Page Revision: 9/26/2012 10:35:05 AM
Training Transfer - 2012 Workshop
Maximizing the Transfer of Leadership-Learnings Back on the Job: An Exploration and Experience
Why is it that such a small proportion of training ends up being used back in the workplace? Why is it so challenging to measure the impact of leadership training? Why is it that expected cost savings and efficiencies have not materialized? With increasing performance management requirements and a greater focus on tangible training outcomes, more and more leaders are asking these questions.
Based on over 25 years of experience as a facilitator, trainer and coach, Dr. Steve Frieman will makes the case for a new approach to transfer of training called “unpacking” that has the potential to produce dramatically higher levels of sustained transfer back on the job.
Recorded: August 1, 2012
U.S. Office of Personnel Management
• New executives
• Candidate Development Program (CDP) participants
• Aspiring Leaders
The field of leadership development has long assumed that the key to increasing leader effectiveness on the job lies primarily in the classroom where there is a controlled environment for the learning of new leadership competencies. Based on over 25 years of experience as a facilitator, trainer and coach, Dr. Frieman proposes that for sustained transfer to occur it requires BOTH the learning of behavioral competencies (i.e., “packing in”) and an equally critical decision process to use what you are capable of doing back on the job (i.e., “unpacking”). He will make the case that for dramatically higher levels of sustained transfer to occur; it will require the explicit use of “unpacking” procedures and techniques. Participants in the session will experience an “unpacking” technique.
Steve Frieman, Ph.D. is a Program Director with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. He holds a doctorate in Industrial/Organizational (I/O) Psychology, and has worked for over 25 years to create sustainable organizational and leadership change back on the job, mostly in the role of a U.S. Government employee. He has worked during this time in such areas as organizational development, job analysis and selection design, leadership development, and executive coaching.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views, policies or procedures of the U.S. OPM.
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Cheryl Dogood: Good afternoon, everybody. We are going to get started. Welcome to
OPM. My name is Cheryl Dogood. I am sure most of you got that email
from me inviting you to our learning transfer session today. Dr.
Steve Frieman is going to introduce you to a new paradigm of
transfer that is going to knock your socks off, I promise. OK? So,
[inaudible 00:27] .
The field of leadership development has long assumed that the key
to increasing leader effectiveness on the job lies primarily in the
classroom, where there is a controlled environment for the learning
of new leadership competencies.
Based on over 25 years of experience as a facilitator, trainer, and
a coach, Dr. Steve Frieman proposes that for sustained transfer to
occur, it requires both the learning of behavioral competencies,
through training, education and other types of leadership
development or what Steve refers to as packing-in.
And an equally critical decision process called unpacking to use
what you have learned and are presumably capable of doing back on
the job. You are going to do an unpacking exercise today. Today's
team will make the case that for dramatically higher levels of
sustained transfer to occur, it will require the explicit use of
unpacking procedures and techniques.
Dr. Steve Frieman is a program director with the US Office of
Personnel Management. He holds a doctorate in industrial
organizational psychology and has worked for over 25 years to
create sustainable, organizational, and leadership change back on
the job, mostly in the role of a US government employee.
He has worked during this time in such areas as organizational
development, job analysis and selection design, leadership
development and executive coaching. Please help me welcome Dr.
Dr. Steve I am going to work this without a mic. However if I am not loud
Frieman: enough, let me know, and I will hold the handheld mic that I have
been resisting holding, as part of that. But I think the room's
small enough we'll get away with that.
So, I am a fed. I have been a fed now for 25 years. I just want you
to know that what you are going to hear is really about 25 years of
experience with internal, who has been kind of searching for that
holy grail in the world of training around what does it take to get
things back to [inaudible 02:39] .
I am not very satisfied [inaudible 02:43] but it doesn't mean much
to me, if they are not using it [inaudible 02:50] back on the job.
That question has haunted me for most of my career. I have tried
lots of different approaches to try and get things back to the job.
Anybody ever work with an IO psychologist? I'll apologize. They are
very [inaudible 03:07] people, but they do things like selection
procedure. Right? So for a while I thought it was [inaudible 03:11]
maybe we had to select the right people, and that'll be the answer
to them [inaudible 03:15] .
That helps some, but it didn't really get me the change I am
looking for, so I am moving to the training arena for a while. I
worked at a place called Army Research Institute for the Social and
Behavior Sciences [inaudible 03:27] Did some research there, and
some application. Tried and get them to see, maybe through training
we can get the results. I wasn't satisfied with that.
I spent about 14 years as an organizational development guy, on the
ground facilitating teams, and leadership teams, and the
organizational groups. I did it in small groups and large groups.
Groups as much as 200 people at a time, still did not see the
sustainability that I was looking for.
For the last seven years I have been over at the office of
personnel management [inaudible 03:58] research development, and
they are playing around with training. Again, I came back to it. I
came back to training and said, it is got to be smarter. They got
to make a better design. They got to figure out a smarter way of
doing this, and [inaudible 04:12] I am not seeing the transfer
rates I want to see.
Ultimately I finally decided that I think our paradigm may be off.
I think the paradigm by which we believe transfer occurs is not
complete, and we need to work on that. Really, the talk today is
all about that. It is about what I have been doing in that
[inaudible 04:36] category for the last two or three years, as to
what is that other [inaudible 04:42] .
I'll let you know what that is today, and we can talk as a group
about if you believe it or not, does it make sense to you or not,
and we'll give you an experience of what our process that I use to
help agencies now, to help maximize transfer of training. Just so
you can have some little experience, because I am losing people
already [inaudible 05:01] .
So the basic objectives of today are to explore the conditions to
maximize transfer, identify what processes may allow you to
accelerate transfer, and actually experience it.
I should mention that when I talk about transfer back to the job,
for me it doesn't count as transfer unless they sustain it for a
year or more, using a hard criteria. I am not satisfied or
interested when people tell me they used it once for [inaudible
05:28] level three, and they'll never do it again. That is not
recordable transfer, in my opinion.
If you don't sustain it for a year or more, it is not [inaudible
05:40] we are all on the same page. So with that, before we get
going too much into this, I'd like you to just talk to your table
groups. In your experience...I am assuming you all have some
experience in the training arena, because I don't know why you'd
want to [inaudible 05:57] you just needed a meeting to go to.
[inaudible 06:00] came in the door and [inaudible 06:01] .
Assuming that, I'd like you to talk in your tables just in your
experience, what you have seen over the years you have been
involved in the field, what percent of training actually transfers
over and is sustained for a year or more? What is your number?
Just talk about that at your tables, and I'll give you a few
minutes and I'll ask you what kind of numbers are coming out about
how much training really is transferred and sustained for a year or
more in the leadership development arena. Do that now.
Dr. Frieman: If I could have your attention back...So, what kind of numbers came
Man 1: Three to six points.
Dr. Frieman: [inaudible 06:41] what? OK, [inaudible 06:43]
Man 2: 25 percent.
Dr. Frieman: [inaudible 06:45] 25 percent? What kind of numbers came back?
Woman 1: We came out with, we have no clue.
Dr. Frieman: OK, and here we are in the profession. That is great.
Woman 1: This is why we came to your training.
Dr. Frieman: Back there, what kind of numbers? OK, did anybody do the task?
Woman 2: 50.
Dr. Frieman: 15?
Woman 2: 50.
Dr. Frieman: 50? 50? Really?
Woman 2: [inaudible 07:10] I am sorry, 15.
Dr. Frieman: 15? That is even better. What kind of numbers came out of your
Woman 3: We have no numbers.
Dr. Frieman: No numbers?
Man 2: I am afraid it was a context issue. [inaudible 79:06] So, the
number wasn't as important as the context.
Dr. Frieman: OK, so context is more important here?
Man 3: [inaudible 07:40] said 20 to 30 percent [inaudible 07:44] .
Dr. Frieman: Yeah. Yeah, I thought I presented good data.
Man 4: 19.71 percent.
Dr. Frieman: Who is on my list now?
Woman 4: We said like 15, but...
Dr. Frieman: 15 percent?
Woman 4: But it was a recession, so [inaudible 08:09] context.
Dr. Frieman: Anyone's gaining 15 percent and you [inaudible 08:16] that, you'll
become [inaudible 08:17] in the whole training [inaudible 08:20] No
one's ever shown it, established any data for that, but I am glad
that you and some folks are [inaudible 08:22] .
Woman 5: [inaudible 08:23] .
Dr. Frieman: OK. Well, so we'll go high. We'll say 25 or 30 percent, let's round
to. Maybe 50, I don't know. You have to [inaudible 08:38]
organizations. There is no good research. There is been no study in
[inaudible 08:44] to show how to do established rates of transfer,
or what the [inaudible 08:49] rate of transfer is [inaudible 08:50]
And the studies that have been done have been what I call Band-Aid.
They have been consultants working for companies where they have
developed the training, and they are trying to please their own
companies, and they come in the range when they actually have data
collection around seven to 15 percent transfer rate.
That is the higher rates, that is considered high end. 15 percent
[inaudible 09:09] That is anecdotal too, right? So [inaudible
09:11] It is kind of squishy. How do we define this, and how do we
gain it? It is a problem. Here we are in the field providing a
service, whether internally or at other agencies in the case of
OPM, and yet none of us have a good handle... [inaudible 09:30] .
When you work with a client, whether it is an internal client or an
external client, the sell is always improvement back on the job,
right? Nobody sells [inaudible 09:43] experience, and yet here we
are as professionals, can't even come up with a number about how
much is going in.
When my trainers run a program, they can tell you without even
knowing anyone who is coming in, their personalities, if they are a
good person or bad person, disruptive or not. They can tell you,
because of the design we have in the classroom, 80 percent of the
people will have an 80 percent learning level regardless.
We know it. We have been through the drill, and you know, and from
your training probably the same thing. You know with precision, and
yet we have no such predictability with transfer time.
We should be able to say at some point, an exhibition of max
training for the R and D [inaudible 10:23] . But 80 percent of the
[inaudible 10:23] will have an 80 percent sustained transfer rate
after our training, and know. That is the vision I am at. That is
where we are [inaudible 10:32] That the same level of
predictability for transfer that we have for what happens in a
learning [inaudible10:36] inside a classroom.
So what I need to do now, and I apologize if it gets a little bit
dry, some of you may find it exciting. But I am trying to
[inaudible 10:50] . What I need to step you through now is where
the field is now in my opinion, and where I think we need to go as
a paradigm if we want to get transfer. So just bear with me as I
start to step you through. The paradigm of leadership development
Dr. Frieman: ...That is all we have. All of leadership developing is based on
this paradigm, capability leads to use. Is that the camera?
So what does that mean? That means the only relevant variable for
getting a transfer is increasing the behavioral competency strength
of people. Isn't that what we do as trainers when we design them?
We design training to increase the behavioral competency [inaudible
11:49] . We make them better.
I run a conflict skills course and a coaching [inaudible 11:54]
course. We know, because we test them out, just like you probably
do in your designs, at the end we have role-plays and other things
going on. We know that they are more capable than when they came
in. The presumption of the field is that if we make it more capable
they should use it back on the job.
The question is, is that a reasonable assumption to make in the
field. Even though we do it every day, by the way, this is probably
my sense of humor [inaudible 12:26] . We know it because when we
really hammer a trainer and say "I am not seeing the transfer you
are promising," they only have one of two reactions as far as I
have ever seen.
The first one is blank. "I did my part. It must be their
environment, their supervisor, their culture, because I made them
capable. The formula says if I made them capable, they should use
it." You don't let them get away with that. You hammer them and
say, "Look, we are going to stop this unless you do something good
The only tool they have is to redesign your training to be, what?
Increase even more deeper in authentic learning. Increase
behavioral competency strength even more, because the formula says
if you do that you should get transfers. Are you with me? We have
been working with this paradigm for 40 years. I am telling you the
paradigm isn't working.
The paradigm is saying capability by itself should lead to use on
the job. I'll give you an example. Dieting. There is probably
nobody in this room capable of having a regimen of exercise and
eating to be at the perfect weight. How many people feel they are
at their perfect weight right now?
I can't raise my hand on that one. Yet, sending you to classes and
building up your capability probably is not going to change the
equation. Are you with me? It is not a capability issue, there is
something else going on. That other something else is also
determining whether you get transferred [inaudible 13:59] . In this
step, you need to do the logic as you go through it.
Let me give you a different formula. That capability x choices
leads to sustained use. Now I am using choice in a very specific
way. I haven't told you yet. Consider it a placeholder [inaudible
14:42] . But, you see where I am going. It is not sufficient to
simply make people capable and think they are going to do things in
life, and you know that from your own living in life.
You know that. There is something else we need. We need to make a
choice about what to do. And if we can start to influence choice, I
would suggest we'll start to influence catch-release.
And so the interesting question, really, is...is how do you do
that? What is going on with that? Note also that in my formula,
there is a multiplication sign there. You need both components,
right? If either is zero, your transfer rate dies. We do a really
good job working this side of the equation for the last 40 years.
We don't really do much on this side right now. And we'll talk more
about that and why that is.
I want to show you the iceberg model. The iceberg model of
leadership is our leadership actions. It is the model I put
together to try and explain the dynamism of what is occurring
inside of a person that leads to an action you actually take. So
imagine it is an iceberg. You have a little water level here. At
the very top is what people do, what they did.
It is behavior. It is the domain of behavior competencies, right?
It is where 99.5 percent of training hangs out, at the behavioral
level, right? When you are training, you have to do competency
analysis or think about the competencies you are having, right?
Everything revolves around competencies. That is the mantra of
training because capability leads to use, right? That is what is
That is at the very top of the iceberg. About halfway down below
the water is how you do it, your style of expression. That is the
domain of personality. Right? I am not referring to [inaudible
17:07] by the way, those are not true personality traits.
True personality does not shift over time. It is how you know you
are the person you are and other people know it whether you are
glad, sad, mad, happy, sick, or healthy. Right? No matter what your
mood, they still know it is you. It never changes. That is what
true personality is defined as.
There is a very good instrument, by the way, by Toby in Assessments
Systems called the HDS. If you haven't seen that, it is worth
seeing a sample report. It is very nice. They have two reports, one
is the HDS, the survey that tells you which parts of your
personality are hardwired that under stress will tend to derail you
as a leader.
They have what they call the HPI, the high performance inventory,
which are which parts of your personality under normal conditions
will be your friends and allies as a leader. So the very bottom of
the iceberg is why, why you do it.
It is your cognitive meaning making system. It is how you make
sense of the world 24/7. Now you may not realize that you are
making sense out of the world, and a fish may not realize they are
surrounded by water until all of a sudden they aren't. But trust
me, you are. I have a mother now that is 87 with severe dementia.
Until you see someone not getting meaning out of the world, you do
not realize how often we do it, every second, every moment we are
living. We are always making sense out of the world.
The last area is the belief systems you hold. Belief systems are
particularly important for choice. Down in the why level are the
factors that affect choice. Your belief systems are important
because belief systems are how you encode the world for your truth.
Whatever you believe, this is constructive now, not given by
another source. Whatever you believe is true, you'll include into
your belief system. It is your summary so you know from day to day,
this is my truth. I live my life by my truth and your belief
system. The belief system is something very, very interesting they
give you the permission to do or not do things in life, depending
upon context. Think about that. They give you permission to do or
not do things in life.
Doesn't that sound like transfer? Isn't that what we are after?
Somebody says, I can't do that back on the job. But the true
invariable is not what you taught them in leadership development
training. The controlling variable is right here.
That is why I have the arrows. The way it actually works with
people, first you make steps out of the world. Then you decide you
are not going to need anything from the system, what you want to
do. Then you filter that through your style of expression, at the
Then finally, you choose an actual behavioral action that someone
can see, going under. So note behavioral actions are two levels
removed from the initial impulse to do something at the Y level.
Two levels removed, how is it for you and your organizations when,
I don't know what to say here.
Have you ever tried to interrupt a decision made two levels up from
you? Then had very elaborate stories about what the heck were they
thinking? Anybody? Or even two levels below and say, why did they
do that? So we are kind of in the same boat here. Unless we are
aware of [inaudible 20:53] level. It is very difficult to interpret
from a behavior what is really going on. Why did they actually do
That is why I have all these communications all the time. People
are filling in the blanks with blank. You are all tied into the
mediating system when they see the behavior. It is not that
person's, it is theirs. That is where the miscommunication is
coming from. I want to point out just a couple other things around
this capability and choice equation. We'll see where that takes us.
It might not be a good time. We are already late as a group, I
Man 1: We had the conversation to come back and praise when there is
resistance in the community after we push back [inaudible 21:54] .
How do the rank and file...
What is the cognitive...The construct of that leadership, so that
when people are selected [inaudible 22:06] people say, well, you
know, there is [inaudible 22:15] that is not really OK, just like I
would get the [inaudible 22:24] certain level. We get that kind of
sarcasm from [inaudible 22:29] . Do you have any thoughts on that?
Dr. Frieman: So [inaudible 22:35] .
Man 1: Well, let's just say you have got a [inaudible 22:40] section
[inaudible 22:42] program. And people, however they stand there
selectively [inaudible 22:47] workplace, you can [inaudible 22:51]
implements them through [inaudible 23:01] .
Dr. Frieman: Right, and one really neat thing that you are saying is that
sometimes those people are blocking the person from implementing
those [inaudible 23:06] .
Man 1: Correct. Or through subtle [inaudible23:08] .
Dr. Frieman: Yeah. That is fine, and my response is, I don't know if that person
who was trying to implement something did the work they need to do.
The work is not just at the behavioral competency level. That is
where you stop, you are almost always cut short, and that is why
our transformation said that.
You have to also do the work and understand at a personality level,
'am I doing something through the personality?'' Am I managing
myself right at that level in terms of how I am coming across?' But
most importantly, you have to do the work of the cognitive meaning
[inaudible 23:40] level at the choice level.
And what does that mean? That means that whenever we are in an
environment, in a real context, we have a perspective. Right? We
hold a perspective on how well things are going to work. We size it
up, and we try to figure out what is going to happen.
If you are finding that your perspective is keeping you from doing
what you wanted to do, IE I believe those people are sabotaging me,
they are stopping me or not cooperating, the first work is not to
ask those people to change. The first work is to see if you can do
what I call an adaptive perspective shift at this level.
In fact, that is what the [inaudible 24:20] Project really
operationally is [inaudible 24:22] into. How the help people do
adaptive perspective shifting at the Y level, so they can find a
perspective that will allow them to do what they need to do.
And since we are talking about that, what is the formula for
choice? This is the choice equation. This is what is going on at
the subconscious level where belief systems reside. How can I use
what I am capable of doing in this specific situation-context, that
means both situation and people, and specific people, so I can both
be successful and not become a casualty?
You have to solve that equation in order to do something. If you
can't solve the equation, if the casualty equation stays too high,
you simply won't do it. There?
Woman 1: Can you say that again?
Dr. Frieman: Yeah, OK. [inaudible 25:16] is what I am capable of doing in a
specific situation or context, so I can both be successful and not
become a casualty. In leadership development, we are really
comfortable helping on the success side of that equation. We really
do almost nothing on the casualty side.
So, how do you know you are going to become a casualty? [inaudible
25:40] You know your sense of becoming a casualty by your level of
anxiety. It is that simple. The more anxiety you are feeling over
having to have that difficult conversation with an employee,
telling your boss the project is going south, realizing something
may not work the way he had planned on it. You know what I am
talking about? That you can feel anxious over those things?
The more anxiety you are feeling, that is how you know your sense
of becoming a casualty is going up. That is not so bad. But if you
have been trying to do something, to use what I call your playbook,
and that is not working at reducing your level of anxiety, now you
are in a situation where the perspective you are holding is telling
you that you are in danger.
You know that. You know it because things pop up, right? By the
way, people always come to me, and [inaudible 26:42] the area of
belief systems, which means what? It is cognitive. It is a
cognitive process. That is why there was a blind spot in the field.
We wanted everything to be behavioral. We wanted it that way.
It fit our formula, that capability leads to use. We missed the
fact there was a significant cognitive component controlling
intensity. We just missed it, it was a blind spot. We thought we
could manage it through behavior. The subconscious mind is the
controlling factor here. You know that if you believe [inaudible
27:28] . Because of the diagram, right? This is where the
subconscious is, down here. The conscious mind is up here, less
observable, and you can see.
But you also know it, anyone had the experience where you had a
really important conversation the next day, and your casualty
equation was rising because you didn't know how it was going to go,
and you are not sure you have the playbook to do it?
And your conscious mind was saying, sleep, and your subconscious,
which controls the conscious when it wants to, it can take it over
[inaudible 27:58] when it needs to, says, I don't think so. No one
is going to sleep until we have a plan of action. Anyone have that
experience? [inaudible 28:05] OK. That shows you the power of what
is going on here. When it needs to, it takes it over. By the way,
this is just a side note, that process I just mentioned is called
the Zeigarnik effect.
Zeigarnik was a researcher in Poland, and she went into
restaurants, she found out that waiters and waitresses could
remember everything she ordered until she paid the bill. They
couldn't tell her anything. Did a lot of research on this.
So the Zeigarnik effect, if there is something you really care
about, it is immediate in its consequences and it is incomplete,
then you are going to care [inaudible 28:48] is in there. You care
about it. Your subconscious will require you to keep thinking about
it, whether you want to or not. It will not be enough.
Why? Because the subconscious is so much trying to fill that
equation, it is running out of room. It is taking over the
conscious mind. Everyone is going to participate in it, whether
they want to or not.
The day after you bought your house, you sleep at night. You signed
the papers already, right? Because the critical variable is you
went from, did you have a playbook, whatever it was [inaudible
29:19] and now we have gone from incomplete to complete. When that
happens, your motivation to process thing goes to zero. I am going
to give you one last piece, and then I am going to give you
[inaudible 29:47] .
Unpacking and packing in, all right? We are going to talk about
these processes. You can think of them as a bipolar scale, like hot
cold. The more you maximize the one, the more you minimize the
other. OK? Hot cold, right? It is all cold, there can't be any hot.
Are you with me?
Packing in and unpacking are like that. I will propose to you the
procedures and techniques that we have developed in our classrooms
for modern adult learning, that definitely increase learnings more
than we have done in the past, right? Relative to like PowerPoint,
actually block transfer. They block transfer. They don't help
transfer, because you are down here. So, let me give you some
The Zeigarnik effect. At the end of a training, what do we do? We
hold up a certificate. We give completion encouragement to
everybody in class. We basically minimize their every motivation
they have for transfer at that moment. We minimize it. If you
really want to take advantage of Zeigarnik, you would hold up the
certificate and say, you will get this after you sustain anything
from this class for a year, and you can prove it to us.
Now, I don't want to be there when you utter those words. But you
hear what I am saying, and you can see in your mind. Your casualty
equation just went up, just thinking about doing that. But it would
raise the energy level, not lower it. So, motivation is being
controlled by Zeigarnik, if we are creating an effect [inaudible
31:26] . Let me give you a couple of other examples. All, I am
going to give [inaudible 31:31] extreme statement [inaudible
All leadership development training uses the expert model. It works
with the expert model, right? We never put somebody out there, some
guy named Ed and say "He knows nothing about strategic planning,
but he is going to lead this room for the next two days." Right?
We always have an expert whether they are a facilitator or expert
or whoever, we knew that. Why? Because we are smart. We have
learned that if you have a teacher who is an expert and you like
the teacher you want to please the teacher.
We use that dynamic in leadership development training. We want
them to please the teacher in what they are doing. Right? That is
part of it, and that is OK. The problem comes that once the person
learns what they are doing, like in my competent skills class, they
go back and do content that could work.
Looking at this person who has filed a [inaudible 32:21] against
every supervisor that has talked to them. They are saying "Do I
have the level of expertise that I need for this person? I know the
instructor could do this conversation great, but can I do it?" It
In the interest of creating learning through the expert model, we
are creating doubt about the job. Another thing we routinely do, we
have a forgiving environment. Right? We encourage people to make
mistakes. You get feedback and quickly try it out a different way
right? All the time.
You tell me, Becky, in your work environment, how many times are
you allowed to fail repeatedly before you get it right? You can see
where the doubt comes in. The very processes that dramatically
increase learning cause doubt. This is probably why in 40 years
there has not been one study, not one, to show that modern adult
learning techniques have any more transfer than a week of
PowerPoint. Not one study. Why? I mean, that should just make you
feel bad. Right?
Why? Because PowerPoint doesn't interfere with this. You may create
more learning in the way that we do it, but you are interfering
with transfer also. That is the price you pay by being more down
here in your leadership development design.
Man 1: I am sorry, could you say that again please? The part about no
studies have shown that...
Dr. Frieman: No studies have shown that a week of PowerPoint is getting you any
more sustained transferred for a year or more versus modern adult
training. It is true we create more learning. We increase their
behavioral competency strength.
Woman 1: You mean in the classroom?
Dr. Frieman: I would mean that back on the job.
Woman 1: OK.
Dr. Frieman: I am sorry, in the classroom we increase the learning. But when
they go back and actually use it for a year or more, we are not
seeing any more transfer rates. We are still in that seven to 15
percent of what is going on.
But note what I am saying too. That is not knocking what we are
doing in the classroom. I want to be very careful about that. It is
just realizing we are missing part of the equation. If we combine
what we are doing with modern adult training, and combine it with
working on this side of the fence too, it will be a powerful
Because now we have a much more increased competency strength being
processed down here at the Y level to figure out how they can use
it on the job. How, so I can both be successful and not become a
Woman 2: Steve, the more you talk about this, the more I see analog
[inaudible 35:00] executive coaches training, and in people you do
have [inaudible 35:05] evidence that there is more transfer
[inaudible 35:11] executive coaches. But I think you are doing what
[inaudible 35:16] talk about [inaudible 35:18] and I wonder whether
that isn't a place for you to be exploring to [inaudible 35:26]
Dr. Frieman: Yeah, so the point made...you know, it is a good point made that
executive coaching, is that an unpacking technique? Of course that
is an unpacking technique. Right?
Woman 2: It is costly [inaudible 35:33]
Dr. Frieman: It is costly, but it is something people work down here. Like, you
all know coaching. Coaching is...I rarely see coaches work at
[inaudible 35:41] sometimes, but they rely on the classroom or
something else for that.
They are working down here though, right? It is just a very
clinical process, and it is expensive. You have to match them up,
and all this kind of stuff. The premise of match [inaudible 35:52]
is that, hey, guess what? I think the every day supervisor and
manager can provide structure to do it themselves, probably 60
percent of what executive coaching [inaudible 36:00] .
Woman 2: But I think that if you have been looking to bolster your own
research, you might look at some research that is being done on the
transfer of [inaudible 36:09] executive coaches. Because I think
your technique is more cost effective, and able to [inaudible
36:13] do without investing in coaches, so [inaudible 36:18] .
Dr. Frieman: [inaudible 36:20] Make sure I am looking also that any studies
about how executive coaches help transfer and use that [inaudible
Woman 3: Are you taking questions?
Dr. Frieman: I guess so.
Woman 3: In the unpacking, is it also a logical linear process? Or is it
[inaudible 36:38] .
Dr. Frieman: It is. Unpacking is usually a transformational process. Really what
they mean by that [inaudible 36:52] really what we are looking for,
but it is not linear. If it was linear, the person would probably
get to it themselves.
Man 1: So it is kind of guiding them through the process of moving through
the affected domain versus the cognitive domain, or a combination
Dr. Frieman: Would you say...I couldn't hear [inaudible 37:52] .
Man 1: What it sounds like you are saying is, and I wrote a term on my
paper, WIIIFM. What is in it for me? From the learner's
perspective, getting in to not only look at the cognitive domain,
the what do I need to know...
Dr. Frieman: You mean the behavioral domain?
Man 1: The behavioral. But also the affected domain, affecting
those...Why? Yes, the values. Getting them to value what they are
learning so that they have more drive to apply it when they get
Dr. Frieman: Let me say it a little bit differently. Because a lot of what has
to happen for [inaudible 38:11] has to occur back in the context,
back on the job. Not in the classroom, because they interfere with
each other. But you have to be careful not to mix up the expert
model with basically a peer based model, by the way. That is the
other end of the spectrum.
But what we do now, what we are just starting to do in terms of
working with agencies, is introducing modules at the end of the
training program, at the end of succession program. It gives people
this orientation of giving you now, and maybe some exposure to
techniques also. So that they understand that their work is not
What they have done in the classroom is this, and that is great.
They should get a certificate, feel good about it. But the work is
not done until they work on the transfer piece, and that work is
going to occur on [inaudible 38:52] .
They have to understand it, because it is not a message we have
been putting out there. I mean, they have to hear the kind of
things I am saying so that they can get it. OK, this was just the
first fix. Now I have to do this before I blame my staff.
Before I say, it is the supervisor is the fault or the environment,
first I have to find out, can I make the adaptive perspective shift
in a way I can both be successful and not become a casualty. Yes?
Man 1: [inaudible 39:21] .
Dr. Frieman: So, I...yes?
Woman 1: This is not recalcitration, this is ours.
Dr. Frieman: [inaudible 39:51] .
Woman 1: Yeah. No, just a comment and a question. Comment is, many of us are
earnestly taking notes, we are trying to capture things. We are
doing the kind of the tip of the iceberg thing, the Iceberg Model
just like the PowerPoints, and you never...It is the archive
effect. You never get back to them.
The things that you can remember obviously are the things that you
attach personal meaning to them, them and [inaudible 40:16] . The
things that we discussed, or that have some meaning for us, we
don't have to look at [inaudible 40:22] We won't have to look at a
So that is my comment. I think that is why we take a lot of notes.
Because I don't [inaudible 40:29] But is action learning then an
example of maybe the unpacking of this kind of leadership
Dr. Frieman: [inaudible 40:44]
Woman 1: Using an action learning model, where it is not an expert model, it
is a peer based model, and you are...
Dr. Frieman: [inaudible 40:51] sorry.
Woman 1: No, that is it. That is my question.
Dr. Frieman: I would say action learning is actually a hybrid, and it actually
falls in this continuum about half way, is where you'll find action
Because action learning is almost always a combination of an expert
model, either through the facilitator in the room and or the setup
in the classroom, combined with a peer based model. Well, sometimes
peer based. Going back to work, doing things and coming back,
reporting on it. Sometimes in a peer base, sometimes just in that
But it is a hybrid. I am going to talk more about what we are going
to do here today. [inaudible 41:28] here. That'll be more of a pure
form of an unpacking process. Yes?
Woman 2: I get your theoretical concept fully, and I think it is very easy
to believe it and agree with it. What I don't get is how you are
measuring whether or not the transfer has happened. I get that we
want to be telling students, you are not done. The work starts when
you get back and you start applying the skills we practiced in
class. I get all that, so how are you measuring it, is where I feel
we get stuck as an organization.
Dr. Frieman: The answer is at this point, I am just moving out of the R&D phase
which was to create this and do some mini pilots in agencies just
to know whether a technique would work or support, that kind of
stuff. The measurements have been anecdotal through an interview
For example, when we run one of the pilots, we debrief the group
that went through it. We spend about an hour and a half with them
talking through it. Did you make any changes? What is going on? Did
you actually move to action on the job?
We are doing light data collection on some forms, on some scaling
and authentic remember in doing that. It is based on this
interviewing protocol right now. The phase I am moving into, just
for your information, is moving into the next level of pilot
implementation that is the larger groups.
I don't know how you are going to tell them but we say pilot.
You'll notice the reaction. I need a lot larger groups. It is kind
of like when Apple makes a phone they have 15,000 people looking at
it. Then they release to 10 million people in order to sell it,
Sometimes you need larger groups to figure out what is going on.
The next phase is to move into larger groups, to try out these
pilots, and the timing that the data collection receives about what
we are doing. We are relying on political interviewing processing
right now. To talk to people, say, what happened, did you do it and
I'd like to show the tables just for a little while basically. Then
I promise you we will have time to do at least add some flavor and
technique. To show your tables, just talk in terms of what you are
doing and points like that.
What did you hear? What are your reactions to what you have heard?
Do you have any further questions of understanding? Take some time
to chat on that because I have throw it like a fire hose at you and
I want you to have some time to talk through and digest it a little
Bring your attention back to that center of the universe that
begins at a point where I happen to be standing. Any questions, any
question from around the tables that we haven't heard yet?
Man 1: I just...
Dr. Frieman: Speak up just a little bit.
Man 1: OK. I like what you are saying, but I think it is half the people.
A lot of research organization culture substantiate that there are
rewards in the system, the executive.
If you are a [inaudible 44:46] I don't know how you work. But if
you go to take [inaudible 44:50] operations and even some
management, and you come back and it hardens, and then [inaudible
44:56] . On the other hand, if you live in an environment with not
very supportive self [inaudible 45:05] and you go take such a
course and you come back, it is easier [inaudible 45:11]. So I
think a lot of this is [inaudible 45:18].
Dr. Frieman: So the basic comment is that, what some cultures [inaudible 45:20]
is, you know? You would think they would be collaborative, with all
the [inaudible 45:23] culture, we are going to get blogged. My
response to that is over here.
My response is, it is not that I disagree with that. In fact, I
agree. Sometimes culture can stop things, and you don't know it
until you try to do the internal work first. First you have to see
if you can change your perspective. That is what this model is
First you do the work yourself to see if you can do adaptive
perspective shift. Because I'll tell you what. It only takes one
person who took those courses on collaboration to show they can
actually do it in that culture, to tell you somebody found the
adaptive perspective how to both be successful and not become a
So, that is what I tell people too. If you can think of one person
who has ever done it, it is possible. You just haven't done the
work according to perspective [inaudible 46:10] You need to do the
work first. That is not to say that some things...This is not a
panacea, some things simply are not going to happen because of the
way things are.
Woman 1: You kind of talked about that issue which is often times the most
senior leadership is really operating out of their belief systems
that are incompatible with what [inaudible 46:31] leadership
development [inaudible 46:33] and get exposed to, and start
shifting their views, and then come back into that culture. The
belief systems are at odds with each other.
It is completely in line with your model, but it actually says that
there is more need for peers to band together to [inaudible 46:53]
courage to counteract [inaudible 45:56] belief systems that are
being [inaudible 46:58] build these type of leaders.
Dr. Frieman: So I am dealing with, you know, psychology right? I am dealing with
the inner process, right, that leads people to be willing to
transfer. But a great resource on the outer strategic side is Hyde
and Zielinski's work on adaptive leadership.
They talk about the macro strategies needed in order to bring a
change to work in a way that you can be successful at the macro
level, at the organizational level. To me they are very
complementary with this. I am talking about the psychological level
of what is needed. Right? The person is applying their courage and
ability to do it themselves. And there is a macro strategy too. How
do you deal with multiple factions?
How do you mobilize them into move in the same direction and so on.
That is work by Hyde and Zielinski on adaptive leadership. I'd
recommend that, if you are interested in looking at the macro side,
that is all part of that. Other questions? Yes?
Man 1: I am very sorry.
Man 2: No, go ahead, go ahead.
Man 1: We were talking about a lot of things. I am positive that there
were a lot of definitional issues that you may not have covered
because there is not enough time.
But it gets into the idea of when we talked about transference that
the very definition of training in a specific task which is
standard, learning, education, development which is a much broader
term sometimes defined as expansion of your capabilities to do
these kind of things yourself. There are a lot of issues that way
that are all angels dancing on the head of pin type of issues.
Dr. Frieman: So that was just a comment, but I'll say, yeah, if we had to really
dive in to be able to have those kinds of dialogs. I agree with
you. For example, the premise of the field is your life is
[inaudible 49:18] . You understand that. My four year grandson
understands this. You know, this isn't right. I haven't eaten
potato chips. I am learning this behavior.
So you all have a presumption when you assess your training, when
you get an opportunity to do that, right? To see "Is your training
working?" Three to six months after the training, you go back and
you try to see is there evidence of the training being used, right?
Isn't that what we are doing here? Assessing training?
Woman 1: Not well.
Dr. Frieman: But that is the premise.
Woman 1: Right.
Dr. Frieman: I am just saying. It is implied. So the interesting question: is
our presumption that what we taught in the training course is what
has relevancy to the person on the job, at the time, during the
time period that they have been back at work after the training,
right? That is our presumption, that it has relevancy.
But what controls relevancy? Relevancy is controlled by...
Woman 1: Perspective.
Dr. Frieman: Perspective, but really, perspective for me is this "How can I be
successful without becoming a casualty?" That is what is
controlling relevancy, right? If that is true, it is possible we
taught them something. They learned it, but they are not showing it
because the leadership challenges they are facing, the ones that
are making them feel anxious, the ones that they are processing
[inaudible 50:40] , and not becoming a casualty, simply they don't
need it [inaudible 50:45].
But we don't see it. We take it as evidence that the training
worked, but that may not be true at all. You have to be much more
precise about "What are we looking for back on the job and what is
controlling use?" This simple assumption that just because we train
it to them, we should see a frequency of increase where we can go
back and measure it is a very, very simple assumption to make. It
is not how the world works.
Relevancy is controlled by the leadership challenges they are
facing. How do you know that? You know that because every time you
check in a week after the training, they say "I wanted to do that,
what you taught me, but I had all these emails and stuff."
And you say "Shame on you. If you had used some off what we trained
you, you would be a smarter, better leader. And now, you are just
back to the same person you were. You wasted government resources"
That is the attitude. We haven't heard anything about it. In fact,
maybe they are trying to tell us something but we don't want to
hear it. I [inaudible 51:41] on relevancy. When I got back, the
first thing I had to do was go through my emails and decide if I am
going to be a casualty or not. And those are the things I am
working on and based on that, I am drawing on the competencies, I
have to face the leadership challenges, not your training course
necessarily. Are you with me?
Woman 1: Yeah.
Dr. Frieman: You have to be very, very careful about that. If you really want to
know my opinion, why don't you [inaudible 52:02] about it? Also,
you have to ask the question not only do you use what is in the
training, was the training relevant to the types of leadership
challenges you are facing during this time period? Otherwise we are
missing the whole relevancy issue. Are you with me?
And the training may have worked is my point. We may be drawing the
wrong conclusion when we say the training doesn't work, it may have
worked. It is being [inaudible 52:23] for when the right leadership
challenge comes that says "Now, using what is in the training will
make me successful in [inaudible 52:30] . We need to use more
complexity in what we are looking at. Not simplify a [inaudible
Woman 1: Well, we still talked a lot about the evaluation, the measuring
part of it. It is a difficult thing, and your concept is a lot
like, as a former federal probation officer, working with
defendants and offenders. Right? Because you are asking them to
change criminal behavior.
That is measurable. But again, their perspective is different from
yours. We have a caseload of 40, you can deal with individuals and
work with them individually. But when you are training a mass
amount of people like 8,000, how do you get into each individual's
why? You know? It is almost impossible.
Dr. Frieman: Well, when you go through the technique of saying we don't have to,
it is about setting up the peer systems to do that. So that may be
a solution, just to round this conversation, you know, [inaudible
I no longer, in my mind, equate that leadership involvement, when
it works, leads to leadership effectiveness. A bet you a lot of you
would say that. You know, that leadership development should lead
to mutual effectiveness. I no longer make that equation at all. It
is out, as far as I am concerned. Leadership development is a
separate category of activity about developing behavior
And I know how to go back and check when the people have competency
straight change. But that doesn't translate, necessarily, to
leadership effectiveness. One, because of the relevancy issue that
I talked about. But mainly because leadership effectiveness, to
me...You know, just to me, I am not saying you should adopt this.
It is how quickly somebody would adopt a perspective shift. When
something that is unexpected and unwanted, and there is no
consequences comes in front of you.
That, to me, is the clue to how you know whether a person is a more
effective leader today than they were a year ago. How fast can they
make that shift? And I...well, I haven't found a point. The point,
if you had to do that, I do have measures on my desk about what I
would to finely look at their ability to adapt quickly to
situations, to leadership challenges, that are unexpected,
unwanted, and have real consequences if they are not dealt with
right and which their playbook is not working, right?
I believe we can find the clues to what I mean by a leader...An
effective leader, and that is an area [inaudible 54:58] . And so I
distinguish it as a separate category, measuring leadership
effectiveness from measuring leadership development. Right?
Leadership development is what I mentioned about capability change.
Not use, all right? Leadership effectiveness is how you are able to
adapt and use through perspective shifting back on the job.
So, you notice what we are saying again? In my world...Where it is
leading me, I am not saying we should accept this. I am realizing
more and more we have to be aware of two domains simultaneously
working. The behavioral domain and the cognitive domain. We can't
just collapse them down into one domain [inaudible 55:43] We miss
We need to be working with both domains at the same time, and be
aware them, be conscious of them. That is what the packing and
unpacking words are too, right? The packing in is the behavior
domain and the unpacking is the cognitive.
Both are existent at the same time. If you are not dealing with
them...When you design a course after this session today, if you
only have a design for your training program, a packing in design,
and you don't have an unpacking design, then I don't think you are
doing your job. [inaudible 56:15] .
You need to have an unpacking design too. You need to at least
recognize something is going on there. And your whole unpacking
design may be one hour in the classroom showing them the iceberg
diagram just to make them aware, to process at different levels.
And perspective shifting is important. You know?
Woman 1: What are some examples of other unpacking ideas?
Dr. Frieman: We are going to get to those a little bit [inaudible 56:42] Other
questions about [inaudible 56:44] I want to move you to doing the
technique [inaudible 56:45] .
Man 1: Just quickly [inaudible 56:49] doing a great job focusing on
internal mechanisms and variables that are...Anything with regard
Dr. Frieman: Heifetz and Linsky's work. Get the book "Adaptive Leadership.â€ They
have the strategies to deal with the external macro side of what is
going on at the organizational level. Some great strategies for
They talk about things like being on the balcony, reaching another
perspective, the dance floor versus the balcony. There is lots of
things we could talk about. They have really good material
[inaudible 57:18] and they are one of the few groups I know that
deal with what I call the dirty side of leadership. Where it is
messy, and it is not clean. Boundaries are unknown, and how do you
navigate through that ambiguity and actually mobilize people to
[inaudible 57:34] .
Man 2: Could you give those names again please sir?
Dr. Frieman: Marty Linsky, L-I-N-S-K-Y, and Ron Heifetz, H-E-I-F-I-T-Z or
something like that. If you Google the book "Adaptive Leadership"
it actually has title at Amazon, look within that. It is a great
resource, and a good compliment to this material that is a part of
that. Any other burning questions? Realize I need to get at least
some time [inaudible 57:57] .
Woman 2: What about any references you can give us for researching
[inaudible 58:01] intrinsic motivations?
Dr. Frieman: There are folks that have worked on intrinsic motivation, but I
don't know their names, so I don't have their...but yes. Sure.
Woman 3: I know that [inaudible 58:14] they have a self determination theory
[inaudible 58:20] that talks about self determination [inaudible
58:26] theory. [inaudible 58:29] .
Man 3: When I say, just throw a packet out to each. They are in packets of
four, just throw a pack out to...
Man 4: Sure.
Woman 3: [inaudible58:40] motivation to the intrinsic motivation [inaudible
Woman 4: Also I would suggest Daniel Pink and his book "Drive.â€ It is called
"Drive The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.â€
Woman 3: Yeah "Drive" is based a lot on that research. [inaudible 58:54] .
Woman 5: [inaudible 58:53] .
Dr. Frieman: Any other burning questions?
Woman 6: [inaudible 58:59] .
Dr. Frieman: Don't make me become the expert. OK, so we are going to do...Yes?
Man 5: Just a [inaudible 59:07] Is it possible for us to make a name for
[inaudible 59:11] .
Dr. Frieman: That would [inaudible 59:14] .
Woman 7: Sure. I'll send around a sheet [inaudible 59:18] .
Dr. Frieman: OK, I want to put you into an activity, so let's give these
out...Somebody pointed out to me you are human, you have needs. You
want to take a break? Yes, no?
Woman 1: Yes.
Dr. Frieman: Good. OK, 10 minutes. Go, go, go.
Dr. Frieman: Basic rolls are on the flip charts. We are going to give you about
half an hour. That means probably only two people are going to get
through it because we were talking, but we have got to give it a
try. So just know that about two of you will be in the role of
reflector, but it is good enough. This is supposed to be an
example, and you have this unit if you want to do more of it. So
what is this? A year based technique. Right?
When we do this in the real world, assume you are sitting up here.
Let's go through it. If you are in the role of the reflector, you
are going to describe a leadership challenge that should be
something that, for you, is immediate.
I need something real. This works better when it is real. Don't try
and make up something. That is real consequences for you, i.e. it
causes you anxiety thinking about it if it is not going to get
done. Right? If you are not feeling anxiety, throw it out. It is
Something where your play book is not working or you are not sure
what is going to work. OK? Those are the factors you want to
describe in a leadership challenge. Once you describe it, that will
be, by the way, three to five minutes at most.
Once you describe it, your role is to listen. You may not respond.
There is no dialog in this process. Dialog is the friend of packing
in. It is the enemy of unpacking. Dialog walks the transfer
process. It does not help the transfer process.
If we had more time we could go into that. For now, just trust me.
Your role is just to listen. At the end which will be no more than
15 minutes when you started, just because of time, answer this
question. What if any of the questions that I was hearing impacted
you the most? OK? If none, that is fine. Just let people know.
That is the role of the reflector. The person with the leadership
challenge. Everybody else is an ally. Allies first and foremost.
Confidentiality is maintained even in this activity. I am asking
people to [inaudible 62:03] a real leadership challenge. Please
make sure it stays in this room, whatever it is.
Second, you are listening to them when you are describing it. I
will let you ask one or two maximum clarification questions, only
if you just don't have a clue what the leadership challenge is
about. OK? One or two, most. This is not to turn this into a
Then finally, the role of the allies primarily during the remaining
time is to ask questions. Anything ending in a question mark is
game. I don't care if you are covertly telling them, have you
considered going to Joe and asking him this question now? As long
as it ends in a question mark, it is OK. No dialogue.
Most people usually ask questions that agree with a person's story,
and I will tell you, most times they need questions that disagree
with their story. Right? You have examples like [inaudible 62:55]
about which some of those questions are to challenge the story.
Just be aware.
You don't have to do it here, but when we are in our groups we
encourage them to spend most of their time with questions that
agree with the story. IE, let's call that problem solving through
questions, right? But we ask them to save 10 percent of their
questions that challenge the person's stories.
It is not unusual, the issue is occurring because the person is
avoiding something bigger that is even more anxiety producing, and
sometimes you need questions around it. Right? So they are really
focused on dealing with this employee who has a poor performance,
and the question is do you really need to spend this much time and
attention dealing with this employee? Or are you not dealing with
the fact that there is a bigger issue like [inaudible 63:38] . You
know, something like that.
You are going to have about 10 minutes for questions. If during
that 10 minutes it goes silent, no one says anything, please hold
the silence for a minute before you say it is over. Questions
sometimes percolate up. Just give it one minute to be sure.
Then just try to end at least by the 15 minute mark, so the person
can answer this last question and rotate to the next person. Are
there three people here, or four? Four? Four, very good. So I am
going to divide you guys as a group of five because I will be doing
this. Everyone else is in a group of four. Here what you need to
do, I'll be roaming around. Let's start now, in this first
adversity [inaudible 64:30] . Let's go now.
You should be wrapping up your first round now. Wrap that up if you
haven't but then say you would have had it done. Then you have a
chance to do a second person if someone has a real leadership to
basic that is the back pull of real consequences in the [inaudible
64:56] . You can just drag yourself to the center of the universe,
Thank you, you were that close. Who was in the role of reflector
who had a real legitimate leadership challenge?
Woman 1: Legitimate?
Dr. Frieman: I have some people who question these.
Woman 2: Why is he pointing at me?
Dr. Frieman: What was your experience? What was your experience with this? How
was it to not speak and did you get anything useful out of this?
Man 1: I felt that...
Dr. Frieman: Speak up.
Man 1: I need to tell you this. I felt that the questions that the guy
who...It was difficult not to just respond or give a nod or
indication that, yes, I do have a thought about that. It gave me
some other ideas that we could try to use, I will on the next hour
to not speak. It was a good thing.
Dr. Frieman: Other reflectors?
Man 2: I think it was really beneficial that we have other choices
[inaudible 66:31] .
Dr. Frieman: You don't think the questions affect you at all?
Man 2: No.
Dr. Frieman: What about here?
Man 3: It was hard not to answer. And it was also helpful, as was said, to
hear other voices, different perspectives, other ways of looking at
intervening. Again just having blinders on as to how you see a
problem and maybe not appreciate it fully.
Dr. Frieman: Any other comments from the reflectors?
Woman 1: It felt a little exposed. With some of the questions really has me
really ask myself, what do I realize. There are the things that
were like that.
Dr. Frieman: How many reflectors feel incomplete and unsatisfied? What we did,
was we evoked this [inaudible 67:32] . Good stuff, right, because
by not having dialogue, generally the reflectors feel incomplete.
They didn't really have a way to say, is this really the solution
or not? They only had one place to go now to do it.
To the bottom of the iceberg for their own reflective thinking. We
want that as an effect and because it is incomplete, tied to a
problem that is immediate, has consequences, your playbook isn't
working, guess what? They don't even have a choice. Their
subconscious is going to require them to process later today.
Now it doesn't mean they are going to beat themselves up at night.
That would be a consequence that could occur. But it means that the
subconscious is process is cracking, right? At the cognitive even-
making level, trying to figure out if there is a clue there to the
perspective they need in order to both be successful and not become
a casualty. That is why we don't allow any dialog.
We want that motivation to be around to move into reflective proper
thinking, not artificially closing it out by saying 'Oh, I know
that. That won't work here. The culture won't allow it' and all
that kind of stuff, because that artificially shuts down the
reflective thought process. And we are trying to maximize the
thought process. Allies, who was an ally and what was your
experience just asking the question? Was it, you know...
Woman 1: Can I make a comment as a reflector, please?
Dr. Frieman: Yeah. Of course you can.
Woman 1: I found the listening fascinating. I mean, because when you are
doing role-plays and you are the instructor walking around, you are
listening to people do role-plays, they are always responding back.
They are not really listening. And so I think that listening is,
like you were saying...That he said, it was just hard not to
I like that listening, because it really made me think about the
things he was saying. I didn't feel like I wanted to respond. Jane
did. How do you keep them from not responding, or do you just let
them do as however way they are doing it, or do you try to control
the environment at all as you are walking?
You saw us talking when we weren't supposed to be, and you...You
talked to us a bit, and I just wonder how you really do that?
Dr. Frieman: So you really want to know if I am a controlling person?
Woman 1: Right. Exactly. No, no, I just want to know how you control that
for your lab?
Dr. Frieman: And the answer is you don't need to. When I work with groups,
sometimes I'll be in groups of executives. Doing this class it is
TS13s. That is one kind of environment. In another environment we
work with succession programs where there are 60 people in the
room. Right? We are dividing and conquering. If you give them the
instructions and they are willing to listen to my instructions and
follow them, they are actually fine. Why are they fine? Because
they start with this conversation.
Do you know how shameful it is to go down the halls and say "I am
not sure exactly what you do as a leader" People don't know where
to turn to decide. This process allows them to do it. They don't
skip a beat. They get right into it.
They really like it. It is real to them. It is tough the first
couple of rounds they do it, but once they have been through the
reflector role, most people say "Wow, I am so glad I went through
this." One, they are listening. Right? They realize if they were
dialoging, it is just like being at work. They are not going to
speak, just listening to them. So it is awkward at first, but once
they go through they are in.
In fact, it is interesting. I was working with one agency, and we
did it with their succession program, this process. They had
internal coaches. I would train the internal coaches in this
process. The coaches pushed back at me at the end of this and said
"We need dialog. This is crazy. This is a stupid new program." I
said, "Fine." So the next year we are going to do a tough one. We
trained the coaches.
It turned out two of the coaches from the first year came to the
second, and I had them go through the dialogue process, and they
stopped the process. One of them said "We can't do this. We have
got to go to silent. We have got to not respond."
They could immediately see the difference between the value gained
from just listening and not having to defend or prepare yourself
for what the person might say. Just to be in that space of
listening is so powerful. They said "We have to do it that way" and
we pulled it all back to the way it was. So it is a powerful place
to be. Yes?
Woman 2: I have two questions, two different questions. One is, must you
explain all of this in order to do this? In order to get the
Dr. Frieman: You have to do at least what I have on the charts.
Woman 2: No, I meant the whole explaining...
Dr. Frieman: No, no, no, when run groups, we don't do that. If you do that that
puts me back in the role of the expert, right?
Woman 2: Yes.
Dr. Frieman: Now it sounds like the packing in process and you can see it there.
You want to keep it as unpacking. Unpacking relies on peer
processing where the peers come to process. Packing-in relies on
expert processing to get to the end stage.
Woman 2: So you do this to just explain why this is happening. You rely on
the expert to...
Dr. Frieman: For you?
Woman 2: Yes.
Dr. Frieman: For you as people in the field.
Woman 2: My second question is, so what do we do afterward to give them some
structure for their reflections?
Dr. Frieman: The question is, what are you doing to help people have structure
for their reflections? I assuming the presumption is, at a
structured time in his life?
Woman 2: Do you do anything to say, I have been approved?
Dr. Frieman: Not even. This is the subconscious what they think of as relevancy
will do it on its own. You don't actually have to write that. I
know every time I do this, almost every one writes down the
question that somebody had on that. What is that? That is the
conscious mind liking that it is in control. Not just it wants to
The truth is, everything we hear your subconscious registers and if
it is relevant it will take it in. Whether or not you remember it,
it is there and it is processing it 24/7. That is how reflective
boggles us and why it is different than analytical prerogative
which requires conscious attention through the thought process.
Reflective thought does not require conscious attention, its
subconscious by recognition. It is occurring all the time. It is
stirring it all the time, you don't have to manage it or control
it, it just happens.
Woman 1: The process question that is a follow up, based on what you just
said Steve. I can see that, if the inevitable did take over this
after you leave this room, and just, I liked what you said and I
have been thinking about it. That could actually undo or maybe
interfere with what we want to actually occur, right? So maybe some
advice would be to the group, let this leave here. That is as far
as we want you to take it. Really try to leave it alone, with your
Dr. Frieman: I think so. Kathy raised an interesting point as it better not to
be going around the world in a coffee mug and getting dialogue over
it and I don't know. I think it is an R&D question, it is a
research question. The reason I say that is, we run these groups.
I run these groups, I do these tests and we have a brick and they
go to the mall and first thing they do is a dialog because they
couldn't do it in the room. I tell them, that is OK. Let me just
tell you what I tell them. I am not sure of the smart ones anyway.
I tell them that is OK. I think people can compartmentalize it and
they can understand what goes on in this environment. It is OK to
have a different dialogue outside of this environment because we
have set the conditions and we are going to meet those.
The problem that leaders have when they are stuck is they know
their playbook isn't working. They intuitively know the only place
to go is reflective thought, going at the behavioral processes and
analytical processes of change in a certain way. They know they
need to go to reflective thought, but they have to find a
[inaudible 75:22] .
The problem is under the tension and [inaudible 75:26] of those
consequences, all they can do is cycle through what is already in
their subconscious. It is already been put in there. They need new
perspectives to be in there. And that is what this process is
intended to do. You are putting into the hopper, you know, the
hopper, the bin, a whole bunch of new perspectives [inaudible
75:43] for 10 or 15 minute reflections around that.
So now when they go back they have new material to see it from, new
perspectives, new angles. And that seems to be the secret. It is
not that they are not seeing what is relevant in the workplace. It
is they are filtering it out. Most people have seen that video
[inaudible 76:03] .
Woman 1: We all have.
Dr. Frieman: OK. Who hasn't seen that? [inaudible 76:12] Let' s just say it is
an effect that you would think most people would see. And yet when
you decode it afterwards, most people don't see it. The reason they
don't see it is that we give them a test. They focus on the test
and the other things that occur in the video neither will make them
successful or make them a casualty [inaudible 76:39] .
Woman 1: Yeah.
Dr. Frieman: You know what I am talking about. It is not that they don't see
that effect, that is my point. They see it. They Photoshop it out
and that is the problem. That is the problem here. It is not that
the leader isn't seeing the relevant material they need to solve
this problem. They are Photoshopping it out because in effect it
hasn't been relevant to them.
Their problem is how do you see something you are actively removing
from the picture? That is the dilemma that the leader has. The
answer is, we are finding, a peer network. They need to now be
willing to examine new perspectives that are not Photoshopping out.
What is the source of this new perspective? Generally they will not
listen to an expert. They will listen to the expert, but not
[inaudible 77:25] . They'll listen to their peers. They will accept
perspectives from peers and be willing to hear them. That is what
this process is going to do, fill up the hopper with new
perspectives, from people whom they consider their peers and they
are willing to accept this from them.
Where did we first learn this? Somewhere in our teen years some
event occurred that was fairly dramatic to you, not so much for
your parents, but for you. But you made a decision, from that
moment, to solve your problem, your social dilemma, to not go to
the experts [inaudible 77:56] . We said "I am going to go to peers"
who you know are less experienced. You know that and yet you were
willing to accept the perspectives from peers. We learned this in
Peers do two things for us. They both have a way of providing us
perspectives we may not want to hear, but we are willing to listen
to in the process, and they do something that experts are incapable
of doing. They provide us the courage to take [inaudible 78:22] It
is absolutely critical. And so, we learn to develop peers.
We have been doing some R and D with the [inaudible 78:30] agency,
and we interview them because we were designing a program for them.
This was the interview question that was asked, because we were
designing a program to move [inaudible 78:40] .
The question was 'What happened in your first year as an executive,
that if you [inaudible 78:47] your career would be over? [inaudible
78:50] to the anxiety [inaudible 78:52] didn't ask it to be.' One
of the things they told us, at the executive level, if you don't
have a peer network, you are screwed. You are not going to survive.
You are too isolated at the executive level. You have to have a
peer network, because you are going to miss some.
We have done the same process here with 15s also. Every time you
debrief it executives say, this is a critical process for us to
use, we need to keep it at this level [inaudible 79:19] always say,
this is nice. But not critical. There is a difference going on in
there about where your peer networks become more and more
important. [inaudible 79:30] We are seeing that, and this is a peer
process. All the non-standard procedures is pretty much like peer
type processes [inaudible 79:36] .
Other questions or reactions?
Man 1: Is the Zeigarnik effect sufficiently validated such that truly
willing to risk all of this on that?
Dr. Frieman: I don't know if we are risking all of it on it, but it is a real
effect, yeah. Yeah, you can Google it. You can...
Man 1: I have, which is why I asked the question.
Dr. Frieman: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They have research papers happening on that.
Man 1: Yeah. Then there are times when it is not as effective? Including
if you are not motivated to do it, or if you think you are not
going to do it well, the Zeigarnik effect [inaudible 80:19] .
Dr. Frieman: It has to be [inaudible 80:21] you really care about it. How much
is it really important to you, is the absolute critical thing. And
how are the consequences? If you don't care about it, there is no
Zeigarnik effect. You have to [inaudible 80:31] .
Woman 1: [inaudible 80:32]
Dr. Frieman: Let me mention...I have a little bit more to cover. But if you
can't wait, then you just can't. My contact information's up there,
if you want it. We are looking to see how this [inaudible 80:43] .
So if you think your agency has a interest, feel free to contact
me. We can talk more about that [inaudible 80:48] And if you want
to be part of the pilot process, let me know, as far as that.
Any other final comments from the people here? Anything? Any even
reactions to today? Was this useful? Not useful? Whatever. Yes?
Woman 2: I think she had her hand up first.
Woman 3: I think this is [inaudible 81:14] process. Not just the leadership,
[inaudible] I met my adult father through the [inaudible 81:18] at
the time. And I gave her my best advice that I could [inaudible
There was a dialogue, and I liked very much. It is just
questioning, and she [inaudible 81:35] happy to say, OK mom, I'll
go along with it. And I like this idea of just throwing them
questions, and then she can think about it later, because she is
already dying about it now. So, give her the opportunity to
[inaudible 81:50] I think it is wonderful [inaudible 81:53] .
Dr. Frieman: Any other comments? Yes?
Woman 4: I have a need to provide [inaudible 81:58] 40 hours of mandatory
training [inaudible 82:04] year. But we found that we need to also
provide a student body support group, and what we were doing I
don't think really is kind of getting to...You know, I was thinking
it is [inaudible 82:19] would be extremely valuable to student
[inaudible 82:24] .
Dr. Frieman: As long as they fit the conditions. Right? You know, of [inaudible
82:27] As long as they fit the conditions, and it is a real
challenge. It is immediate, there are real consequences if it is
not done right, and they are not sure what their playbook is. This
works for any problem in that category. I should mention we had
other [inaudible 82:44] by the way also, where you could do
[inaudible 82:50] . There is no time to go into those today, but I
want you to know this isn't the [inaudible 82:53].
Woman 4: So, if they were having to come to the Census Bureau, where the
training officer...What would that look like? I mean, hire you? Or
what are [inaudible 83:06] that relationship?
Dr. Frieman: Well, I am at a reimbursal [inaudible 83:09] so if it is just like
Woman 4: A training [inaudible 83:15] assistant's office in May?
Dr. Frieman: I am sorry? Center for Leadership Development. You know the
Shepherd [inaudible 83:19] Center, [inaudible 83:21] Center, we are
part of that group. And so we contract with agencies all the time.
We enter agency agreements to do work. You know, if we are just
talking this kind of awareness talk, where we just need to come in
for a couple of hours, then we know, when I am in DC I can just
drop by and do some [inaudible 83:35] .
If it is a real event, for instance, one thing we are doing besides
this is we have developed models [inaudible 83:42] grounded in why
this is important, and have some experience with business and other
techniques also. You know, if we are actually in the classroom
doing something, or for helping you to launch a pilot, there is
going to be some sort of reimbursable cost as part of that.
Woman 5: You wouldn't have a problem if my facilitators were to try to use
Dr. Frieman: Oh, no, no, no. In this particular process, I'll mention the vision
we have for that is that we should get to the point. We should
train enough leaders, supervisors and managers in [inaudible 84:19]
process, and give them enough experience to get confident and
secure with it, that they will spontaneously call these sessions on
their own without telling you or me or anybody else.
All they need is a door and five chairs. It is so cost effective,
and I am telling you, every time we have run this, they have solved
their leadership challenges, mostly. Most people solve their
leadership challenges within three sessions, just going through
this kind of peer process.
There are some subtleties we have to talk about. You know, like,
think about it. If we can get this growing in [inaudible 84:48] ,
this is a viral procedure, right? It is just in the DNA, and it
doesn't require professional experts to lead the process.
You know, it is going to take time just to have an activity forum.
But think about the goal of it. It is just a routine technique that
people use. That is what lab is intended to be. It was intended and
designed by me to be a technique that we could get out there to be
viral, that doesn't need to be managed, and people can just do it,
to solve their own leadership challenges as they are occurring.
I actually hope that part of the way they'll do it is when they
have a leadership challenge, they'll do a social system event where
they'll put up four peers they already have, right, that they
already have trust in and say 'Will you meet with me two hours a
month for one or two or three months? We'll decide to when to end
it. And the deal is, we'll all have to ante up a real leadership
challenge. We will have to help each other. Are you willing to do
that?' And it just takes a while.
Woman 1: Would you oppose if I hired a vendor to do this, to help me conduct
these sessions, like, if I can't find the in-house resources?
Dr. Frieman: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, there are subtleties there. You might want to
use our services first to make sure your people doing it are
grounded in what they have you do and not just mechanically
following the rote procedure without understanding the subtleties
of it. I would encourage you to at least let us be a trainee
trainer. But I am encouraging you. It is out there. I have just
given it to you. Use it as you want.
Woman 1: Do you have a card?
Dr. Frieman: I don't...
Woman 1: Just the email.
Dr. Frieman: Sorry. It is up there, and I do have cards, if anyone wants them,
you know, please let me know after class, and I'll put those out
[inaudible 86:22] . Any other final comments? Thank you.
Woman 1: Thank you.
Transcription by CastingWords