At an organizational level, people reported:
- Problems and issues were reshaped: Initial problems or issues ended up being viewed with greater clarity and coherence. Then, when the new perspective emerged, most of the time the solution was obvious, simple, and easy to implement. Often problems simply dissolved and therefore did not require further attention or action. The “problem” had simply been how the problem had been viewed. Occasionally, people would even forget that they had the problem in the first place. This is likely due to the nature of improving thought – it can be hard to remember how you used to think about something once your thinking on the subject has been “re-wired.”
- Strategies were better and were formed in 1/5th the time, using fewer resources: The dramatic reductions in time came from two main sources. First, the key element behind a really good strategy is at least one powerful and applicable insight. Most strategy processes, however, do not purposely aim for insights. They focus on analysis and insight happens by way of serendipity, if at all. By targeting insights specifically, serendipity “happened” more reliably and sooner. The second boost came from using the insights to drive the analysis rather than the other way round. Getting the insight “first” allows the analysis to be focused. The analysis then buttresses the strategy rather than “boiled the ocean” in search of it. Teams also found that the reflective nature of the strategy process deepened their understanding of their business and its external environment, which also positively impacted the ongoing management of their enterprise.
- Implementation became reliable and quick: The occurrence of insight reduced, and in some cases eliminated, the need for ongoing management or oversight of efforts involved in change or program implementation. People got distracted less, and when they did, they got themselves quickly back on course. The transition from planning to “implementation” was almost seamless and often occurred before the strategy was completed. When people have an insight, they see situations differently and taking action then seems natural and obvious. Exhorting the organization to achieve some enhanced motivational state and buy-in was therefore unnecessary since implementation steps were now evident and the motivation to carry them out felt internally consistent with those charged with the deliverables.
Similarly, team and group performance and experience also improved, as follows:
- More efficient meetings and interactions: Groups with an understanding of insight principles noticed significant improvement in their meetings. Individuals used airtime more selectively: there were large reductions in off-point comments and repetition. They actively interrupted or even aborted meetings that were off the rails or ineffective, and became smarter about when and how to get the work done by better timing and staging of issues. Many groups developed strategies to ensure that meetings started off and continued in a productive state of mind.
- Being resilient and at ones best no matter what: Individuals also reported the ability to maintain a presence and a perspective that protected against the habitual “thought storms” that can result in verbal clashes in meetings and in one-on-one conversations. People seemed to get immunized against the aberrant behavior of others. When flare-ups did occur, their duration was short, they didn’t spillover to subsequent meetings, and they were usually collectively dismissed as both the result of a temporary lapse of mood and of no consequence. People did not seem to lose their equanimity or spoil the performance of the meeting when one or two members got distressed or were in conflict and those who got upset or annoyed “got off it” and recovered quickly.
- Significant time savings: One executive team (15+ people) estimated that they would each save, on average, 200 hours of ineffective meeting time per year.
- Increased openness and ability to have tough conversations: People also demonstrated and reported the ability to discuss tough subjects more easily, even in large, typically difficult meetings and even when only a few participants had awareness of insight principles
Overall, individual performance and experience improved in the following ways:
- Heightened confidence: Individuals and groups typically emerged from their projects with more confidence. Once people “caught onto” the nature of thought, they were able to more easily discard distractions. Previously held thoughts and conversations about what “cannot be done” eventually disappeared and were replaced by high spirits and confidence.
- Elevated mood and spirit: Although it is well known that one person can lower the mood of the group, it is less well recognized that one person can raise the group’s mood. People found that even a single person equipped with an understanding of insight principles often arrested the deterioration of a group’s state of mind, with a consequent positive impact on the group’s performance. An understanding of insight principles appears to “Teflon® coat” a group against negative moods and associated low-quality behaviors and decisions.
- Greatly improved interpersonal relationships: Many clients reported examples of individual difficulties being softened, especially where two individuals embodied the conflicts within a team. Several subordinates of a group of executives exposed to insight principles reported that their bosses were more open-minded, easier to talk with, less argumentative in conversation, less disruptive in meetings, and more embracing of new ideas of subordinates – i.e., they had “become better and easier people to work for because they were smarter and more thoughtful.”
- Positive personal life impact: Many participants reported that their understanding of the power of thought and insights naturally deployed to all other aspects of their lives. This led directly to improvement in the quality and richness of the relationships in life (e.g., “my golf game improved,” “the traffic isn’t so bad in the mornings,” “I seem to have a better relationship with my teenage daughter,” or “I enjoy my spouse’s activities”). Since people take their minds everywhere, their learning of insight principles in business spilled into their non-work lives. Likewise, when events elsewhere in life raised their awareness and understanding of insight principles, it reinforced their capability in business.