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EP: 66 – The Four Fields of Leadership with Tom Goodell

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tom goodell tara Nolan game of teams podcast

Introduction: Tom Goodell is  the President and Founder of Linden Leadership. His company offers Executive, Management and Team Coaching as well as Leadership Development and Culture Programs for a wide variety of Organisations. Tom is an author and has written several books including, Linden’s Leadership Cycles of Leadership, Three Practices of Collective Performance, Six Practices of Personal Performance and most recently The Four Fields of Leadership. 

Goodell received his CPPM certification in ontological coaching from the Newfield Network, inc, in Boulder Colorado. He also studied somatic coaching with Richard Strozzi Heckler, founder and director of Strozzi Institute in Petaluma, California. 


Podcast Episode Summary

This episode explores the impetus for Tom’s latest work The Four Fields of Leadership. John Baldoni puts it well when he says of Tom’s book “Leadership is an ageless proposition. What has changed over the millennia is context. Goodell places Leadership with the context of our times in ways that make it accessible and actionable” The podcast underscores the importance of understanding self in a quest to be with another, others and to thrive in organisations. Tom shares how he combines his many, seemingly disparate, interests in an intelligible whole to understand human systems. 

Points made over the episode

  • Tom’s story began for him when he as 5 years of age and he can remember playing the game called Go. It is a game that challenges a player to cultivate his whole brain because of the amount of possibilities -Chance is not involved but a person is minded to develop intuition, form & aesthetics as well as logic and analytics 
  • Tom’s early interest in Eastern thinking, spirituality has been an integral part of this own thinking. 
  • His early experience in organisational life taught him that no matter how elegant the enterprise architecture if human beings were not getting along the organisation was impacted. 
  • Tom’s interest in human systems saw him study with Newfield in Colorado and with Richard Strozzi Heckler at the Strozzi Institute in California to become a Coach and Facilitator
  • Declarations are an important constituent part of the training at Strozzi and as a consequence and honed over many years Tom is able to say that his declaration says he is “a commitment to awakening the full power of the human spirit in organizations everywhere” That declaration has been his guiding light ever since
  • The human spirit is what makes a life worth living and work worth working. 
  • We are all connected and have always been connected but we forget. The space between us and the quality of our relations determine whether we thrive. 
  • Tom began to recognise the “Tower of Babble” he encountered in organisation with many multiple interventions/modalities of learning and leadership that spoke different languages. He found that many omitted the unifying principles on which their theories are founded. His book attempts to illuminate these unifying principles to squash confusion and allow for real conversations. 
  • If you understand the Four Fields of Leadership everything becomes coherent. 
  • The four fields of Leadership include the Field of Self, The Interpersonal Field, The field of teams and the Enterprise field. There is a huge degree of complexity, subtlety & fragility across each field as well as an amount of wisdom and intelligence 
  • Everything starts with an understanding of the Field of Self. That means understanding and having an appreciation for awareness in three minds, The Physical, The Emotional and The Analytic, our responsibility to be in Choice and to take Accountability. 
  • Humility is required to know that we are not always in control of our state. It takes humility to step back and say “ I have some work to do on myself” 
  • Tom’s approach with teams is present based. He always listens carefully and senses into the field of teams. He often speaks with each individual member of the team to see how they experience the team. He simply starts where the team is and doesn’t lead with content or theory. 
  • Tom notices patterns of behaviours on teams and intervenes to help the team see its dynamic. 
  • He makes an important distinction between context and content. If you can notice the context and work with that the content is often that much richer. 
  • Tom shares The Cycle of Leadership suite of conversations-a model for how effective conversations can happen. 

-The first being a conversation for possibilities where a leader taps into the wisdom of the community or those around who might be impacted by his decisions. 

-The conversation as Declaration. This is where a future is declared, Conditions of Satisfaction are shared so that everyone is clear about the COS that need to be met for success. 

Conversations for Requests– sharing the who will take responsibility for what. 

-Finally and importantly Conversations for reflection This is where the team asks questions of itself, not just the project. Questions like “how are we?” This can serve as a healing conversation before a team gets too distorted. 

  • As Coaches and Practitioners we can be more influential on teams if we are willing to be courageous and call out that team members need to do work on themselves. 

Resources shared 

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