The foundation of our work is action science, an approach for increasing leadership effectiveness and organizational learning. The practice we have built on this foundation integrates three domains: how people interact and form relationships, how organizations function and change, and how individuals learn and develop. We believe that integrating these domains is essential to helping people work together to create more effective organizations.
Action science is a discipline for creating knowledge for action. It is based on practices for interpersonal behavior that increase valid information, informed choice, and commitment. Action science involves educating practitioners, intervening in organizations, and building theory. It is the product of deeply rooted practice traditions that combine intervention and scholarship, from John Dewey and Kurt Lewin through Chris Argyris and Donald Schön.
We help people develop skill in using action science practices. Our learning methods are designed to help people gain insight into their behavior and to put those insights into action. We use participants’ own experiences and challenges as primary learning material. We offer intensive small-group work in which people reflect on their behavior at important moments, design alternatives, role play, and get feedback. We provide opportunities for continuing to develop skill through action experiments and debriefing with colleagues.
Action science practices are most powerful when others recognize and use them as well. We help leadership teams become a context for development that brings out the best in each member. We work with those in challenging relationships to use action science practices to strengthen their ability to work effectively together. As the work expands in an organization it creates norms and expectations that shift the culture.