Meet Your Guides for the Heroic Journey

Gordon Barnhart, Author

I have been consulting on organizational and community change for over 20 years and began integrating the structure of the heroic journey around 1990. From that point on, the journey always provided a foundation for the consulting, even if I never mentioned the term "heroic" (it scares some people).

Between 2000 and 2007, I was President of Compass Group, a healthcare consulting firm. Prior to that I was an independent consultant, a role I have returned to in order to bring a focus to the concept of Heroic Leadership. At 61, my primary interest is in making a difference in the world, which is why all the resources on the site are free and there is so much attention to support for implementation.

My consulting work ranged from integrating mergers and acquisitions to re-engineering and from executive succession to changes in management and leadership style. It always surprised me that the focus was so varied, but it kept me on my toes. Clients included well known organizations/communities such as GM, GE, Microsoft, the Mohawk Indian Nation and the Federal Aviation Administration. They also included a wide variety of community and not-for-profit organizations as well as smaller firms in a range of industries.

The only common factor was a focus on major change. That is a major reason that the heroic journey was proved to be such a powerful model. It always provides guidance in what to expect and what to do – while at the same time calling for our best. The leadership art is in the adaption to each setting.

My teaching experience was as an adjunct in the Business School of Xavier University and faculty for the Physician Leadership Program sponsored by Xavier and ChoiceCare (now Humana). I have a BA from Duke and an MA from Antioch.

Jim Borgman, Illustrator

Since 1976, Jim Borgman has satirized politicians and newsmakers as the editorial cartoonist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, to the delight of newspaper readers across America. As co-creator (with Jerry Scott) of the comic strip Zits, Borgman's work now reaches every corner of the globe.

Jim Borgman was born February 24, 1954 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of a signpainting father and a long-suffering mother who fielded countless phone calls from teachers about the caricatures in the margins of her son's notebooks. A 1976 graduate of Kenyon College, Borgman was hired to begin as the Enquirer's daily cartoonist one week after graduation on the strength of his weekly cartoon for the campus newspaper. As a result he became, he says, "the first Kenyon art major ever to repay his student loan."

In 1995, Jim got to know Jerry Scott while their flight was delayed on the tarmac of Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport waiting for a blown tire to be changed. A year later they created Zits on the front porch of a cabin in Sedona, Arizona. Zits launched in July, 1997 in more than 200 newspapers, one of the strongest comic strip introductions in years. King Features now distributes Zits to more than 1,500 newspapers in 45 countries and 15 languages.

Among his awards, Jim is proudest to have won the National Cartoonists Society's Best Editorial Cartoonist an unprecedented five times, the NCS' prestigious Reuben Awardfor Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in 1993, the Thomas Nast Prize in 1980 (for which he brought home his weight in wine from the vineyards of Landau, Germany), the Adamson Statuette presented by the Swedish Academy of Humor in 2005, the Max and Moritz Medal for International Comic Strip of the Year in 2003, and the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1991.

Jim Borgman lives in Cincinnati with his wife Suzanne Soled and their five perfect teenagers.

Our Mission

To challenge and support you in successfully leading the wide variety of journeys of change required for the health of your organizations and communities.  There are things worth doing in the world.  It is our mission to guide you in doing even the most difficult of them successfully.

When your needs go beyond the book.

Look to us to provide guidance and support.  Services can support leaders "end-to-end" - from assessment and planning all the way through complete implementation.  Services can also be focused on less extensive, but very high leverage, engagements.  Because every journey of change is unique, services are always tailored to fit the nature of the organization or community and the challenges it faces.

Common Types of Change

We can support leaders in a wide variety of changes, for example mergers, changes in technology or core processes, structural or role changes, leadership style or changes in organizational culture, rapid growth or downsizing or very specific improvement initiatives.

Sometimes only one or two elements of an organization are affected and need to be re-aligned.  Sometimes a redesign of almost the whole organization is required.  Most often, the reality is somewhere in-between.

Examples of Consulting Services

Planning with a senior team ahead of a major journey of change to ensure that they are ready with a complete set of strategies to lead the journey in the most effective and efficient way.  This is usually where leadership can achieve the best return on an investment of time and money.

Intervening when an organization is stuck or in trouble to turn the effort around as quickly as possible in order to stop the losses and start gaining the benefits. This can be quick and simple or it can be more involved, but it is always high leverage and the results can be striking.

Supporting a strong leader with a questionable or weak leadership web around him or her. This is, unfortunately, not a rare occurrence and usually plays out with a successful beginning that either hits a wall at some point or deteriorates over time. Most of the time these scenarios can be turned around, but they rarely do so on their own.

Working with the Core Leadership Team or key teams essential to success. The Core Team is at the center of the leadership web and, thus plays a critical role. Sometimes it is the senior leadership team and sometimes it is a new team designed to lead the change.  Supporting that team early is a very effective and efficient strategy. There are often a few key teams that are also critical to success. Supporting them at specific points can also be very high leverage.

Coaching key executives or managers in playing the leadership roles and executing their strategies can be highly effective, particularly in fast-paced environments or on journeys of change that are very challenging. We coach only in the context of leading journeys of change. We are not developmental coaches, although a good deal of management and leadership development can happen naturally through the process of leading change.

Orientation and Training - They are Strategies

Orienting people about what to expect on the journey of change, how the journey will be led, and what they can do to influence their experience and the outcomes can be the difference between having a critical mass of victims and resistors or a critical mass of effective leaders and followers.

Training that is targeted on specific capabilities, groups and outcomes is highly effective, particularly when people can apply the capabilities quickly to relevant challenges.