Recent Posts by Designed Learning

Peter Has Lit a Fire.

He has lit a fire in those who have experienced his work. Enough so that individuals have taken it upon themselves to create various groups to help share what they have learned. Each of these websites uses the ideas of Peter Block to create their own small community centered on the various aspects of Designed…
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Leaders as Partners not Parents

Do you know what the differences between a leader and a follower are? To answer, you need to understand how leaders are created. While focusing on producing successful leaders, human resources is creating a far greater number of followers. These leaders are given power and control over their followers and feel responsible for their actions.…
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Some Jobs Aren’t Meant to Be

So you've made the personal acknowledgements, expressed wants and given support, but you can’t help but think, "this isn't working". Some jobs just aren't meant to be, and anyone who promises you a particular outcome is trying to sell you something. In this video, Peter explains why a critical point in the contracting process is to consider whether it is really in our best interest to move ahead with a project. In the end, you lost only one client, and it is just not good for business to take on low-chance-of-success projects.

Cumbuca? What is it?

The answer to this question lies within Vale, a mining company located in northern Brazil. Saulo Prazeres, the HR manager for Vale, decided Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting was the best option for the company to improve but he wanted a method other than attending the usual workshops. He decided to create a study group to…
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A Glimpse into the Life of Peter Block.

It isn’t very often that we get a behind-the-scenes look at the life that made Peter Block. If you have read Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting or been to one of his workshops then this podcast is a must. Amiel Handelsman, host of the leadership podcast The Amiel Show, had Peter narrate his life up to…
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4 Terrible Things Every Great Leader Does

4 Terrible Things Every Great Leader Does Behavior control, self-idolization, the use of education as indoctrination and the ensurance of compliance through performance appraisals are all examples of the “silent killers” of leadership. In Peter Blocks article, The Underbelly of Leadership, he says “Successful leaders begin to believe that a key task is to re-create…
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The Leadership Question

Peter Block’s article, The Leadership Question, is an insightful look at the relationship between stewardship practices in organizations and the role of leadership in effectively implementing them. As Peter point out, our language and intention about how to create needed change in organizations is correct, but the path most often chosen to make that occur…
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Training is Not the Answer

Industry developments and reform make changes in the workplace inevitable, and training is the tool most often used to implement that change. Many see training as a staple in the workplace that generates a common language among employees. The way that change is exhibited can contribute to the longevity and success of the organization. It…
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THE TRUTH ABOUT CHANGE

When implementing organizational reform, it’s natural to assume that the reconstruction occurs from the top down. In “The Truth about Change,” Peter Block suggests that while this formula can be hindering, it does have a certain appeal.

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FEAR IN THE WORKPLACE

Fear is something not everyone grows accustomed to. As Peter Block puts it, “people want to live in a high trust environment.” So how does fear, which generally has a negative connotation, benefit an office setting? In his video, “Fear in the Workplace,” Peter discusses his thoughts on fear and its implications in a working environment. “Some people think having trust in the workplace means driving fear out. I like fear,” Peter says. “Fear is a natural state.”

According to Peter, if you’re not nervous or anxious you’re not paying attention. However, Peter makes it clear that instead of fearing your boss or the institution, you should be anxious about more meaningful things.

Peter suggests one should be anxious over things like keeping your integrity, or about whether you are using power in the right way. “To be anxious is to be a human being,” says Peter.

“The idea that fear can be driven out of the workplace, I’d let go of that. Fear in the workplace is perfect. I would keep it there.”

Aliveness

In this short clip, Peter Block discusses how to restore a sense of aliveness in the workplace. Block says that materials such as books and movies are brought into this world to help restore aliveness. The modern world and electronic information age revolve around speed and efficiency. The cost of this speed and perfection is what Block considers to be our humanity.

When consulting, it is imperative to bring a sense of aliveness into every moment you are working, no matter what your job may entail. Block emphasizes that it is the quality of aliveness that restores our society. The purpose of each consulting project is to care for the humanness of whatever you may be doing, to restore a sense of aliveness and finally, to have faith that you will reach the goal that you set out to achieve.

Gifts

What are you naturally good at? Not a strength, but an admirable quality or trait that you were born with. In Peter’s eyes, a gift is an unearned blessing and something that you do not have to work to improve. He suggests that individually, we must discover our gifts.

In many of the Flawless Consulting workshops, participants are videotaped. Individuals are told to analyze the film and to determine only what they liked about what they saw themselves do. Nearly every participant finds the negatives about how they sounded, their body language and so on but hardly any seem to find what they admired about their actions. The cause of this? Being blind to your gifts.

Before you start to work on your strengths, consider taking a step back and determining what gifts you were born with. Simply ask yourself, “What am I good at? What are the gifts that I can bring into the world?” Perhaps this is a way to discover your own unique gifts. By doing this, we can also be aware of the gifts in our business partners as well. Peter describes this as a much softer conversation than one in which you determine your strengths.

Interested in participating in one of Designed Learning’s Flawless Consulting workshops? Register today to gain valuable research based outcomes that stick—online or onsite.

Are You the Problem?

In this short clip, Peter Block shares some tips on how to recognize and deal with personal resistance.

“If I’m a participant in the world I’m helping to create it,” says Block.

What does this mean? Block explains that if there is a dilemma amongst group members, internal customers or clients, you are a contributing factor to the problem. You must ask yourself, “How am I adding to the difficulty?” The cause of your inclusion could be due to a variety of things; your wish to please others, to have control, or even your self-doubt.

When directly addressing a problem with your client produces no results, Block suggests briefly stepping away from the meeting. This time apart will allow you to reassess the problem at hand and determine how you can individually help to fix it.

By taking time for self-reflection, recognition of your own personal resistance can be achieved.

Want to learn more practical strategies on how to implement Peter’s teachings? Consider attending one of Designed Learning’s Flawless Consulting workshops to gain valuable research based outcomes that stick – online or onsite.

We offer flexible training options onsite, online and blended to meet your specific needs and budget.

 

 

Your Boss’ Boss

Are you intimidated by your boss? Many of us are since we believe our future lies in their hands. It would be nice to break down the barriers that perpetuate this fear when getting an agreement about how we can work together. This is known as the contracting phase in Peter Block’s Flawless Consulting model.

In this short clip, Peter Block encourages us to be communicative and engaging in conversations between employees and bosses. When we are willing to take chances, there is much to gain – including less fear and more confidence. Not only in dealing with our boss, but with others above us in the organization. Remember, you are also dealing with your boss’s boss.

Want to learn more practical strategies on how to implement Peter’s teachings? Consider attending one of Designed Learning’s Flawless Consulting workshops to gain valuable research based outcomes that stick – online or onsite.

We offer flexible training options onsite, online and blended to meet your specific needs and budget.

Cosmetic Reform: When the Disease Becomes the Cure

“Despite the popularity of the idea of stewardship, the continuing story of most organizations is a celebration of the importance of great leadership, in either its harsher or kindlier forms. Our institutional models are basically patriarchal.  Everyone wants to know where to find partnership on a large scale,” says Peter Block in Cosmetic Reform: When…
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Touchy Feely Crap

Goals, quotas and deadlines. In our results driven world, what else do you have time to think of? The problem with focusing on an end result is that you miss the point of what your organization is trying to accomplish. If you are unable to connect with your team and come to a mutual understanding of your mission, nothing will ever get accomplished.

In this video, Peter talks about the importance of the “touchy feely crap” that can make some people roll their eyes, but why everyone needs to understand the purpose of a job beyond the end result. When you are working in a group, take time to make sure everyone recognizes the overarching “Why” in everything you do. Creating meaning for employees will inspire team members since they realize their work is creating value.

For more information on the workshops, books and videos that Designed Learning has to offer, visit the Designed Learning workshops page here. 

Stop Confusing Job Descriptions and Boss Evaluations with Real Performance

By Peter Block Everyone likes the idea of aligning performance evaluation and pay systems with positive culture and real performance outcomes, but most of us have rarely experienced it. The methods we commonly use to judge performance and structure compensation have little to do with real contributions to the organization’s success or affirming the kind…
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Nine Signs That You May Be an Internal Consultant

Guest post by Designed Learning Trainer, Charlie Fields You’re a what? A consultant! The word conjures many thoughts – most of them negative. I’ve heard the jokes, seen the cartoons, and watched the movies. I never thought of myself as a consultant. I was a director of training for engineering, not a consultant. The people…
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Engagement Cannot be Carbon Copied

"Even with the consciousness that top-down, parenting management strategies will not win, many efforts to change will inevitably reenact the very same set of beliefs that created the need for change in the first place. Patriarchy will reinvent itself in living out the promise of its own demise," says Peter Block in Stewardship. The choice…
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Performance Not for Sale

The conventional compensation system is used to reward, control and nurture individuals based on class or performance. The way we think about reward systems needs to shift away from “a means to control behavior” to “a means to serve the marketplace.” A pay system that is aligned with stewardship practices will not feed dominance, will…
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Gift Mindedness

One of the best ways to give support to a client is to let them know what is working for you. This is what Peter calls, “Gift Mindedness”, or acknowledging the ways in which you interact with the client. In this video, Peter Block discusses the usefulness of Gift Mindedness in understanding how to work with clients. He urges you to ask the question, “What am I doing that is working for you?” and apply that feedback to your consulting in the future. Understanding the “gifts” of successful interactions with clients can help in any phase of the consulting process and create a better experience for both you and the client.

Democratization of Wealth

In the last issue, Peter wrote generally about the alternative to pay systems that are incongruent with creating a stewardship-guided organization. In this piece he gives practical examples. Partnership and empowerment cannot be built or maintained by separating the managing and the doing of the work. Stewardship distributes wealth at every level of the organization.…
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Freedom and Choices

Business roles are so defined that people lose the idea of creating change within their business. In this short video, Peter Block encourages people to realize they have the power to make choices and the right choices are not necessarily the ones that are commonly practiced. By giving people the power to make a choice, this gives them power and a feeling of ownership. This leads a person to a feeling of responsibility and energizes them to continue to engage and improve the work they do. Change leads to sense of freedom, which leads to innovation and continuous improvement throughout a company.

The Power of Small Groups

In this short video, Peter explains that when diversity of thinking and dissent are given space in small groups, commitments are made without barter and the gifts of each person and our community are acknowledged and valued. As a result, power is produced within the small group. The power of small groups cannot be overemphasized. Large-sale transformation occurs when enough small groups shift in harmony toward the larger scale.

Let’s Take It Slow

Two things are required: time and space. Peter explains that time is subjective and therefore we cannot, and should not, be controlled by it. In Flawless Consulting, Peter says that lack of time, space and money is often used as an excuse by managers who do not want to do a project. Lack of motivation is really the problem. "If they want to do your project," he says, "they will find a way."

It’s All Implementation

Implementation implies that first an idea needs to be formulated, then a decision is made and afterward the actual can work begin. However, this is not the case. Every step-discovery, planning, contracting and engaging people-is all a part of the implementation process. The main focus of implementation should be to bring people together to create and plan how to make something work. Implementation does not actually begin until the people who do the work decide whether they are going to make real changes or simply go through the motions.

Rethinking Compensation

“The intention to move the whole organization at one time, by one means, is destined to evoke compliance, not commitment. It becomes high persuasion, not high performance,” says Peter. We often think money and behavior are related in some way and rewards or compensation can be used to change attitudes and behavior. When we have…
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I’m Here to Fix You

Trust and connectedness are necessary to a successful contract. In the Flawless Consulting Public Workshops, participants are introduced to the concept of a consultant’s “roles.” Peter presents three common roles played by consultants: Expert, pair-of-hands and collaborative. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, but collaboration is the ultimate goal. Getting to know the client’s problems and working in a collaborative role with them is the key to a successful, long-term contract.

Am I Too Pushy?

Do you ever ask yourself, "Am I too Pushy?" Well, authentic behavior means you put into words the resistance you face during a project. This is the most powerful thing you can do to gain the trust and commitment you are looking for. There is a tendency for us to look for ways of being clever with people. We agonize over ways of presenting our ideas – phrasing the project so it sounds more appealing than it may be. People know when we try to maneuver them, and when it happens, they trust us a little less.

Humility Helps, Leaders Listen

“Leadership is about going somewhere, and if you don't know where you're going, how can you lead others?” said founder of Seapoint Center Jesse Lyn Stoner in an interview with the Huffington Post.  Leaders who concentrate solely on the task at hand forget how each individual of the organization is significant.  To effectively lead a…
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Adjusting Stewardship to Context

A challenging thought surrounding the stewardship practice deals with the cultural differences we see across various organizations. Some cultures, for example, are not comfortable with lowering power distance while others must rely on control and technicalities as a way of operating. There are even some organizations that place stewardship values at their core, but have…
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Change Agents

Peter encourages us to change the narrative — not people. The concept of a “change agent” is arrogant, says Peter. Instead of saying “I’m here to change them,” we can say, “I’m here to change the conversation with people about their intentions.” In any conversation aimed to change the narrative, you’re doing two things: giving support to the organization and then confronting it. Peter says the support statement often is a simple acknowledgement that you hear what the client is saying; it means you have listened. The confront statement then identifies the difference between how you see a situation and how the client sees the situation.

Presenting Problems

The first thing you should do is focus on your client, not the problem. Your client knows more about his or her company than you do, so they probably have a better solution. What you should focus on is working through the contracting steps of Flawless Consulting to lay a groundwork of mutual trust. Then, address the problem. Developing a strong partnership with your client is essential. It creates a space where lasting solutions can be found.

Shifting Narrative

In this video, Peter Block, author of Flawless Consulting, explains why unhealthy conversations can dominate company culture. Organizational leaders are turning to the narrative of power, control and predictability to make things work, especially when forced to continue operation in the face of rough economic times. An obligation to the bottom line is not what needs to change; it is the way we find meaning in our work that needs our attention.

Restore Faith

Faith in my ______ is the future (fill in the blank). Starting down an unpredictable path is tough. Asking a client to let go of predictions and expectations of a project may seem unrealistic. But when a client is able to place trust, or faith, in the consultant’s hands, this creates a sustainable world. In this video, Peter recommends avoiding the question, “Do you think we are making progress?” and instead ask, “What would restore your faith?”

Pay Groups for Real Outcomes

By Peter Block The way we design our pay system communicates in concrete ways the kind of organization we want to create. Rather than seeing pay as a determinant of behavior, stewardship thinks of pay as a way of communicating and affirming the kind of culture we want to create. So, we design pay systems…
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