Monthly Archives: October 2012

Diversity, Inclusion and Competitive Advantage in The Ideas Age

Every once and a while I like to jump in on a discussion thread on LinkedIn.  It’s fun and can be quite thought provoking.  I’ve never done this before, but I wanted to share a discussion thread from today from the Harvard Business Review® LinkedIn group.  It was in reference to an article from the HBR entitled, “We Approach Diversity The Wrong Way”.

The issue of diversity, and especially, inclusion, has never been more important than it is today. We live and work in a new economy; the economy of ideas. Unfortunately, management practices and leadership philosophies often lag behind fundamental shifts in economic drivers.

Today, economic value is created through the efficient commercialization of intellectual property (IP). Whether the industry is IT, biotech, pharma, electronics, professional services; even old world, heavy industries are doing business in ways they never could have imagined ten or fifteen years ago. Human beings, and their creative capabilities, are the new raw material for value creation. Yet, 7 out of 10 employees are disengaged, both emotionally and cognitively, from their employers. Further research demonstrates that, for many firms, upwards of half of their payroll delivers little or no ROI.

If Henry Ford had a scrap rate on his raw materials approaching 50% I have to believe he would have addressed it in fairly short order! Yet that’s what we’re seeing today. In a time when we need highly cohesive teams of knowledge workers that bring broadly diverse experiences, perspectives, and cultural orientations into our organizations, we still trapped in the old language.

D&I is a strategic imperative for creating and maintaining competitive advantage in the 21st Century. The key to broadening diversity, and more importantly, ensuring the passionate inclusion of every perspective at the table, requires a fresh approach to leadership. Leaders can no longer rely on extrinsic values and goals (money, image, status) to motivate and engage today’s highly diverse, multi-cultural, multi-generational workforce. We must migrate to embracing intrinsic goals and values (personal/professional growth, authentic relationships, service to our fellow human beings). We must find the adaptive, middle path!

Extrinsic values are heavily shaded by culture and a person’s generational orientation to the world. Intrinsic values transcend these differences because they speak to the nature of what it is to be human. These values and goals speak to us all because these values resonate with our Core Mammalian Emotional System, of how we are all anciently hard-wired for survival. We’re wired to cooperate, care and support one another. When we leverage these natural, neurological attributes as leaders we support biochemical coherence, psychological flow and cohesive entrainment. All keys to our abilities to tap into our creativity and cognitive abilities.

Exclusively leveraging extrinsic goals sparks envy, greed and anger, eventually triggering an amygdala hijack amongst workers. Our amygdala, the ancient sentinel of our brain, cannot discern between a real threat and a symbolic threat. This has shown up today on this thread. When we enter into this biochemical state our HPA axis flies off the charts and our entire neurological system focuses maniacally on the threat. Our ability to access higher cognitive function is taken offline for at least four hours. Again, no ROI on that four hours of payroll in an ideas-based economy!

The adaptive challenges we all face today require every voice to be heard and included in the conversation. We must discover and co-create solutions that can only emerge through mindful cooperation. It may, in fact, be the key to our survival as a species.

 This was met with a question from another member, questioning the validity of my comment on payroll and ROI.  He also asked me, if this is true, why hadn’t this been addressed during the recession with all of the layoffs and focus on lean management?  Here’s my response:

More than happy to do so! One study by Gallup appeared in the HBR entitled, “Manage Your Human Sigma”. Gallup also conducted another study entitled, “Engaged Employees Inspire Company Innovation ~ National survey finds that passionate workers are most likely to drive organizations forward”. You can find them on a Google search.

In addition, The Chartered Management Institute and the Society for HR Management also released studies confirming the 70% disengagement rate.

Speaking directly to upwards of half of many firms’ payroll delivers little to no ROI, here’s what we found. Within the Gallup studies, they identified that only around 29% of employees showed up with any passion for their work. They went on to state that 54% are passively disengaged, meaning they’re sleepwalking through much of their day. Not good if you require creativity and engagement to drive innovation. They also stated that 17% of employees are actually working at cross-purpose with their employer and fellow associates (we’ve all met them, haven’t we?). They are actually destroying economic value in the organization, so their contribution is, in fact, costing fellow associates their own productivity.

We ran several models based upon real-world payroll data from our clients and our observations of workplace behavior. We gave the sleepwalkers the benefit of the doubt that they are contributing economic value half the time, recognized that the 17% are a wash in and of themselves, and in fact are disrupting value creation the equivalent of at least one day a week through passive-aggressive behavior towards the sleepwalkers and the engaged, we came to this conclusion.

Sleepwalkers delivering ROI half the time (54% x -0.5) = – 27%

Actively disengaged destroying value creation (-17% x 1.2) = – 20.4% (let’s just round this to – 20%, this isn’t an attempt at calculus)

Engaged consistently delivering ROI = 29%

Basing our assumptions on the published literature and basing our modeling upon our observations, client feedback and payroll, we estimate, that for many firms, upwards of half of their payroll is delivering little to no ROI… or approximately 47%. And that’s giving the passively disengaged the benefit of the doubt they’re contributing value half of the time.

As to why business leadership didn’t address this during the recession? I think a study issued by McKinsey & Co. may shed some light on that issue. It’s entitled, “Do You Have The Right Leaders For Your Growth Strategy” and it was published in July, 2011. In looking at 5,560 “C” level and “one step down” executives they reported only 1% scored “excellent” in five of eight core leadership competencies. Nearly 90% scored “below average”. The worst part about this is I’m not sure the competencies they were testing for are still even relevant in today’s economic and multi-cultural landscape.

In addition, the 2010 Global IBM CEO Survey reported that the single most important leadership attribute CEOs were looking for in future leaders was creativity and their ability to cultivate creativity throughout the organization. Yet, a peer-reviewed study from Cornell and published in the January, 2010 edition of the Journal for Experimental Social Psychology reported that high potentials that demonstrate high degrees of creative thinking are sidetracked on their way up the corporate ladder. They go on to state this was a heretofore unreported, hidden bias towards creative thinkers. Senior leaders are saying one thing, and doing another. Incongruent behavior that kindles disengagement. And quite frankly, why most D&I initiatives are little more than window dressing.

The problem lies in the approach of transactional leadership which is an artifact of the Industrial Age. The Ideas Age requires transformational leadership; leadership that embraces and understands the power of intrinsic goals and values.

I hope this was helpful!



© 2012, Terry Murray.

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Performance Transformation, LLC™ and The EquuSatori Center Announce New Partnership for Bay Area

For Immediate Release.

New Partnership Introduces Leadership Development and Knowledge Worker Team Building Programs to the San Francisco Bay Area. Their Innovative Approach Employs Relationship-Based, Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning to Drive Performance.

Oct 15, 2012 –
The EquuSatori Center (Sebastopol, CA) and Performance Transformation, LLC™ (Venice, FL) announced the formation of a new partnership today to introduce their highly innovative professional development workshops to the San Francisco Bay Area.  Their experiential learning workshops are the first to integrate relationship-based, Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning with peer-reviewed, scientific research designed to cultivate associate engagement, creative thinking, and adaptive behaviors in the workplace.

“In today’s Idea Economy, human beings and their creativity are the raw material for value creation in business,” commented Terry Murray, the author of the critically acclaimed,“The Transformational Entrepreneur ~ Engaging The Mind, Heart & Spirit For Breakthrough Business Success” and Managing Partner of Performance Transformation.  “Companies seeking a sustainable pipeline of innovation must take an equally innovative approach to optimizing and aligning leadership, strategy and organizational culture.”

Mr. Murray has more than 25 years of leadership experience in both corporate and investor-driven startup Life Science companies.  “We’ve raised the bar in the field of corporate, developmental workshops to meet the needs of businesses in the 21st Century.  The change is long overdue.  The proof is in the tangible results we track and measure for our clients.”

“Now more than ever before in modern history, we’re realizing we do not live and work autonomously,”added Lisa Walters, Founder of EquuSatori and a pioneer in the field of Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning.  “We can no longer afford to think and act as if we do.  Even modern science is showing us that we are all intricately connected.”

The partnership will introduce professional development workshops in Transformational Leadership, Adaptive Team Building, Diversity and Inclusion and Igniting Creativity in Business to the San Francisco Bay Area.  The workshops integrate findings from more than 200 peer-reviewed, published research studies from the neurosciences, Emotional Intelligence, Performance Psychology, Core Mammalian Emotional Systems, Applied Behavioral Economics, Adult Learning Styles and Quantum Physics with a highly mindful, relationship-based approach to experiential learning with horses.

“Highly innovative companies, especially high technology and biotechnology companies, display a remarkable granularity of knowledge in their specific fields,” said Terry.  “In today’s fast paced, multi-cultural and multi-generational workplace we need to apply that same degree of granularity of knowledge to the human condition; of what connects, engages and motivates highly talented human beings to attain and sustain peak performance.”

As prey animals, horses are highly sensitive to their environment and have the innate ability to sense intention.  Predators mask their intention when stalking horses in the wild, moving with stealth in the high grass, upwind from their prey.  Human beings have a similar ability, yet we have lost much of our sensitivity and awareness due to the noisy world in which we live.  Horses naturally mirror human emotions.  The way we connect, engage and motivate a horse to co-create a goal reflects the same way we do so with coworkers, subordinates and customers.

Herds of horses in the wild have also evolved to be highly functional teams.  The leader in a predatory pack is the one who dominates; whereas the leader in a herd of horses is the one who watches, is watched and of service to the herd.

“Horses are masters in the wisdom of we,” stated Lisa.  “The gift they offer is the opportunity to awaken our senses and hone our self and social awareness, providing a unique and powerful personal, experiential learning opportunity around the dynamics of relationship.”

The EquuSatori Center is nestled amongst the hills and boutique vineyards surrounding the charming village of Sebastopol, CA.  The center features remarkable horses, a covered arena, classroom and gardens of lavender, flowers, berries and fruit trees.  The center is conveniently located minutes from the Santa Rosa airport and less than an hour and a half drive from San Francisco.

“It is an ideal destination learning environment,” said Lisa.

Terry went on to add, “Learning in such a beautiful and natural setting helps our clients quiet their minds and re-engage in their authentic self; sparking the source of creative insights, adaptability and engagement companies require for maintaining their competitive advantage.”

The experiential learning programs are customizable to the specific needs of the client and are anchored in measurable business objectives.  They include baseline assessments, post-training assessments and can be combined with Performance Transformation’s breakthrough Accretive Coaching Process℠, a dynamic approach to professional development that incorporates a strong educational component and grounded in more than two decades of real-world, leadership success.

To learn more about the 2013 workshop portfolio, please visit,, or contact Performance Transformation directly at (941) 485-7428.  To explore The EquuSatori Center please visit

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Authors Dr. Ravi Rao and Terry Murray Discuss the Connections Between Neurobiology, Horses and Business Performance on Patricia Raskin’s Positive Business® Show

Last Friday I had the privilege of joining Dr. Ravi Rao, MariAnn Snow and Patricia Raskin on the Positive Business Show.  Dr. Rao, the author of  “Emotional Business – Inspiring Human Connectedness to Grow Earnings and the Economy” Dr. Rao is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and received his neurosurgery training at Harvard Medical School, brought his brilliant perspective to the conversation.

You’re welcome to listen to the podcast below!

© 2012, Terry Murray.

© 2012, Patricia Raskin.


Filed under Health Care, Leadership Development, Organizational Culture, Team Building

Terry Murray to be Recurring, Regular Guest on Patricia Raskin’s Positive Business® Show

I’m very excited to announce that I will be an ongoing, regular guest on Patricia Raskin’s Positive Business Show, starting this Friday.  On tomorrow’s program, we will be discussing how companies can leverage intrinsic goals and values in balance with traditional, extrinsic goals and values to engage and inspire today’s modern workforce.  The program will air live this Friday at 4:30 p.m., E.D.T., on both syndicated terrestrial radio stations and streaming via the internet (please click on Patricia Raskin’s Positive Business Show for more information).  You’re also invited to join in the conversation by calling (888) 345-0790!

Historically, companies have focused almost exclusively on leveraging extrinsic goals and values.  Things like money, image, and status are used to motivate employees.  Research demonstrates that people that are consumed with the pursuit of extrinsic goals are less happy and as a result, less healthy, creative and adaptive in their work and lives.  This is a major contributor to today’s endemic employee disengagement crisis.  Three independent research studies indicate approximately 70% of employees are cognitively and emotionally disengaged with their employer.

Extrinsic values reflect powerful aspects of culture.  What one culture values above all else, another may simply dismiss.  The same is true from generation to generation, even within a single culture.  Workers from Gen X and Gen Y are seeking an entirely different experience from their careers compared to members of the Baby Boomer generation.  Trying to leverage the homogenous, extrinsic, shared goals of a past generation ring hollow in today’s multi-cultural, multi-generational workforce.

The beautiful thing about moving toward intrinsic goals and values is they are universal to the human experience.  Intrinsic goals include personal and professional growth, authentic relationships, and a desire to be of service to others.  Research demonstrates people that pursue intrinsic goals are measurably happier than those chasing extrinsic goals.  Why does happiness matter in the workplace?  Well, it is not so much about people being happy at work as it is people being happy with their work.  That’s the key to engagement, the fundamental prerequisite for creative thinking, innovation, and adaptability; the mission critical drivers of value creation in today’s Idea Economy.

I hope you have a chance to join us tomorrow!  It should be a fun and lively conversation.

© 2012, Terry Murray.

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Seven Questions to Ask When Considering an Equine Facilitated Leadership or Team Building Program

As we settle into the budget and planning season, many organizations are considering training options for the coming year.  As Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning (EFEL) programs continue to gain in popularity, the nuances and differences that exist between various approaches should be taken into consideration.  The importance of approach and philosophy cannot be overstated as it speaks directly to the efficaciousness of the program.  As these workshops and programs are new to many people, I thought I would share seven questions everyone contemplating an EFEL program should ask to ensure they achieve their training objectives.

1.) Is the approach behavioral-based or relationship-based?  The importance of this difference cannot be overstated.  Behaviorally based approaches objectify the horse, relegating the horse to being nothing more than an apparatus.  The exercises are often oblique, based simply on placing the participants in an unfamiliar circumstance, without any framework or clear learning objectives.  Many of these types of programs evolved out of therapeutic applications for people with emotional challenges and have little to do with professional development.  The exercises are often domineering and abusive to the highly sensitive horses, driving them into fear response.  This unfortunately reinforces dominant behaviors from the workplace that erode team work and employee engagement and work at cross-purpose with professional growth and development.

Relationship-based approaches are significantly more mindful.  Programs that follow this philosophy focus on the learning opportunities the horse/human relationship delivers.  As horses mirror human emotions, it enables the participant to experience for themselves how they connect, engage and motivate the horse, without dominating or coercive behavior.  This is a direct metaphor for how people connect, engage and motivate their co-workers, subordinates and prospects.  By allow the participant to experience this first-hand, it creates a memorable learning experience they will never forget.  Relationship-based exercises are structured, with clear objectives that are aligned with business and developmental goals clearly in mind.  These programs are also significantly more mindful in their philosophy of partnering with the horse, ensuring proper emotional, psychological and physical care is followed at all times.

2.) How comprehensive was the facilitators training?  Like any growing industry, training and certification programs flock to any opportunity to capture a quick buck.  Unfortunately, in the case of working with horses for professional development, this can be disastrous.  It is very common for behavioral-based approaches to require a paltry level of training.   For example, programs such as EAGALA require a three day workshop to be level one certified.  In comparison, I studied a relationship-based approach that required more than twelve weeks of study onsite, with additional off site study spread over the course of an entire year.  The educational difference between a dozen contact hours under study with the horses and more than three hundred contact hours with the horses speaks for itself.

3.) Is the approach framed in scientific research that cultivates emotional intelligence competencies?  Programs that lack any reference to research from the neurosciences, performance psychology, Core Mammalian Emotional Systems, Applied Behavioral Economics, Kolb’s Adult Learning Style Inventory or quantum physics can border on pop psychology and ungrounded, unsubstantiated opinions.  In effect, programs that lack solid scientific evidence justifying the approach are no more efficacious than the tired ropes courses, paintball outings or competitions to build paper boats in a resort swimming pool.  Programs that are founded and aligned in peer-review research are significantly more accessible for the participants.  It draws a direct correlation between cognitive learning and deeper, emotive learning…delivering lessons that last a lifetime.

4.) What is the professional background of the facilitator?  Again, like any growing industry, people will flock to an opportunity to make a dollar, whether they are qualified or not.  This is why we see so many certification programs that, to the letter of the law, are not truly certification programs.  Ask about the professional background of the facilitator.  I cannot tell you how many people I’ve seen in this industry speed through a quick and dirty certification program to conduct leadership development programs without ever having held a leadership position in their lives.  Leaders bear the battle scars of leadership and have their own experiential learning under their belts from real-world engagements.  Ask about the depth and breadth of the facilitator’s actual leadership experience in business settings.  Were they a sales manager responsible for eight people for two or three years or do they have more than a decades of multi-cultural, multi-generational experience leading hundreds of associates?  Have they ever bore the mantle of leadership at all?

5.) What is the facilitator’s horse training philosophy? This is as critical as the difference between behavioral-based and relationship-based approaches.  Keep an eye out for facilitators that claim Natural Horsemanship expertise.  The leading example of this is an approach called Pirelli.  So called, Natural Horsemanship philosophies reflect the same approach as transactional leadership from the Industrial Age.  They attempt to coerce the horse with pressure, adding incremental discomfort to the horse until the horse does what they want.  They then reward the horse by releasing the pressure.  Punishment and reward are classic, behaviorally-based approaches to dominating people, or horses for that matter, to get what the transactional leader wants.  It is the proven cause of the employee disengagement crisis we are experiencing today.

More mindful, relationship-based approaches to horsemanship focus on communicating with the horse in a manner they can comprehend and invites the horse into relationship.  Approaches like Carolyn Resnick’s Water Hole Rituals™, Barbara Rector’s Adventures in Awareness™, Lisa Walter’s work at EquuSatori™, and an approach called Transformational Horsemanship™ all reflect this philosophy.  It models transformational leadership, of leading from a place of service to the horse that is attuned with actual herd dynamics and horse leadership in the wild.  Keep in mind, in packs of predators the leader is the one who dominates. In herds of horses the leader is the one who watches out for the safety and well-being of the herd and is watched by the herd.  The diametrically different approaches resonate through the EFEL workshop and will deliver very different results.

6.) Does the program have additional, educationally-based coaching and support tools to engrain the work over time?  Change is process driven, not event driven.  A mindful EFEL workshop will impart a powerful shift in perspective, opening up the participants to seeing their world from a different orientation.  This is critical in cultivating adaptability and creative problem solving in today’s rapidly changing world.  But tools must also be provided that can be easily accessed and used in the workplace to support the shift in perspective.  Educationally-based coaching should also be available to further support professional growth the ensure lasting results.

7.) Is the program aligned with tangible business objectives that can be measured for return on investment?  This is exceptionally rare.  In fact, our firm is the only professional development company with EFEL programs that I know of that does this in every engagement.  Why is it so rare?  This lack of accountability grew out of the old team building and leadership events of the past.  Why didn’t ropes courses attempt to introduce metrics?  Probably because they delivered little, if any, tangible business value than a company picnic.  Don’t get me wrong, company outings can strengthen relationships, but they’re not developmental events.  Ask if the program conducts any baseline assessments, both with the participants and of the current state of the business.  Is there an exploration of immediate business objectives?  Is a gap analysis provided?  Is this documented?  Finally, does the firm establish performance metrics for both the individual participants and for the business?  Are follow-up assessments conducted?  Without these critical measurements in place it is very difficult to measure the outcomes and value you’re receiving from your investment.

Equine Facilitate Experiential Learning can be a powerful, innovative and enjoyable tool for professional development.  Like anything, the quality comes down to the details.

© 2012, Terry Murray.


Filed under Experiential Learning, Leadership Development, Sales Training, Team Building