About

The primary work I do with clients is to help them learn what I call ‘Goal-Fitness’.  This means that I help my clients become more effective and efficient at reaching their goals.  The nature of the goal is up to the client; the process of achieving it is where my expertise and influence comes in.

The type of client I work with ranges from the individual leader or manager, all the way to a large group of people (company, community).  Through coaching, designing workshops, facilitating change management projects, and team development projects, I help bring about desired results while providing experiential learning so that the client is better able to achieve their future goals.

PRINCIPLES

There are two primary principles that I always try to work towards: Balance & Optimization.  I arrived at the simplicity of these two principles after decades of striving to understand how to be most effective at whatever I am doing, both in terms of my own personal development and my work of helping others.

SYSTEMIC THINKING

I understand each client as a client system, whether it’s an individual, a team,a whole company, or even a community.  I work with the client to grasp the dynamics at play and how we might design change processes that result in the attainment of the client’s goals.  Goal-Fitness is achieved for a system.  It is about optimizing that system for achieving its goals.  Although there are specific techniques and methods for bringing about optimization, it is essentially an experimental process that takes place over time, through some trial and error.  Minimizing error is the art of the Process Consultant.  Maximizing learning from error is also the art of the Process Consultant.

LEVERAGE

Central to the success of achieving Goal-Fitness is the concept of leverage.  The two most common strategies for improving business success is to either increase revenue or to decrease overhead.  Although altruistic to imagine a business whose sole aim is the welfare of their employees, all businesses exist in the market, subject to the forces of supply and demand.  If these forces aren’t balanced in favor of producing a surplus of resources, the business won’t survive (unless funded by voluntary labor and/or surplus capital to begin with).  The challenge of each business, as a system, is to discover the leverage points within that system that help to stabilize interactions that results in a surplus of energy, both monetary and social.

There are always plenty of things that can be done, changes that can be made, actions that can be taken.  A significant component of my work with a client is to help discover which actions have higher leverage, and therefore, more bang for the buck.  In other words, more likely to generate surplus energy: financial, personal and/or social.

LEADERSHIP

I look at leadership as a function of energy.  Leaders are the ones who manage their energy in such a way as that they get things done, are compelled to achieve goals that inspire and challenge others, and are able to delegate and give direction when needed.  As well, leadership, as a spontaneous function of energy, can arise in any team member at certain times and according to circumstance and situation.

All in all, I see leadership as a natural result of the effort to achieve balance and optimization.  Thus my emphasis on these principles.  When a person is in a position of leadership they carry more responsibility to embody balance and optimization because the lack of these qualities can have a negative effect on the team, or group, that they are leading.  Whereas, if these principles are promulgated, adhered to, and learned then all of the more commonly appreciated leadership characteristics seem to be naturally expressed.

MEETINGS

How much time do you spend in meetings?  How effective are they at achieving results?  I have observed that meetings are one of the main potential leverage activities for increasing a company’s Goal-Fitness.

With the appropriate meeting design, a team can be learning the principles of Goal-Fitness every time they meet, fostering a culture where effectiveness and efficiency are valued and expanded upon.

GOALS

“The end toward which effort is directed.” (Webster online dictionary)  There are many symptoms of a poor state of Goal-Fitness.  One of the main symptoms is the lack of a clearly articulated goal.  In this case, energy is expended toward goals that are not well thought out, and energy is wasted.  On the other side of this symptom is when the goal is clearly ‘known’ but behavior doesn’t correspond to what will result in the achievement of the goal.  My argument against this last suggestion is that I believe that when a desired result is truly felt and understood, all behavior corresponds to its achievement.  In other words, behavior always corresponds to the ‘desired result’, no matter what is claimed or said. The challenge is to discover what the ‘desired result’ is and whether or not it needs to change when brought to the light of day.

Other times, the goal is entirely self-serving, and thus lacking in the broad-mindedness that characterizes goals that benefit the larger energy system of which one is just a part.  Of course, I don’t have any interest in changing, or determining, what someone’s goals are.  My work with a client is to help them understand how the current behaviors of the system reveal its implicit goals and how to design behaviors that will help bring about desired results.

One of the quotes that underlies all the theory of this field of work: “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.”  Accepting this statement removes judgement, or the expectation that a system should be getting a different result than it is, and directs thought toward redesigning the system to produce the desired results.  I do believe, however, that as a client system begins to understand its relationship to energy and living systems, there is a natural development of how that system defines its goals.

LEARNING and CHANGE

The art of learning is fundamental to all productive processes.  To improve effectiveness necessarily means to learn: new ways of behaving, new ways of thinking, new ways of interpreting.  In some situations a client may look to a consultant for answers and solutions to their problems without wanting to engage in a learning process.  It is actually very possible for this to occur.  For example, a consultant can facilitate a retreat, achieve the desired result for that engagement, and participants can go through the experience without learning anything.  Likely, the learning would be, at the least, that an experienced facilitator can really help meetings and retreats be more effective.  But that doesn’t mean the participants, or client managers, have learned how to facilitate on their own.  I say this so as not to mislead potential clients to what they can expect to learn regarding my meta-goal of helping clients to learn Goal-Fitness.  As with all skills and capacities, fluency takes time.

ENERGY

Energy is the core concept in all the work that I do.  The very notion of ‘Goal-Fitness’ is simply a way of describing effective and efficient expenditures of energy that produce desired results.  A human being, as well as a human collectivity, are constantly changing, dynamic systems of energy input, conversion, and output.  The critical stage in this cyclic flux is the conversion process and whether the conversion results in a desired outcome.

I have arrived at the conclusion that the mental function of ‘interpreting’ is the highest leverage point of how energy is converted within a human system.  How we interpret: what our situation is, how to respond to it, what words to use, what feelings to cultivate, how to interact with our environment, etc., constantly determines our reciprocal influence with others, whether in our job, family or community.

To change our ‘selves’ is to change how we interpret our context and place in it.  When we engage our mind with a new system of thought we are learning a new way to interpret our perceptions and sensations.  My assessment is that there are many ways that we interpret our perceptions and sensations that result in the many dysfunctions that we experience in our lives; in relationship with our health, our careers, our friends and family, and employment.  I am of the strong opinion that there isn’t an absolute right or wrong way to interpret our experiences, but that if we apply the principles of Balance and Optimization to our endeavors, we bring about Balance and Optimization!

The purpose of learning Goal-Fitness is to learn new ways of behaving that help bring about the desired results of any individual or group.  Behaviors are actions, ways of channeling energy, that are motivated by some goal, conscious or not.  The basic principle of Goal-Fitness is to have a clear grasp of the goal and to understand what actions (behaviors) will bring about the (measurable) results that are desired.