The 2018 Annual Member Conference in Los Cabos, Mexico included a podcast episode dinner with a few members of the Influence Ecology faculty. You’ll hear Vice President Drew Knowles, Dr. Gary Ward, James Walls, Marne Power and Suzanne Pool. Five people from five different countries as they dialogue about why Influence Ecology has become their tribe and speculate on the possibilities of the future and what may be in store for education and its role in people’s lives and society. Here’s the interview.
“I would like to see Transactionalism become a predominant conversation in the mid part of the 21st century, the prevailing discourse for what it is to be human.”
John: Thank you for being here for the “Dinner with the CEO.” At the table, we have Suzanne Pool from London in the United Kingdom, we have Marne Power from Charlottesville, Virginia in the United States, we have Dr. Gary Ward from Perth, Western Australia, we have Drew Knowles from Auckland, New Zealand and we have James Walls from Singapore all seated together. We also have the unique opportunity to represent the world at the table. I hope you find that as moving as I do, given that eight years ago we said, “Hey, we should start this little thing called Influence Ecology.” With that, thank you for accepting my invitation to dinner, I appreciate it greatly.
Suzanne Pool: Thank you.
John: You’re welcome. If you could each take a moment and just introduce yourself.
Suzanne Pool: My name is Suzanne Pool, I’m from London in the UK. Currently sitting in beautiful Los Cabos at the annual member conference for 2018. I first participated in Fundamentals of Transaction starting in April 2017. I’m not quite a year into being with Influence Ecology just yet but it has changed the way that I think about things from the very beginning.
John: Great, Marne.
Marne: Marne Power from Charlottesville, Virginia. I started participating… I look back it was 2011. I worked at the University of Virginia, and I am a learning specialist and coach. I’ve been with UVA for about four years but my love, my passion, my future, my everything is about Influence Ecology, and what I’ve learned here and the people here and I cannot imagine being anywhere else.
John: Thank you, Gary Ward.
Gary Ward: I’m from Perth in Western Australia. I first participated in Fundamentals of Transaction in 2013 and been at every annual conference since. I could give you a long dissertation about what I’ve learned and what my accomplishments are, but it’s best to leave that for another occasion. I said on my podcast at first conference I came to I realized I’d found my tribe and have been so impressed with this as a philosophical approach to life, as a way to accomplish greater aims in life. Lofty aims. I absolutely loved it and wanted to be part of it. It’s an enormous privilege to be here at this table with these extraordinary other people and to be a friend to you, John, an incredible privilege.
John: Thank you, likewise.
Drew: My name is Drew Knowles, I reside in Auckland, New Zealand. I’m a New Zealander as you can tell from the accent. I first participated in the Fundamentals of Transaction program in 2011, thanks to you, John. I’m sure there’s been many other podcasts or things where you tell the story of what Kirkland said to you, and I think it was a similar conversation that you had with me about where I was at with things in life. I was in my early 30s and I’ve had about 20 years now in training and education.
“This comes back to environment and tribe and somewhere where people can develop.”
John: All right, good and James.
James Walls: My name’s James Walls. I reside in Singapore, Singapore. I am a New Zealander, and I was lucky enough to be introduced to Influence Ecology by Drew about four and a half years ago now when Drew as an expert mind coach was helping me through some fairly fundamental breakdowns in terms of stress and those sorts of things. We did that for a year. That was at the time you’re doing your FOT.
Drew: That’s right, it’s just when I started it.
James: He was starting to say, “Hey, there’s something more here.” At that time, I had completed my MBA as much as I was going to and really found that to be an academic piece of work that needed something else to apply. He introduced me to the way you can apply all of that and actually get things achieved, and so that was the first part, actually fundamental. From that, what we’ve now done, we’ve now completed the curriculum. I think all three of us have been through Fundamentals of Transaction, and Mechanics and Practice and now completed MAP2 in time for this conference which is just phenomenal but I really could see two things.
Firstly, the difference we can make in people’s lives and one of the reasons I love leading FOT is you get to about paper eight and for some people the light goes on and they take ground and things happen in their lives and we go, “Wow, we’ve been able to be a part of that.” There’s nothing as satisfying as that. The other thing for me is that we can never stop learning and to go back and lead FOT, it forces yourself to embrace these distinctions you’ve got to be genuine about what you’re trying to talk about. You’ve got to be able to demonstrate that and that forcing yourself into that situation is for me probably the best education I can get, so thank you.
John: Thank you. For everyone in their journey, there’s this moment; I’ll say, that you go, “Wow, I think I’m going to be a part of this tribe.” And for everybody that was at a different point. First of all, I think it’s useful to say that in general if someone’s wondering what’s Influence Ecology, you could say, “Well, we’re a private business academy that specializes in Transactional Competence.
I don’t remember any conversation with anyone of you saying, “Hey, Marne, would you like some Transactional Competence?” Here you are, and now we’re all focused on that, and we’ve just spent an entire day conference on Transactional Competence. Drew, do you remember when you first had that, “I think this is my tribe, this is where I want to spend my time, this is where I want to invest my aims or where I want to have my aims get met.” Can you remember that moment?
Drew: I do, as I said earlier, I really did use the Fundamentals of Transaction program to focus and specialize and build a very successful consultancy practice reasonably short- lived but it was starting to make me some pretty good money and I really thought that was going to be what I’d continue down and all the writing I was doing around stress and the brain and starting to get a little bit notoriety in that area as an expert in that way, which is what you teach at Influence Ecology, is be the expert, be the specialist, be the name in the minds of your specific customer and that was starting to happen.
Then I was at annual member conference and we’re here at an annual member conference 2013. It’s 2018 now so this is my sixth annual member conference, it was my very first. Somewhere in Mechanics and Practice and delivering the Fundamentals of Transaction program training with you to deliver it. Very green, you could say still.
John: You’re still delivering that while constructing the offer?
Drew: Yes, I had my own business. Yes, my mind coaching, consultancy, yes. Basically, you and Kirkland were the only ones that were delivering the Fundamentals of Transaction at that point and I think because of my background of 12 years or so of program delivery and everything, you saw me as a possible fit for having somebody else who could deliver it and so part of my Mechanics in Practice was- and you guys figuring out how to train someone. It would have been only three months into that because that started in October 2012 and it was January 2013.
I remember sitting in conference, and it was either you and Kirkland or both of you. It was the first Founder Studies, and we were in that tiny little room, and you guys were just sort of practicing what you’re about to deliver at conference, sort of how Founder Studies started. It was let’s test in practice and practice, and you’ll get to get the distinctions a little early, and we’ll work through them together. It just got so rich as it does in the depths of the philosophy of Transactionalism and my big commitment as it always has been in my life to helping people and making a difference but not as practical as this.
I’d come from a background of just empower someone and make them feel great but not like, “Do you have a clear pathway to your aims?” I just remember thinking, “What the hell is this stuff? Whatever it is, this Transactionalism, I want in. I’m ready.” I said to Kirkland a few days later. I think right at the end of the conference; I said, “I’m in LA for a few days. I’d like to meet and talk about the future.” He set up a meeting with me at Coffee Bean in North Hollywood just near Kirkland’s house, and we met there and he tells me he thought I was a little bit flaky which is no surprise my performer kind of personality, the personality type that we study, and wasn’t sure about me when I came in the conference.
He thought I was a bit all over the place, and you knew me, but he didn’t. By the time I finished conference he had said, “Okay, there’s something about this guy.” I went into that meeting with him, and I practice what he said. I write down what I want to hear him say and I said, “So what are you doing with this? Where is it headed, what’s the future and what do you need?” He said, “I don’t have somebody to mentor or somebody to train who’s much younger to fulfill on and follow through with the sort of legacy.”
“I need something way more pragmatic, way more practical. I need the environment of people to call my tribe.”
John: This was my livelihood for many years, just my- that’s what I’m doing make a living. We’re starting a little training company here; we’re trying a little educational company or something and then suddenly you show up. It starts there to represent for us the opportunity of people saying, “Hey, I want to be a part of it, I would like to participate in this in some way.”
Drew, you, first and foremost, demonstrated to us and still today demonstrates to us the kind of ambition that we can always point to and say, “Drew is always on the — you’re like a surfer, you’re like on the very leading edge of the wave, always saying, ‘Give it to me, let me have it, I’ll take it, I’ll run with it? Can I lead? Can I lead now? Can I lead the whole thing?'” At each and every time. It’s been fantastic, and I really do thank you for all that you’ve done to lead the charge that way. When you went home and then told Paul, “Hey, we’re going to go to Ojai,” did he think you’re crazy?
Drew: Kind of, because I’d actually just September the year before had opened my own office. Paid the lease, I had this beautiful office, I had this big wide couch that was like a shrink’s couch so that my clients could like my own up to create this environment, I invested a fair bit in it, and I came back, and I’m taking my entire business online after July.
John: They must’ve you were bonkers a little bit.
Drew: Yes, absolutely. A lot of caution especially the most skeptical personalities of like, “Is this you just doing your thing again?”
John: Gary, did you have any of that too from people around you? You must be bonkers.
John: I mean it’s what we all deal with when somebody in our lives kind of says, “Okay, now look. What are you doing? What’s going on with you?” I think it’s useful for people listening to begin to hear that this may, in fact, be a place they’d like to hang out. I get the moment right that it happened and what happened but was it the practicalness that had you say, “I’m in.” Can you distinguish what that was?
Drew: The background of all the training I had to come from and I’m grateful for all the type of training I did but it just really fell short for me especially of so much possibility, so much enthusiasm, so much intention and I can do anything and just not grounded in reality about all that wonderful inspiring sort of energy being directed in the plan for in the right way and focused and having a pathway to money, work, career. Aims across so many areas of life.
I was just falling short, and I didn’t have a pathway. I didn’t have an axis. I had just a lot going for me is probably what I would say but so not directed, and I’m sure I would have wound up doing okay in life. I’m pretty damn determined but just not the kind of level of satisfaction, and that’s what I sought. This is the real deal here; you don’t get to pass-go unless you can actually articulate the pathway to the satisfaction of aims across many areas of life, no B.S.
John: A lot of head nodding on that one. Now, I want to go to Marne.
Marne: I was finishing my graduate school and that I didn’t finish until the end of 2012 and I started participating right before I finished but you had called me a year before that, and we kept talking.
John: That’s right.
Marne: We kept talking. I was like, “Oh my gosh, sounds brilliant. I’m getting my master’s; I’m full time working, I’m full time in school. I can’t do it.” Then you called me again, and then you made me an offer, and at that point in time I said, “Okay, I’m at the tail end I can do both.” Crazy thing to have done but I did it so I finished my master’s and started FOT at the same time.
John: Your Master’s is in?
Marne: Instructional Design and Technology.
John: All right, good. You finished that master’s, and you started the Fundamentals of Transaction, so for people listening it’s FOT, Fundamentals of Transaction and we number them sequentially so everyone knows kind of where they fall in the year of– Suzanne, you did FOT number?
John: FOT 50, right? Okay, so we purposely done that so that people can always going to go, “Okay we’re– what do you know that I don’t know?” And all of that. I called you earlier, and here we are again we’re talking, I made you an offer and then?
Marne: I accepted it, and I started FOT. For me, it was somewhere around four months, and we started to talk about career. At that time, I was in the sales profession and a profession that I was not proud of. I never told anybody what I did. I still am embarrassed to this day, but I sold timeshare. I was a timeshare salesperson.
John: Oh my God.
Marne: I know it’s highly embarrassing. I was very ethical in my sales, and I led group presentations so for me I didn’t have to do one-on-one sales where I had to do a lot of B.S. with people. I really got to do group presentations, but this whole notion of your identity and your value of your offer to help and I was thinking, “I can’t even tell people what I sell much less how helpful I could be.” I remember calling you up and saying, “John, I want to leave this stuff, what do I need to do?” You got me hooked up with a program called Leadership Intervention.
Did some training and we revised the whole thing in creative priority in practice, and I became the person that led Priority in Practice which I think is a phenomenal program that I’ve absolutely love. For me, it fulfilled everything to be able to lead this education, be able to lead that kind of a program. It became mine, so I was able to create things with it and do some things with it, and that’s when I knew, I knew in FOT that I wanted to be with this company and lead programs but while I was leading Priority in Practice that’s when I got really clear that my future was here. There’s some things for me to take care of but this is where my future is, and it was crystal clear.
John: You said there was something about– we were distinguishing or talking about career and that particular aspect of what we teach. What about that? It was just that you didn’t want your identity to be known as a…
Marne: As a timeshare salesperson. My offer of help, my value but all of my training was in making a difference, so 20 plus years in training and development of having an experience like Drew of really making a difference and here I am selling timeshares. Now, I know that it made a difference for people in their vacationing, but that’s not the kind of difference that I wanted to make. It was just really, really good money.
When we start to look at this whole idea of career, work, and money being separate, I was getting fulfilled in my money aims doing what I was doing, but I wasn’t happy. I was suppressed, my career aims were not being met. Working is work because I probably worked less than I’ve ever worked in my life making three times as much money. Work and money were fulfilled but career was not fulfilled. I lost sight of the experience of making a profound difference in people’s life. When I came here, I saw FOT, you and Kirkland making a profound difference in peoples’ lives.
Not in the same way I used to, but there was an impact. It was an impact that was clear; you couldn’t escape the impact that this education has on people’s life. I wanted that for my life, but I wanted to give that to others. I wanted to have that kind of experience in people’s lives again. I did that. I still do that, priority in practice.
John: Absolutely you do. Next in line was Gary. Have you had a similar kind of story?
Gary: Yes, I do. In lots of ways, very similar to Marne. I work as a doctor. That’s a pretty respected profession; it’s a great career. I was pretty satisfied with the money and the career. I was never quite satisfied enough with some aspect of the opportunity to make a difference. You always think that being a doctor, you make a profound difference in people’s lives and there are times when you do. You save people’s lives, and you deal with a lot of their suffering. I love that, but for some reason, I’ve always wanted to do a little extra.
I’d heard about this other education that I participated in and love that, but a lot of other people’s experience was while it satisfied some conditions of my life, I’m making a difference for people, it was not very helpful to my relationship. It took me away from Claire a lot. It often involved a high level of stress, a high level of anxiety about achieving some result, some measurement. It wasn’t really great for my health. I’d stay up late; I’d be working long hours.
My health was not supported by that. Someone who like the rest of you, Suzi Atwell called me up one day out of the blue and said, “Gary, there’s this open training coming to Perth, it’s this company called Influence Ecology. There’s this amazing guy from America coming, his name is John Patterson. He’s incredible, and this company’s been created just a few years ago. There’s this guy called Kirkland Tibbels.”
Gary: I was like, “That’s a funny name.” I can accept John Patterson but… anyway, I came to the training and as I have been in the past a little skeptical side of me. I’m the doctor; I got a reputation to maintain. For me, the pretense prior to coming to Influence Ecology was that I’d been caught up in something and that was Claire’s impression. That I was taken away by something that was like a passion, it was a calling that I needed to follow this. Now, I’ve got to make this difference. It’s going to transform the world, that whole kind of stuff.
When I completed that, I was left with a bit of a void in a way, but when I heard the presentation from you I was like, “This is interesting, but I’m not ready to join anything else just yet. I don’t want to join something.” Claire was quite wary of it as well. The next time there was an open training in Perth, Suzi invited me again, and I was obviously intrigued the first time. At one of them, you did the exercise in which you separated everyone in the room into the four transactional personalities. That was a moment where I went, “Wow. I can see that. I can see those performers over there all bright and chirpy and those judging kind of people looking all gray and serious.”
I think that was a moment where I went, Yes, I want to participate in this.” I think the second time you came back I was ready to sign up already. Then went through FOT and just loved it and started to apply it to some of the aspects of my life. I think the moment was when we’re presented with the opportunity to register for the conference. I was like, “This sounds exciting.” I said to Claire, “Let’s go. Let’s go to Los Angeles and go to Ojai and go to the conference.”
I think it was that first conference that I went to. I think that was the moment where I had that experience of, “Wow. I found my tribe.” Meeting people like– the person that came to mind when I was thinking of this was Anna Bilav, who is not here now. I remember I said to talk about the kind of medicine that I saw that I could offer to people, which is beyond every day just treating people in Perth.
Medical knowledge applied to, or a more holistic perspective of medicine in which you not only deal with people’s breakdowns but you deal with building some surplus in their health. She said to me, “If you ever get that program sorted, I know some very wealthy families in the US who would be interested in this. Call me when that’s done.” I was like, “Wow.” She talked about being in touch with some of the wealthiest families.
I had that experience of being surrounded by an incredible body of incredibly smart, accomplished people who were there to accomplish their own aims, but as well and almost equal to their own aims, were there to help other people. That blew me away. I think that was probably the moment where I was very clear that this was something that I wanted to be part of.
John: Excellent. All right, very good. Next in line was James. What was the moment that you said, “This is my tribe,”?
James: Part of the way through doing FOT, we had the first mid-year conference in Auckland that I attended. To walk into the room on day one to see you at the front as a striking and somewhat intimidating figure.
John: That cracks me up. I know me.
James: This whole oozing competence. It’s not oozing confidence, but oozing competence. To me, that’s an intimidating thing because the whole reason for looking at this was to understand what elite performance look like. To walk into that room and to have you doing that, to have Drew doing what he does, which I’d already experienced. Then to see a list of Elizabeth Tissa, to see a Natalie Martini, to see a Paul Rossi in action. I went, “Wow. There is a game here and I better step up to this game.” It really appealed to that sight.
Then to go to Annual Member Conference and to have those people in support when you’re confronted with a Peter Burgraf and a Joanna Burgraf, and a Troy Frost, and a Paul Delano, and Angela Meharg, and a Marcus Bell. To have Marcus Bell stand up to Kirkland when Kirkland says, “You dress like that?” He said, “I don’t know. This is what my stylist chose for me.”
James: This is the surplus I have. [laughs] That was it. It’s to the lift up to that level and to be held to that level and have to account to that level and to learn from that level, and to be part of that level, that’s the tribe.
John: For you, it was about the tribe itself, the Ecology itself and being elevated to some level of competence. You saw all the competence in the room and so forth. For you, Marne, it was the identity that you feared you might have if you didn’t alter it.
John: For you, Gary, it sounds like you saw a pathway to satisfying an aim you’ve had for medicine. That medicine could be preventative, or that health could be preventative rather than perhaps the model that it’s been, something like that.
Gary: A more holistic view. I think it is this health, happiness, and prosperity is important for people’s health. I think I was keen to do more than just take care of people’s health.
John: Then for you Drew, it was something to do with that you saw a clear pathway to satisfy your aim, just do this and I will satisfy my aims.
Drew: Yes, if I can be part of this and I have a piece of it because of what I would have to be occupied by and delivering it and everything, yes, just all of my conditions of life. As we teach, you need to have a primary business offer that could satisfy all your aims, and that’s what dawned upon me, but there was also the aspect for me of I’d spent so much of my life studying the physiological aspect of human beings, the biological aspect, the linguistic nature.
The way I used to talk about it was I found this third domain or third dimension of our humanity or our being human which was this transactional nature. I was pretty adept and steeped and very competent at teaching people, train them in the biological and linguistic parts of their being human. It was just like this natural extension that I didn’t even know existed of those domains to now add to my whole I suppose depth of learning and to get to teach that because you cover the other two anyway in the studies of transactional competence. There was that side of it too.
John: Then there comes, Suzanne. We’ve heard different reasons of how people now have found their tribe, different aims altogether different, totally different aims yet all satisfied through a particular process. For you, what had you say, “This is my tribe,”?
Suzanne: For me, it is really about the content. I’ve never come across something that expands the view of life and participating in the world to make a difference as other people have alluded to, but from a very intellectual perspective, I’m a lawyer by training, I like to think that I am relatively intelligent.
John: A very successful lawyer.
Suzanne: I’ve had a good career, I have a degree from Cambridge, and I’m an accomplished lawyer in London, I’ve had a good career. I always found that my intellectual needs weren’t properly met and stimulated by any of the education I was participating in prior to Influence Ecology. From the first moment of starting FOT, I was reading through some of the content, and I was looking at it, and I said, “I understand what each one of those words means individually, but collectively I do not understand what these sentences mean.” That doesn’t happen, I draft contracts for a living, so writing complicated sentences and interpreting them is something I am skilled at.
I was struck by, what is this that these words collectively do not make sense to me? I was like, “That’s interesting.” Like some of the others have mentioned, I then came to my first midyear conference in, Tucson, Arizona in the summer when I was about halfway through FOT and just the quality of the people in that environment. The conversation that you and I had, John, before the conference started that first night was what have me say, “This is more than just something I want to study, this is something that I want to stick a flag in the ground and say, ‘I support this, and I want to see this grow and get involved in this.'”
The intellectual stimulation and then the expansion that comes in an ambitious group of people because I don’t know many environments where it’s possible to stand and say, “You know what? I’m driven, and I’m ambitious, I have aims in life, and I seek to fulfill them, and I’m looking for help, and I’m also willing to help others in support of those aims.” That’s a community to be part of, that’s why.
John: Fantastic. I have some other questions but is there anything that you guys want to ask one another or any response that you have to anything that anyone else said?
James: The thing that strikes me is that there is two sides to the same coin, this tribe notion is either driven aims, of course, you define the tribe or the tribe enables you to distinguish the aims.
Gary: Yes, it is something like the lofty aim that I see from a philosophical perspective like a context for living life. That if this philosophy was out there, more in the world would make a massive difference.
John: What do you say that? Because I don’t disagree, and I think everybody at the table might say, “Well, I agree with that statement,” but why would you say that?
Gary: The way I see it is that many people can accept if you’re in a conversation with them that we are a critter in the environment where we are biological, we rely on the environment. It doesn’t take long to persuade people that that’s what we are, we are not that different to the other creatures. Then the one other things that gives us success as a species is a linguistic nature of it, but then to have it illuminated, how much we are reciprocal in nature for exchange animals and part of our success as a species is because of that.
I think for me, it’s unconscious and to have heard the constructed narrative that there was a time when we operated to get what we wanted by self-acting, praying to the mountain gods or whatever, viewing everything as being imbued with spirit that you had some command over. To moving to an interactional model which is kind of where I see we are now, the politics and the way families often operate and husbands and wives often operate is in an interactional mode of operating. To have as the basic way that human beings consciously operate is through transaction with the reciprocal nature where everyone in the transaction wins would transform the world, a big picture I know.
John: Absolutely. Any other things anyone wants to say or ask of one another?
Suzanne: I want to touch on what Gary said, which is that for me one of the things that I find most fascinating about participating with Influence Ecology is the understanding that we’re not all good at everything. We don’t need to be good at everything, we don’t need to be super talented and special at everything, we all have unique abilities. In recognizing what our unique abilities are and our personality strengths are and focusing on those, that enables us to fulfill our own aims and acknowledge that others have their own aims.
It is transactional, so it stops being a you and me scenario but a we scenario where everyone recognizes each of our individual abilities and unique strengths and works together to produce a bigger, better, more effective whole. That for me is what is transformative about what we do in Influence Ecology, that recognition. The corporate world likes to talk about working in teams but actually, silos is a more common mentality, and everyone is responsible for their little bit, and they don’t talk to anybody else.
Actually, the recognition that things move in a circular way and everyone has a part to play in that revolution and it is a revolution, literally, is what makes Influence Ecology different from anything else, I know of anyway. I am grateful for the founders’ diligence in pursuit of the thinking.
John: Thank you and that lead me to the next piece which is, because this is transactional, in other words, it’s not me saying to you, “This is where we’re going.” It’s us in the dialogue to discover or perhaps inquire into what are the possibilities for this education in the world and how might we utilize it and where might we take it. We’re always in a discourse with you. This next question really is, where do you see this thing headed?
Currently, right now, just to give people a sense of Influence Ecology, we have members participating in 15 countries around the world. There are people that are participating in webinars and listening to podcasts in 64 countries around the world. We have enough people participating to start a small academy or college or university. In your view, where do you see this headed in the next three, five, ten years? Perhaps even what might your role be in that? What do you see about the future in this education?
Suzanne: There is very few people currently that participate in Europe that know about Influence Ecology is growing, but it’s not something that’s known in the current, as we say, in the European marketplace. 18 months ago the UK voted to leave the European Union for whatever reason, and that’s progressing, Europe is dividing. I see the expansion of Influence Ecology making more people aware of Transactionalism as a philosophy and a way of thinking about human relationships will make a difference to Europeans in the world and I stand by that.
I am developing something myself that’s unique to me but then also working with Influence Ecology. I would like to see Transactionalism become a predominant conversation in the mid part of the 21st century, the prevailing discourse for what it is to be human. That would be a conversation worth having, that would as a few of us have said, be transformative in a way that I think possibly the United Nations was conceived of in the ’40s but never really fulfill that aim where people come together with a commonality and respect for difference.
James: It’s great that you’re thinking on the development of the philosophy because that’s the opposite of where I go. I want to develop the application. There’s brains much greater than mine around this table and around the ecology that are developing the philosophy. I want to see it put into practice and what I’ve seen through my own experience is my pathway to help make the world a better place is if people are satisfied and their biology and their work, their money, their career and what we call the biological and linguistic conditions, then they start to think about, “How am I going to leave this world? How am I going to develop it? What’s the legacy for a better life for those I care about?”
While you can translate the big picture, and that’s hugely needed, I always see my path in this in terms of, “Okay, so now what do we do with it?”
James: Let’s take it somewhere and let’s teach people. Teach them how to fish. I also see with you and Kirkland those two sides to that.
John: Oh my gosh, absolutely.
James: I look forward to working more closely in your domain. It’s great that we’ve got– taken care of by so many people in each of those different nuances.
John: I’m inspired Susanne by what you said. Deeply inspired by what you said, and then I’m deeply inspired by what you said, James, because both represent parts of the transaction cycle that are important.
James: As inventors can kind of see the big picture, but it’s like, “Well, we just got to get it done now.” We want to see it happen.
Drew: Being so entrenched in the organization, and one of the partners of the company and being so inside it in that way and seeing it in the last five years, for me, being responsible for the sales in our company and the business side of it, I’m always inspired by the philosophy and transforming countries and people and everything like that, but I’ve become such a pragmatist. I see it as we’ll be expanding enough that we need, either bricks and mortar, or agencies or whatever it might be where as the form of our philosophy, which is, you’re an organism in an environment, and you’re a co-constituent element of that, and you rely on your environment.
Having a virtual education’s great because so many people can participate and its low cost but, there’s so much value in local areas, local environments as you heard everyone say about coming to conference.
Drew: I think conference has been the only place really where people could get that, so where I see it headed is local areas having places where people then come together and transact. There’s that side of it; then I think it would need to get into an institutional level, either academic or some form of a place where people can go study it generally, but not the kind of intense business education we teach where it’s so consequential. Like they are just going to study Transactionalism and the philosophy, and it’s well applied but not necessarily like the kind of way we teach it now.
Then there’s these other mentionings I have which is quite personal. Some years ago, through Influence Ecology, I realized I have got such a utopic view of how I’d love to have every person on the planet happy and transformed. I think, Gary, you and I are sort of cut from the same cloth in that way. Would love to touch everybody, you know deep in the heart, and I tried that. I mean I really was, and it was fulfilling but it just, it seemed impossible.
Then I thought, “Well what if I was able to really influence major influencers?” People who have a role or like a CEO or someone who they do impact, and what if I could mentor them, or coach them, or train them, which is a little bit of what I got to do prior to Influence Ecology. I also see, for a much faster uptake and maybe a tipping point or a like a viral type uptake, is if at some point we do get hold of, or we’re allowed to work with some key leaders and politicians.
It’s like we won’t really be the ones that are acknowledged for it, we will but, it’ll be coming out of their mouth in the media that they’re– Like that was so not transactional the way that politician did that and people are like, “What the hell is that leader saying? They’re doing such a good job, so what is this thing?” Sort of a business arm of Influence Ecology, the institutional, academic, university whatever it is. Then the key players that we’re actually the specialists who train them, but they are the mouthpiece for it, for us. That’s just one thing I’ve sort of imagined.
Marne: Very similar to some of what you’ve said, I’ve envisioned that. I look at things, and I don’t even know every direction we’re heading, but I also see there’s a whole social aspect that we can work with people that are working with those that don’t know what their aims are. Those that are underprivileged that don’t have some of the opportunities, and what would it be like if they learned Transactionalism, and they started to do those kinds of things? I look at Transactionalism as an academic institution. Personally, I’d like an EVA, but we’ll continue that different conversation elsewhere.
Then I do see that what we’re doing in terms of training people that are ambitious adults, but there’s another population that I think as we expand, that because we’re so great at working with ambitious adults, that maybe we can work with some of those who just don’t have the same opportunities, and what that would be like. Those that are underprivileged, but ambitious, but they don’t even know they’re ambitious because they don’t have the same opportunities we’ve had, and finding some of those and the impact that those folks can have in the world.
James: This comes back to environment and tribe and developing somewhere where people can develop.
Drew: Also, as we say, everything becomes obsolete, all specialized knowledge eventually will start to become general. I think what we don’t realize or what we don’t know or might reflect on in later years is that we all became specialists in Transactional Competence and Transactionalism, as people who started it. It’ll have to trickle down if we want it to become a thing that people just transact. It’ll have to become more general, and maybe people won’t do it or be transacting at the levels say we do, because we are the specialists.
I can’t imagine what it would take to try and get the kind of volume of people we’re imagining, but I would love to think that Transactional competence or Transactionalism could become general knowledge of sorts. Which sounds like we never want it to become general knowledge because then we’ll be out of business, but I don’t think so because there’ll be the levels that which you can apply it that really satisfy lofty aims, but how back to what you’ll speaking to Marne of it could really generally help people if they even just got a little taste of it and knew we’re transacting. We’re in an exchange rate now so how about you don’t behave that way or something, but it’s from a more transactional perspective.
“I would love to think that Transactional Competence or Transactionalism could become general knowledge.”
Gary: I can see similarities in medicines. There is general knowledge that health includes a whole lot of structures in your body. What’s been learned in the medical discipline is now general knowledge, about there’s a heart here, and most people are a bit vague about where the parts of the body are, but they have a good general idea that there are bits to the body. If it starts to break down, where you go to is an expert, a medical practitioner.
Within the disciple of medicine, there are subspecialties as well, so I can see that opportunity for us to be specialists in Transactionalism. While most people operate as Transactionalists, there would still be breakdowns, and they’ll need specialized help to solve some problem from a transactional perspective in a big organization.
John: Well, in my personal aims, I’m 55 years old, and in ten years I plan to retire. Maybe five. I don’t know, whatever it might be better. Some point I plan to retire, and in that, I only mean that I plan on no longer working in the way that I am now. I cannot imagine spending the rest of my life fishing.
John: That wasn’t ever the cloth I was cut from, but as I sit here today, I am extremely grateful that something we’ve started eight years ago has already taken such ground and that in five years, or in 10 years, I completely trust that it’s in the right hands. It’s in the right hands already, and I know there are many people not at this table to acknowledge for their contribution to this. There are many people not at this table to acknowledge for all they’ve done to expand what we do, to teach what we do, to introduce this to communities and places around the world, but I’m happy, and I know Kirkland, if he were here, would be very very grateful for your contribution to the future of this endeavor.
I thank you for the future you’ve envisioned and for the work you’ll unfold in all the ways that this will begin to ripple on out into the world. I thank you for that.
James: That deserves a toast.
John: I think that does deserve a toast. Absolutely. Absolutely well. As always, there may be something I didn’t ask or something you’d love to say. I just want to give you a moment to say anything else that you’d like to, about anything.
James: In the vain of some of the things that we’ve been talking about, I had an experience building my own competence and meeting my aims with health. I ended up sponsoring our cycling club as part of getting into that and creating an environment in which I was compelled to meet my health aims. One of the consequences of being able to do that was that as sponsor, we introduced our company’s favorite charity and unbeknownst to me, met an unrealized aim for the club to have a greater purpose.
We’ve now got a situation where the cycling club has put a not insignificant amount of money through very quick fundraising towards helping communities in Africa through providing industrial strength bicycles to children to get to school and to parents to get to markets and things like that. I’m now seeing members of the club picking up on that charity with their own endeavors to raise funds that are prompted by ours. We always say that it only takes one Transactionalist and that to me was stunning that I was able to make a difference in a way that I hadn’t contemplated because other people caught onto an aim that they hadn’t realized they had. To me, that was part of what we’re doing.
John: That’s very cool. Marne?
Marne: I think one of the things that I so appreciate about this education and I so love, and we’ve talked about it, we’ve alluded to it is it rests on the transactional behavior and personalities. It’s so much more than that. It’s an opportunity for somebody to do the thinking, the work to get clear of what they want in our life. People don’t do that. That’s not something that people commonly spend a lot of time getting clear and then in getting clear saying, “You know what? What I’m doing now is right, this isn’t it. I need to invent something different.”
You come into Influence Ecology, and you’re accepted. Your different personality, it’s accepted, it’s appreciated, it’s acknowledged, it’s loved. You don’t have to be anything other than you. There’s not a lot of places where you get to just go be you. When you’re not being you, somebody points and says, “I’m not so sure about you. That’s not quite you.” You once said to me, “I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s really you. That just seems like more like your past education coming in,” and I got challenged to think. That’s not experienced anywhere. If people woke up to this, there’s a lot of people who wouldn’t do what they’re doing right now. They would realize this is not the right job.
No wonder I’m suffering because they’re trying to get me to do producer work and I need freedom, and I can go be with people, and they want me to do paperwork and transactional paperwork. To get that, it’s priceless. It really is priceless, and that’s the other stuff I like about our education.
John: Anything else for you.
Drew: I think for anyone listening, there’s just so many kinds of people that come participate here. Some people have significant breakdowns in money, and different areas and some people are already Ph.D.’s and money is handled and retired, and they’re up for other conditions of life, but everyone comes here to satisfy and deal with some areas of life that they’re wanting to work on.
I think the depth and breadth that we already have and continued depth and breadth of people is why people are attracted to this, and I’m the one that gets to talk to them a lot. As you know, John, we get potential new customers, and I don’t care who they are. We’ve all got stuff going on. None of us are perfect. Most about us I think at some level, we have B.S.’d ourselves into saying we’re more satisfied than we are and it’s just really humbling to find such accomplished, successful people who are willing to just go, “You know what? It’s not it yet.”
I need something way more pragmatic, way more practical. I need the environment of people to call my tribe or whatever you want to call it that you’re going to– like you said James, just raise me up to a level where I don’t have to rely on myself to meet all my aims.
James: I need help.
Drew: I need help, exactly. The willingness to ask for help and we’re terrible with that and when you’re willing to ask for help. It’s here in droves.
John: I think it’s a great place to stop.
The Influence Ecology Faculty Represented:
John Patterson – Co-Founder and CEO, Ventura, California
Drew Knowles – Vice President, Auckland, New Zealand
Marne Power – Program Leader, Charlottesville, Virginia
Dr. Gary Ward – Program Leader, Perth, Western Australia
James Walls – Program Leader, Republic of Singapore
Suzanne Pool – Associate Client Manager, London, United Kingdom
Influence Ecology is the leading business education in transactional competence.
Those who transact powerfully, thrive.™
Interested in learning more about Influence Ecology, our programs or our members?