While I am continuously learning and evolving my approach and bringing many perspectives and key learnings to each and every interaction, I start with a foundational model. This foundational model takes the perspective that the range of actions that we take are less a function of what we know or what we were born with (personality, etc), and more a function of the way we observe and interpret our world.
As such our personal transformation opportunity is not more knowledge or understanding about a topic, or even taking more or different actions. Rather, what provides us the opportunity for personal transformation is examining and shifting the way we see, encounter, and live our lives. Shifting the very way we see, comprehend and experience the situations, people and circumstances in our lives has the effect of actually altering reality as we know it. All of a sudden new actions appear that were previously unavailable to us, and we are able to become the person we are committed to being and produce results we have always wanted to produce.
With so many organizational interventions today, leaders are often perplexed why all of these interventions work some of the time with some people, but not all the time with all people. For example, hiring/firing practices, training know-how or skill, redesigning work spaces, setting up policies and procedures, new decision-making models, incentive systems, new equipment, strategy sessions, team dynamics, organizational climate, attitudes/beliefs, and more. What has such well thought-out interventions be so inconsistent, is that they often do not begin with altering the observer. If we don’t alter the observer that we are, the prescribed actions will not be sustainable at best. More likely, they won’t happen or they won’t be effective. This same principle applies at the individual level with new leadership theories and models, exercise regimens, “10 steps to...”, etc.
The actions we take are always a natural fall out of the way we observe and comprehend ourselves, others and the situations we are faced with. As such, our work will always begin with an investigation into the kind of “observer” you are. As a result of working at the level of "observer", you will find that the right and effective actions follow with ease, naturally producing the results you are committed to achieving.
You might imagine that there are many levels to the “observers” we are – from historical forces and societal norms to personal past experiences, spiritual orientation, declared values, organizational or family influences, as well as assessments, conclusions and decisions you have accumulated along the way, etc. While on the surface many of us think we are choosing the actions we take in any given moment, the range of action available to us at any given moment has been significantly shaped and even limited by the multi-faceted observer we are. This is not good or bad per se; rather, our work together will be about you regaining choice over the range of action that you have selected for yourself and expanding that range to be the most effective and empowered you. This works at the individual, team, or organizational level.
“Kari has a frank but compassionate and open style of communication that is particularly well received...
I appreciated her balance between flexibility and prompting.”
- Dr. Matthew Rustici MD, Educational Leader, University of Colorado School of Medicine
Accessing The Observer*
LANGUAGE: while we often think of language as a passive description of the world around us, we will look at the way language actually generates the very structure of reality within which we live. For a simple example, think of the way that the following two phrases regarding a potential business partner might alter the way that person observes an upcoming meeting on a contentious issue: “she is looking out for herself ” or “we are partners for the long haul”. Are these two simple phrases describing “the way it is”? Or, are these two phrases shaping “the way it is”?
MOOD AND EMOTION: some of us think of emotion as something to “deal with” or overcome or downplay – especially when it comes to negative emotions. In our work together, we will pay careful attention to the role emotions play in the way we observe the world and the learning they provide for us. For example, if you are with your family in the mood of resignation, you will see your situation very differently than if you are with your family in the mood of joy or even ambition. In terms of the learning that moods and emotions can provide for us, we can take a look at the message our moods and emotions are carrying. For example, fear is often pointing to a predicted loss of something that is important to us, or sadness points to something we have lost that is important to us. What is the message of that sadness?
SOMATICS (lived experience within the body self): one of the most incredible discoveries for me as a coach was that the way we hold our body can actually change the way we see ourselves, others, and the situations we are confronted with in life. How a simple alteration of our posture opens up one world and closes off others. In addition, by becoming aware of our physical sensations when working through a challenge or opportunity, we can learn something very deep about ourselves. For example, simply noticing that a particular situation brings about a constriction in the throat can open up an inquiry about the power of one’s voice in that situation.
I would like to acknowledge all of the great people who have been most formative in my thinking and in my creative work, especially Fernando Flores, Jim Selman, Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen, Julio Olalla, Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi, the Newfield Network, Sunergos, LLC, Landmark Education, the Strozzi Institute, the PaVima Institute, and the United States Air Force Academy.
*A special acknowledgement to the Newfield Network for the simplicity of the observer-action-result model and the three spheres used to access the observer. I have been able to utilize this simple model to make over 15 years of leadership development and organizational research accessible to my clients.