Embracing Change: A Client Success Story

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

by Rachel Harris

While the times around us are changing, business models are changing with them. Many organizations big and small are transitioning to a focus on the long-term visions and goals of their business. Though short-term visions are extremely important, CPL has seen and researched this trend. As short-term visions provide faster results, long-term visions provide the longevity for your business in this competitive world. Many of these long- and short-term visions begin with one of the most important aspects: setting goals. Have you ever looked toward an end goal and wondered how to reach it? CPL recently had a client reaching toward a new beginning.

The culmination of a two-month training, convening, and development project resulted in a tremendous transformation for this client heavily engaged in public input on hotly contested topics. In late January, our clients rolled out a new public engagement format, based on the Art of Convening methodology. They had taken an introductory Art of Convening training in Fall 2016 and considered how best to incorporate purpose, invitation and hearing all the voices within their business culture. Their intent was to be mindful of the organizational culture, with a new CEO onboard, while boldly taking a leap in a new direction.

With the consultation between Heartland and our client, they began renaming the evening meetings from "Public Input" to "Listening Session". Stakeholders then took notice that the meetings would be delivered anew. Great care was put into each element of the structured conversation in the 90-minute meeting.By courageously adapting Art of Convening methodologies, our client reached a dramatically different outcome with increased attendance and engagement.

Previously, stakeholders had noted they didn't feel heard. At the retooled Listening Session people openly observed staff was compassionate and residents felt listened to. The client's excellent outcome indicates a profound shift in how they relate - to and are received by - their customers and stakeholders.

If your organization's goals include breakthrough relations with your stakeholders and customers or conducting effective meetings to reach those goals, give CPL a jingle at 612-281-1192. In the meantime, be sure to check out other CPL blogs and our LinkedIn page for weekly updates and tips on The Art of Convening

Does Culture Trump Strategy?

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

Photo Credit: Craig Neal

by Rachel Harris

A quick search revealed dozens of articles from around the world declaring that culture trumps strategy. Legendary systems thinker Peter Drucker has written extensively on the topic.

Organizations, like people, are complex entities with competing priorities. We live with the paradox of needing to relieve immediate problems while engaging in slow-moving culture change one interaction at a time. Drucker writes, "Results are gained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.” In order to overcome this slow-moving culture change, and wanting to solve problems, one must set their priorities. It is needed to put culture before strategy in order to see the change that is desired. 

According to a Harvard Business Review article written by Nilofer Merchant, "Culture is the domain that enables or obstructs a velocity of function. By addressing where an organization is limiting its velocity, you can accelerate the engine that fuels innovation and growth, and, ultimately, financial numbers." With a combination of culture and strategy, it allows an organization to perform at its' strongest ability. 

The ultimate question is how does one incorporate the importance of both culture and strategy to get the most results and how does one measure those results. 

Given such qualitative evidence, is it possible to create lasting strategic results when a quick fix is wanted, yet a culture change is warranted? We believe the answer is yes. Call us at 612-920-3039 to set up a plan to change your culture with lasting strategic results. In the meantime, follow Center for Purposeful Leadership on our LinkedIn page for updates on how to master the Art of Convening

Culture vs. Strategy Initiatives: What comes first?


"Part of a company's strategy could be the formation of a certain culture they aspire to achieve."

by Rachel Harris

"Strategy: A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.

Culture: Broadly, social heritage of a group, organized community or society. It is a pattern of responses discovered, developed, or invented during the group's history of handling problems which arise from interactions among its members, and between them and their environment." - The Business Dictionary

As an organization plans to make changes, leaders take into consideration both cultural and strategy initiatives. Some begin to question which initiative they should highlight the importance of, in order to see the most results. The answer is simple: neither. Cultural and strategical initiatives both have lasting benefits on any sort of change management initiative.

Time and time again we've experienced clients frequently mistaking strategy as the underlying problem, when in fact, matching a company's culture to any change initiative is the key to success. According to a Harvard Business Review article on Cultural Changes, the author writes "A strategy that is at odds with a company’s culture is doomed. Culture trumps strategy every time." A company's strategy must match the culture within to show the most productivity. 

Another view on Culture Vs. Strategy is the vision that your culture is a part of your strategy. This plays off of the original idea of leveling the two. This view does so, but in a different aspect. Part of a company's strategy could be the formation of a certain culture they aspire to achieve.

Heartland wants to help you ensure your initiatives go hand in hand to create success in achieving your goals. When you cannot take the pain of the status quo anymore, give us a jingle at 612-­920­-3039 to set up a coaching session. Follow us on our LinkedIn profile to stay updated on the Art of Convening

Convening and The Truth

Photo Credit: Craig neal

Photo Credit: Craig neal

This article was first posted on the AoC Book blog

Someone asked me today what I imagined would make the biggest difference in improving the quality of an upcoming conversation. I thought about it a bit and said that it would be telling the truth.

I don't think the people intentionally lie, but I think all of us like to manage our persona and make a good impression. We want to get along with others and may unconsciously utter clichés instead of offering thoughtful, relevant talk. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that, but I am sometimes in exchanges where that kind of thing is practiced to an extreme - and it wears me out! Also, it is impossible for me to develop a sense of trust in my conversations when I believe that truth is not forthcoming.

Most of us are not privy to knowing what THE TRUTH in capital letters is, but we do know what we are experiencing and thinking in the moment. It is more uncomfortable for me to openly share my genuine experiences and thoughts when others are not doing the same - much like the feeling of being watched from behind a one-way glass.  That doesn't mean we have to bare our souls and tell all, or expound fully on our areas of expertise, but it does mean that we have to be real. 

In The Art of Convening, authentic engagement is defined as simply the genuine expression of what is true for us, and an attentive listening to what is true for others. It's not entertaining, persuading or manipulating, but it is very energizing. Using the principles and practices of the Art of Convening make it much more likely that participants in a conversation or gathering will authentically engage - which means telling the truth.

What is your experience of truth-telling and the Art of Convening?

Cynthia Wold, Co-author of "The Art of Convening: Authentic Engagement in Meetings, Gatherings, and Conversations"