Although we have a firm set of principles in place, and recommendations on how True North Groups should be set up, we first want to listen to our clients. What’s their overall strategy? What’s important to them? Do they want to measure outcomes? Who do they want to invite to participate in the groups?
We take a long-term view of leadership development, investing the time to let the groups produce strong results that have an on-going impact.
Who Would Benefit From Using True North Groups?
Larger Corporations, as Part of Their Overall Talent Strategy
- Emerging leaders (high performance, high potential)
- Seasoned leaders who are going to the next level (high performance, high potential)
- Diversity and inclusion, enhancing knowledge and understanding across generations, between men and women, across geographic or national boundaries, sexual orientation, or between departments
- Integrating and building trust after a merger or acquisition (as long as the workforce has stabilized)
- If a small group already exists (completed a task, or have done other leadership development work), the True North Group methodology could bring that group to a deeper level of personal development
- The True North Group process creates a tightly bonded, safe place for participants to share, practice and receive feedback
- Gives participants the skills for a life-long foundation of self-awareness and emotional intelligence
- By getting to know other group members as individual people, the process enhances inclusiveness and reduces barriers that may exist in a diverse group
- Participants sharpen their skills in
- Active listening
- Listening without interruption
- Suspending judgment when interacting with others
- Giving and receiving constructive feedback
- Disciplined participation (commitment, being on time, doing homework)
- Being a functional member of other groups and teams
- Trusting others
- In being both a leader and a follower in the group
- We work with the corporation to determine the amount of time for the groups to be professionally facilitated by TNGI Certified Facilitators, and when they become self-facilitated
- The self-facilitated groups may last throughout the careers of many of the members
- We believe that the skills the leaders learn may prevent costlier interventions later in their careers, such as executive coaching to “fix” a blind spot or an area of weakness
- The groups clarify and reinforce a person’s values, incorporating them into work and life choices
- When individuals are clear about their goals and values, it leads to fewer surprises in talent management (e.g. someone decides to pursue a horizontal career path, rather than moving up)
Senior Professionals at Different Companies
The group members have the same opportunities for skill development as listed under Corporate. Most participants highlight the usefulness of a safe place to get support from others who have no agenda other than supporting one another. Frank discussions take place, allowing group members to be vulnerable. Over time, the group is a trusted sounding board for difficult decisions or challenging situations.
Bill George added small groups to an elective leadership development course he created at Harvard Business School. They have expanded to the Kennedy School of Government. The groups are successful when the institution believes that students also need to develop themselves as leaders.
Medium and Small Companies, and Non-Profits
The True North Group process would benefit these organizations as well. The number of groups may be limited, however, because we recommend not having friends or close co-workers together in a group.
Some people are not on a formal leadership track, but are drawn to the personal benefits of being in a group. The book, True North Groups, lays out recommendations for creating and facilitating groups. We are delighted that people want to start their own groups, and believe this strengthens personal leadership and leadership throughout society.
Some Dos and Don’ts
It may seem strange for us to say this, but True North Groups are not for everybody. The format works well for people who want to grow in their self-awareness. For people who are functioning well and want to achieve more in their lives.
If an individual is going through a significant personal situation (e.g. struggling with depression, in the middle of a divorce), other group formats will be more helpful at this time.
We also feel very strongly that no one from inside an organization should facilitate groups in that organization. Trust is essential in the groups, and will develop more fully if any potential internal conflicts are avoided.