In 2008 I was fortunate enough to participate in one of Integral Institute’s Leadership Seminars that was facilitated by Bert Parlee and other world-class integrally informed thinkers. I was so inspired by Bert’s leadership skills and presentation style that I invited him to participate in a transformative initiative being implemented by the Government of British Columbia’s Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance. By means of executive coaching and staff training seminars, Bert pla… Read more
For the years that Bert has served as faculty in our Notre Dame Integral Executive Education MBA program, he has offered powerful learning regarding the complexity of challenges that accompany real change. His areas of expertise involve his understanding of the hidden dimensions of the growth and development process, and how to bring communication skills, conflict management and taking broader perspectives to bear on otherwise intractable problems. Bert is congenial and well liked by the stude… Read more
Our “next generation” management team training program has been a much smoother process due to Bert Parlee’s expert leadership. There is no doubt in the owners’ mind that Bert has been successful in ways that went beyond the current owners’ thinking and training methods for their next generation team. We are delighted that things are working much better than expected due to Bert’s leadership.
Bert has helped my senior management team and me personally. He aided each of our executives to become more aware of our strengths and weaknesses, and how to better play to each other’s strengths. He enabled us to see different options to resolve conflicts that we alone could not see. He assisted me personally by encouraging me to grow into the person he believed I could become. His wisdom has helped me see life another way; a fundamentally more beneficial way.
As a large enterprise level organization moving towards increased global complexity, we needed larger, more empowering frameworks within which to manage our many complications and contradictions. Bert introduced us to Polarity Management and related Integral mental models, allowing us to have next level conversations with new stage concepts. Over the next few years with Bert serving as coach, facilitator, coach and consultant, our leadership team was much better prepared to negotiate the shi… Read more
Bert is not only a world-class professional trainer, but he does so with a confidence that is complemented by highly attuned interpersonal sensitivity and empathic attunement. People are drawn to Bert as a person, enjoying his openness, authenticity and warmth. I would be delighted to furnish any further information, either written or via telephone, that might assist you in your decision-making relative to Dr. Parlee.
Over the past several years, researchers such as Peter Senge et al, writing in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook, describe how, as organizations have grown more interested in encouraging high-quality teamwork, many businesses are making a significant shift at their most senior levels.
- Despite the focus by the press and Wall Street on the heroic personality of the CEO (Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, etc.), these organizations are moving away from the “great individual” model of leadership, and moving toward being led by a team of executives instead.
- This new leadership is sometimes formalized in structures such as “Office of the President” or “Office of the Chief Executive”— the “office,” in actuality, being a decision-making team of four to nine people.
In working with executive teams over recent years, I’ve discovered that the circumstances in which their mastery must be developed are generally more difficult than those faced by any other team.
- They have an even more complex and far-reaching agenda because of the responsibilities inherent at the executive level…
- AND the issues that this level must deal with competently.
Your executive team must, for example, become good at the core issues that any team must master, such as alignment around a shared vision, the ability to discuss current reality without bias, clarity of roles and accountabilities, and methods for capturing and accessing collective knowledge.
- The ability to dialogue openly and truthfully holds wondrous promise for the executive team.
- Unfortunately, divergent points of view show up too often as tensions and unspoken conflicts.
- Methods are either mastered for handling these tensions and conflicts constructively or the team’s potential is never realized.
Information-gathering mechanisms seem to evolve in ways that result in the top of the system having a limited, incomplete, and even biased understanding of reality.
- You must develop methods that surface and rectify these mechanisms, so that, for example, bad news is as likely to come to your attention as good.
- Face-to-face, two-way communication must be developed deep into the organization
- AND, a norm must be established of responsibly surfacing and naming the truth as completely as possible.
STRATEGY AS LEARNING BEHAVIOR
“Strategy as team learning behavior” stands in stark contrast to “strategy developed by experts.”
- The best strategy formulation reconceives the firm and its environment in line with the construction of new mental models, and new organization intelligence.
- The promise of such an effort is a more accurate, more robust view of the future, but it will require that everyone on your team (and many other key individuals) actually think about life differently.
As an executive team, you must master managing organization change— design, structure, and implementation.
- This must be accomplished through methods that get the entire organization engaged and committed, both in favor of the shared vision and in a rigorous search for the truth.
- If you want to create an organization committed to a new way of being and a new business concept, then the processes that must be employed must foster commitment.
- Any coercive process, no matter how well intended, simply cannot ultimately result in commitment.
Your executive team will have it’s own unique difficulties in learning.
- For the executive team member, life is more a “zero sum game” than ever before.
- Earlier in the executive’s career, on teams lower in the organization, he or she could get ahead without necessarily “winning” at the expense of another team member.
- Generally, this is not true for the executive team.
- One person getting ahead often means another getting left behind, a phenomenon particularly evident around the issue of succession.
- Lip service to collaboration notwithstanding, this is a very real dynamic on many executive teams.
- My plan vs your plan, my budget vs your budget is a common mindset.