Think back to your life ten years ago.
How old were you?
What were you working to accomplish?
What was happening?
In 2009 Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. Governments around the world pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system, hoping to avert another Great Depression. Michael Jackson died under strange circumstances. The deadliest bushfires in Australian history left 173 people dead and more than 2000 homes destroyed. For more, see Historical Events 2009.
In May of 2009, after a two-decade career in training and development, I took a job for a television editing company working on programs for NBC Universal. I sold most of my things and moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and slept on Kirkland’s sofa until I found a place to live. Working with the producers of Chicago talk shows, I was to pitch new television programs in Hollywood. Kirkland was already working in Hollywood, developing screenplays and working with a group of Young Business Professionals (YBP) in the local chamber.
Throughout our many afternoon walks, enlightening dinners, and late-night discussions, we talked about educational material that Kirkland was developing for the YBP. He had begun to compile the content thirty years prior while working with varied groups of entrepreneurs studying a vibrant mix of business strategy, sales approaches, and philosophy. He challenged my naïveté and hubris. We explored a bright future where our histories might merge. I urged that we launch something now. He would pump the breaks.
Here is a small sample from a YBP paper at that time:
YBP supports its participants in their pursuit of a healthy, happy, and prosperous life. This is accomplished by being a powerful and effective resource through practical and relevant educational programs, powerful networks of support, and associating with highly successful business professionals. YBP training and development programs are designed to focus participants on the important and applicable distinctions that are needed most at this stage in their personal and business lives.
I began to integrate Kirkland’s YBP lessons into my knowledge of the people-environment relationship developed through my bachelor’s in environmental design. This education seeded my career in training others in how the physical-narrative environment shapes our performance. To practice my integration and test the waters, I took to writing a daily blog as an experiment in an abstract concept arising from the culmination of our talks:
Influence Ecology–Situation, Saturday, October 03, 2009
The health of the fish is given by the water. Healthy water, healthy fish; dirty water, dead fish. Human beings do best when tending to their water. ‘Water’ for human beings takes many forms. This series is about tending to those many forms of water. Tending to the ‘water’ rather than simply tending to ‘you’ requires an awareness of forces that shape and impact the you that you are.
Esteemed Alumni Brandon Hollembeak (along with others) began reading the blog. It quickly captured the attention of a growing audience interested in associating with highly successful business professionals and putting themselves in healthy water.
We speculated on a developmental six-month program based on four YBP papers Kirkland had written. As a performer, he was talking about “a possibility.” True to inventor form, I heard, “let’s do this!” and launched an email to sixty people. On October 23, 2009, I declared to Kirkland that “it’s called Influence Ecology, and to date, I have four people registered and paid to start a program on January 12, 2010.” I remember the look on his face as a mix of confusion, excitement, and weighty obligation. He slept on it, and the next morning consented.
Over the next year, we wrote and rewrote many versions of the Fundamentals of Transaction Program (“FOT”). We led our first program on a free conference call line, and participants received and submitted study papers via email. Each FOT would get a newly edited version of the prior program. We co-founded the company and brought in CFO Darryl Anderle. I focused on selling until Drew Knowles joined us in 2012.
In the past ten years—together—we have developed a rigorous four-year curriculum. Our programs have spread to fifteen countries, almost exclusively by word-of-mouth. Many thousands have attended our programs and local workshops. Our podcast listeners download in 99 countries. In 2019 we developed and tested our enterprise programs in US Fortune 200 companies and are working to scale. Kirkland has since earned a master’s in philosophy and has been accepted into a doctoral program for transactional philosophy. We published the book and articles on Transactionalism, which now populates dictionaries across the internet. We have successfully launched and lead the category of Transactional Competence™. Our thirty-plus stakeholders include staff, program faculty, client managers, esteemed alumni, and enterprise consulting partners.
In 2019, a sixteen-member board launched The Institute of Transactional Philosophy, a non-profit organization devoted to the continued development of applied transactional philosophy. The mission is to provide an environment of inspired and open inquiry that offers educational resources aimed at the continued development of the philosophy of transactionalism. The aim is to promote the philosophy of transactionalism as an inclusive, interdisciplinary, and action-oriented inquiry into the pressing and most important issues facing humanity today.
In 2030, I’ll be 68. Kirkland will be 70.
How old will you be?
If you could look back from 2030 toward 2020, what do you imagine your truly satisfying decade would look like?
What will you have built? What will you have accomplished?
That is what we’ll construct at the 2020 Annual Member Conference in Ojai: A new decade of satisfaction.
Welcome to Conference 2020!
 Kirkland Tibbels, Article, Young Business Professionals: Our Offer and Promise, November 16, 2009.
 John Patterson, Blog Post, Influence Ecology-Situation, October 03, 2009.
Links to Articles and Resources in This Newsletter
- The Philosophy of Transactionalism
- 2020 Annual Member Conference: Our 10-Year Anniversary Homecoming (members only)
- M2 Magazine: How Resilient Are You? Why do some quit while others bounce back?
- Share Your Own News (members only)
- Esteemed Alumni Podcast: How Resilient Are You? with Kim Corbett
- R.E.S.P.E.C.T. with Dawn Spiller, Jenn Oliver, Carolyn Saint, Ellen Beverly, and Olga Kipnis at the University of Virginia School of Medicine
- Annual Member Conference Facebook Group (Members Only)
Influence Ecology is the leading business education in Transactional Competence™. Our specialized study helps ambitious professionals construct transactions that accelerate results. Our practical and rigorous study programs help you face the behaviors, practices, and naïveté that keep you from satisfying your work, career, and financial aims.
Having published the only comprehensive text on the subject, Transactionalism: An Historical and Interpretive Study by Trevor J. Phillips, Co-Founder Kirkland Tibbels has authored more than 500 papers on the subject, study, and discipline of transactional competence and is a sought-after lecturer at universities, major corporations, and civic organizations around the world.
Influence Ecology’s curriculum includes conferences, webinars, online tools, podcasts, and mentorship utilized by men and women in over seventy countries across the globe. Our membership includes an international assembly of accomplished professionals, faculty, and peers from a variety of countries, industries, and cultures.