I’m Part of a Larger System…Really?

Fulcrum Associates - Leadership Training and Development, Team BuildingIn case you haven’t heard, we now offer our clients the powerful experiential learning event, Friday Night at the ER.

In FNER, participants in table groups run the various departments of a hospital. They have to manage the uneven and unpredictable flow of patients through their hospital (system). Intake decisions by the Surgery Manager that make the Surgery department perform superbly can cause serious back ups and chaos in the Emergency Department.

When you run this remarkable program, the “aha,” the learning that transfers directly to your workplace, is that what you do, the choices you make, matter. You may make decisions that optimize your success but they can have a negative impact on mine.

Did I mention silos?

Recently we conducted FNER for the national sales organization of a long-standing client. The VP wanted his Sales and Marketing team members to take accountability for their role in making the entire sales, marketing and distribution process work optimally. He wanted every account manager and sales rep to realize what an important impact he(she) has on the success of the larger system. In effect, he wanted them to “own” the performance of the whole.

After the program, our client found that the event and our customized debrief really hit the key points he wanted addressed. Yet it was a challenge for some of the players to raise their perspective to one of seeing the hospital as a whole system…and, by extension, to see the Sales & Marketing system as a whole.

So often our people are habituated to seeing their goals and priorities only in terms of just their own unit. We ask a lot of them when we want them to start including in their daily decisions the needs of the larger system of which they are members.

Scientists are discovering more and more how our existence on this planet is made up of an incalculably complex system of forces, influences, and events. And social scientists are applying this reality to the study of people in organizations.

This is what Friday Night at the ER brings to life in a very practical way. It raises participants’ awareness of the system in which they work. And, of course, the first step to making a change is awareness.

You and I are human. If we want to be more effective in the wider system in which we operate, we must be open to a new, wider perspective on what we do, whom we impact, and what & who influences us.

Ian CookBest wishes,

Ian Cook



Terra Nova In the Spotlight this Month

FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE ER (FNER). Does your organization struggle with “silo thinking?” As they go about making decisions and taking actions, would you like your employees to consider the repercussions on other departments and on the enterprise as a whole?It’s a great concept in theory. But how do you bring it down to the practical? How do you get your people to understand–personally and viscerally–the impact that silo thinking can have. FNER is a great way to achieve exactly that.The lessons we can “spin” for you from the event include:

  1. Systems thinking and awareness
  2. Collaboration
  3. Unleashing teams
  4. Innovation and improvement
  5. Learning and adapting

FNER is an ideal activity for departmental or team building retreats, strategic planning meetings, or as part of a change initiative. We can run it for you as a stand alone event or as part of a customized workshop.

Click here to check it out for yourself.


Ian Cook, MILR, CSP, is a presenter, facilitator and executive coach. He works with managers who want to increase their effectiveness as a leader and build a stronger team. To book Ian for a training seminar, team facilitation or keynote presentation, call toll-free at: 1-888-FULCRUM (385-2786) or e-mail: Ian Cook.