Three fundamental principles guide our work:
We view organizations as emergent, dynamic systems.
Leadership learns to read and understand its organization in terms of its past history, present purposes, systemic character and constraints. This allows for development that is tailored to the organization and specifically designed to build on its unique character. Such work provides the leadership with a coherent narrative that maps the organization, provides an identity and offers a reference standard for decision-making at all levels. In this process, we identify the organization's optimal functions and most injurious dysfunctions. Our aim is to grow the organization toward its healthiest and most effective functioning.
All organizations live in cycles. In times of transition and leadership change, a variety of organizational dysfunctions emerge. Most of these are experienced as destructive conflict. All of them need to be understood as representing the growing edge of the organization. In the effective management of these conflicts organizations develop the skills and resources they need to take the next step in their growth. Only a third party can create the neutral holding environment and hold all parties accountable in working through the conflicts.
We understand that effective leadership is distributed across the organization through a network of partnerships.
The initial partnership is between the CEO and us. We are consultants to the leader's process and creative endeavors. But our goal is to build leadership teams across the organization, not heroic leaders who stand apart. We are partners in the organization's emergent design, neither outside catalysts for change nor creators of one-size-fits-all templates.
All managers must also be leaders. And as leaders, they must work together with other managers as co-leaders in the community they serve. Executives must develop a network of effective partnerships to hold this co-leadership throughout the organization. This most effectively assures that needs get identified, communicated and met. It also creates the most flexible, responsive, resilient and successful organizations.
III. We develop the capacity for strategic intuition in the organization’s leaders.
Strategic intuition is the capacity in leaders that underlies and steers strategic planning. Strategic intuition is developed through disciplines of ongoing inquiry and reflection: Openness to all voices in the organization, including the most marginal; clarity about tasks and roles; recognizing the interdependence of functions. This intuition develops over time, attends to complex and ever changing "force-fields" inside and outside the organization. Organizational failures are as meaningful as successes, and it is the leaders' task to ensure that the organization learns from both. In this way, strategic adaptation goes hand in hand with strategic planning, meetings become meaningful, and transactions become transformations.