How Systems Impede Personal Change

Patricia GortonSeason 2Episode 11


Patricia Gorton shares her philosophy of people centricity, how systems impede personal change, and how to most effectively give meaningful, positive feedback.


Patricia Gorton

Patricia Gorton


Patricia Gorton is a Co-Founder of Green Mesa Consulting, a women-owned boutique consulting firm specializing in supporting organizations and leaders as they envision and advance toward building organizations of the future. She has spent her career in high-tech and fin-tech companies accelerating growth and building cultures focused on strategies for new products and services, organizational development, talent, leadership and change enablement. She is also a member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches.

Patricia’s powerful combination of deep experience in both building human capacity and realizing business capacity gives her a holistic perspective when working within any context. Tricia’s three decades of experience as innovation architect, organizational transformer and HR practitioner fuels her passion to support individual potential to achieve organizational and societal change. Her guiding principle is how to make talent a multiplier and enroll the whole organization in doing so. Her approaches always have her trademarks of being scalable, efficient, fun and widely adopted.


Troy Blaser (00:05):
Hello, welcome to simply feedback the podcast from Learning Bridge about all things having to do with feedback. Our guest today is Patricia Gorton. Patricia is a co-founder of Green Mesa Consulting; A women-owned boutique consulting firm, specializing in supporting organizations and leaders as they envision and advance toward building organizations of the future. Patricia's powerful combination of deep experience in both building human capacity and realizing business capacity gives her a holistic perspective when working within any context. Tricia's three decades of experience as innovation architect, organizational transformer, and HR practitioner fuels her passion to support individual potential to achieve organizational and societal change. Her guiding principle is how to make talent a multiplier and enroll the whole organization in doing so. Her approaches always have her trademarks of being scalable, efficient, fun, and widely adopted. Tricia, welcome to Simply Feedback, it's so great to have you with us today.
Patricia Gorton (01:11):
Thanks, Troy, really happy to be here.
Troy Blaser (01:13):
Fantastic. I loved that, that last little part of your bio there. You and I have worked together for a number of years now. And, uh, talking about your approach has always have, uh, one of your trademarks as being a fun approach. And I think that's really true as we've worked together, it's been a lot of fun to work together, and I think what we've produced together has been fun as well.
Patricia Gorton (01:33):
Absolutely. And I would say the same to you. Uh, I really felt like working with LearningBridge and in particular, you and Glade really were, you know, deep collaborators. We always had a good time, um, and, and also felt like we created the conditions for a lot of, uh, good working environment and good feedback ourselves, so.
Troy Blaser (01:53):
Yeah, yep, absolutely. That fun aspect is important to, in everything you're doing. It's, it's important to have that passion and, and have it be fun to go to work each day.
Patricia Gorton (02:03):
Troy Blaser (02:03):
Well, to get things started here in our conversation today, um, I wonder if you could tell us about a time maybe that somebody gave you feedback, um, perhaps it was feedback that had an impact on your life or marked a turning point or something like that. Do you have a story you could share with us?
Patricia Gorton (02:21):
Sure. It's the not too recent, uh, past, uh, where I was a new CHRO in an organization. It was COVID and crisis time. And there were a lot of fires to put out. And I got feedback from my manager, the CHRO, so I was a CHRO of a region and she was the CHRO of the whole organization. And she gave me feedback and I will call this, this was a, I remember this feedback because it was a turning point. It hit me in, uh, in many ways and I will call it making noise. That when I was in crisis mode, um, I would go into, um, a reaction where I reached out to a lot of stakeholders. Um, I was, I thought I was gathering information, you know, that would be useful to the problems I, I would in turn solve. Uh, but I believe that the way I did it, maybe the number of stakeholders that I approached, um, created a lot of noise that got back to her.
Patricia Gorton (03:22):
And I have to say that this was, it was one of those things where we know, um, in all the work we've done together around leadership three sixties, is that perception that I was unaware of that to me, I was going out to a bunch of stakeholders getting good information and didn't realize that, that, again, that brilliant sort of what she said to me, you know, you make a lot of noise. People tend to know you're in crisis mode. Um, and so that was really valuable because I did not understand that perception at all. And by the way later, I learned that it's, it's, it's a way that women may use their networks, um, in a way that isn't as beneficial to them as, as it could be. So I feel like I learned from that a couple of things. One is just, you know, that perception matters and that is your brand.
Patricia Gorton (04:13):
And certainly as a new CHRO in a crisis mode, that that's something that I had to manage very quickly. Um, the second is that I could reflect more than go into reaction mode. That really I could take a little bit more stock myself before I reached out. And then the third, is I actually learned the importance of external networks that I actually didn't have to go inside all the time that I could seek alternative perspectives that were outside the organization. And that, that could give me some of the, um, like, uh, confidence I needed, ideas I needed and also not create that noise inside the organization. So it was, I think, really valuable. I took it hard initially and then upon reflection, um, it, it has made a lot of sense to me. And that is something that I think has impacted, um, a bit my style and how I, how I react.
Troy Blaser (05:13):
That's, that's fantastic. I mean, here you are in a, in a new organization, a new position for you and, and it's, and maybe there was this perception, like, who is this person who's coming to me with all of these questions or, or information or whatever it was, you know, like, who is she and why is she doing this? And so you got that feedback to like, turn the volume down, I guess, a little bit, or, like you said, make a little less noise, but, uh, and then going outside, that makes a lot of sense too, outside the company. You can still get that input that maybe you were looking for. Um, that's, that's fascinating. And that's just, like you said, in the, not too recent past. Um, so it's interesting how those, those moments can sort of, seared is maybe a strong word, but they get into our heads and that's something you won't, you won't easily forget going forward.
Patricia Gorton (06:09):
Absolutely. And that perception, like you said, I was new, new to a role, new to an organization. Um, and I, that was, I was really grateful that she gave me that feedback. And then by the way, in a follow-up, um, mid-year or sort of quarterly review, she did say that was something that she thought I greatly improved and she did not, um, hear anything in regard to that in the way that she did, um, earlier. So I felt like I, um, took it hard initially, then it all, it, it dawned on me how much sense it made. I adapted, adjusted quickly and then was able to really, um, I think she gave me the, this goes back to things you probably, some of your other podcasts guests speak about and that you certainly do Troy in the work that we've done together is that feedback early and often, so that she did me a big favor.
Troy Blaser (07:02):
Yeah, she did. And you did a good, uh, you really did a good job in making that change and it was visible to her as your manager, um, as well. And so she, she could see that complete cycle, right. She gave you some feedback, you received the feedback and made some adjustments and she was able to see the change, um, in, in your next quarterly review. That's um, that's awesome. Okay. Well, um, you know, as I was getting ready for our interview, reading some of your, your background, your bio, um, I saw that you got an undergraduate degree in economics spent time in financial services industries. Now, of course, you've worked in HR, you're working right now as a consultant with organizations. Can you talk about, was there a turning point in your career that led you from sort of the, the, maybe the numbers, the analysis, the economic side over more into the people side?
Patricia Gorton (07:55):
Yes, I, I have, uh, I have a few turning points, but one in particular, a highlight was after I went to Michigan for business school and really had focused on my career as, uh, in corporate strategy and business development. And I went to Citi and I was inside their innovation incubator area. So I had gone from a startup before business school, um, went to grad school and then came back and was inside a larger organization. And I was focused on learning more about scale. So, you know, had a very specific, driven, focused career path. And a couple of things happened to me. And one of them is I as part of, um, a leadership development program, I was in, I got to participate in a task force by The Hay Group on building a new competency model for Citi and they needed and wanted a number of business leaders to, um, engage in interviews.
Patricia Gorton (08:55):
But it was more than just the interview process. It was in a way, a bit of a task force. And so I have to say like a light bulb went off for me, really understanding a couple of things. One is that, um, I really have always deeply cared about training, learning, teaching, coaching, and that maybe HR might be a better place for some of that skillset. Um, and then really from my, my business school background that, you know, people are the biggest asset of any company. And if, if I had having spent over a decade on the business side, that, that some of those insights, um, could better serve HR inside the organization. So instead of being business development focused externally that I can turn my attention inward and that, you know, that the numbers, the economics made sense because, uh, companies spend so much not only on salaries, benefits, but on training and development, and that it made sense to try to, in a way, help talent be a multiplier. And that was in 2004 and I haven't looked back since.
Troy Blaser (10:02):
Oh, that's awesome. You know, it is that finding what you're passionate about and, and fine-tuning that. And it sounds like you, you did back then as you got involved with that, uh, task force and started to realize, hey, this is something that really speaks to me. I'm very passionate about, and that's exciting.
Patricia Gorton (10:22):
And I had many paths, you know, it was after Citi. I had, I went out on my own. Um, then I had a lateral move inside a company, and I had many roles inside that company, but, uh, you know, I had to pivot, um, I had to have different kinds of moves. Some were lateral, some in many ways for me having, um, you know, um, gotten my MBA, I did feel like it was a bit of a step back, but realized, um, in, in retrospect now that sometimes again, your career path, you know, sometimes two steps backwards, one step over two steps forward, and it's been a journey like that, but again, I've appreciated, uh, those experiences.
Troy Blaser (11:02):
Do you have a preference? It sounds like you've worked in some large organizations, some smaller organizations, Green Mesa Consulting is smaller. Do you have a preference where you you're like, yes, I'm back where I belong.
Patricia Gorton (11:15):
Um, that's a good question about company size. I do right now with Green Mesa, which we'll talk about a little bit, but, um, with Green Mesa, I think working with mid-size organizations, midsize high growth organizations, um, tends to be my sweet spot because it's the, the size of an organization. And it could be, um, up to, I'm going to say up to 10,000, but probably 5 to 6,000 that was around the size of unit four. Is that the leadership teams with whom I work, they really, um, are the owners, the creators of the system. It's, it's small enough where they, they own and influence and create and design the system. Um, I think it also could, however, be, um, working with divisions inside larger companies, um, but just working with a leadership team that understands, um, their organization and that they're the, the creators of it.
Patricia Gorton (12:11):
Yeah. I definitely like high-growth, innovative companies. I like to work with progressive leaders who are willing to, I think, understand that the way organizations I'm, I'm broadening your question set a bit, Troy, but, um, that, uh, organizations that really understand that, given my passion for people and potential and talent as a multiplier, um, organizations and leaders that understand that the way an organization design is changing, it's changing from being shareholder centric. And then the big thing was client-centric. I believe the big thing and the lasting thing is people-centric. And so to me, it's the context of a high-growth company that creates the need and driver to realize, um, that it makes sense to design their organization, um, for people to grow and thrive.
Troy Blaser (13:00):
That makes a lot of sense. So we've, we've mentioned Green Mesa Consulting a couple of times, but will you tell us a little bit about Green Mesa, um, you know, tell us about the firm and then maybe tell us how does Green Mesa use feedback in its engagements?
Patricia Gorton (13:16):
Brilliant. Yep. So, uh, Amy Pasquale and I were co-founders of Green Mesa Consulting, and the whole focus is to help, uh, leadership teams build people-centric organizations. And, you know, if you look at things like the great resignation that are happening now, um, really that's just an indicator that people are seeking different things from the organizations. They want more meaning, they want more growth, they want more opportunity. They don't want to be defined and put into a box. And so we work with leadership teams to think about their system and how it's set up for people centricity. And when we say people centricity, it's both the people activities, the way the system is structured for people, uh, and the other is the environment is the environment, uh, set up and creating the conditions for success of those people. And so the, one of the tools that we have, which is really important for leaders to help, what we call sense into the system is we have an organizational scan and that organizational scan looks at, um, we call it the magic eight because we believe there's eight critical indicators of people-centricity in an organization.
Patricia Gorton (14:28):
That assessment is in a sense, an organizational feedback mechanism, right? It helps leaders sense into their system instead of focusing on one thing, they look first at the holistic system. And then just more specifically around feedback is we believe one of the areas of focus is how individual development is woven into work. And we believe that is one of the, um, critical levers of the eight. Um, and that's in our domain of potential, which makes sense because if, if people are developing and growing inside and every day, then in essence, that helps develop their potential. And we believe people potential leads to organizational potential. Um, and we know that feedback is, is really central to development. And so that kind of activity is critical, we believe, to organizational success.
Troy Blaser (15:18):
That makes a lot of sense. I appreciate you sharing that as, as you've worked with these different organizations, what are some of the biggest challenges that you're seeing right now, the biggest difficulties that they're facing?
Patricia Gorton (15:30):
Well, I think that if you look at, um, of the way in which organizations have responded during and post COVID, um, the question is, are they willing to leapfrog or they want to go back to status quo? So, for example, I think it's, is it, um, are organizations brave enough to like solve systemic challenges versus be reactive? So I just wonder in talking to some leaders, um, when they're thinking about, um, uh, we, we now need, we can have a more flexible work environment. Um, we can go beyond the time constraints, but really does their full system, is that a reactive response, or have they thought about all the other aspects of their system that, that enables, I think, you know, uh, a more flexible workforce to actually be successful. And so, uh, I think one of the, just in working with organizations it's are they willing to be, you know, thoughtful and systemic, um, because sometimes it's easier to just be reactive and pick and decide on a solution versus thinking more holistically. Um, so I think there's sort of in the organizations that we've talked to and work with that, that they're, I think you can tell early on some who are, are, um, wanting to leapfrog and continue versus those that are hoping that the return back to offices mean return back to everything. And I, I think that those leaders are shortsighted
Troy Blaser (17:05):
They're, they're saying how, how quickly can we get back to the way things used to be, as opposed to looking ahead and saying, what does it look like now? Like you said, what systemic changes can we use this opportunity to make?
Patricia Gorton (17:17):
Right. And I think it's also interesting how leaders right now will say, you know, that they'll have definitive answers in this context, right? Because there's, they could say more like under these conditions, we'll return back to the office or under these conditions we'll, we'll look to these, um, you know, ways in which we'll make decisions. And you can see, particularly in financial services here in New York, I've seen some of the leaders, I, I won't call them out, but there's a few that have been very, um, very directive, um, which seems quite strange to me given that the information is still unfolding. And so, um, doesn't seem to make sense. And I don't think it would make sense to the employee set when in essence, all they're going to do is respond and have a number of questions. Well, what if? What if? What if? Um, so that would just be another example of how leaders are responding with definitive answers in a really like emerging context.
Troy Blaser (18:10):
Yeah. Yeah, it's certainly unprecedented is, I mean, that word gets used a lot, but we haven't seen, seen something like this in modern times, so it is hard to be directive.
Patricia Gorton (18:22):
Yup. Yup. It's unprecedented. And it also, I think some of these ideas around what we believe, we call people centricity, um, the way in which you could have more meaning in work, wellness matters, um, the way in which people grow, um, giving them more opportunity and flexibility. All of those things were happening, the gig economy, but in very kind of much smaller ways. And to some degree it accelerated, um, some of the things that were already happening and, you know, we just hope that, you know, it only continues because we think that will benefit people and then benefit the organizations.
Troy Blaser (18:56):
That makes sense. So with this focus on people, and, and you mentioned, you know, one of those levers being individual development for people inside of an organization, can you talk a little bit about your philosophy around feedback for those employees? Um, you mentioned the organizational scan for the organization, but do you have some ideas and some thoughts around individuals getting feedback inside of an organization?
Patricia Gorton (19:22):
Yeah, so I definitely believe just the general philosophy is around that people can only grow if they're interacting with the environment and that interaction with the environment is about, you know, feedback in all its forms. Right? Uh, so one of the things that I think about in terms of positive feedback, my philosophy is make it so specific and unique to that individual, um, that it really is not feedback that you could give to anyone else, but them, and so that they, they receive it in a way that really is I've, I've seen it happen to me when somebody gives me feedback, not just, you know, great, great job in that presentation. Um, but it was related to, you know, my, my gifts and it really sort of his life-affirming. It kind of lights you up. So really, I believe my philosophy of positive feedback is make it so specific that it is actually feedback that you could not give to anyone else.
Patricia Gorton (20:17):
And that that person, you know, like will, will respond and light up. And then you'll definitely see more of that. On the flip side, on being constructive, of course, it related to my example of how you can be like specific and timely, where I definitely felt like as best you can, if you can, you know, again, the environment matters. So that's what I'll say a lot, but the environment matters. But if you have an environment where there's, where there's trust, um, that if you get that feedback that's specific and timely, um, and that really highlighting the behavior you see. So for example, when, when that woman had given me feedback around making noise, she was very specific about, you know, I heard you are reaching out to these people. It sounded in some cases with some of your stakeholders, that it was quite an emotional exchange, right?
Patricia Gorton (21:09):
So she was so specific around the behaviors that that sort of allowed me to receive it in a different kind of way versus jumping to the conclusion. So I think also be, be specific in terms of the, the, the actual behaviors that you see. And, and it amazes me that if you don't focus on the behavior and it's so easy, your mind just jumps to, um, well you look stressed or you seem frustrated versus what, what are the behaviors where that led you to jump to that conclusion? So the person can anchor to that. Um, so that is just the other thing I would say, um, that, you know, that for me is, is around the philosophy. Um, but always it is cultivating an environment that really allows for like people to be vulnerable, um, allows for people to sort of be open about what, what they don't know and what they're not good at. And I think that's, again, a lot of the focus on Green Mesa is really around making sure the environment is structured and set up for all of that goodness to happen.
Troy Blaser (22:14):
I like that. I, I was going to say going back to your first point about the positive feedback needing to be quite specific, uh, you know, I talk about this sometimes even with my wife, all of us sometimes get compliments that we don't value because the person, we don't feel the person giving them is qualified to give them, you know, whether it's positive feedback or some kind of a compliment. And it's like, well, yeah, you're just saying that, but you don't, you don't know enough about the subject to really offer something thoughtful. But so I really liked the way you phrase that to say your positive feedback should be specific. Um, and because that really lets the person receiving the feedback know that, number one, you know what you're talking about and you were paying enough attention to be able to be specific with that positive,
Patricia Gorton (22:58):
Right, you gave this great presentation, your opener, you know, created a lot of ease in the group. Um, you provided, you know, great content and the images were really fun that I would have never thought of picking those, that type of thing that really gives people like, wow, like then that person knows what I did put a lot of effort into that. And you know, thank you so much, like I'm glad you noticed. And, um, you know, so it, it's, it's that level of specificity that, to your point, can't call into question, you, you don't know me enough, or nah, you didn't really mean it, or, you know, any, any reason that would help the person, like, you know, the person to reject feedback. And I know as, as women and as myself, you know, sometimes the first thing I do is, is reject positive feedback, but, you know, when you make it so specific, you just really create such a context that there's, there's only sort of one way and that's to receive it.
Troy Blaser (23:52):
Yeah. It, it really allows it to sink in, like you say, and not get rejected. You've, you've given us a lot of good tips, a lot of good advice, um, to help employees grow from feedback, any advice of things we should avoid, um, perhaps things that you've tried that haven't worked so well?
Patricia Gorton (24:11):
Um, a couple things, I'll say. One is just about the trusting relationship that really to kind of give, um, honest feedback that it's really helpful if there's a strong relationship, you know, and that is particularly like, you know, there's, there's trust built so that somebody could receive feedback. Um, I would say the other thing that sometimes doesn't go well is how the person kind of receives the feedback sometimes. And of course you can get better at better how you deliver it, but on the spot. But recognizing that that's when sort of it could not go well, but also recognizing that you can give people, um, really time to process it. Uh, as I was mentioning some of the feedback that I've given in particular, the example I gave that it really took time for me to say, like, where the light bulb really went off, but, you know, the beginning part of it was, well, wait, I was, those were my, I was kind of processing. Those are my trusted stakeholders, like who told who what? And, you know, and so there was a lot of initial hesitation and that could be the, the times where you think it goes wrong. So I'm kind of turning this around a bit to, that if you allow for time and somebody to process it, that, uh, you know, that's, there's an opportunity there. So that was a little, little twist in the answer.
Troy Blaser (25:33):
That was great. I, I, you know, when you receive that constructive feedback, there, there is often that sort of, you almost call it a fight or flight response, right? Like, wait a minute. And your hackles go up and, and, but like you say, given a little bit of time, then that initial response can sort of die down a little bit, and then you're able to really think it, think about it, reflect on it, which you said is what you did on that particular feedback about making noise. Yeah. Um, okay. You've, you've had a chance to, I'm sure, coach a lot of people, work with a lot of people. Can you share with us maybe a specific experience or a time when you've seen feedback cause a point of inflection in someone's career?
Patricia Gorton (26:16):
Well, you know, everybody takes different kind of turns in their career and it's really those turns, I call them, those are the biggest opportunity for feedback, but sometimes when you, you make a turn like you get a promotion or you get into a high potential program, you know, that may be actually the time where you think you're so awesome that you're really your guard is up because you think you're so amazing. And you're not, you're not in the, in the moment of being a sponge and absorbing that. So I feel like some of the ideas or, um, that the people that came to mind, um, were sometimes some of those that had a block where, what the block also, they started opening up to the idea. So for example, um, there was this one leader who, um, basically just, and I'm sure either we've been these people or we've seen these people like had to be the smartest person in the room and then this leader had a team of people.
Patricia Gorton (27:16):
So you can imagine that if you're having to be the smartest person in the room and you, you have, um, and you're a leader in that kind of way, you're really not giving your, your team any room. And so, uh, really this was about, um, sort of coaching this leader. So it was, it was feedback, but I would also say it was coaching because it was a bit over time and it was how that they started to understand, to give, you know, more room to their team, to, to really listen more to their ideas. Um, feel like they could turn, um, into like a lot more curiosity around the person's ideas instead of giving the answer that obviously then, which is in a leadership program for somebody, senior leaders, you want them to build their talent. You want to, and more broadly from my perspective, you're building the leadership pipeline.
Patricia Gorton (28:06):
Um, and in a way, a smart leader will try to build their successor, you know, so that they then, you know, have room to grow. So I do think this was an example where, um, this particular leader had a few, um, over the course of the program, over the course of my working with him, um, an opportunity where he was opening himself up to more feedback in particular, to allow his team to grow and realize that then that gave him room for himself. Um, if his team was taking up some of that space, then he, that himself could move into a development mode. Um, so I, I was trying to coach him around, it was a win-win-win, a win for him, a win for his team, and then a win for the organization. But it took some time it took, it took some time.
Troy Blaser (28:58):
That's very interesting that as you share that, what it brings to mind for me, and this is just kind of a personal experience for me. But, uh, I have a son in high school who is on the mountain bike team for the high school. And he races like four times in a year and I help coach the team. And my job is as a ride leader to go out and, you know, go with a group of about 10, 10 high school kids. And we're going to go ride here today, or we're going to go ride there today. And as you talked about, you know, being the smartest person in the room as the leader, doesn't let the team maybe grow to their full potential. That occurs to me in that context. If I am the one saying, well, I need to be at the front of the group every time, there may be kids in my ride group who could ride faster if I weren't the one in the front, you know? And so in that sense, what, part of what I have to do, and I try to do it as well is, is figure out how to let them ride up to their individual potential while still keeping control over the group and trying to be a leader and keeping them together and so forth. So great, great insight. And it's helpful to me to hear that and relate it to not work-related, but something a little more personally.
Patricia Gorton (30:12):
I love what you said. You said something that, that, that I wasn't expecting this to be where you were going, but for them to ride to their individual potential and that each, each person, you know, was going to be different. Um, so I, I also think like that's a brilliant insight that, you know, different people will have different, you know, growing edges around that.
Troy Blaser (30:31):
Well, in this case of the mountain bike team, of course, um, I, as a 40 something-year-old, it takes the pressure off me to think, "I always have to be faster than these high school kids when we go ride our mountain bikes," I can say, I don't have to be the fastest one because I can bring something else to the group, besides just leading that in a, in a physical leadership kind of way, I can bring other insights, um, because that's definitely not something that's going to continue to work as I get older. And I'm still working with the high school kids.
Patricia Gorton (31:01):
You have other superpowers.
Troy Blaser (31:03):
Yes, exactly.
Patricia Gorton (31:04):
But on the ski slope, you know, and I talk a lot about the ski slope, um, you know, I still try to do my best to keep up there.
Troy Blaser (31:12):
Right. And gravity helps there, right? We don't have to worry about pedaling to keep up going up the hills.
Patricia Gorton (31:23):
Great point, mostly downhill. It's a totally different thing.
Troy Blaser (31:26):
Tricia, maybe, not necessarily asking you to give away your secret sauce, but do you have some specific advice or tips that you could give our podcast listeners?
Patricia Gorton (31:38):
Sure. You know, it's something we were talking about earlier. Um, and I'm, I'm trying to also relate it to people who are in different circumstances, but, uh, basically I spent years developing, um, leaders. Um, I was in a classroom training, facilitating all kinds of topics. Um, and I definitely feel like I would watch people have these aha moments, you know, in, in the classroom. And I even always joked with them, like when I looked at, you know, well, you know, when it was only in the physical classroom and I held up the, you know, the workbook and said, what is everyone going to do with this after today? And, you know, a lot of times it was, you know, it was going to go into the garbage bin. And I often like demonstrated that, but, um, many, uh, had, you know, aha moments that they were experiencing, that, that, um, were ways when they were outside an environment or context, they, they really had some breakthroughs.
Patricia Gorton (32:31):
And then I feel like they go back to their, their desk, their desktop, um, you know, their environment and really the system hasn't changed or the system isn't ready to accept sort of that learning. It's sort of the manager isn't embracing it. You don't have team members who were in the same, um, class that the environment kind of sucks you in and says, no, we, it's great that you learned, but please do the same thing the same way you've always done it. So, you know, for me, it's like, I really believe that we cannot continue to send changed people into unchanged systems. Now individual development is important, but how organizations, and again, I'm thinking about any podcast listener that is really someone that's inside a system, and they might, by the way, um, you know, if we over-index too much on the individual, then the individual will actually feel deflated that they actually, because they can't change the system, the system is bigger than them.
Patricia Gorton (33:25):
But to also remember that, um, you know, any part of the system, you, you want to be really aligned and you also want to be in a, in an environment that really supports your growth and learning. Um, so just, you know, my passion is really around making sure we think about the context, the conditions by which we're, we're looking at success. And this goes for any of us, this could be, you know, us in our families. This could be us, you know, in, in any kind of organization, this could be us if we're a leader that we want to spend as much time thinking about the conditions where people can thrive, not just on the individuals themselves. So that's, again, that's, that's kind of like, you know, the focus of Green Mesa. So it might be a little bit of a, you know, a broken record for me, but I also feel like it's no doubt with a great resignation and these other trends we're seeing is people are demanding different things from their system and they're, they're not going to tolerate it anymore. And so I think organizations who are wise are ones that are thinking, okay, we as leaders who create the system need to change, and we've got to think as much about the conditions of success and invest in the system, as much as you invest in the individuals.
Troy Blaser (34:34):
That makes a lot of sense. I, I've certainly had the experience even of going off to a workshop or a conference or something and getting full of new ideas or things to try. And then it's like, okay, now I come back to my own organization and I have to figure out how to get these new ideas incorporated into the old organization. And that works sometimes. And sometimes you're like, well, that sounds like a lot of fun, but it's not going to work here. You know, because the organization hasn't changed, um, or I can't get it to change or, you know, whatever it might be. So I, you, you make a really valid point that it's not just the individual developing, but the organization or the system has to change and adapt to go along with, with what individual development is happening.
Patricia Gorton (35:19):
And sometimes these solutions are thoughtful longer-term and systemic. And sometimes they're like basic. Like I even think, you know, we, we go from a, and again, I'm thinking of like, uh, learning experiences where you sort of, you go external for some thoughts, insights or whatever is just the time to reflect. I think we also over-index, not just on the individual, but on action versus reflection. And that reflection, if you have space after a learning experience, space, when you come back to your own environment to also give yourself time to process it, versus just, um, you know, if you, if you don't, um, spend time, I forget what the formula is, but you need to spend 10 minutes every 24 hours for seven days for that learning to stick. And we often don't do that because we go back into the whirlwind. So sometimes, sometimes some of these solutions can be as simple as that. Yeah.
Troy Blaser (36:14):
That's fantastic. Tricia, are there, are there any projects you're working on right now that, that you want to share with us? Anything that you're super excited, super passionate about, anything in particular you want to, you want to share with us that you're, that we should look forward to?
Patricia Gorton (36:29):
Appreciate it, okay, I would speak about two particular, um, areas of work, uh, for Green Mesa that I think is timely and relevant, um, for, for, uh, inside organizations. One is we are building a, uh, people-centric, organizational scan, and it really is about leader and organizational readiness around these eight indicators of people-centricity. And so we're in beta test for this assessment. So we're really excited to have people who are interested in, in kind of giving us feedback and testing this out and seeing if it's, you know, was of value to them. So that's just one and they could reach out to me at, uh, The other is, I feel like one of the other products that we decided to create was something around strategic off-sites. And I believe as leaders have moved through potentially some of the crisis mode of COVID, they are, are thinking, um, in, in, gathering together, um, to, to kind of process, um, sense make and determine what, what are some best courses of action for the future.
Patricia Gorton (37:36):
And so we have a strategic offsite that we believe is kind of like what we believe we create with leadership development is anti leadership development with our strategic offsite, we feel is an entirely different approach to a strategic offsite that helps you sense make, um, create, um, support for leaders around coaching and sustainability, um, that it's, it's an activity that is not just a, a week-long event, but, um, has some opportunities to kind of understand what unfolds, um, with some of your ideas over time. So, um, so anyone who's interested could reach out to me for that as well. Thank you for the opportunity.
Troy Blaser (38:12):
Yeah, absolutely. So you mentioned, uh, your email address,,
Patricia Gorton (38:18): Can we say that? I always forget consulting.
Troy Blaser (38:22): We gotta be sure to get it right. Um, yeah, I, it sounds like, you know, I was going to say if our listeners want to continue the conversation with you, um, it sounds like that's something you would definitely be open to.
Patricia Gorton (38:35):
Absolutely. And we're really interested also people who are inside systems that want, that are trying to be an influencer of the system. So, you know, there are ways in which we, we work with leadership teams, but we also consider that people centricity a movement, that it is, it is bigger than us, and we believe this is all about future-ready organizations. Um, and so we really, um, are interested in also, you know, joining forces, learning from others, um, and that, you know, there's lots of ways in which we're, we're excited to create, create a dialogue with folks.
Troy Blaser (39:06):
That's fantastic. Well, it's, I look forward to hopefully, to continuing to get to work with you. Um, it's, it's a lot of fun, like I mentioned, right up at the beginning to work with you. Um, and, and I'm excited to see what new things, um, happen in the work that you're doing. So Tricia, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today. It's been a real pleasure to talk to you.
Patricia Gorton (39:27):
Thank you, Troy. I really appreciated the opportunity and our dialogue, and I'm still cracking up about the gravity comment.
Troy Blaser (39:34):
We'll stick with downhill skiing, right? We're good.
Patricia Gorton (39:36):
Exactly. Exactly. Thank you so much.