Huge Hygge — Recommended Reading

Russell, Helen. The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country. London: Icon Books, 2015.

Hygge.  Danish for something cozy, charming, or special.  It is also the art of creating intimacy.   Author Helen Russell explores how hygge might be one of the secrets of Denmark’s perennial position in the top ranks of the happiest countries.  To understand her experience, over a year-long journey of living in Denmark, she shares many funny anecdotes of her daily life, and she uses her journalistic skills to meet and interview Danish experts in the many aspects of daily life that she explores.

She uncovers widespread attention to the environment one creates in one’s home, to being comfortable on one’s own, to being honest with and supportive of others, to respecting and supporting the many contributions people can make to society, to the creative process and getting feedback about what one is learning, and to celebrating the creativity that is everywhere, if one looks.  In ecosynomics terms, these are co-hosting the five primary relationships.  The global Agreements Health Check survey (from 124 countries) shows that as people get better at co-hosting the five primary relationships, they experience greater vibrancy, more hygge.  I highly recommend this fun, well written discovery of the secrets of living vibrantly every day, even where it is very cold.

Agreements Field Mapping

You interact to have experiences and to get results. That is why you do what you do. The agreements you consciously choose or unconsciously accept define how you interact. Those agreements are based on embedded, interwoven assumptions.

Our experiences, outcomes, agreements, and assumptions form an “agreements field.”  A field is the environment in which individuals or groups interact.  This concept is widely applied in physics, and less so in the social sciences.  By an agreements field, I suggest that in looking at our experiences, outcomes, agreements, and assumptions, we are describing one entity, from multiple perspectives–one field where we can perceive the outcomes and the experience of people interacting based on conscious or unconscious agreements founded on underlying assumptions.  One field.  One agreements field.

To describe the different perspectives within the agreements field, to map the social topography of agreements fields, we have developed and globally tested a set of mapping tools.

Together these four mapping tools describe four key perspectives of an agreements field.

Our work at the Institute for Strategic Clarity now focuses on further developing and applying agreements field mapping to map the global social topography of human agreements, through the Global Initiative to Map Ecosynomic Deviance and Impact Resilience (MEDIR).  With our colleagues around the world, we are beginning to see that the social topography of human agreements is as varied as our earths’s geological topography. Peaks and valleys in many forms. Treasures abound. Things we have never imagined around every corner. The flatearthers of human agreements are missing out–there is a lot of treasure out there, ready for all of us to discover, marvel at, and learn from. It only takes the quest(ion) to find it.  If you are interested in contributing to this global initiative, please contact us.

4 Steps to Choosing the Experience You Have, Every Day — Step #1 of 4

You can choose the experience you have, every day.

Most of the experiences you have are formed by a set of rules to a game that you have accepted, consciously or unconsciously.  Many of these experiences are not the ones you would choose.  You can change that.

I will take you through a 4-step process that we have uncovered over the past 10 years.  The process brings together what my colleagues and I have learned in our own attempts at choosing agreements, and what we have learned from the one hundred groups we have met in over a dozen countries and from the thousands of people that have taken the vibrancy survey in 94 countries.  The process is simple and hard.  It is simple in that you only have to see the agreements you have and choose the ones you want.  It is hard in that you have to see what was previously invisible and you have to enact your choice.  We use the following 4 steps to make the hard simple.

  1. See what you already know about your experience
  2. Map your current experience
  3. Choose the experience you want
  4. Ask what agreements shape that experience

In this series of 4 blogposts, I will walk you through these 4 steps, after which you will be able to choose the experience you want and see the agreements that support that.  After that you can decide whether you want to learn more about the design of specific agreements, which I will share in the next series on designing agreements.


Step #1 — See what you already know about your experience

You are hardwired to know.  You know when you experience low vibrancy in a group or place, and you know when you experience high vibrancy.  This knowing can show you everything you need to choose a different set of agreements.  The first step is to understand what you are hardwired to know, the difference in your experience of low and high vibrancy groups.

In the following 7-minute video, you and I take this first step.


In the next blogpost, we see how to map your current experience.

Agreements Health Check Survey — Results and Findings — as of May 11, 2015

by Sheri Chaney Jones, Vibrancy steward, President of Measurement Resources, author of Impact & Excellence (Jossey-Bass 2014) and Jim Ritchie-Dunham


Over 2,700 responses to the Relational Abundance Survey suggest that where people experience high vibrancy, they also tend to find highly effective groups and collaborative leadership. The data also show that where people describe an experience of high vibrancy, they describe a high level of vibrancy experienced in all five primary relationships – to the self, other, group, nature (creative process), and spirit (creative source).

Technical Summary

Vibrancy’s steward for statistical analysis and experimental design, Sheri Chaney Jones, analyzed 2,773 responses to the Relational Abundance survey. Her analysis shows that:

  • Significant correlations were found between all facets of relational abundance, group effectiveness, and leader quality. These findings suggest that it is important to focus on all five aspects of relational abundance (self, other, group, nature, spirit) and not one single aspect alone. None of the correlations exceed .8, suggesting that multicollinearity is not a problem in these analyses.
  • The five aspects of relational abundance explain 42% of the variation in group effectiveness ratings, meaning that relational abundance alone drives a significant portion of group effectiveness.
  • In addition to the facets of relational abundance, leadership quality is also found to be a predictor of group effectiveness. When leadership quality is added into a regression model with relationship to self, group, and spirit (creative source), they explain 55% of the variance of group effectiveness.


Surveys were collected from 615 group members in over 18 countries representing a variety of groups. This dataset does not include data from a global network that adds 74 countries to the database. The sample was comprised of 46% males and 54% females. The majority of participants had some level of post-secondary education and were thinking about a group related to their employment. Most participants were regular participating members. Table 1 displays the characteristics of the survey respondents.

Table 1. Survey Participants Characteristics
Gender Role with Organization
Male 32% Leader or primary organizer 19%
Female 27% Regular participating member 36%
Missing 41% Occasional participating member 7%
Uncategorized/unknown 38%
Highest Education Level Group Type
Primary school .3% Work group where paid 38%
Some high school .8% Church group 1%
High school graduate 2% Community, civic group 7%
Some college 6% Sports team .7%
College graduate 33% Family 4%
Advanced degree 27% Other 9%
Missing/Unclassified 32% Missing 40%
Group Size Years Group Existed
Less than 10 24% Less than 1 7%
10 to 50 39% 1-3 15%
51 to 100 10% 4-7 12%
101 to 1000 10% More than 7 44%
Over 1000 5% Missing 22%
Missing 11%
Years Involved
Less than 1 16% 4-7 17%
1-3 28% More than 7 27%
Missing 14%

Five Facets of Relational Abundance

Group members who participated in this survey responded to five different facets of relational abundance: group experiences related to the self, experiences with other individuals in the group, experiences of the whole group, the process of innovation in the group, and the source of creativity in the group. Group members rated the extent to which they agreed with statements on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 indicating favorable agreement with positive statements about the group. Results of data analyzed show that all measured facets of relational abundance were positive, with the means of all scores above the mid-point response of 3.0 (see Table 2). Although the majority of participants indicated experiencing favorable levels of all facets of relational abundance, Figure 1 shows that there were survey participants who experienced neutral and unfavorable levels. Responses to source of creativity received the lowest means score compared to the other responses.

Table 2. Relational Abundance Descriptive Statistics
N Min Max Mean Std. Dev.
Self 2773 1.00 5.00 3.96 0.91
Other 2767 1.00 5.00 3.91 0.79
Group 2763 1.00 5.00 3.98 0.82
Creative Process 581 1.00 5.00 3.91 1.01
Creative Source 2687 1.00 5.00 3.52 0.93

Fig 1 050115a

Relational Abundance and Sample Characteristics

Overall, the trends in the facets of relational abundance were consistent across survey demographics and differences in levels of relational abundance were not found between groups. Three exceptions were found in the analysis. First, education level was positively correlated with self, other and group facets of relational abundance. Participants with higher educational levels reported more favorable ratings of these facets compared to those with lower levels of education. This could be the result of many things, such as more choice in work environments or the groups they chose to describe.

In addition, a significant negative relationship was found between all relational abundance facets and group size. The smaller the group, the more likely participants were to rate higher levels of vibrancy experienced. Additionally, the length of time the group has been established is also negatively correlated to all relational abundance facets. The more time a group has been in existence, the less favorable ratings of relational abundance were reported. Although these differences exist, the average overall ratings for both large groups and greater longevity are still favorable.

Leadership Quality

In addition to relational abundance, participants were asked about their leadership structure and their perception of leadership quality in the group. Nearly half of the participants (49%) reported that they have a designated leader of their group, another 40% reported that leadership is shared, 6% indicated leadership rotates and another 5% indicated there is some other type of leadership model.

Similar to relational abundance, on average, participants rated their leadership quality and group well-being favorably. These constructs were assessed using a 5-point Likert scale where 1 = almost never true and 5 = almost always true. In addition to these questions, participants were asked to give an overall rating of the quality of leadership where 1=extremely poor and 5=exceptional. Table 3 highlights the ratings for group well-being, leadership quality, and overall leadership ratings. Figure 2 displays the variance of these three constructs.

Table 3. Leadership Quality Descriptive Statistics
N Min Max Mean Std. Dev.
Group Wellbeing 2789 1.00 5.00 3.98 0.75
Leadership Quality 2878 1.00 5.00 3.81 0.99
Overall Leadership Rating 2901 1.00 5.00 3.69 0.95

Fig 2 050115a

Group Effectiveness

Results of the overall group effectiveness measure show that respondents have favorable attitudes toward their group’s effectiveness. 66% of respondents rated their group as either “Excellent” or “Above Average” at meeting its purpose, with only 7% characterizing their group’s performance as “Extremely Poor” or “Below Average.” The average group effectiveness rating was 3.79 with a 0.87 standard deviation. Figure 3 highlights this relationship.

Fig 3 050115a

Relational Abundance and Group Effectiveness

Significant correlations were found between all facets of relational abundance, group effectiveness, and leader quality. These findings suggest that it is important to focus on all aspects of relational abundance and not one single facet. All correlations are displayed in Table 4. None of the correlations exceed .8, suggesting that multicollinearity is not a problem in these analyses.


Table 4: Correlations
Group Well-Being Leader Quality Overall Leader Rating Self Other Group Nature (Creative Process) Spirit (Creative Source) Group Effectiveness
Leader Quality Pearson Correlation .517 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000
N 2747 2878
Overall Leader Rating Pearson Correlation .448 .721 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000
N 2766 2864 2901
Self Pearson Correlation .445 .705 .565 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000
N 2637 2741 2763 2773
Other Pearson Correlation .447 .724 .514 .719 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000
N 2632 2735 2757 2763 2767
Group Pearson Correlation .490 .741 .595 .750 .750 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 2628 2730 2753 2759 2758 2763
Nature (Creative Process) Pearson Correlation .421 .670 .528 .688 .667 .726 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 2489 2583 2603 2599 2596 2596 2603
Spirit (Creative Source) Pearson Correlation .349 .660 .516 .622 .629 .652 .701 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 2565 2662 2685 2683 2682 2680 2556 2687
Group Effectiveness Pearson Correlation .445 .593 .679 .545 .497 .606 .535 .540 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000 .000
N 1781 1760 1781 1773 1772 1771 1764 1754 1781

Predictors of Group Effectiveness

The five facets of relational abundance do not all have the same power to influence group effectiveness. Results of a regression analysis show that three of the five facets – relationship to the group, the creative source, and relationship to the self – were significant predictors of group effectiveness (see Figure 4). Of these three, the group facet was the strongest predictor. Combined, these facets explain 42% of the variation in group effectiveness ratings, meaning that relational abundance alone drives a significant portion of group effectiveness.

Fig 4 050115a

Leadership Quality, Relational Abundance, and Group Effectiveness

In addition to the facets of relational abundance, leadership quality is also found to be a predictor of group effectiveness. When leadership quality is added into a regression model with relationship to the group, creative source, and relationship to the self, they explain 53% of the variance of group effectiveness (see Figure 5). Regression results reveal that leadership quality neither moderates nor mediates the relationship between relational abundance facets and group effectiveness. When leadership quality is added to the equation, relationship to self no longer contributes significant variance beyond what the other facets explain, suggesting that leadership quality may partially mediate the relationship to self.

Fig 5 050115a

How Wealthy Are You? Measures of Wellbeing and Activity

Many frameworks propose that wealth is either measured in how much you have or in how much you enjoy the journey. Wealth is seen as an end or as a means. It is about having or it is about being. So it seems that you can either focus on accumulating for the future or you can focus on enjoying the day-to-day flow, but not both. However, our research suggests that the people reporting the most sustained experience of high levels of vibrancy are also wealthy in both aspects; in both the ends and the means, in the outcomes and in the experience, and in both the destination and the journey.

If it is true that we pay attention to what we measure, then to achieve wealth in both having and being, we need to be able to measure wealth in both the outcomes and the experience. Over the past five years, in our research at the Institute for Strategic Clarity with people experiencing off-the-charts wealth, we have developed metrics measuring both the experience we have along the way and the value of what we accumulate by the time we reach the destination.

Wealth through experience. We measure the wealth of your experience through the Harmonic Vibrancy survey, which you can take for free online.  Taken by over 2,400 people from 92 countries, the 12-minute survey assesses the wealth of your experience through the vibrancy you experience overall in the five relationships: in your relationship to your own self, to other individuals, to the group, to the creative process, and to the source of creativity. Greater vibrancy in all five relationships correlates directly to greater perceived wealth in one’s experience. To increase the wealth of your experience, our metric will show you which primary relationships to improve.

Wealth through accumulated outcomes. We measure the wealth of what you have accumulated along the way through the value of the resources you have when you arrive at the destination. While the money in your bank account and the value of your investment portfolio certainly count towards your accumulated wealth, our research has also catalogued many other assets that the off-the-charts successful have accumulated of equal or even greater value. We use the Agreements Evidence Map to assess the amount of value you have in resources accumulated in your own capacities, in those of others and the group, of capital, of inventories of goods, of what you are learning, of relationships you are developing, and of the potential you see and experience in yourself and in others. We find that the value we identify through the Agreements Evidence Map correlates highly with perceived accumulated wealth – more so than just the amount of money in one’s bank account and investments.

Finally, we find that your wealth through experience correlates highly with your wealth through accumulated outcomes. The data shows that higher vibrancy experienced correlates significantly with higher perceived wealth value accumulated. So from what we see with very successful people, it is not about either having a great experience or about accumulating wealth, rather it is about both. Both about having a highly vibrant experience and the value of the fullness of what is accumulated. Now that we have the metrics for assessing your full experience and your full value accumulated, you can begin using them to assess your own wealth.

Know a High-Vibrancy STATISTICIAN?

Finance-Chart-Statistics-Backgrounds-1000x750In search of a great statistician who is very intrigued with our work in Ecosynomics and harmonic vibrancy.  Specifically, we want someone expert in (1) the statistical analysis of survey data and (2) correlational research design.

We have two projects that would greatly benefit from an expert in statistical analysis:

  1. looking at the 2,300+ responses from 90 countries to the harmonic vibrancy survey — we need more in-depth analysis of the data and the hypotheses we are testing
  2. designing the statistical analysis process for a global, 6-region, 3-year research project, where we will be testing a series of hypotheses about the harmonic vibrancy experience, underlying agreements, and outcomes

If you know of someone, or you are that person, who would love to contribute to our work of bringing greater understanding of high vibrancy groups to the world, through rigorous statistical analysis, please let me know [info (at) ecosynomics (dot) com].  Location does not matter.

Guest post — Introducing the Experience of Harmonic Vibrancy in Mexico

Guest post by Annabel Membrillo, ISC Fellow 

When I was designing an Introductory Experience of Harmonic Vibrancy, some questions came to my mind: can I find a real experience for the group? An experience that talks not just to their mind, but makes them feel it in their body and will?  I did not want to start with their mind in the very beginning, and that was a bit difficult for me, since I am so accustomed to work with my mind. Then an inspiring moment gave me some ideas of how to do this.

Feeling each relationship in the body. I believe there is a way to get people to feel Harmonic Vibrancy. I did this body experience in about an hour and a half. The I, Other, and Group relationships were easier to experience in the physical. I still need a good form of body experience for the relationships to Nature and Spirit. For each one of the relationships, I ask the participants to put themselves in one of the postures for a minute, and then write down on a post-it what they feel and think. I do not have pictures of people doing the postures; however, the I and Other are pretty straightforward. In the case of the relationship to the Group, the lower level was very interesting. The image below can help to make sense of the posture I asked them to do as a group. People said things like they could not see more than the person in front of them. They felt static. Some of them said they did not have feelings, and were uninterested, with their minds going to a different place.  Some wanted to touch the person in front, and turn to see the person behind; so, it was a very nice way to make them feel the lower level of the relationship to the Group.

AM Guest Blog 1

In the case of the relationship to Nature, I gave them an object (the carton at the end of a roll of toilet paper works very nicely).  I told them what it was, and then asked the group what was the purpose of the object. At first everyone answer what I told them, that is the Things level of perceived reality.  Then, in the case of toilet paper roll, they told me they have garbage in their hands. When I asked them about what could they do with the object, a lot of ideas came in, that is the development-verb level. Finally, some ideas that were beyond the object helped explain what we can imagine when we are in the light level. I linked this same exercise to the relationship to Spirit, to discover how to experience this through the body.

AM Guest Blog 2

The first experience of Naming. Language is so important for the process of experiencing harmonic vibrancy, and sometimes we find it difficult to listen to ourselves and to others in the collectives we are part of. So, what I did is to give the group famous phrases from philosophers, singers, popular sayings from Mexico. Some of these are in the Ecosynomics book, and some are not.  Some are long; some are short. Some examples of the short ones include: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” from Leonard Cohen; “Tree that is born crooked, his trunk never straightens,” a popular saying; “We only see what we animate, and we animate what we see” from Emerson. I asked the group to identify the primary relationship(s) and the level of each phrase. I emphasized that they could sense the level of perceived reality just by listening to the language they used.

AM Guest Blog 3

The first 4-5 hours of the 12-hour workshop were dedicated to these two activities. After that we worked more and more with the mind, learning what agreements are, understanding the three paths through the three levels of perceived reality, analyzing their responses to the harmonic vibrancy survey, and analyzing Agreements Maps for different groups. I believe that the success of these other exercises rested on the two exercises of the first 4 hours.

At the end I did a small exercise of “mindfully eating chocolate,” to close the workshop reminding them that the more mindful we are, the more we can really help collectives to name agreements and realize what to do next.

I look forward to learning what you and others have found useful in engaging people with their mind, heart and will from the very beginning of the harmonic vibrancy experience.  I know that we will continue to improve and innovate from this point forward to make this introduction a real experience of what Harmonic Vibrancy is.

Annabel Membrillo Jimenez, ISC Fellow, is the Vibrancy Ins. representative for Harmonic Vibrancy and Ecosynomics in Mexico.  Through her consulting, coaching, and teaching, Annabel has brought harmonic vibrancy, and strategic clarity to individuals, organizations, and communities in Mexico since 1995.  A graduate with honors of the ITAM, she has co-authored articles you can find at ISC.

Vibrancy Activity in Mexico

I just spent the last week in Queretaro, Mexico, where there is lots of activity around the work of Harmonic Vibrancy and Ecosynomics, and there is much to share. As I tell you briefly about what is happening in Mexico, I invite you to see if there is a way that you would like to engage with the work there or something similar in your geography or language. Basically, you can think of four realms of work: “content” where you learn to do the work on your own; “process” where others do the work with you; “sharing” where you meet others like you who are doing the work; and “insights” where you learn about the underlying research and insights we are finding.

Starting with an introductory course I gave in March this year, the group in Mexico has advanced quickly, with ISC Fellow Annabel Membrillo now offering a 2-day Introduction to Harmonic Vibrancy and Ecosynomics course. With this new foundation, I was able to offer two intermediate Intensives this past week on “Ecosynomic Tools and Applications” and “Ecosynomic Indicators and Measurement Systems.”

As the group now takes up these introductory and intermediate courses, I will be back in Mexico in the early Spring to offer more advanced, specialized Intensives on Money Agreements, What Is Homo lumens, Collaborating with Process Groups around the World, An Integral-AQAL View of HV and Ecosynomics, Introduction to Ecosynomics research seminar, Linking Ecosynomics, Harmonic Vibrancy and Strategy, and The Ecosynomic Foundations and Practices of Agreements. With these solid foundations in the team in Mexico, we can now explore the deeper roots and practical applications of Ecosynomics.

Through its long-term work with Ecosynomics, the community in Mexico continues to be one of the top 3 countries in purchases of the Ecosynomics book-course.

We shared the story with like-minded leaders and colleagues through two public talks and dialogs. One for 42 leaders was hosted by the SC Group and the JFK American School of Queretaro, with co-hosting by Annabel’s team. The other public talk for a dozen local leaders was hosted by the SC group at the Esquina Gaucha restaurant. These sharing activities continue to grow the local community working with Ecosynomics in the Queretaro area.

Through ISC Fellow Annabel Membrillo and SC Group Mexico co-founder Conrado Garcia, there are now two large on-going projects in Queretaro, Mexico based in Ecosynomics at the school JFK and the bank ISBAN, integrating the Harmonic Vibrancy survey, the Agreements Maps, and Managing from Clarity systems mapping in the strategy process.

Led by ISC Fellow Annabel Membrillo, our research continues full-steam in Mexico, with hundreds of groups responding to the Harmonic Vibrancy survey, many beginning to apply Agreements Maps, and many engaging in deeper descriptions and explorations of their emerging agreements through “Agreements Evidence Dialogs.”

If you are interested in engaging in any of these areas of Content, Process, Sharing, or Insights in Mexico, contact the SC Group.

All in all, a great week!

Radio Interview on HV Survey Research

Past-cast Series — Seeing relevance in earlier publications

ISC President Jim Ritchie-Dunham was interviewed on the radio today (March 14, 2011) about the harmonic vibrancy survey research by John Schmidt, of the Global Transforming Ensemble.  You can download the 57-minute interview from John’s Internet-radio talk show ZOOM’D Leadership at (

Guest post — Is My Company Vibrant? A Case Study

Guest post by Maureen Metcalf

I met Jim Ritchie-Dunham and learned about Harmonic Vibrancy research when a highly regarded colleague, Terri O’Fallon, asked me to participate in a study. Terri is one of those people who is always involved in something interesting so I responded. Additionally, the request came as part of a research study Jim was doing on vibrancy and I personally love to participate in leading research to contribute to and learn about the latest thinking in organizational effectiveness.

Taking the Assessment

I took an individual assessment with Metcalf & Associates as the company I was evaluating. I found the assessment and results interesting, and because of our scores I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Jim, the lead researcher. After our conversation, I was committed to learning more—and support his research— as it seemed as if he was making a unique and important contribution to the field of organizational effectiveness and organizational leadership.

Creating a Vibrant MBA Class

My next step was to require that my graduate students take the assessment for multiple organizations to both build the database and to help them begin to get a feel for which organizations are most effective and which are least. We also tried an experiment in which students evaluated the class environment at the end of the semester (after grades were finalized). My personal research question was: Could we create a vibrant organization in an MBA class in the relatively limited length of a semester? Interestingly, the answer was yes. While we needed to refine a few of the questions, overall, we could all participate in a process to build a vibrant organization in a short period of time. I love the idea that the class could not learn only the theory; they could also have the actual experience of being in a vibrant organization during the class. Then the question was what they could do to create this for themselves. We asked some students with particularly high scores to participate in the research.

Improving Our Organizational Vibrancy

My next challenge was to see if I had created a vibrant organization within my own company. I certainly thought it was vibrant—but what did others think? Again, we were a company that did not perfectly fit the profile, but I decided to test us before going out to our clients. I have committed us to being a learning lab, a company that tests new ideas on ourselves, and proves them valid and useful before going to our clients. As the owner of the company this was intriguing because while the feedback was about the company it was also very personal—it was about the company I had created and about me as a leader.

So, the moment of truth; I selected my key team members and invited them to complete the survey. Like those in most organizations, some people responded immediately and others required several reminders. The end result was seven responses from our core team.

Metcalf Survey Results

Our scores were high in six of the seven categories. In the seventh, “process of innovation” we scored a four on a scale of one to five. This would not seem terrible except that our company tag line is Inspiring Leadership Innovation. What were we doing wrong? What was I doing wrong? I thought we were very innovative. We had published a very well-received book about innovative leadership that won an International Book Award in 2012 for Best Business Reference Book and we were in the process of writing several workbooks that also won multiple awards. How could we possibly be lacking innovation? What I learned was that we balanced innovation with meeting client goals. We are both innovative and focused on client results. As a company with limited resources, we were balancing the very real limitations of our resources including the time we had to commit to innovating versus the time we had to deliver impeccable results every day to our clients.

This helped me see that we were on the right track—and while I will still strive for a higher score, I understand our results and envision our opportunities to grow. One of the best outcomes of this assessment was the very candid conversation I had with this group. I learned that I held some assumptions about how we were working that were not true; specifically, I assumed people did not want to get together regularly because of their busy schedules. I learned that they did want to spend more time together as a group (which we have now done). Some of our gatherings are social in nature and allow for people to informally incubate ideas that will move us forward. Additionally, the team is deepening their relationships with one another.

I have appreciated the insight from this assessment. We have implemented changes and in other areas it validated that we are on the right track. Each participant had the opportunity to express an individual perspective as well as hear perspectives from others, building our shared sense of what we want from our organization. Round two of the assessment is in the plan for 2014. For now, we are using this assessment with our clients and getting great results. In an upcoming blog, I’ll share the results working with a client.

Maureen Metcalf, the CEO of Metcalf & Associates, is author of Innovative Leadership Fieldbookan award-winner in the 2012 International Book Awards for Business: Reference Book.  Partnering with the Institute for Strategic Clarity, she brings the work of organizational vibrancy to groups in Ohio.