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SoL Success Stories
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SoL Success Stories
SoL has coached and trained thousands of individuals to use organizational learning tools and methods to transform their businesses and achieve, sometimes unprecendented, business results.

Hastily Formed Networks
A Cross-Organizational Action Learning Project

The Hastily Formed Network (HFN) project combines several interests of SoL sponsors. It is currently sponsored by six organizations: Boeing, Department of Defense, DTE, Ford, SoL, and Tufts University. The term, Hastily Formed Network, was coined by the Department of Defense and the Naval Post Graduate School, and describes the multi-organizational groups that come together to create coordinated action in crises, such as the tsunamis in Indonesia and New Orleans (Katrina). The scope and complexity of these events required multiple organizational entities to work together without central coordination. The sponsors of this project have defined the following focusing question as the basis for further research and application:

"How do we share knowledge and resources to collectively respond quickly and effectively in new ways under rapidly changing circumstances, in particular, in the absence of central authority."

The purpose of this project is to develop an understanding of how organizations can best share knowledge and resources in order to respond quickly, effectively and in new ways to rapidly changing circumstances. This ability and its outcomes are needed in all organizations facing rapidly changing conditions.

Using SoL's Applied Learning Process and a combination of learning labs for concrete application, rigorous research, conference calls, face-to-face meetings, and literature review, this project will result in new knowledge for theory and practice and provide tools and methodologies to build the abilities organizations need in today's highly dynamic and complex environment.

Executive Coaching at a Government Agency
In 2003 a government agency launched a coaching program with SoL. By the end of the year 2006, about 200 agency leaders and 20 coaches from the SoL community will have been involved.

This government agency was, and still is, in the midst of transforming from an authoritarian bureaucracy structure, effective for a single major target, to a more flattened and flexible, open, collaborative organization. This new structure is consistent with the need to tracking multiple targets with widely varying motives that are connected by a vast social network. SoL's coaching process supports the agency's leadership team in this transition process. Multiple ROI studies have shown both qualitative and quantitative benefits of the coaching program and interest in participating in the coaching process has grown dramatically.

A unique characteristic of this program is that the SoL coaches and agency sponsors are all part of a "Community of Practice". This community has had a positive impact on the overall quality of this program. The application SoL's ALP framework to the coaching process enabled a higher level of questioning and learning to emerge within the Community of Practice. Together the coaches and sponsors have developed a SoL Coaching Model that enables them to clarify, articulate, and describe their coaching approach to themselves as well as the people they coach.

Leadership Development at Nissan
Nissan has been working with SoL on its first development program for executives. This program focuses on high-potentials to support succession management objectives. It is based on the assumptions that the organization needs a more flexible workforce that can deal with change and uncertainty, and understanding that organizational transformation is the result of personal transformation.

Successful leaders need to simultaneously address the business and people dimensions of change. Nissan has used the U model as a central framework to generate deeper perception, adaptability, creativity and innovation, and collective will to meet the challenges of the next decade. At the center of the work are the following core questions:
  • How can we best create space for learning that integrates personal transformation with organizational transformation?
  • How can we best develop the capacities in the U model in ways that ensure social technology transfer and sustained behavior change?
  • What is the best "way in" to activate the source for collective transformation?
The leadership development program has been running since 2003 and SoL has provided facilitation, consulting, and coaching support since 2005.

Emergent Learning in Generation of Higher Quality Knowledge
In 2004 SoL worked with one of the world's largest Oil & Gas producers to develop their internal knowledge-sharing conference. This conference had traditionally been held once every three years for three days, and involved over 1800 employee participants. The 2004 conference was organized around a series of learning challenges.

Instead of using the three days to review Power-Point presentations of past successes with sweeping conclusions, SoL consultants worked with employee conference presenters to prepare their sessions using Emergent Learning Maps (EL maps). Working with EL maps helped focus the session planning conversations on framing the questions being addressed, the theory being presented, the quality of data that led to conclusions, and, proposals for how to validate the presenter's conclusions in future work.

Following the conference, SoL worked with the Oil & Gas Company to develop a program to continue the work between SoL consultants and employees to steward learning around core questions. SoL conducts quarterly workshops using EL Maps around specific questions to bring geologists together from around the world in a very rigorously designed peer assist process.

Recognizing the importance of short cycles of iteration, the company decided to host smaller, more frequent and focused knowledge-sharing conferences, saving money and generating higher-quality knowledge.

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