. It was stressful, painful and hard but eventually some would win out and others would lose. The Vice President of Exploration realized that he needed to do something out of the ordinary. We were asked to bring the management team and other key people together to cause a breakthrough in how they function as a team rather than siloes and individual regions. Over five days of appreciating the past, and what got them to where they were, they aligned themselves on a new future and unique ways to approach the challenge of discovery.
They created a vision called ”10 in 10″. That is, they committed to locating, drilling, evaluating and approving 10 new world-class ore bodies in 10 years. A guiding strategy to operate inside of and guide them. At the time, the best result you could hope for was 1 discovery in 7 years.
No longer operating as individuals with their own personal agendas, they constituted themselves to be one group. Looking from that view (or stand) they invented new possibilities for action. They reorganized their regions into one solid team that allotted all of their resources to the best projects, rather than by region.
They sent those resources, including human capital, to those regions. Regional managers let go of their personal agendas for the team goals and united behind one vision.
They also requested lowering their budget, as they wanted to show the company they could produce the same result with fewer resources. Within a short period of time, they produced 3 of those 10 world class ore deposits and were on target for their 10 in 10.
Not bad for a week’s worth of work!