054: Bill Torbert, PhD: Transforming the Action Logics of Leaders, Teams and Organizations through Action Inquiry - The Team Coaching Zone Podcast: Coaching | Teams | Leadership | Dr. Krister Lowe
Join Dr. Krister Lowe and today’s featured guest and leading organizational scholar and practitioner Dr. Bill Torbert—a Principal at Action Inquiry Associates—for this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast! Bill Torbert received a BA in Politics and Economics and a PhD in Organizational Behavior from Yale University. He served as the Founder and Director of the War on Poverty Yale Upward Bound program and the Theatre of Inquiry. He taught leadership at Southern Methodist University, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and from 1978-2008 at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College where he served as the graduate school Dean. He later served as the Director of the Organizational Transformation Doctoral Program. In addition to consulting to dozens of companies, not-for-profits and government agencies, Bill has served on a number of boards including notably at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and Trillium Asset Management. As of 2014 he serves as Principal of Action Inquiry Associates and is a Founding Member of the Action Inquiry Fellowship. Bill has published a range of books, papers, psychometric assessments and has created a number of training programs and fellowships in Action Inquiry as well.
On this episode of the podcast Dr. Torbert shares his journey first growing up abroad as the son of a father who worked in the Foreign Service and where he had to learn a number of languages. These early experiences set the stage for his future work around “developmental action-logics.” Bill shares some of his experiences as a student of Chris Argyris at Yale and his work trying to create a collaborative program between blacks and whites in the Yale Upward Bound program. He discusses how the work in this program led to his interest in understanding the developmental stages of leaders and organizations.
Themes covered in the podcast include: developmental stages among leaders; the Global Leadership Profile; Action Inquiry; single, double & triple loop learning; 7 Developmental Action Logics – Opportunist, Diplomat, Expert, Achiever, Redefining, Transforming, Alchemical; unilateral and mutual power; humanity’s evolution across three stages of action-logics: dependence, independence & inter-independence; action-logics at the team and organization levels; stories applying Action Inquiry with teams; redistributing leadership roles in the team; the moderating role of the CEO’s action logic; the action-logics of coaches; the role of conflict in Action Inquiry; time frames for change and more. Bill shares an interesting tip involving coaching with your eyes closed.
Specific resources mentioned in the episode include: Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership; www.actioninquiryleadership.com; 3 day Action Inquiry Workshops including the Global Leadership Profile; the 3 day Alchemists' Workparty; the Action Inquiry Fellowship; and the 2005 Harvard Business Review article The Seven Transformations of Leadership.
This episode provides team coaches with yet another priceless opportunity to learn from a legend in the field. This is an episode you will surely not want to miss!