What is happening to hockey in Canada?

January 20, 2014

What is happening to hockey in Canada? As you know, this has been a question that has been asked for decades. As a high-performance coach, I have worked with business teams, sports teams, executives, individual athletes, dancers, and actors from around the world in multiple sports and business venues. I think I have a fairly good understanding of what happens when we move away from a developmental mode and prioritize winning. The clear distinction between a developmental model and a winning model is that winning is about performance now, short term gains, nearsightedness and performance based with high pressure, and of course short learning time that creates huge gaps in learning.

A good developmental model on the other hand looks at long-term gains, farsightedness, low pressure, and greater learning time so that transitions within skills, knowledge, and execution can be accomplished.


What is wrong in hockey or any sport is always the psychology behind it. Every generation is part of the same old problem because the grass roots of the game are not found in the principles of coaching but founded on principles of “Win at any cost”. This winning at any cost is the result of parents’ self interest and greed. We sacrifice their children’s fun, learning, skills and development because of the money investment in their child, getting a scholarship, making team Canada, and, if you have son, the ultimate: making the NHL.


Having two sons in the NHL, both played junior hockey, both decided to skip university or college and it has been a good choice for them. However, as a high-performance coach it has been an interesting ride doing damage control with both my sons from the external control coaching that is rampant in hockey where winning at any cost becomes the premise for competing.


I have spent the last 35 years of my life as a high-performance coach traveling the world, dealing with coaches, athletes, and administration on how to have a more effective and competitive culture. In all the countries that I’ve worked in, I find that Australia seems to be light-years ahead in the area of sport training and ethics by fully committing to a developmental model for athlete performance.


One of the most respected and decorated coaches in Canada is a track coach Andy Higgins. What makes Andy so successful and what makes the athletes around him so successful is he puts the developmental model of the person ahead of the athlete. I don’t believe Andy practices any external psychology when he works with athletes. It is the psychology of external control that creates the downfall in any sport worldwide. Unfortunately hockey uses the axioms of external control and I’m just one of the people that helps pick up the pieces in an environment that is sometimes torturous to our young men. Every year I deal with 40 to 60 young men who end up in some situational crisis because of the coaching they have seen that is unbelievably detrimental to the athlete as a human being.


I have worked with many players in the NHL, AHL, OHL, AAA, AA, A…all the way down to E levels, helping them recover from the brutal coaches who use external psychology as their modus operandi. If you are a coach or a GM and are reading this article, it might be a good idea if you consider what’s being said because this is the psychology that is poisoning your operation at every level it’s practiced. And what is more difficult to understand is that there is a different psychology of internal control that people can learn but it takes longer to learn it but the benefits and payoffs are enormous and extremely cost-effective.


The consequence of external coaching results in an atmosphere of win at any cost. Therefore in that attitude it makes the parents, coach, athlete focus on outcomes rather than the process of constant improvement. The outcome of winning outweighs the process of developing


Brent Sutter, who has a keen eye from his perch as owner, general manager and coach of the Red Deer Rebels said “There’s too much focus on winning and losing at such a young age.” I agree with Mr. Sutter and I believe this statement to be true. However, that difficulty arises because of the psychology that is practiced in the grass roots of hockey in our schools, work places, homes, and all the way up to the NHL, is external psychology and boss management.  We fail to understand that our brains are conditioned to external psychology and it is part of our evolution that it exists and if human beings are going to take the next leap in our development, we have to change our psychology.


Teams in Europe who are developing their hockey programs will naturally catch up to Canada as all nations catch up to other nations in sports when they pour money into programs. Easily put, it gets harder and harder to win as other teams learn and improve. It is the same as the BlackBerry company, who once lead the market share, others catch up and it gets hard to be successful unless you do something different that your competition isn’t. It is the same as in the free-market: the competition gets better and better until you have to learn to do things differently and produce a better product.


Human society in North America is suffering with affluence. Where there is affluence, there is greed! Look what this greed has done to hockey! Because only the rich can play the sport, we have cut off a huge cross-section of young children who have always been the backbone of Canadian hockey. These kids, who have to grow up with tremendous adversity and triumph over so much, developed character traits that deal with pressure more effectively. So now the question becomes: how do you get the best out of kids that are spoiled and can’t handle adversity? Don’t get me wrong here – I think every child should be spoiled. Most of the kids that I see in my private practice for counseling aren’t spoiled, but they definitely have been raised in external psychology environments.


External control psychology is the psychology that destroys every family, marriage, sports team, and business team – anything to do with human relationship. One of the biggest signs of external psychology are its practices of blame or fault finding.


There are people, teams, and organizations that have taken that leap and very little external psychology is practiced. Organizations that practice external control kill creativity and leadership. My example of this is BlackBerry. I have been a BlackBerry user for years but you can see that they slowly fell behind because they couldn’t keep pace with innovation and creativity and leadership because they probably practice most of the habits of external control when coaching their people within their organization. External psychology is always at the root of every human endeavor that fails; you can’t have people be creative if they are in fear of losing their job, their sense of well-being, or their meaning or purpose for existence.


The TSN analyst Bob McKenzie noted on Sunday, “My theory is that it’s between the ears, Canada is fearful of losing.”


External Psychology is driven by 5 basic conditions that affect everything we do! If any of these conditions dominates your thinking you are an external control maniac, and eventually you will destroy the environment for yourself and others to be a successful team. These five conditions of external control are psychological habits in human behavior that are real weapons of destruction because they maintain our glorified self-interest and give us the feeling that we are right and know what is best for other people.


Condition 1. Human beings are conditioned to believe that you can motivate somebody my external means. This means that we are basically stimulus response machines. And we are not! Just because someone yells at me or mistreats me, I don’t have to mistreat them back. The counter condition of internal psychology is: I am not responsible for how other people treat me. I am only responsible for how I treat others.


Condition 2. External psychology believes that whenever I am upset or unsuccessful it is always someone else’s or something else’s fault. Human beings are blamers and we avoid responsibility for our part. The counter internal psychology condition we need to learn is that whenever something goes wrong or I am unsuccessful, I must look at what I am doing or how I’m thinking and change that and take full responsibility for my part in things. Unhappy ineffective people blame other people. Happy effective people self-evaluate!


Condition 3. External psychology teaches that whenever things go wrong or I am upset, not only is it other people’s fault but I go around wanting other people to change. The counter in internal psychology condition is whenever things go wrong and I’m upset I should change myself.


Condition 4. External psychology teaches that by the time I am a teenager I’m beginning to know what’s best for me. I start to individuate and become my own person and begin to choose my own friends, my own music, the people I want to hang with, and my sense of individuality. That isn’t the problem. The problem of external psychology in the fourth premise happens when I get this major insight that tells me not only do I want to know what’s best for me, I also know what’s best for other people. This is probably the most damaging premise of all because once you know what is best for other people and you shove it down their throat, they learn to dislike you more and more, thus you end up destroying the relationship with them. The internal psychology counter to this premise is learning that you only know what’s best for you and back off trying to think you know what’s best for other people – let them self-determine.


Condition 5. External psychology teaches that you are the house you live in, the car you drive, the amount of money in your bank account, the letters after your name, and your particular religious or political belief system. Internal psychology teaches that all you are is a human being. You have a right to be happy, a right to be here, a right to live the way you want to live but you are by no means more important than anyone else.


How these five conditions are practiced in your organization or on your team is self-evident. Below are the habits of external control where most people live their lives.


The most damaging of the habits is called criticism. Most people believe that there is such thing as constructive criticism. You have only to ask yourself the last time some person gave you some of their constructive criticism and you said, ‘Gee, thank you that was wonderful. Now I feel terrific and highly motivated.’ Criticism is a real fun killer because one of a human’s basic needs is to learn and criticism kills learning because criticism kills fun. Bobby Orr, in an interview with the CBC, commented about minor hockey not allowing kids to have fun. He indicated that coaches today put their own kids first, as their main interest. There’s a high-level of truth to that because of the conditioning of external control psychology.


The counterbalance to criticism is praise and catching people doing things right and giving them feedback after asking them if they want some feedback. Giving people feedback without asking their permission is disrespectful.


The next external control habit that people use in relationship is blaming. Human beings are blamers. We blame every time we are unable to really look and self-evaluate and be part of the solution instead of escaping the problem. Brent Sutter, making the comment that it’s got nothing to do with coaching, is again practicing external psychology. Coaching is definitely a huge part of the game.


The next external control habit is humiliation. People use humiliation to control other people. This is the essence of racism, sexism, and any sense of discrimination. The counterbalance to this habit is learning acceptance, it’s celebrating differences and allowing people to feel comfortable with what they value. In hockey, humiliation is used all over the place. Old-school coaching is about tearing individuals down and then so-called putting them back together. This philosophy is Neanderthal.


The next external control habit it is punishment. If punishment worked on criminals, institutions would be empty. Punishment deters cooperation, insight, and intelligence. You see this in the hockey world were coaches punish for losses using the old bag skate. Most old-school coaches find this militant mentality works because it satisfies their need for power and diminishes everyone else’s need for empowerment. Internal psychology teaches this: let the players determine where they have to improve and where the team has to improve and take full responsibility by generating practices that are fulfilling to the athletes, through discussions. Yes, believe it or not, the kids playing the game know more about the game than the coaches behind the bench. This is a hard reality for coaches the face. The coach’s job is to get the players on the team to buy into the game plan that he believes in, and using his best research of the teams they are playing, show the players he has the way to succeed.


The next external control habit is rewarding. Rewarding people to control them is the essence of how most people parent and coaches use to motivate. Rewards are often used within the business world and what ends up happening is people may like the rewards but dislike the rewarder. People or athletes get the feeling that the coach/manager is always dangling a carrot in front of the person’s face. The internal control habit is helping people identify one’s qualities to manage and creating environments that are need satisfying to build people’s sense of autonomy and skill. Learning or improving your skill set is its own reward.


The next external control habit is guilting. This again is often used as a means to gain control of people by getting them to do what you want them to do regardless of if they want to do it or not. Using guilt as a means to gaining what you want in a relationship will always cripple the relationship. The internal control habit is practicing self-evaluation through open, honest discussion that creates meaning and purposeful relationships and work processes to develop the skills, product, or situation analysis.


The next two external control habits go together – nagging and complaining. These external control habits destroy relationship but people often put up with them because they see the person as venting, which never corrects or changes the situation. People just tend to hide from people who are always venting or nagging. Nagging and complaining are just mental states that reveal a person’s lack of skill in coaching to address the immediate pressure in the situation.



If Canada wants to build a dynasty in hockey or if a team wants to become a dynasty at any level there are certain things that are a must.


  1. Train all people in understanding what external psychology is, how it plays out in the relationships with other people and the organization, and teach them a new psychology of internal control. This must be taught to every person within the organization. The people within the organization must commit to removing all external psychology language that shows up in boss management as a means to how they govern their organization.


  1. The organization must create a caring, safe, supportive environment that has the best interest of the people within the organization in mind. This means that the longevity and security of the people within the organization take the priority. You must rid the environment of fear and coercion. The easiest thing to do when teams are not performing is to fire the coach, or when the team is not performing trade players. This creates within the team the feeling of insecurity, and where there is insecurity and the survival need of people is threatened, you cannot create a dynasty.


  1. Meaningful, purposeful work has to become the forefront of every operation within in the organization. Accountability and improved performance have to being drawn out of the people within the organization in a way that builds relationship, support, and cooperation. The only way this can be achieved is by the people who are doing the managing practice internal psychology and remove all external psychology language and conditions from their daily practices.



  1. That open and honest discussion about quality and what quality looks like becomes the central theme within the organization. Nothing is acceptable but quality, whatever quality can be determined by at that time. This means that CEOs, GMs, coaches, and managers are responsible to create environments with players and employees to discover what quality looks like and how it is best achieved by constant improvement of the systems in place. Quality management is when coaches and managers all work to improve the system, never the employee or an athlete.


  1. Everything done within the organization always feels purposeful and helpful and good for everyone within the organization. There are very few teams that operate on all these five conditions but some teams do come close. In 2013 I did some work with the Detroit Redwings and I believe that the people running the organization understand internal psychology though they haven’t fully seen its necessity but it is behind the success of the organization.


The other difficulty with internal psychology is that it means that change has to happen from the top down. People have to really look and evaluate not only what they’re doing but how they do what they do and that brings about a revolution within the organization. People are terrified of change especially when they have to share power and responsibility with other people. The bottom line is that people don’t give their full effort unless they have power and responsibility in anything they do.


Let’s take a look at Wayne Gretzky, probably the most brilliant hockey mind that ever was. Wayne couldn’t coach because he doesn’t understand internal psychology. He really doesn’t understand how he pulls out of himself what he does and how he did because no one has ever shown him. If Wayne Gretzky understood more internal psychology and brought internal psychology to an organization, he would build a dynasty that would dominate the National Hockey League for decades. I would not say he would win the Stanley Cup every time but what he would do is put his team in a position where they could win the Stanley Cup and that’s what a good organization does, puts their team in contention. Internal control psychology clearly helps people and organization understand the factors within their control and also helps them to perceive the factors that are outside of their control and manage them respectfully. It would take approximately three years to turn an organization around completely and get them headed in the right direction practicing internal psychology. One of the most important facets of internal psychology is the realization that you can buy people time and skill but they have to give you their work ethic, passion, and creativity. Learning internal psychology coaches these three main ingredients out of athletes and employees but fear keeps most owners, GM’s, coaches, and managers in the dark ages.


Testimonial for Human Potential Plus From The Ontario Seed Company Success Through Self Evaluation

December 9, 2010
Testimonial for Human Potential Plus
From The Ontario Seed Company
Success Through Self Evaluation
I had the opportunity to listen to Brian speak at my son’s hockey banquet and I was overwhelmed by such a powerful and motivating presentation, so much that I asked Brian to be our opening speaker at our 22nd annual customer appreciation seminar that entertains around 300 guests.  I am a sales representative for a  company that distributes supplies to golf course turf managers and usually our topics are turfgrass oriented to update customers on research and new developments in the industry.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous on how our guests would portray Brian’s sixty minute talk on self evaluation, but from the minute he started until the minute we had to literally end his session, Brian had all 300 people engaged and had them stepping back and evaluating themselves from the past and hopefully progressing their relationships for the future.  To be able to hear a pin drop in a room with 300 people says how powerful Brian’s message was.  We seriously had to end Brian’s session to move onto our next speakers, but our guests could have listened to Brian all day.  The comments we heard for the rest of the day from our guests were so positive and thankful for having such a powerful speaker who focused on everyday behaviours and situations.  His talk was received better than any research or technically based talk we have ever presented for our guests and it was based on what is most important in life, which a lot of the time we take for granted.  Whether you are a small or large company, having Brian work with you will change how your company will do business, and most importantly change how they deal with every relationship in their lives which can lead to endless potential.  Our experience with Brian was so positive, he may be our first repeat speaker at our annual customer appreciation day, says a lot about Brian’s theories when our guests were expecting a day full of technical information of our industry.  Thanks again Brian.
Mark Durand
Sales Representative
Ontario Seed Company
I had the opportunity to listen to Brian speak at my son’s hockey banquet and I was overwhelmed by such a powerful and motivating presentation, so much that I asked Brian to be our opening speaker at our 22nd annual customer appreciation seminar that entertains around 300 guests.  I am a sales representative for a  company that distributes supplies to golf course turf managers and usually our topics are turfgrass oriented to update customers on research and new developments in the industry.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous on how our guests would portray Brian’s sixty minute talk on self evaluation, but from the minute he started until the minute we had to literally end his session, Brian had all 300 people engaged and had them stepping back and evaluating themselves from the past and hopefully progressing their relationships for the future.  To be able to hear a pin drop in a room with 300 people says how powerful Brian’s message was.  We seriously had to end Brian’s session to move onto our next speakers, but our guests could have listened to Brian all day.  The comments we heard for the rest of the day from our guests were so positive and thankful for having such a powerful speaker who focused on everyday behaviours and situations.  His talk was received better than any research or technically based talk we have ever presented for our guests and it was based on what is most important in life, which a lot of the time we take for granted.  Whether you are a small or large company, having Brian work with you will change how your company will do business, and most importantly change how they deal with every relationship in their lives which can lead to endless potential.  Our experience with Brian was so positive, he may be our first repeat speaker at our annual customer appreciation day, says a lot about Brian’s theories when our guests were expecting a day full of technical information of our industry.  Thanks again Brian.
Mark Durand
Sales Representative
Ontario Seed Company

Building Relationships In Business

October 27, 2008

Over the past twenty-eight years of working with people, mainly managers, I find it amazing that CEOs spend most of their resources on bricks and mortar, hardware and technical skills. They often talk about how people are their greatest resource yet fail to spend any money building the capacity of their employees. They don’t seem to perceive the link between relationships and Quality service or Quality products.

Most CEOs have bought into Boss Management, creating managers who practice the relationship-destroying habit of Boss Management. People today want a work culture founded on integrity, ownership, leadership, and empowerment. They want to be creative and responsible in a whole new way that the present management style (Boss Management) kills.

Relationships that work are highly dependent on openness and honesty in order to build trust. The habits of relationship, listening without reaction, ownership, responsibility, connective solution building, empowered decision making, and the removal of fear and coercion, allow people to get the best out of themselves and coach it out of other team members. When we gain an understanding of how we are motivated from the inside out, it helps us gain an understanding of how to coach ourselves in the important relationships in our lives.

This has a benefit in two directions. It makes my home life most effective and flows over to the work place. So when employers deliver the right kind of training, employees get the feeling they are cared about, and therefore they see their relationship with their employer as need-fulfilling to all the relationships in their life and will often give unparalleled energy to the company. Working on self and learning to get along becomes a process of self-evaluation and learning. This new way of dealing with people allows people to put quality in the forefront of their minds. This is a result of improving the quality relationships by creating effectiveness in person and professional lives. This capacity-building process, which can be taught from the front line to managerial level, and even VPs and CEOs, is the catalyst for greater productivity, ownership, accountability, and cooperation under pressure.

Boss Management works when you lead the market and are uncontested. But with globalization and competitive markets, Boss Management creates crises to meet manager’s ego needs, rendering the company helpless and losing the competitive edge needed. Self-evaluation and adaptation are lost.

Coach bri

Insight Quality Management

October 6, 2008

Insight quality management gets its definition from the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and William Glasser. Deming, like Glasser, believed that quality can be achieved when people come to the realization that personal power associated with bossing gets in the way of people achieving quality.

One of my personal challenges in working with managers and employees alike is to persuade them to drive out fear and instill trust, confidence, compassion and kindness as tools that lead to quality. However, one of the least talked about things in business today is the process of insight. This is probably the single-most important factor and catalyst for change. In order for insight to flourish, the first factor is a process called questioning (or meditating or self-evaluation and it probably has many other names) but it directly deals with a transformation in the person’s consciousness. All human problems that prevent relationship are within humankind’s consciousness. This is where a change must take place in order to understand how to bring about and identify quality within an organization.

For many thousands of years humankind has been willing to shift technological thinking in order to solve our problems in technological matters. But when it comes to psychological matters and the problems of daily living, human beings, I believe, choose not to solve their problems because they are unwilling to shift theory and choose a new psychology. People who do shift technological theory are looked upon as pioneers in their field. People who shift psychological theory change the world for the better forever. The only way human beings are going to create an environment where work is looked upon as a place for inner transformation and growth is by self-evaluation. This means that whenever a person doesn’t feel good inside himself or herself they stop practicing the four premises of an external psychology. These four premises are: taking things personally, blaming other people, trying to get people to change, and knowing what’s best for others.

In all the interactions within an organization the first premise of internal psychology, reacting by taking information personally, must be totally set aside. Long term planning must replace short term reacting. This means that companies have to embrace insight quality management and develop a new system where leadership through compassion and accountability merge with consistency of purpose and continual improvement.

Managers need to begin to create a warm, safe, and caring environment for their employees. This can be achieved by getting to know your employees, and more importantly, letting them know you. Dr. Glasser recognizes the importance of getting close to the people that you work with and allowing them to get close to you so that the relationship is need fulfilling. Managers must teach employees what quality looks like. They can do this by identifying quality when they see it and make it visible. In this beginning phase managers must set aside all boss management (to use Glasser’s term) habits. These habits include punishing, rewarding, and telling people what to do how to do their work. But most important is allowing employees to evaluate their own work and coming up with ways that they can improve it. This is a huge change in the system of boss management. This is one of the most difficult things to understand because managers must work on the system and not on the employees. This is foreign to most boss managers because they lack in the insight into internal motivation, as described by Glasser.

Boss management has its origins from the dawn of man. When human beings began to give thinking priority, we slipped into an egocentric position and the narcissistic view of leadership. This is basically a philosophy of “do what I say because I say it”. This destroys compassion, accountability, and consistency of purpose because the only purpose that matters is the bosses’. In this situation, constant improvement goes out the window.

In order to bring about this change within an organization, a new philosophy needs to be adapted. This philosophy is based on the work of William Glasser, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Alan Watts and James Allen. All of these people have emphasized the importance of a relationship based on internal psychology but may have called it different things. All of these people created what they did through the process of insight, which is a movement outside the field of time. However, in order to practice these insights, time and patience is needed because it is about learning new behaviors that inevitably create greater effectiveness, success and happiness for the people using them.
One of the most important elements in creating an insight performance workforce is to help people understand that learning and internal psychology create meaning and purpose in their life.
This is no doubt a hard sell. What it means is convincing managers and employers that boss management is in fact getting in the way of producing quality products and services. If the organization is constantly focused on the idea of quality at the lowest possible cost it is almost impossible to capture or maintain its place in the market.

All organizations that are able to produce the highest quality at the lowest possible cost succeed. However, one must come to terms with a definition of quality. Deming and Glasser would agree that quality is anything that is consistent in satisfying one or more of a person’s basic needs. In the same way, organizations have needs and these basic needs are tied to the needs of the people within the organization. Therefore when people’s basic needs are satisfied within the workplace so are the needs of the organization. These basic needs, as defined by William Glasser, are as follows: survival, fun, freedom, power, and belonging. When we are born we have these drives and we need to satisfy them. The satisfaction of the survival need feels good. We also learn to have fun and to be free and that freedom creates some control in our life that allows us to make choices. We also develop our sense of power by gaining control and mastering our surroundings and learning to get what we want. We also learn that being loved feels good from the people that show us care and then, later on, we also learn to love, which also feels good. This is never more apparent than in the workplace: five people that really like each other will do the work of twenty-five people that don’t. This belief leads organizations to stop doing quality inspections and begin to practice producing quality in both products and service, as well as in all processes.

We all know that to work for a manager that is open and honest and has a deep sense of caring about the work they do enhances how we feel about them and the place where we work. It is crucial that an environment that is warm and supportive be cultivated if quality is to be achieved. The next important single factor is that the work is useful and meaningful to the person doing it. This helps create what Deming calls the consistency of purpose. The third most important element is teaching self-evaluation and constant improvement. The fourth requirement is that employees and managers are always asked to do their very best work. People will only give their very best when their needs are satisfied. This is why fear mongering creates distortions and removes the consistency and purposefulness of the organization. Fear mongering and boss management creates a “cover your ass” mentality, which gets in the way of the fifth requirement of quality. This quality focuses on feeling good in the job you’re doing and the way you do it. The purpose of human feeling is to tell us what our life is about and why what we’re doing isn’t very effective or isn’t satisfying our basic needs. This then leads to the sixth requirement: when working towards quality work is never destructive. This is hard for most people to understand because when there is an unsupported environment or someone else is evaluating your work, everything gets in the way because people are not quality minded.

Quality minded people are always focusing in the present and their level of effectiveness, looking towards a future achievement. They never take their eye off the prize and the prize to them therefore represents quality. This is a crucial part of producing quality because the focus goes on quality supplies as a means to achieve consistency. Cheaper suppliers do not offer the same consistency in materials, shipping, and services. In all of these situations, insight performance management seeks to train on the job to again produce people doing a better job, shifting away from just meeting the targets. Targets are another way of allowing fear to come in and, with that, the judgment of other workers. Focusing on processes and seeing them as the cause of error is much more efficient and effective in creating purpose. Deming always refers to treating departments as internal customers, stressing the need to get along. When workers have objectives to be achieved, not numerical targets, greater quality is obtained.

The shift to insight performance management employs the brains of people, not just their skills. In the production of quality, the relationship between the employer and the employee is the most important. It removes barriers that prevent people from getting along. It builds the foundation of self-improvement and education that lead to improvements in any part of the organization. We are all responsible for quality and productivity especially at the top. The way the top views the employees doing the work must become friendlier. Annual reviews are thrown out and replaced by strength and weakness sharing.

All of this is very new to the boss management style and also very frightening to the manager. The manager must stop working on the employees and learn to create new and better processes to help the system work more efficiently. There is little that can be done if we don’t see that the crisis is within our own consciousness. It is here and solving the problems that prevent relationship in our daily lives with the way we work with one another is the source of our unhappiness. In environments where people are unhappy, those unhappy people tended to evaluate other people and create further unhappiness. On the other hand, happy people or effective people almost always evaluate himself or herself when they are faced with a challenge. This is very difficult for boss managing people to understand or buy into. So many organizations let one or two individuals poison the environment for the many. These boss management minded-people are like cancers in the workplace. Very few are willing to give up bossing and start leading.

At Human Potential Plus we build people’s capacity to self-evaluate by training people on how to coach and lead without external control psychology. Many organizations that thrive are thriving because of the people within the organization. If you look at any effective department you will see effective people improving processes. But more importantly, you will see managers who like and enjoy the people they work with.

Coach bri

Driving Assholes Out of the Workplace

May 1, 2008

I see that you have a very different way of dealing with the girls that you coach. I pick my daughter up here, three times a week, and I love to come and watch. You seem to be different than most of the other coaches. You seem to be able to coach more performance out of them. The quality is higher when you are around. I am heavily involved in the business world, and responsible for many managers who report to me daily. I do know what it’s like to manage people, but one thing that seems to stick out is your relationship with the girls. They seem to really like you. I have watched this now for about two weeks. I’ve heard you are Canadian, and that you went home, and I never got a chance to talk with you. Now you are back, and I was wondering if we could have a beer some night and talk. How long are you here for?

I am just heading to China, and I’ll be gone for about a week. I will return to Australia, and then I’m off again for another couple weeks to Korea and Japan. I do have a couple of hours now, if you’d like to talk now.

That would be great. My daughter won’t be ready for a few hours, and I can go for a run later. Can we go across the park and sit on a bench there? It’s a very nice park.

Sure, I will meet you there.

Drive around to the back of the park. It’s quieter there.

When I arrived, the park was absolutely beautiful. There were several gum trees hanging over a pathway. Two trees seem to invite you with their large drooping branches, offering their shade from the hot sun. The magpies were busy, many of them making lots of noise to let you know that you didn’t belong here, that you were the intruder. We sat on this old bench made from wood that I had never seen before. The handsome friend named Jake told me that this bench was of the actual tree that actually occupied this particular spot. It was part of their conservation to use the trees and everything within the park to add to the parks caveats. He then began.

I am under a lot of pressure at work, and I manage many people. I have the task of reporting to three different upper-level managers, and all of them are very different. And at times, I often feel lost and frustrated and feel like quitting my job. I have talked this over with my wife and she feels I can do whatever it is that I feel I must do. She is very supportive, and I am well aware that quitting my job would have a large impact on my family. But the money is great, but most times my headaches are greater. I was wondering watching you, if there is a different way to do things.

Sir, if you can pick up what I’m doing that is different from other coaches, you have a sensitivity that says you are well suited for managing people.

I know I’m good at what I do and I do treat people well in the company. Most of the people I work for like me and they perform well. That is not the pain in the ass.

And what is it sir?

The assholes I work for.

Can you tell me about that?

Reporting to three bosses is hard, one boss is great. He is really smart. He never tells you what to do. He gives me advice when I asked for it. Anyway, he is always interested in me as a person. The second boss is a total lie, so he is always trying to find ways to put me down and point out all my growth areas, and he is such a hard ass.

Sorry, what is a ‘hard ass’ to you sir?

A person who is just negative and has always got to have things done his way. He has the last word, no one questions him and he is beyond learning except, of course, if it’s someone higher than him. Then he is a suck up. The third boss is a massive asshole in a different way. He is a Mr. Know-It-All and is always critical of everyone’s ideas. You can’t nail him down on anything. He was always complaining about a better way to do things. And when you ask him for his feedback he is always afraid of giving it to you. He never wants to put himself out there and take a risk but he expects everyone to take risks around him and then when they don’t go well, you receive his reprimand. He holds onto valuable information, and then things go wrong, even if it could be a quick fix. So he becomes the one that looks like he’s the knight in shining armor because he’s withheld information from people that’s critical to their success. He creates so much dependency. He constantly destroys the economy of people when it comes to product management. He never manages the product, he only manages the people. I believe he cost the company thousands of dollars, but he’s invisible to the CEO, because he constantly sets himself up to be the savior and is always playing head games with everybody. Sorry, I know that I’m venting!

No sir, not at all.

So, that is the life at work and I’m sort for talking about all of this with you, even though I never really met you. You just seem like a good person to talk to.

Sir, may I point out something? The culture in your work is so common. It is put together by an external psychology. This psychology gets in the way of quality all the time, and it is what most of the world practices, except for a few like yourself and the first person you report to.

Yet he’s a great guy and if it wasn’t for him, I would have left my job years ago.

Sir, what this guy is practicing is an internal psychology.

Okay, he’s different from others. What do you mean by internal psychology? Can someone learn this internal psychology?

Well, yes, of course, but very few companies are interested in it because it means that they have to really examine not only why they are doing things but how they are doing things.

But if you don’t do that, you don’t or can’t improve.

Yes sir! Internal psychology is the psychology of we, not I. The first manager you talked about does these things and so tell me if I am correct in my assumptions.

All right, this interesting!

First, he’s a friendly guy. He’s warm, sincere. You always know where you stand with him. You always know what he will do for you and what he won’t do for you and you trust him.

Yeah, that’s for sure, he asked, but he is also built trust in me. He is okay with me making mistakes as long as I own them and come up with a different way of doing things.

Good. Secondly, he never uses fear of threats, punishments or rewards to control.

Never, as a matter of fact. He is the reason I was promoted. He is always encouraging me to apply for new promotions and new parts of the job.

The third thing: He also works on improving the system and never tries to work on the employees by trying to get them to improve. He helps them get the learning pieces from their mistakes.

That’s for sure, you know this guy?

The fourth thing is always asking for best effort, and he’s always asking people to evaluate their own work.

Shit that’s amazing, it’s almost like you know this guy. Last week two employees that work under me came to let me know that they have had a session with that good manager. They decided they were moving in the wrong direction, and what they were doing didn’t have enough quality in it, and then they both stayed late and came in on the weekend and will have the project in on time.

Yes sir. The fifth thing is not only does he give his best effort, but he is always doing things that are constructive for everyone and for the organization. He is always throwing the light on what is the learning piece and focused in constant improvement.

That’s what I see when I watch you coach. Other coaches want performance, and then they lose it on the athletes. You just talked respectfully, asked questions, they respond, and you can see their performance produces higher quality. I heard another coach talking about you the other day, and he said he loves coming to practice and working with you, because the athletes work so much harder and are so much more coachable. I wondered if you did know this guy because you seem to be cut from the same cloth.

No sorry sir, I don’t but this I do know. It takes a very insightful CEO to embrace what it is that I’m doing. It is a business culture renovation, and most people fear change, because it means there is no room for hassles in the organization. When you teach internal psychology to the employees and managers, the assholes eventually get exposed. And they either jump on board by change, or they leave the company. These mean-spirited people hurt and poison and they are highly destructive to accompany in ways that most people can’t even imagine. Just as your first boss affects the company in positive ways, you can even imagine people who like people who work harder for people they like, but this is nothing new.

So, you teach this stuff to companies.

Yes sir, but very few CEOs are interested. It means you have to change in the middle, and then in both directions, up and down. So the whole organization changes in both directions.

Why do you say it starts in the middle? I don’t understand this.

Sir, in every organization, there is a core of people that do a majority of the work. Most of these people exist within the middle of the organization. All roles and positions in a company that is driven by internal psychology have equal value. It is important to change at the very core. The organization must identify the core people in every department, and that doesn’t necessarily mean the managers. Core people are the people that other people get along with and enjoy working for and with. These people have what is most important in any successful organization, and that is character.

Well, how do you define character?

Sir, the word integrity means integrated. Well integrated people are people who are able to give the knowledge and action their proper significance. What I mean by this is that you can have all the brains in the world but if you don’t have compassion, sensitivity, and awareness, you’re basically an ignorant person.

This is a very different way of dealing with people, but I do see what you mean. I would say what I like most about my boss is that there’s no bullshit. The way he talks and the way he speaks is without contradiction. The other two bosses say one thing and do another. There’s a feeling with the first manager that he’s always got your back and is not afraid to get to know what you think, why you think it and where it leads you. The other two really don’t give a damn. It’s all about them.

Yes sir, I know. Learning an internal psychology not only makes you a better employee, it makes you a better person, spouse or parent, and anything that brings integration within the individual develops his character.

This has been a very interesting talk. I want to thank you.

You’re welcome, sir.

Can we meet again when you’re back in Australia?

Yes sir, I’d love it, take care.


The Loss of a Job

February 14, 2008

He was certain that he was right and no matter what, he always had his dignity. No one had as much expertise as he had with his life and he was not going to buy into what I thought about his life.

Sir, can you tell me what it is I think of your life?

I don’t know but I am just telling you that I’m just not a person who is going to swallow what you say because you’re a counselor. My wife reads your blog and then tells me about what you say.

So what is it that you disagree with?

Well, nothing so far. My wife tells me I should see you because I’m depressed after I lost my job. So I just want you to know that I am not depressed.

How are you dealing with losing your job?

Well I feel fine. I just feel a little beat up emotionally. It’s tough to lose a job to amalgamation. I never thought I would be the one that was let go.

And why is that sir?

Well, I was the core of the office and there for 18 years. So when this happened I was pretty shocked and I still can’t believe that it is true.

Well sir, is their anything secure in life, really?

Apparently not! I thought there was but I guess not.

So how long has it been since you lost your job?

About two months now!

How do you spend time your time now?

That’s the funny thing. I feel it’s not real and I just don’t have any motivation to go out and look for a new one. My wife says I’m acting a little strange and I believe her. I guess.

What do you think is strange?

Well I’m a person who always was a go-getter and into whatever it is I do. Now that I lost the job I could give a sweet pickle about anything.

Well sir what do you give a sweet pickle about?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Philosopher and the Lawyer

January 21, 2008

He was an accomplished man. As a lawyer, his mind was trained in the art of argument. He was well respected, kind when he wanted to be but ruthless when he needed to be. He had to deal with a man that was pushing his philosophy and trying to get a new movement going to help people be better spouses, employees and people.

The lawyer had no interest in this and remarked that his people were effective and needed little improvement. With success comes the agreement between people who believe that their success is not bought at a price, that they are special, above us all. He would not for a moment entertain the stupidity of the man he faced. This man was reaching out to something deep in him that the lawyer had lost touch with. But there was no way in hell this philosopher had any chance. The lawyer in him ate the lamb and spat him out.

The philosopher offered a smile and a bit of laughter as he left the room. He laughed at his own foolishness, that people deep down really care about other people. As he began to speak to me he broke into a deep laughter that cut through to the heart and pain of the matter. Tears filled his eyes and the weight of humanity was upon him. It was amazing to see that at any moment the heart of darkness can descend upon anyone. But in the lobby a baby in a stroller was looking about with clean deep blue eyes.

Those tear-filled eyes changed again when they met the child’s, sitting in the stroller. The child smiled a large embracing smile that seemed to melt away the sorrow of the philosopher. It was like the philosopher saw the reason he was doing what he felt in his heart. It was something the lawyer would perhaps never really ever see and had perhaps had killed forever. The philosopher said he felt a deep respect for the lawyer, and said he hoped he came to terms with himself.

He walked away and looked back and waved as if he was leaving a place he had made a mistake in coming to. He taped his feet on the ground as if to cut the dust and dirt off his shoes. With a large smile and happy glance he disappeared behind the building.


Managing People

January 17, 2008

Even though we are more complicated now than we were at the time of the industrial revolution, managing people has undergone little change since that time. Our brains have taken on the challenges of multitasking quite well but we still manage people in the same old external control way, called Boss Management. The sad thing is that most bosses don’t think they are boss managers because they are to busy multitasking. To take the time to do some healthy self evaluation means they have to put themselves under pressure and receive the full shock that what they are doing may not be working because of the way they are managing. Today’s competitive markets are the result of products being produced because people want quality in what products they buy. Boss managers have not woken up to the fact that other people are producing the same products they are. The ones who can do it at the lowest cost and keep their people working for them will stay in the business. The migration of work to China and places like Mexico or Third World countries is the result of businesses running away from their own inability to self evaluate. They are running to a place where Boss Management is still the practice and will be the practice for the next fifty years.

Business guru Edward Demming saw this happening after World War II in America and went to Japan to rebuild the Japanese car industry. He brought to Japan a way for them to be competitive with the great American car industry,  and the story is now history. Since Japanese cars are produced with the highest quality at the lowest cost.   The government attempts to deter consumers from buying them by putting a tax on Japanese imports. So just think of this. To buy a Japanese car in North America you have to pay a tax because we North Americans can’t produce a quality car the way the Japanese can, so they tax the Japanese cars to bring the price above our North American car prices. The fact is people still will pay more for quality. This is something our North America car manufactures don’t understand. The root to this problem is Boss Management and the psychology of external control which it inflicts on it’s workers. Today’s work force are made of people who can multitask. Most of this multitasking is needed and effective but it also must be balanced with self evaluation to be highly effective. Having people who can multitask but can’t relate to other people is problematic.

Boss management mainly is telling people what to do, when to do it and how to do it and then the boss evaluates the employee’s work. This is the source of high employee absenteeism and employee turn over. If a business is going to be successful, they must find ways to discover what quality looks like in what they do. They have to be willing to listen to anyone or anything that directly improves or moves the product or organization towards quality. However, this is very scary for everyone because it means change and new viewing points that boss management is incapable of bringing about. It means that people have to learn that maybe they don’t know it all and are willing to learn some new ways of relating. This is difficult for people because we have to see through our narcissistic psychology and our present untrue understanding of human behavior. This means they are going to discover all the ineffective ways they have constructed their perceptions of themselves and others. I find, when teaching a new way of relating to people through internal psychology, that people enjoy it because what I’m teaching them in the workplace is making them better parents, spouses and people. This means they have more quality in their life, in their relationships and therefore feel better about themselves, producing a higher level of effectiveness in the work place.

Very few people are interested in reaching their potential. This is what scares us the most about life. That is why today psychiatry has become the number one crime against humanity. It fills people with excuses and conditions that prevent them from reaching their potential. But that is another story we will investigate later.

Coach Bri

Killing Relationship with Someone You Love

September 25, 2007

The morning was exceptionally still and but for the noise of a passing car or the odd call of a cricket, everything was clear and open. Even water on the pond and in the pool seemed quiet. The cat with her jewel of intensity was on the prowl . She seemed to be in relationship with everything and nothing seemed to escape her attention.

Why is it we human beings don’t see the poison of having images of ourselves or others? We don’t see that we create these images out of our own fears, and the personal pleasure we receive from others. We create these images with our husbands, wives, parents and even with your manager at the office. We hold people in these images for our own comfort and safety. We hold them out of our anger and jealously and all our pettiness and then miss true relationship. There is no such thing as a good or bad relationship. If you are related through the image, which is your own self-centered occupation, then there is no relationship. Where self centeredness is relationship is not. To be in relationship implies putting all judgment aside and being connected through action.

Rarely in the workplace are bosses or managers connected to their employees. It is only in that relationship there is the possibility of the highest productivity. This is where people are able to work at things together and remove their false sense of importance and then accomplish whatever is needed.

As the golden sunlight lit the pond the green algae in the pool was visible. This algae forms quicker in the water when the water is still. Images lock us into another type of stillness that corrupts everything we touch. A mind that is in relationship is a mind that is attentive and quick. It is sensitive, kind and without provocation. Relationship is connectedness and to be connected demands freedom from all images, spiritual or otherwise. Then one can love and care for a mother, a wife or a friend.

Coach bri

Employee Growth

September 20, 2007

Many businesses fail to realize that people wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and want to have a good day. No one wakes up and says to themselves, “I hope I fail today!”

This may sound silly by it isn’t. Companies that don’t take the time to prepare people for change always end up changing the people and that is costly. I friend of mine, a banker, told me that it costs about 35,000 dollars to fire and hire one employee.

Most change that happens in companies doesn’t seem to have a lasting impact once the shock value wears off. People will resort to old habits. To prepare people for change means that the companies really understand that people will grow into change if they are part of the change process. That means they take part in the assessment of how what they do impacts change, and how change will impact what they do. Employers who care enough about their employees and do this well will save themselves time and money by the fist full. Employees with autonomy handle change positively, which generates a creative and improved work ethic. When employees are managed with internal psychology coaching, managers live and breathe job security in times of change and collaborate with the employee. This creates a path to innovate and adjust, meeting new threats and promoting opportunity. Internal psychology strengthens the relationships needed to adapt and smart CEO’s know that if we are going to be around for more than a few years, we better be better at growing employees. Ones that don’t grow wither and die or work somewhere else where they can grow. In a high stress world relationships are more important because it is only in them we find our meaning and purpose for doing what we do. Relationships are our refuge.  The more we grow employees, the more the business grows. People who can get along with others under pressure are high performers. Giving people the skill to build satisfying relationships in home and at work creates employees who take fewer sick days, are more on time and pull together in crisis


Coach bri