Funnel Ideas for Innovation

In the process of creating our new book we stumbled aon nd became aware of a creative exercise process we used that suprisingly was possible to document. It is rather unconventional and draws on our intuitive open-mindedness as well as a willingness to be non-attached to both process and outcome. In fact, one often does not recognize the process until you have completed it, nor may you be aware that it is a repeatable process. You may have experienced this with others and not known just quite what happened.

We have given this process a name and documented it in our new book Tri-namics: Leadership Wisdom for the Health System. I share this with you in this blog in the hopes that you may discover and experience it for yourself. For us, it was quite magical. We liken it to scribbling on a napkin with a gem of a new idea- a eureka moment!

The process is 16 steps long, rather too many to put here, however here is a taste and it may encourage you to notice something new in your dialogue with others. This is a joint dialogue process, not a coaching conversation, although there may be elements and principles of coaching principles recongnizable in this process. Here are the first 3 of 16 steps to whet your appetiite.

1. You seek something- not sure what
2. You begin to think with people
3. You share thoughts, hunches, questions

From this you then listen, observe, respect, express and dont express, record or not, emerge and wait for pacing and aha’s. It culimnates in innovation. We call this process "Funnel Creativity Process for Innovation". It is located in the Decision Making exercise in Tri-namics.

This resource has over 40+ exercises and 12 applications to experiement with and grow your own and others leadership.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Deepening Wisdom

The authoring process of creating our third Tri-namics book has come to a close for my business partner Erna Hagge and I as we just sent it off for printing. We have spent every spare minute over the last year and a half dreaming, researching, innovating, writing draft after draft, rewriting and editing together. The process itself of co-creation challenges us at the most basic level. We use words to represent our thoughts and then interpret meaning. We constantly found ourselves bumping into each other on the meaing of words and would digress into a deeper, wiser learning conversation. For example, how we feel about a value is not the same as what we think about a value and the simple discovery that we approach values differently brought us new perspectives. The power of conversation and dialogue to get to shared meaning we experienced over and over and over again.

Our Tri-namics book is meant to stimulate thinking and dialogue with its many tools, exercises, resources, models, and provocative coach approach questions. In our development process we used our second book, Tri-namics: Provocative Questions for Leadership Wisdom not only as a base for this new book, but also to guide us in the process, Using our own tools in this context and modeling what we hope others will discover was quite a remarkable journey. Sometimes we would look at each other in awe and say ” My goodness, this is so great- how is it that we wrote it and just now are appreciating the depth of the wisdom in the words?” Creating our written work, then reflecting on it and finally innvoating something new is the core framework of Tri-namics and we found ourselves rather unintentionally, but probably subconsciously following this pattern.

Erna and I have completed this phase of creation. Now we move into a new phase of bringing our work forward into the world. Tri-namics: Leadership Wisdom for the Health Profession is fully aligned with LEADS in a Caring Environment, the newly adopted national capabilities framework for leadership development in the health and healthcare system. It is our first custom edition for a specific industry and designed for all levels of health leaders. There are multiple applications for using this and it is based on self-directed adult learning principles. Use it on your own for self-development, with a coach or mentor, in a triad or Coaching Triangle, as a base resource to design or extend programs and workshops, for team development or at its most sophisticated level as a full organizational learning system. Health leaders will find the language familiar, appreciate the evidence-based referencing, and find familiar and leading-edge resources.

Although we will miss the intensity of our own writing creation, we look forward to seeing the delight in the eyes of leaders as they experience their own personal magic with Tri-namics. Leaders are developed in many ways and the word leadership is not easily defined. We do know from our experience with our clients that Tri-namics enhances the leadership journey and can become your best leadership thinking partner just when you need it.

Over the next while in this blog I will be sharing some of the tooks and exercises in Tri-namics and the benefits of some of the applications- so hope you are able to catch some of this. Tri-namics will also be showing up in videos on YouTube, opportunities for e-leanring and webinars, more learning on LinkedIN, Facebook and Twitter and who knows maybe some radio/TV spots as well as more blogs and articles. We will have some fun reaching out to others to share some testimonials and later more research on Tri-namics.

If you are curious to know more please visit our websites.

Deberna International- publishing and licensing innovative learning resources,

Debbie’s website: DP Leadership Associates

Erna’s website: Hagge Global Institute

Tri-namics books are available directly from the authors or through licensed Tri-namics Consultants. Not available in bookstores or other online sellers. Our clients our generally organizations, individuals working in organizations or coaches/consultants/faciltators/trainers who would like to use Tri-namics with their clients. However, anyone can purchase even just one book from us- we are delighted to share. Aspiring youth have found great value in using Tri-namics.

Contact Debbie by phone or text message at 1-604.209.5069 or email at Oh, and how much does it cost for a book? Only $49 CAD or US plus shipping/ handling of about $10 depending on where you are. That is all. Oh, and also some of the profit from the book sales goes back to the LEADS in a Caring Environment collaborative folks through the Canadian College of Health Leaders to sustain and extend the research underpinning the framework. Thanks in advance if you decide to share a link or some information on Tri-namics-it seems that we learn about the best things from those we stumble upon or know well.

Posted in Hlealth Leaders, Tri-namics | Leave a comment

2012 Leadership Gifts

How will you use your leadership gifts in 2012? Perhaps in order to use them you need to know what they are. What are your leadership gifts? Are you outstanding at leading yourself through your own ife by setting goals, motivating yourself, knowing how you affect and influence others and what is important to you? Perhaps you are able to influence others and engage them in critical, important and transformational conversation. Or maybe you are extremely good at achieving and getting results, drinving to accomplish new and different work. Perhaps you are someone who seems to be able to draw diverse groups together and unite them in a common vision, encouraging them to find ways to collaborate? Or you may be someone who sees huge vision, able to inspire others to transform and create new systems… Perhaps you are fortunate and you have some of all of these gifts and are able to use each one when the situation, timing and resources are right. Your leadership matters. Your leadership is needed in 2012. Use your gifts wisely and they willl come back to you tenfold. Use them wisely and they can change the world.

Debbie Payne,MA
604 209 5069 cell
Delta BC Canada

DP Leadership Associates

Deberna Coaching International
Tri-namics 2009
For intro on Tri-namics:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gift of Space

Gifts come disguised, wrapped to cover up what is inside. They often are a surprise, something special, unusual, unexpected. Almost magical, with antcipation and trepidation we unwrap. Some of us dive in, ripping, eager to discover the gift. Others hold back, shake, listen and gently remove the tape. Oten we are given gifts that do not sem like a gift they are so well-disguised. Sometimes to receive a gift of time or space we need to exprience something not so nice.

An arm injury has given me gift of coversation to explore more of my intense passion and both the good and bad that comes from this. It has also given me an appreciation for the unknown, for the ability of health professionals that have found a way to be gentle and kind when they are backed up with far too many patients to see. I have a little more space in my life right now and for that I am grateful.

Gifts come and go in our lives. The ones we often remember the most sometimes surprise us- seldom are they the most lavish- often they are not even given on a special occasion. Sometimes the wrapping is so different we do not even recognize them as gifts until we reflect. What gifts do you remember most?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Tallest Young Man I Know

The other day someone mentioned the term "short men syndrome" to me with a comment that men who are relatively shorter than other men have multitudes of issues and challenges. I had not really thought about this as an issue and then I smiled, I really smiled widely with a huge grin. The person obviously had never met my friend Spencer who is in his 20’s and 2 feet 8 inches tall.

Often in life we think about the importance of having everything. We think more is better. We think being "normal" and fitting in is important. We do things to fill up space all the time.- we fill our calendars, we fill our bellies with food, and we fill our closets and homes with more and more possessions. Sometimes we fill our hearts and we fill our souls. We connect to fill up our network on LinkedIN and Facebook. We add more to our gardens using every little space. We text and crunch words together, abbreviating so we can communicate faster. We interrupt and talk over top of each other in conversations to fill the silence.

What might happen if we focused on not just noticing space, but fostering and creating space. Making space. One of the major mistakes new gardeners make- and I know this as I make it all the time- is trying to grow too many plants close together. Plants need circulating air to breathe, sunshine and rain on their leaves, space in the soil to anchor their roots. They dont want to live too close with other plants that are the same- they like diversity, they like space, they blossom to their full potential when they have this space. In fact, space between and among gives life to what is.

Imagine for a minute that the best thing that could ever happen to you was to have your legs cut off at the hips when you were five years old. Horrific? Not for Spencer. For Spencer he was able to free himself and give himself room to grow in different ways. His legs were a nuisance and did not work. Removing them gave him freedom of movement. Spencer is one of the tallest young men I know. His voice is deep and resonating. He speaks with humble leadership. He laughs a lot and makes others laugh a lot. His eyes are wide and clear, his arms are strong, his hands have been on the ground more than probably any other human being. Spencer enters your life in a way that you never see what he does not have. You see his presence, his heart, his leadership and his ability to inspire youth to create a better world for us all. His motto, "just be happy every day".

Spencer’s story is extraordinary. Probably not extraordinary to Spencer as he is just living his life, using his space to his advantage, and doing everything he dreams of doing. Speaking to youth all around North America and travelling to developing countries to help others is part of his story. Sometimes less is more. Read his newly released book Standing Tall. You can find it at Banyen Books in Vancouver or

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Coaching Triangles Evolved

A few years ago, 2006 to be specific, my business partner Erna Hagge and I took one of those leaps you read about to create something new in the world. We wrote a book called Tri-namics: Coaching Triangle System. We printed 30 copies- my goodness we thought this was a huge number. We printed 30 as some of our colleagues were asking if they could get some of our work, some of the things we had created to use with clients. We coil bound the book and sold it for $49 thinking we would sell at least some of them. To our surprise they disappeared in a couple of weeks! We looked at each other and thought, hey maybe we should do more. However, we thought best to edit and revise as we uncovered lots of little errors.

Revise we did, and printed a bunch more that also disappeared into all kinds of organizations. We learned so much, and have kept learning. The space that emerges between creating and publishing is such an interesting one- the intensity of creation and the void that appears once the book is produced that we need to cross- reaching up and out beyond our borders to connect after having being cocooned in the creative process is quite wonderfully a stretch.

Erna and I continue to create, publish and share our work with the world. Deberna International continues to grow and we are eternally grateful to those who "get Tri-namics", who understand we can develop leaders in so many different ways, that peer coaching really does work when approached through self-directed learning, and that Tri-namics extends, embeds, stimulates and contributes to new kinds of conversations that will transform our workplace cultures.

Right now we are exploring new partnerships that are emerging:

  • Healthcare in Canada with a new custom edition of Tri-namics: Leadership Wisdom for Healthcare built on the LEADS in a Caring Environment national framework for leadership development.
  • Translation of Tri-namics: Provocative Questions for Leadership Wisdom into Russian, to expand into the Russian market
  • Licensing of Tri-namics Consultants in Australia and continuing to grow in Canada

What will fill our space next? We do know that our vision of "Growing Wisdom to Thrive" we live every day. Together we continue in our own partnership to grow our own wisdom, to use Tri-namcis everyday in our own business, to learn from and with each other and our community. We are thriving.

As leaders in organizations today move from "knowledge to wisdom" and from "surviving to thriving" we expect our leaders will be wise and our planet to thrive, supporting all living systems.

We love to ask provocative questions, our book has 300+- here is one for you: What wisdom are you bringing into the world?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Have you ever found yourself drawn to a colour all of a sudden that even the day before you were kind of ambivalent about? Seems turquoise has entered my life! I feel alive when I wear the colour, it seems to jump out at me as people pass by in various hues and shades, I even bought myself a turquoise ring and some new earrings. I can’t seem to get enough of it right now and I notice it everywhere. I used to notice the colour green- the soft sage colour of green and loved it. Now I don’t notice.

What is it that triggers us to notice things we have seen and been around for a long time? What makes them pop into our lives, as if to say "notice me!". I find that sometimes this happens with people too. All of a sudden a person’s name or face I had not thought of for years pops in and reminds me of other connections, of lost space and time. Much changes in the time gone by, but the memory seems to have held its focus.

As leaders we live in a variety of different environments. What can you do to trigger new observations of your relationships? What might make the space between you pop, crackle, sizzle or become noticeable? What is your turquiose today?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Box with No Walls – book chapter

As promised here is my Book Chapter that is now published in the newly released book Lessons Learned from the Recession, Business Leaders Book Club, UK. If you would like to order a copy please  go to   If you enter the discount code of BLC1026 you will receive 50% off for a limited time only.  You may also download the e-book for free.

Chapter 27: The Box with no Walls

Typical for many folks laid off after six months of job-hunting, I decided to launch full-time into my own consulting business. It was February 2008, a nice month in my mind. I had the best financial year of my life that year and have had two successful years since with 2011 also looking very strong.

People I spoke with told me I was crazy, that it takes years to build a consulting practice; that I should be prepared to starve for the first five years. I was also told that it was a poor time to start as we were in a recession, that no one needed consultants and that I should seriously look at finding some kind of job, even if it was not in my field. This was a box I did not want to play in, one that I simply decided was not for me.

I believe my success came mostly from knocking down the walls of the box. I expected to have success and I presented as a well-established consultant with an outstanding skill set. I marched into networking events, workshops, seminars, conferences or wherever I could find people gathered. I gave away ideas, I gave people my book, I consulted for free, I set strong, yet realistic fees that successful consultants would charge; most of all I was confident.

When people asked me,

“How is business, are you busy?”

“Absolutely,” I would say, “business is great.”

I hung out with the most successful consultants I could find. Within a month I had several excellent clients.

It took me over two years before I found myself in a business development phase. Surprise! Not having experienced this due to my early success was such a good lesson. I am still learning this lesson and finding ways to tear down more walls of the box, thinking and seeking ways to work with different kinds of clients.

What has helped me most is to look for clients that other consultants are not working with, to explore unusual funding partnerships and sources, to collaborate with other consultants and do joint proposals, to celebrate and to bring my incredible network into the conversations early on.

I refer colleagues that can help my clients, ask other consultants if I can shadow them or if they would like to shadow me, reach out globally into new fields, sectors, industries and countries as well as to work within my own community and see what kind of clients I can actually walk to. I volunteer my time in places where I can meet new people that might find my work interesting. I also stretch myself as well by taking on work that I have never done before; it helps me learn and makes me a more flexible consultant.

My work focuses on people development, in particular leadership development. These skills are not hard, technical, core skills that businesses require. They are often called ‘soft skills’.

These are much more difficult to master, learn and teach and are fundamentally necessary for successful leaders and organisations to cultivate. How we work and learn together matters. It matters as much as what we do.

Often when times are tough or a recession hits, we stop thinking or focusing on ‘the how’ and instead try to reduce employee costs, downsize while still getting ‘the what’ done. In doing this, we are focusing on the short-term ‘what’ rather than ‘the how’ and this short-sightedness leads us to a downward spiral. Organisations without growth and development are like ghost towns. I look to work with organisations that understand people investment and who want a vibrant, creative, value-driven workforce that can help them recover from a recession.

So, the walls of the box disappear when I can be successful with clients in helping them see through the walls, even helping them shift the box to a new place or to design a new box. I love to hear the term ‘no-box thinking’ rather than inside or outside the box. This helps me free up my own mind, to help me think from the viewpoint of my client’s customer and to see their organisation not only from 30,000 feet but two inches away.

My passion is fuelled by seeing opportunities where others see problems; I ask, listen, ask, listen, listen and listen. I try my best every day to model the leadership I advocate: to give away my time; to contribute to leadership thought; to develop others in any way I can and to listen to what is said or not. This brilliant partnership has provided me with an insight into consulting that knows no walls.

Debbie Payne,MA
604 209 5069 cell
Delta BC Canada

DP Leadership Associates
NEW LeaderSpace book!

Deberna International
Tri-namics System
NEW! Tri-namics Multimedia Presentation

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Book Chapter

Imagine having 59 co-authors! Lessons Learned from the Recession is a new book just released in the UK by the Business Leaders Book Club on as both an e-book (free, downloadable) as well as a softcover book. Having written a book chapter for this I can attest to the attention and focus of the editing team on choosing some outstanding global leaders to contribute to this book project. You will undoubtedly see significant marketing and promotion on this wonderful new release. If you use the discount code of BLC1026 you can order the book at 50% off. I will be posting a copy of my actual book chapter on this blog soon along with some links so you can either get a copy of the free e-book or order a great paper copy for yourself of the leader in your life. Or you can just google it yourself to find it. This collaborative project has been a most interesting experience!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leadership Now

Leadership Now: Opportunities, Challenges, and Growth

Leadership has been extensively studied for many years. Theories and models have been constructed, developed, revised and replaced. We still are challenged with actually defining leadership. Shifts in thinking and research about leadership over the years have led us through various approaches stemming from psychology, biology, sociology, balancing tasks and people, skills and competencies, and now we are exploring complexity in systems.

Today we wrap together all of the history on leadership, add in diversity, technology, demographics, globalization, ethical business expectations, sustainability, social networking, security, environmental issues, customer expectations, talent shortage, interconnected integration, and the constant changing environment and we come up with a very complex system. Leaders at all levels of an organization are swamped with this complexity. What is a leader to do?

Making meaning, creating sense out of the complex chaos to aid in effective decision-making is what outstanding leaders need to do today. They need to find ways not to operate with a black and white mindset, but in the shades of grey. Relating to and weighing all factors in this complex environment to each particular situation. They become “flexors”, people who are able to adjust, be resilient, and shift their own beliefs and mindsets as they become influenced by others; including their direct reports. These higher order skills of thinking, of relating, of influencing, of sense making, of having an open mind are sometimes referred to as soft skills. Leaders need these skills whatever we decide to call them. Can they be taught? Can they be learned? Do they arise from Training? Mentoring? Coaching? Experience?

Is what we do in leadership development what we hope leaders will do when they lead? Pink (2005) argues we need to become more “high concept” and “high touch.” High concept is a “kind of artistic creativity and inventiveness” and high touch is the ability to “understand the subtleties of human interaction.” As we create new approaches to leadership development the models themselves need to pay attention to and create space for both inventiveness and complex human interaction. Bennis (2003) says there are four timeless leadership attributes: “ability to adapt, ability to engage others in shared meaning, ability to present an authentic voice, and the existence of a positive purpose.”

From the Leadership Development Survey 2005 we find the top five characteristics that make execution of strategy more likely: openness to change, interpersonal communication, support for innovation, flexibility, group communications. Furthermore, the survey also tells us the five critical leadership development needs are: coaching skills, cross-department knowledge, financial acumen, negotiating skills, and business ethics.

As you find leadership opportunities in your organization, are faced with challenges, and work on your own personal growth and that of the people around you be reminded that the richness of connected humanity can provide for exponential leaps in leadership development. As you develop and grow your Coaching Triangle and learn from the experience be also reminded that it is part of the answer to part of a question. Make the journey meaningful, be authentic with your voice, find a positive purpose, and be adaptable with your learning partners. Find ways to elevate your coaching skills and practice them, bring in knowledge from various parts of the organization, be inventive with your activities and goals and pay attention to the complexity of the human interaction as your group communicates. These will all contribute to your growth as a leader now.

© Debbie Payne


Bennis, W. (2003) “Flight of the Phoenix’ Executive Excellence,

Pink, D.H. (2005) “Revenge of the Right Brain” Wired, retrieved from,

Leading into the Future; a global study of leadership: 2005-2010. American Management Association.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment