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The Power to Transform was written by Chris Majer, founder and CEO of the Human Potential Project. For some 25 years HP2 has been designing and delivering leading edge work in individual and organizational transformation. We began our work in the early 1980s in Seattle. Our original clients were athletes and our mission was to identify, isolate, and reproduce in others the elements that led to consistent winning performance. Our focus was on the mental side of performance and the potential of the mind to influence physical performance. Our work with individual performers and teams was so successful that we caught the attention of the government and spent nearly three years working almost exclusively with the Army helping redesign the way they trained soldiers. This work culminated in a year long classified project with the Special Forces in which we had a mandate to push the boundaries of human potential. In the late eighties we turned our attention to the corporate world and while we still take on occasional sports and military work our focus has clearly been on the corporate world.
In part, it was the success with our corporate clients that caused Chris to write the book. After every program we would have people come up to the training teams and ask, ‘This program was the most extraordinary thing I have ever done. What programs do you have that I can send my sister/mother/brother/children to?’ Up until now the answer was nothing.
Our early work with athletes and soldiers was central in shaping our view of performance and early on we observed that the deeply held historical interpretation of learning that pervades sports, business, and society was a liability and that a new way of seeing and practicing learning was needed.
In the common view, learning is seen as the acquisition of new theories, models, beliefs, ideas, tips, and techniques. Inside of this view, the goal of the process is to gain understanding, as it is held that to understand is to know. Our experience showed us that producing understanding in people was simple, but in the end, understanding was of little value. Many of our athletes understood many things that they couldn’t do; thus their performance got no better.
Over time, we began to see that in a game where performance matters, whether it was football, baseball, ballet, basketball, business, or life we could not settle for seeing learning as gaining understanding. Instead, we claim that learning must be seen as the development of new competence, a new capacity for action.
In our view, the measure of success for any learning effort is not whether the participants can recite back the lessons of the class, or talk all of the fancy new lingo. What matters is whether they can take actions that weren’t available to them prior to the learning experience. The goal of this authentic learning process is embodiment, the capacity to take action automatically. Embodiment means to be able to take action without having to stop, think, or look up a prescribed move in some manual.
In a world where the only competitive advantage that we have is our people, and in a market where talent is becoming increasingly scarce, the breakdown that is produced by hanging on to the old view of learning now looms as formidable. Organizations and individuals waste billions of dollars a year on books, tapes, and seminars that provide nothing more than tips, techniques, and short lived motivation. Today, everyone is talking about how important it is to create learning organizations, about how vital people are to the organization, about how critical it is to attract and develop the best people, about how essential it is for everyone to be a life long learner, yet almost no one knows how to do it.
By focusing on developing competence instead of understanding, we have been able to produce huge strategic, competitive, and operational advantages for our clients and enable them to design and ensure a future that would otherwise not have been available. None of this is possible without first transforming the individuals that are the organization.
We are successful because we focus on producing new competence and help our clients realize that there is no such thing as instant learning. We can produce understanding in an instant but authentic learning takes practice, patience, and perseverance. This is a big departure from the current common sense on learning and it is what separates us from the rest of the pack.
The Power To Transform is the distillation of years of work and in essence takes the reader through HP2’s introductory course that we call the Intensive. The promise of the work is simple. If you complete the entire process you will have transformed the way that you see yourself, your world, your purpose in life, and your future. We realize this is a bold promise but we have been making and keeping promises of this magnitude for years. Join us and open the door to your new future.