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Adaptive Culture SIG - June 2023 (VIRTUAL)

  • 14 Jun 2023
  • 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
  • 52


  • For established partner organizations, including TODN, ICF, and established ATD Chapter partnerships

Registration is closed




Personal: Collaboration & Leadership
Personal: Cultural Awareness & Inclusion

Personal: Lifelong Learning

Professional: Career & Leadership Development

Organizational: Organization Development & Culture
Organizational: Talent Strategy & Management

Organizational: Performance Improvement
Organizational: Change Management
Organizational: Future Readiness


Experience working with members of our talent development and organization development organizations who show interest in culture change and adaptive cultures reveals that most do not understand the critical importance of involuntary activities to these topics. We will interactively explore a new path forward for conquering adaptive-culture barriers in the context of other major challenges we face in society.

We have reached the point where we must formally recognize and systematically respond to the fact that we operate in two distinct modes. We have a thinking mode that consumes most of our awareness and where we create our intentions. We also have an automatic mode that operates outside of our normal awareness and independent of our intentions. This automatic mode is already widely recognized including through psychology’s unconscious and subconscious activities and by noticing counterproductive behavior habits that people normally cannot control. However, digital technologies have now created a world of increasing changes and easy manipulations to where we have reached the point where failing to understand and manage involuntary activities is causing unacceptable problems in many areas of society including in business and in our personal lives.

Our automatic activities are frustratingly elusive because we cannot directly observe how they operate internally. However, we have a specific, extremely powerful type of involuntary activity that in addition to being elusive, is chronically illusive – it routinely deceives us. This mechanism produces our certainty illusions. These obscure mental processes create intense certainties or beliefs because that is how people experience them. They produce tenacious illusions in people because they operate independent of realities outside of their mind. Colloquially, we also know this mysterious phenomenon as the “box,” which we often lament that we have trouble thinking outside of. You will learn why the chronic ubiquitous inability to recognize and manage this perennially mysterious aspect of human nature is the underlying reason that adaptive cultures have been so difficult to create and maintain.

We will explore together our current state of development for adaptive cultures by noting that we often use metaphors, such as “soft” and “status quo” to identify intractable business problems. We will also discuss glaring examples of business leaders succumbing to simplistic solutions when they desperately needed a robust theory to solve success-determining problems.

The presenter recently completed a book manuscript, Growing Up Is Hard to Do! – The Urgent Need for the West to Transform, which explores the widespread and growing impact of certainty illusions. It also directly addresses our problem of adaptive cultures. Some members of our organizations are currently reading it and have promised to provide feedback. The presenter/author is prepared to provide a few more complementary copies to people in our professional community who want to take advantage of this opportunity to move to a discontinuously higher level of capabilities. This will provide an empowering opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of widespread involuntary activities and their increasing impact on many areas of our lives including creating adaptive cultures. The status quo about understanding and managing the status quo is no longer viable. If you would like to take advantage of this offer to obtain the manuscript so you can understand how the enigmatic mechanism of certainty illusions impacts your career, other aspects of your life, and many deteriorating aspects of society, in exchange for mutually beneficial feedback, contact: Barry@2Selfs.com


Barry Borgerson, Ph.D.

Barry Borgerson has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a retired executive in the computer industry who rose through a series of promotions from computer designer to technical manager to general manager with a peak level of thousands of employees in multiple locations in the US and Europe. After encountering involuntary resistance to culture changes in a failing business he took over, Dr. Borgerson launched a long-term effort to understand at the fundamental level why smart and knowledgeable people would just passively watch themselves and their business fail. He eventually broadened the theory he developed to cover interactable problems in many areas of human activities and verified its effectiveness by coaching leaders through systematic, reliable behavior and culture changes. Barry founded and co-led the ADT-RTA Culture-Change SIG and then co-founded and co-leads our joint ATD/TODN Adaptive-Culture SIG.

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