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Guided Experience Trumps Knowledge

Posted March 27, 2014 By Norman Jentner

InternalOperations(Originally posted 03-19-14.)

Experiencing positive change with constructive guided reflection is, in my professional experience, one of the most powerful approaches you can take to gaining lasting memories with new understandings — understanding  you can utilize reflexively and faithfully adapt for continuing positive actions with your team and other stakeholders.

You now have this opportunity with the first publicly offered Change Intelligence CQ Certification Workshop!

ChngCatalysts(A)I’m thrilled to announce, on behalf of Barbara Trautline, Principal of ChangeCatalysts®,  that after conducting a variety of CQ Certification sessions for clients inside their organizations, ChangeCatalysts® is ready to launch the first public CQ Certification Workshop. This hands-on workshop will be held on June 11-12 in suburban Chicago. Barbara will work with the select group of leaders (maybe even you) who choose to join her!

ChngIntllgncBook,TrautlineWhether you’ve read the best-selling book Change Intelligence or are just learning about CQ, the certification process will equip you with the tools you need to become an even more effective change leader yourself, to develop change leadership capacity in the clients you coach, and to facilitate powerful and sustainable results for the teams and organizations you support.

Click here to learn more and register!

To give you a taste of what CQ can do for your leadership and your impact, here’s what a CEO and an Executive Coach have to say about the successes they’ve achieved with the CQ System for Developing Change Intelligent Individuals and Organizations:

Having gone through a sizable merger and facing system-wide change, the CQ process helps me as a CEO and my senior management team identify issues on how to lead our organization.”

- Peter Berman, President and CEO, Sisters of Charity Hospital, Catholic Health System

The real-life case studies, interactive exercises, individual coaching, and group facilitation action plans provided me a ton of value – way beyond what’s in the book, and way more than I expected! I began using the new tools the very next day with my clients. They ‘got’ the simple yet powerful process right away, and within a month we’re seeing amazing results!

-P.D., Executive Coach

The workshop is limited to 20 participants, so if you’re even the slightest bit curious or wondering how CQ can accelerate your impact as a leader, now is a good time to learn more. Also, early-bird pricing is available for a limited time, so click here for more details and to register today!

Once you do, please contact Barbara at if you have any questions or need help in clarifying whether the program is right for you.

Barbara will appreciate hearing from you.  Perhaps you will join her?

In support of
Barbara A. Trautlein, Ph.D.


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(Originally posted February 22, 2014.)

My business assignments have recently engulfed my focus, precluding my usual regular blogging, up until now.

~Having further engaged with a new set of business leaders and organizations, my biggest take-aways, as a performance consultant professional:

  • People’s expectations rising (customers, employees, leaders), in sometimes transformative ways;
  • the technical AND INTERPERSONAL systems in which people are embedded are also transforming, sometimes leading, sometimes following people’s leadership.

Constructive leadership is developing all around us!

This inspires me, in gratitude, to provide a super-brief history of organizational leadership, so you can be inspired also, if you are not already.

In an upcoming blog I hope to also weave in a super-brief history of the progression of both conflict resolution and development of cooperation among people.  Both are intrinsically relevant to the evolution of leadership today!

How are you keeping up?


     Prior                       1960s                             1990s                                     Today

The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. — Harvey Firestone

(More thoughts coming…  Please stay tuned.  ~Norman)

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 Today it is widely understood that EVERY business possesses a company “culture.”  

That culture is passed on to new employees.  It is a by-product of all actions by leadership and all other participants in the business, resulting in “the way we do things around here.”  It includes everything attended to (and not attended to) by the people in that company — and the effects of those actions upon the people involved, both internal and external to the company (employees, customers, suppliers, and the like).  Every culture possesses momentum, for good and/or for ill.


Company culture DIRECTLY effects all areas of that company’s operations that are in any way touched or influenced by people.  



This includes how opposite business interests are actually integrated, such as an internal focus on operations versus an external focus on meeting market demands,



or maintaining necessary operational



versus engaging in adaptive change,

 and so forth.


In addition to all of the above is the additional fact that all individuals possess preferences and talents.  Simultaneously, none of us is “all knowing” or equally skilled at everything.  

This includes ALL company stakeholders, leadership as well as employees, consumers as well as suppliers.

Johari WindowFocus-BlindSpotThe upshot of this fact is that EVERY individual in an organization possesses “blind spots” in their awareness — areas of potentially important and valuable understanding in which that individual does not excel.  Again, this applies to each and every company stakeholder.


A truly supportive and effective business culture is the key to establishing the company circumstances and conditions where all members chose and act in a manner that will STRATEGICALLY support your company’s mission and vision at all times!

Your culture can actually engage and support individuals to contribute their talents (strengths) in combination with others who possess different talents and strengths, and to do this in a coordinated fashion that truly supports strategic and timely company achievements across time and circumstances.


Many of the challenges faced by humanity today will only be successfully addressed if the organizations addressing these issues have the kinds of business cultures that enable participants to actually achieve and maintain the desired results!

There is no way around the above facts.  


To put these circumstances to your company’s advantage, you must tackle the issues consciously and head on.  


How can you do this?


Lead the pack!


My colleague, Tim Kuppler of CultureUniversity, recently completed an informal analysis of search terms utilized by business executives.  His analysis indicates that

“business culture” is an under-utilized search term currently used by business executives who are exploring their options for maximizing their business performance today.

This circumstance is expected to change in the near future.

CEOSearchInterestsYou have the option of turning these present circumstance into your competitive business advantage by becoming ONE OF THOSE LEADERS who IS FOCUSING on YOUR company’s cultural operations.

You’d best do this sooner than later.

One way to begin do this is to keep your business culture more top-of-mind in your day-to-day business activities.  



As we mentioned in our last blog, one way to keep culture more top-of-mind is to sign up for our complimentary, no-risk, Business Culture ePrimer.

You can also explore our Business Culture Solutions eCommunity via our blog.  Check out the list of recent posts in the right-hand column of the page.

Our website provides a wealth of knowledge and specific ideas that you can utilize to your advantage immediately.



Don’t miss the culture resources we shared with you in Part 1 of this two-part blog entry.  You are welcome to engage these resources directly.  Or talk to us about these resources and how you might take advantage of them.



Here are some additional resources to whet your whistle further!

Change Catalysts: People Who Lead.  Change That Sticks.  Results That Matter.  



Barbara Trautline is principal and founder of Change Catalysts.  She authored the book Change Intelligence: Use the Power of CQ to Lead Change that Sticks and is the originator of the CQ®/Change Intelligence® System.


At her website, you can download two FREE Chapters from her book.                                    ChngIntllgncBook,Trautline


Best Practices


LdngCltrChng(DenisonBook)Leading Culture Change in Global Organizations: Aligning Culture & Strategy Daniel Denison, the founder of Denison Consulting LLC, has published a book describing leading-edge challenges and effective responses in the global business scene today.  Click the picture for more information and to order your copy, if you wish.





Denison Consulting 10th Annual Best Practices Forum, January 29-31, 2014, DelRay Beach, FL. This is an annual event that is just as amazing as it is highly informative.  The Keynote Speaker for this year’s event will be Dave Brandon, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, University of Michigan.  He is also Chairman of Domino’s Pizza.  Click on the logo to learn more!


Would you like access to research results concerning culture and performance?


In regard to “higher-level” motivators, such as conscientiousness, excellence, learning, and sharing:

Denison Logo > Visit websiteCheck out the Denison Consulting Research Network, via their website or by means of the Denison Research Network on LinkedIn.


In regard to “lower-level” motivators, to reduce valid but preventable employee distractions:



Check out our webpage to learn what industry experts assert regarding “the original wellness benefit” and how you can use this to your company’s and employees’ advantage.



Did you know that employee distractions, due to legal and identity theft situations, are increasingly making it difficult for employees to handle paperwork, phone calls and the money required to resolve an issue without cutting into work time?  Read the Harris Report to learn more.

View a Decision Analyst study concerning the Legal Needs of American Families.

You can see our webpage about effective solutions for your you and your employees — at no cost to you, their employer.


Are there other business culture performance improvement resources that you’d like to share with us? 

Please do (via comment)!


Meanwhile, I wish you continuing success in ALL that YOU do!



About Us, The Importance of Culture, Triple Bottom-Line Results

business sustainability, group, individuals, integral systems, sustainability, team-work, triple bottom-line, true success



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In Reflection and Honor of the Late Nelson Mandela

Posted December 8, 2013 By Norman Jentner

We at Business Culture Solutions stop for a moment, in reflection and in honor of Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, who died this last week at the age of 95.



For many of us, Mr. Mandela represents “a brother,” almost a member of the family, in light of his long-standing commitment to institutionalizing equal rights and more equal opportunities among the citizenry of South Africa, regardless of race or heritage.

Mr. Mandela was motivated by respect for self and others.  The challenges he encountered toward creation of a more just South Africa were in many ways beyond what I’ll bet he imagined he would encounter, and yet he pressed on…  in part because he possessed a personal mission that included all of humanity.  And because he did not look the other way when difficult circumstances or issues would arise.  By all accounts, he was not a paragon of perfection.  He made mistakes and learned from his mistakes, too.  And he pressed on… with a kind of “death defying faith” in the possibilities for human kind for which he strove.

I suspect (not having been to South Africa myself) that the culture of South Africa has transformed in many ways for the better for many South Africans.  If so, this is occurring as a result of many people’s actions, in unison, coordination, and even opposition to each other, but with a greater common commitment to “the whole.”  People have changed “on the inside,” partly as a function of more inspiring leadership who could speak to their interests as well as the interests of their nation.  I presume there are significant improvements in the opportunities that are becoming accessible to many, as a functional of constructive institutional changes.  While certainly not a “bed of roses,” I’ll bet we will find many changes in people’s overt behaviors that will serve them and others more effectively.

There is much that each of us can learn as business leaders and participants in business enterprises from the life of Nelson Mandela and other leaders of stature.

I post here a link to a recent blog entry on the TNLT platform concerning Nelson Mandela titled, “Remembering Mandela: His Three Timeless Workplace Lessons.”  I think this brief blog is worth reading and reflecting upon.

I also post here a recent Forbes post titled, “Nelson Mandela: A Leader Who Listened.”

Thank you, Nelson Mandela, for your example of positive humanity provided to so many.

May we each be inspired to be more of whom we can be, through your example.


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“True and lasting success” in our globalizing world can constructively be considered in terms of individuals’ satisfactions as members of groups, little and big, who are successfully making constructive differences that matter in our world.  No?


Individual success has to do with

personal health & well-being        relationships

resources      meaning      conscientiousness 

constructive feedback       and more.IndivPerf2


Team2Group success has to do, increasingly, with

agile and strategic group performance 

to achieve triple bottom-line results (profits, people, & planet) 

to meet the growing expectations of all stakeholders.  



Individual and group sustainability can most adaptively be achieved when individuals are embedded in healthy and effective “workplace cultures” that will truly support the triple bottom-line.


“Culture eats strategy for lunch!”CultureEatsStrategy


How do you create a truly effective workforce culture?


Here are a variety of options you can utilize to begin or continue your exploration of harnessing your company’s culture to advantage.  


Your options range from simple to obviously more complex.


All of the options we provide you enable you to create a more high-performance company culture, with less guess-work, to more effortlessly & effectively achieve competitive & sustainable center-field performance in your industry.


Business Culture Solutions LLC.   bcs_Sm Logo Resized

One option is to check out our home page at

Here you can click on the variety of links that interest you, to begin expanding your understandings and to connect to additional resources you can put to advantage on behalf of your company.

Yet another option you have is to sign up for our introductory, no-risk, complimentary Business Culture ePrimer.

When you sign up, you will receive one brief email from us, every three weeks, describing yet another facet of business culture, in lay terms, as related to business performance.  The purpose of our Business Culture ePrimer is to help you keep “business culture” more top-of-mind in your day-to-day business activities, while providing information you might appreciate, with links you can explore for more information if your interest is piqued.

You can also use our website search function (located in the left side-bar of every webpage) to search for the specific keywords that interest you.

You will also find blog entries, from members of our community, that might interest you.


We invite you to also check out MEMBERS OF OUR PROFESSIONAL NETWORK — each of them experts in their own way in the promotion of exemplary business success through the creation of effective and sustainable business cultures — all of them potential partners with Business Culture Solutions LLC on your behalf.


Here are a few of our favorites (with more coming in Part 2 of this blog entry):


To deliver sustainable performance with clarity and speed: 


(which I cannot recommend enough!)

Kuppler, Tim; Garnett, Ted; Morehead, Tom (2013) Build the Culture Advantage: Deliver sustainable performance with clarity and speed.


At their website, you can obtain a FREE COPY of the BOOK SUMMARY.

You will receive 20% off if you enter the code “Norman Jentner” when you order the book and/or workbook.



Culture University — Build the Culture Advantage  

Sign up to be notified

when Culture University launches in January 2014!



Engineering alternatives to “culture clash” in situations of ownership and leadership transition: 


LeaderOnBoardingLeader OnBoarding: Alignment. Culture. Results.

Linda Reese is the Managing Partner of Leader OnBoarding, Inc.

You can also read about Linda’s work on our webpage.


OEOC,KSUPromotingCULTURES OF OWNERSHIP: the Ohio Employee Ownership Center

 Chris Cooper, Program Director.


Satisfy your employees’ “lower level motivators” — at no cost to you — so you can engage their “higher-level” motivations with less distraction for increased company performance at less cost.


Parallel Horizons Group

Skip Gavorsky, Independent LegalShield Associate.

PHG-SkipGSkip is very knowledgable about how LegalShield products can help you and your employees, by offering your employees key legal and identity theft protection at an affordable cost, to the advantage of your company.  Check out his LegalShield website.


Brian Schuller, Independent Rovia Corporate Accounts Representative.


Brian is making available to businesses and their employees the very best version of “the original wellness benefit.”  Check out his website for member testimonials.  Or contact Brian for more information.


Are there other business culture performance improvement resources that you might share with us?  If so, please do!

We welcome your comments.

In upcoming Blog #2 of 2, we will provide you even more resources.  In the meantime, I wish you continuing success in ALL that YOU do!


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Does Effective Business Leadership Require Innovation?

Posted November 19, 2013 By Norman Jentner

Recently, the Wall Street Journal posted the following question to their experts, for their responses, which were posted in the Journal’s “The Experts” blog in September, 2013.

“Do Companies Spend Too Much Time Searching for Groundbreaking Innovations?” 

Ten experts responded to this question, each providing a different perspective.  

Each respondent spoke, directly or indirectly, to the importance of a company’s culture nimbly serving that particular company’s specific strategic needs, be that for stability, grand leaps or incremental changes.

I’ve introduced the key points of each respondent.  By clicking on the author’s picture, you will be directed to the author’s original article.

Do you think companies spend too much time searching for groundbreaking innovations at the expense of incremental advances?



DOV SEIDMAN: No. Companies must spend more effort on groundbreaking innovation. But it’s not a question of how much time. It’s a question of how culture is inspired. In a world that has become flatter, faster, and more interdependent than ever before, companies clinging to the tired doctrine of continuous improvement, while trudging along a linear path, face extinction…




ROBERT HOWELL: Whether a company focuses on breakthrough innovations or incremental advances should be a function of the industry/company’s product(s) lifecycle. Short product lifecycle industry/companies (think cell phones) have to continually focus on next generation breakthrough innovations; long product life cycle industry/companies (think BoeingBA +1.68% aircraft) have to focus on incremental improvements as a regular course of development…



WAYNE MEKJIAN: Some companies do, some companies don’t. The concept of innovation isn’t a sprint, but a marathon. Often times little advances here and there can lead to a groundbreaking project.  Whether we’re looking for a small solution or big breakthrough to a problem, we need room to think outside of the box. It’s important to build an environment and culture that supports innovative thinking among your team…



DOMINIC BARTON: No. In some fast-moving, winner-takes-all markets (e.g. social media, consumer technology), companies understandably invest a disproportionate amount of time into building the next breakthrough idea. In other historically slower-moving industries, we are also seeing more disruptive innovation (e.g., the auto sector with focused research into new fuel cells and autonomous vehicles). However, in many industries the bulk of value creation is still derived from more incremental advances… As just one indicator…



MICHEL LIES: Yes, I think they do. But that is easy to say for someone coming from the reinsurance industry… do we define innovation only as a new technology in a new market? According to some researchers, 90% of those types of innovations fail in the market place. I’d prefer to start with the customer and his needs. This may require “only” small, incremental, practical changes…




BRUCE NOLOP: Budgeting for innovation is like setting the payroll for a major league baseball team. While the amount of spending generally correlates with the number of wins, there’s no guarantee that the players will perform as expected or that they will gel as a team; the end result can be a colossal waste of money.  In my experience, a few guideposts can increase the odds of a favorable payoff…




JAY HOOLEY: I think it can be a false dichotomy to say that people or organizations have to make a choice between seeking “the next big thing” or driving day-to-day enhancements. To my mind, they often go hand in hand–breakthrough thinking often finds its inspiration in the mundane. Conversely, simple changes can transform industries…  The firms that strike this balance well are the ones that will thrive…




GIANPIERO PETRIGLIERI: Innovation is a strong contender for the crown of business buzzword of the decade. The term has all it takes. It is ubiquitous, mysterious and, like its acolyte “leadership,” it works alone and pairs well with many adjectives…  The preoccupation with how much time our company spends innovating and whether changes are radical or incremental can blind us from contemplating why it’s innovating—and for whom



TOM DAVENPORT: I don’t think there is any magic percentage of groundbreaking vs. incremental innovations. It depends a lot on what sorts of innovations you’ve released to the marketplace in the past, what your competitors are up to, how happy your customers are, and so forth… The problem with breakthroughs, of course, is that they are more likely to fail. So you don’t want to rely solely on them unless your back is at the wall…


Do you, like me, hear each, directly or indirectly, underscoring the importance of consciously investing in cultural understanding and performance in one’s enterprise, where ever might also be in your other foci?

These articles reaffirm and underscore the critical importance of strategic company balance, for company achievement and sustainability,  that is enhanced by the active participation among all parties within the enterprise.

Every company has a culture.  Is your company culture working as hard as it could on behalf of your company? Is your company culture working strategically on your company’s behalf?

Where are you, presently, in your own learning process concerning how your own company culture does, or does not, drive desired company performance?

No-risk introductory learning opportunity.

To obtain one brief email every three weeks concerning yet another facet of company culture and its relationship to company performance, I invite you to request our Business Culture ePrimer.  By opting into our complimentary Business Culture ePrimer, you will obtain one brief email every three weeks for 29 weeks.  Each email provides links for further exploration if concerning a specific topic where your interest is piqued.  (You can, of course, also opt out at any time.)

If you are already invested in the understanding and constructive leveraging of your business culture to strategic advantage, we wonder what you have found helpful so far.

Would you be willing to share in a comment to this blog entry?

If you have specific question, to which you’d really like a good answer, we invite you to submit that question to our blog for review by our company and our blog audience.

You can, of course, also contact us privately, to initiate an inquiry.

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Businesses face accelerating and ever-increasing competition today.  

Driving this increased competition are four key factors:

  1. increasingly more effective technologies;

  2. more effective technological processes;

  3. more effectively engaged people; and

  4. the ability to more effectively respond to continuously evolving consumer expectations.

4FactorsCompetitionThis is not rocket science.

RocketScienceThis is simply a function of successful businesses representing an integrated combination of people, processes and technologies that are sufficiently aligned to serve a purpose –typically customer demands — with profit.

In light of our continuously evolving options provided by our continuously expanding technological advances, peoples’ expectations are naturally rising.  People, generally, are expecting things to be faster, more accurate, with fewer errors, fewer health risks, greater convenience, less cost, less pollution, greater reach, and on-and-on the list goes.

These expectations are rising in the minds of all parties — business planners, consumers (customers), and the public at large, including employees.

The means and expectations are both present today for continuously accelerating business-to-business competition.  For this reason, business competition keeps increasing.

Balance is imperative

Many times, the greatest excitement around planned business development is found around the introduction within the company of new technologies and processes that will more easily enable coordination and completion of increasingly complex tasks of TechExcitementincreasingly greater depth with increasingly greater speed and precision.  And why not?  These technological and associated process advances can be fantastic — and are often critical to achieving numerous operational advantages.

Even so, it is important to maintain a balanced perspective and not let the jazz of these new processes and technologies take us away from also remaining consistently cognizant of the third leg of our successful business enterprises.  That third leg, recall, is our people working within our enterprises.

Bal3rdLegBalance is important for at least three reasons 

Achieving and maintaining a balanced perspective across people, processes, and technologies — in our business planning and investments — is crucial for maintaining our business success, for at least three reasons.

PeopleEffects1: New technologies and processes create new and different demands upon our people who are interacting with, controlling, and otherwise using these technologies and processes to accomplish their tasks.  This represents a crucial operational focus to which we are wise to attend.

New technologies bring new capabilities and therefore also bring new considerations and requirements to the completion of our technology-driven tasks.  This often may, although not always, require different personnel with the needed different education and training.

In addition, two other significant developments are unfolding.

This is occurring at the same time our technological advancements are unfolding, sometimes pushing new technologies, sometimes being pushed by new technologies:



2: Our understandings of people are increasing.  Sage wisdom from the ages has been enhanced in recent years by findings of modern neuropsychological science.

We now have a greater appreciation of the inherent complexities and differences among individuals, as well as a growing sense of universal principles that apply to the well-being, performance, and resilience of all individuals.



3: Rising expectations among all parties.  Continuous advances in understandings today, within all fields of endeavor, are now more easily communicated globally, quickly informing many more people, who are then able to further harness these advances to even more practical use.  More effective services and/or more cost-effective products are brought to market.  The public-at-large, becoming aware of these advances, begins to take advantage of them, to integrate them in their lives, and are open to more.


These increasing expectations by the general public lie within virtually every domain of human interest and activity, from every day conveniences, through easier to use and more powerful technologies and processes of higher quality, and including services offered driven by higher and more capable expertise for increased consumer satisfaction.

New + New + New => ? !  The Upshot

The upshot of all of this includes the following:

Higher levels of multi-disciplinary expertise

driving higher levels of business aspirations, planning, and implementation.

HigherExpertExpectBusiness success requires greater attention to more details,

assisted by new technologies and processes

for greater speed, reach, and accuracy.

ConsumerInterestsThese technologies and processes are utilized, managed, and leveraged by people

who possess the required new education, training, and attitudes

for constructive and competitive use of these technologies

in order to more effectively attend to continuously evolving consumer interests!

Did you catch the FULL CIRCLE OF HUMAN ATTENTIVENESS in the above description?  Let me restate it.

Humans create.

Humans evaluate, improve upon, and constructively distribute.

Expectations by all rise, based upon experiences.

Consumers, increasingly in-the-know and increasingly aware of our inter-connectedness, demand more, in terms of not only convenience and attractiveness, but also in terms of the impacts upon themselves, others, and our planet.

For required competitive advantage, companies are listening to consumer preferences FullCircleand creating new options…


An “inconvenient challenge” — and opportunity

There is, however, an “inconvenient challenge” amidst all of this.

Human emotion

Stated in most simple terms: Our business technologies and processes are emotion-free.  The same cannot be said for the third foundation of our business success, that is, for the people who work as part of our business enterprises.

Whereas our technologies and processes can, in theory and in practice, be altered or replaced according to straight-forward technological and business logic, it is a bit more “complicated,” or at least in a different way “complicated,” when it comes to “altering or replacing” the people who are working within our enterprises.

EmotionWhen altering the requirements of a people’s jobs or vocations, people react and respond emotionally, intellectually and behaviorally in ways that our inanimate technologies and processes simply do not.

Moreover, people behaviorally respond in often unpredictable ways — each person’s response being unique to that person, in terms of quality, overtness, and, ultimately, practical impacts upon business operations.

UnpredictableResponsesOn top of this, each person’s advocacy group (family, professional group, other sympathetics) also responds.

And ditto for when people are replaced.  Only now we can also add to the mix the responses of the new candidates and their advocacy groups.

We now may have to also contend with newly unfolding interactions that will or are already occurring between generations, between “senior” and “junior” players within our business enterprise systems.

CrossGenerationAll these factors lead to additional challenges that are simply not encountered when the focus is “simply” upon changes in technologies and associated technological processes.

Yet even when one’s focus is “simply” upon implementing changes in technologies, these other factors are still playing a role, for good and for ill, when it comes to your business enterprise success.

FocusWhen you include the “people leg” in your business planning and operations focus, you might find yourself asking the following questions:

  • How, how far, how long will it take, and at what cost can we educate and train the needed new knowledge, skills, and attitudes to our present workforce?

  • What, on the other hand, is the cost of acquiring new candidates who already possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes that we need?

  • What will be our costs, tangible and intangible, of letting some of our “old guard” go?

  • How will we best integrate our new employees with our “old guard?”

  • What about clashing expectations (“culture clash”)?

  • How will we address these differences in expectations without losing our business focus and momentum?

  • How can we best support our workforce to teach us what we need to learn, for optimal business adaptability and performance?

These questions might seem a bit overwhelming to attempt to address.

Well, in reality, this “inconvenient challenge” is actually one of your greatest natural resources for constructive balance as a business leader.

Remember the importance of business BALANCE for achieving and maintaining the competitive agility, unique quality, and responsive adaptability that is absolutely required for center-field business performance today?

Think about the following.

For starters, imagine with me, for a moment, that the “people side” of business operations were not emotionally reactive nor responsive, but instead were similar to the inanimate technological and technological-process sides of business.

It would be a “dead” world comprised of largely morons.  Is this what you would want?  I don’t think so.  Nor I.  The implications would be Draconian.

Since “non-responsive humans” is clearly not the reality we face, nor what we would wish to face, let’s focus on what is.

The reality is that each of our technologies and technological processes were initially designed and implemented by a relatively small group of people to meet (at least some) people’s interests.



These (often amazing) creations,

are produced for whatever reasons by those with the imagination, intelligence and where-with-all to bring them into being.

The impacts of these creations, are then quite naturally evaluated by other members of our species
who, over time, are likely to enhance aspects of these creations as well as enhance the utilization and distribution of these creations to better satisfy the interests of greater numbers of people.

Because we live in an increasingly inter-connected world, all of this is occurring increasingly in front of all of our very own eyes and ears.

This is potentially quite helpful, in our “shrinking” world that is facing increasingly pressing economic, social, and ecological challenges, because we are also increasingly empowered, by our technologies, to be participative in our world, when it comes to the creation, use and harnessing of our technologies and our technological processes to humanity’s advantage.

This is potentially quite advantageous.   TextBox

The basis for hope

More minds, inputs effectively coordinated, allow for more intelligent and effective responses, especially as regards to more complex phenomena, than would occur under simply a few minds alone.

Increasingly, people are aware that this applies also to our most successful and sustainable business practices.

Business best practice

It is becoming increasingly more universally understood and accepted that, in our business practices, all three dimensions of our business foundations — our technologies, our processes, and our people — must simultaneously represent the central foci of our business planning, our business investments, and our business operations, if we want to achieve and maintain optimal business performance, agility, and adaptability over time.

What is at stake here is more than simply the fact that the potentially weakest leg of our tri-legged business foundation could potentially create business instability.

Also at stake here is the most imaginatively creative asset of our business operations.  The “people leg” of our business foundation is the only truly imaginative leg in our business foundation.

In contrast to our other two business foundation legs, the “people side” of our operations contains the only source of true imaginative creativity within our enterprise.  Amidst the rapid changes all around us requiring vigilant adaptability with creative agility, this is an important business asset to both protect and nourish (develop).

Let us remember that it was people who created our technologies and technological processes to be utilized by people on behalf of people.

Let us also not forget the sometimes inconvenient fact that the “people side” of our business operations also represents our brothers and sisters, cousins, parents, and children.

The third leg of a strong business foundation is distinctly unique from technology and technological processes precisely because of its distinctly subjective human creative responsiveness and because of our uniquely human relation to these people.

HumanCreativityThe “people side” of operations is clearly more “SQUIGGLY”

– that is, emotionally (and intellectually, behaviorally, and creatively) REACTIVE as well as RESPONSIVE –

in sharp contrast to the inanimate technological and technological processes that we also are including in our business operations.

These “inconvenient truths” are the facts of the situation.

Failure to attend to this more “squiggly” side of business operations is easy to understand, in part because of the “extra hassles” involved.

Besides, “People can and do adapt, no?”

Well, yes and no.  Yes, people do creatively adapt in ways that machines do not.  And no, people are not infinitely adaptive nor can they, nor should they, simply be re-cycled like old technological scrap.

Remember our original question, “How do you keep up, amidst accelerating changes?”  

I ask you now, as you embrace and plan for the future amidst the presently swirling changes around you,

would you prefer to tackle the upcoming challenges largely by yourself

or with a cadre of similarly aligned leaders of complementary talents working with you?

As you work hard to keep up, would you prefer

a relatively small circle of leaders in your organization, or

leadership circles that are effectively active and integrated throughout your company, top to bottom?

These are the questions that are being addressed pro-actively, with an eye to the future, by business leaders who have entered or will be entering center-stage or center-field performance in their industry, and who want to maintain their competitive business standing.

These leaders understand the crucial importance of business BALANCE for top performance, agility, and adaptability — within tumultuous and sometimes unfriendly environments.

This balance requires integrated attention — by those top-to-bottom and side-to-side — to all three foundational legs of their business practices — their technologies, processes, and people — in order to successfully achieve and maintain triple bottom-line performance (Profits, People, Planet).

These ascendent business leaders increasingly recognize that the “people side” of their business operations represents a uniquely creative and adaptive powerhouse in their business.

Even so, the “people side” is also a “grounding” side of business operations,

sometimes for good and sometimes for ill.

The uniquely “squiggly,” yet uniquely creative, “people side” of your business operations is “grounded” in the uniquely subjective emotional reactions and responses of your people both to routines and to changes introduced in the workplace.

Ascendent business leaders, therefore, increasingly understand and demonstrate understanding of the importance of their workforce having

  • access to pursuing personally (individually) inspiring missions on the job,
  • supported by personally (individually) inspiring values,
  • to, in a coordinated fashion, achieve strategic company results,
  • with clear understanding of how they, themselves, contribute daily.  

These components are essential for developing constructive workforce motivation that is conducive for fostering positive emotional responses.


These components of an effective workforce culture are not “automatic” and yet are the requirements for strategically developing a constructively adaptive, yet aligned, motivation within your workforce.

Only then can all three of your business foundation legs be optimally strong and functional, and strategically employed in unison.

PositiveModelingAscendent business leaders now also increasingly understand the critical importance of their own positive modeling for constructive learning by their workforce. This includes constructive listening.

These leaders possess an appreciation of the inherent complexities and differences among individuals, as well as a growing understanding of universal principles that apply to the well-being, performance, and resilience of all individuals, all of which can be applied to advantage in their business enterprise.


Fortunately, “true organizational systems change” is a PROCESS that is characterized by a BEGINNING, a MIDDLE, and a new END-POINT.

The nature of the physical universe, of which we are a part, is that change is a process.  While change is always occurring all around us, “systems change,” also known as “systems transformation,” occurs less frequently and is always characterized by a beginning, middle and a new end-point state.


“Systems transformation” is not simply an un-ending, accelerating process with no end.  No.  Instead, true systems change involves stability, lack of stability, leading to a new kind of stability.  This holds for micro-molecular changes through macro-universe birthing of new stars, and everything in between.  This obviously includes human affairs on our planet Earth.

Upon reaching “stage three” of true systems change, the new system is comprised of newly operating mechanisms for a new kind of systems stability.

The new system cannot violate any of the “old” rules of the “old system.”  Nevertheless, additional new rules have been created that lead to additional options.

This is one of the central tenets of Systems Change Theory, that the new system operates by the same rules but with a different integration of these rules to create a new system.  The new system cannot be predicted with certainty by reference simply to the old system.  The new system always includes something “new.”


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I recently completed two “glass ceiling” webinars hosted by Denison Consulting LLC this fall.

Wow!  What a treat!  My learning and integration of what, for me, were seemingly contradictory phenomena has led me to new understandings, some of them seemingly paradoxical.

(Here are live links to Webinar #1 and to Webinar #2.)

The upshot for me is greater appreciation for how differing gender predispositions contribute to the very potential for continuous learning and increasingly integrated understandings in any human “tribe.”

And how early opportunity for well-rounded experiences for each gender is so very important on behalf of us all!  This goes for in our families and businesses.

My goal is to summarize my personal learning here.  I welcome your critique of my assertions and conclusions, and any implications for you.

What I share next represents my own core conclusions.  These conclusions do not represent the conclusions provided by the webinar presenters.  Any errors of understanding represent my own and are not to be attributed to the webinar presenters or organizers.

My core conclusion. 

Normative gender differences in neuro-biological and socially nurtured attentional foci are at a dynamic core of a continuously unfolding learning processes that have been and continue to be undertaken by humanity.

What we have here is an unfolding story of girls and of boys, of men and of women, each contributing to a mutual understanding (eventually?) of phenomena that, historically if not simply at first glance, may have seemed entirely “unconnected” or, at minimum, “in different universes.”

In reality, these very different, sometimes seemingly contradictory, sets of perceptions and related understandings provide an undergirding for humanity’s very understandings of ourselves and of the universe within which we live — and of our options and our understandings of the short- and long-term consequences of employing these various options.

My broader summary.

It seems that there are genetically- and gender-based, neuro-developmental biases of focus that are integrated with our reproductive options (in addition to social learning options) that predispose many young males to somewhat naturally experiment with pushing their way “headstrong” into positions of power, authority and achievements that can be noted by others.  Meanwhile, many of their female counterparts are just as enthusiastically engaged early on in a different kind of information-processing and skill development — a kind of “heart-centered” processing that is affiliative, inclusive, and nurturing, requiring a different kind of accountability, effort and attention.

It is only later that many women feel personally secure enough (for perhaps darn good reasons!) to engage alongside their male counterparts in the historically popular male’s competitive games and activities.  When doing so, the data suggest women actually end up broadening the criteria, options, and mechanisms for success, as a function of additional sensitivities.

At the same time, as the “chest-pounding” males age, some open up to sharing more authority with the opposite gender.  They seem, sometimes, to possess less resistance, perhaps due to growing understanding and appreciation of women’s “unique” (“non-male”) contributions.

The upshot for us all. 

As our society becomes more progressively civil, many “glass ceilings” will continue to melt, progressively over time.  At the same time, glass ceilings are also continuously being reformed, over and over, by new generations of assertive, and perhaps sometimes aggressive, young males who are enthusiastically applying themselves to build accomplishments.  Their female counterparts are often prioritizing a different “starting game” for themselves alongside their male counterparts.

The upshot for me.

I find this dynamic “glass ceiling” phenomenon, as I’ve described it above, provides me hope, encouragement, and, paradoxically, an even greater respect for human diversity.

Given that I personally want to encourage and support natural, constructive engagement by ALL members of our society in our community and business endeavors, I now more that ever can personally appreciate and support the “stereotypic male’s” capacity and interest to sustain an intellectual focus on “one thing” to the apparent exclusion of competing “non-intellectual” considerations.  At the same time, others are, in complementary ways, just as enthusiastically also focused on including “non-intellectual” or emotional considerations.

Self-imposed ceiling, eventually dismantled by me.

Given that I am a male, the “glass ceiling” phenomenon does not, technically, pertain directly to my personal executive advancement aspirations.

I have encountered, nevertheless, what I might call a self-imposed ceiling, which I have only been ready to take down more recently as my personal learning has progressed.

(Unbeknownst to me, at first,) my own initial personal learning “gap” and then, later, incredible learning “catch-up” for greater personal balance has been “heart-based,” not head-based (although I’ve put in a lot of intellectual effort, too).

My personality has, in my experience, seemed to require this foundational “emotional-relationship” learning to become well-established in me before I could truly begin to experience the kinds of integration and achievements of my intellectual and physical-plane aspirations that I have for many years desired.  Only upon integrating intellectual, achievement-oriented aspirations and learnings with my foundational emotional-sensitivities have I begun to actually create the kinds of achievements that others might also begin to readily observe and appreciate.

What is the upshot for you?

Does what I write make sense to you?  Do you see or experience things a bit differently?  Where does the “glass ceiling” fit or not fit in your experience of our world?

To what do you aspire, as regards to supporting men, women, boys and girls, in your business and personal actions?  What impacts do you want to have?  What legacy do you wish to leave behind?

What challenges do you face in meeting your aspirations?

What delights might you share?

Please share with us, to increase our appreciation of the humanity of our business affairs!


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Fundamentals of a High Performance Organization

Posted October 23, 2013 By Norman Jentner



Fundamentals of a High Performance Organization

A Denison Consulting eWorkshop on the fundamentals of
Culture Change & Leadership Development


The Denison Consulting Fundamentals eWorkshop explores the basis of creating and operating a high performance organization. This self-paced, blended e-learning course utilizes multiple platforms to deliver on-demand materials in conjunction with live webinar sessions.

Live Webinar Sessions every Tuesday for four consecutive weeks:
November 5, 12, 19, 26
10:00 – 11:00 am EDT




The Fundamentals of a High Performance Organization eWorkshop will build attendees’ knowledge about Denison Consulting, the Denison Model, our research and our products.


Who Should Attend?

Consultants who are interested in learning how to use the Denison tools

  • to increase business performance

  • pursuing additional “tools” for their tool box

  • are seeking to develop their or their clients’ leadership capabilities.

Organizational executives, leaders and managers who are

  • interested in learning more about the Denison Model, Solutions and tools

  • striving to improve their organizational performance

  • assessing their current organizational culture and/or leadership development programs

  • experiencing a merger or acquisition, leadership transitions, internal growth, transformation or turnaround


Cost & Registration

The eWorkshop registration fee is $595 USD per person and includes all of the pre-work materials, 4 live, interactive webinar sessions with Senior Denison consultants and staff, access to Denison Consulting’s Consultant Essentials online toolbank and a pilot project.


Register Now!

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Leadership and the Sexes: Webinar Oct 9, 2013

Posted October 5, 2013 By Norman Jentner

Leadership and the Sexes: Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling

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We’ve all read the September issue of Harvard Business Review about women in leadership that describes second generation gender bias – a bias that refers to the subtle and often invisible barriers for women that arise from cultural assumptions and organizational structures that benefit men while putting women at a disadvantage.

 WEBINAR    October 9, 2013     9am PT / 12noon ET        Register Now

How can women position themselves as credible candidates who break through the glass ceiling?

Register now to learn from the experiences of five leading executives in this interactive panel discussion where we will hear stories about:

  • the importance of establishing personal support systems that can carry you through the challenges of leadership and change

  • being yourself and stepping outside of your comfort zone

  • remembering that you don’t have to be an expert at every task and that knowing how to figure it out as you go is often more important than having done the job before

5 Panelists 10-05-13


(Click on pictures to enlarge.)

If you have any questions for our panelists, feel free to send them to us ahead of time or Tweet with us during the webinar with questions for @denisonculture – and we’ll direct them to our panelists during the Q&A portion of the event.

 WEBINAR    October 9, 2013     9am PT / 12noon ET        Register Now

We hope to see you there!

The Denison Team


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