Over the years, we have been practicing Pragmatic Inquiry ourselves as we have conducted workshops, classes, consulting engagements, corporate labs, etc. involving thousands of students and executives from freshman college to the C- suite, both here and in Europe and Asia. We have learned a great deal in how to engage in the Arc of Pragmatic Inquiry. See Corporate and Academic case histories on this website and more in Learning to Read the Signs – Chap. 8. Following are typical comments from participants – Corporantes file drawers are full of reports ranging from student career reflection papers and strategic plans to mission, values and strategy documents from organization leaders. (For more background of inquiries and responses, see Evaluations.
Here are selections.
Promise: “At the conclusion of the PathFinder Pragmatic Inquiry, participants will come to a decision on their Strategic Issue that can be put into action and tested.”
“The PathFinder allowed me an in-depth look into the issue, the meaning of the problem and how to take the appropriate steps for the resolution of the problem.”
“The PathFinder was a great learning tool during the Inquiry, and I am determined to utilize this resource going forward addressing my work and personal problems when they arise.”
“PathFinder helped us define not only the essence of our product offering and service but also helped identify the real customer. We completely changed our thinking. The high point of the PathFinder Inquiry was when we got all the data out on the table – seeing all the preliminary findings from different perspectives. It was a unique moment for us when eight people and an EVP agreed on the essence of our product and service offering and who our customer was. Finally. to our surprise, we ended up using one of our drawings from the Maps and Images exercise in our presentation to the 3M Board. While crudely drawn, it showed the essence of our thinking – both the question and the revised answer.”
“It’s been an excellent tool in helping me identify, dissect,
“The PathFinder tool was extremely useful in guiding me through a process to examine past behaviors and biases that have not just prevented us from solving the problem, but have, in fact, fostered a negative environment in which the problem could grow.”
“PathFinder allowed me to think about different aspects of the question and their relative importance. Especially, the risks associated with organizational and culture impact. My original answer would not change but the method of going about evaluating and processes for making the change will probably be altered.”
“The PathFinder Inquiry allowed me to achieve the following learnings:
Clarity of the intended question is key to understanding how to overcome it.
Going through the thought process outline in the Inquiry allows for inputs to flow into your thinking on an issue that may not otherwise come to mind.
Seeking input from different angles of thinking is imperative to successfully answering your question.
Using some of the framework with others you are involving allows the critical ideas to be received much more readily.”
“One of the useful things about the PathFinder is the way it helps you work through your topic not just by attacking it head on, but by the comprehensive approach that encompasses the person(s) involved, their values, beliefs, purpose and mission.”
“The PathFinder makes you take the time to look inside yourself and the organization to define the true picture of what you are actually dealing with. The PathFinder makes you “think” and “explore.”
“You learn a tremendous amount about yourself, your organization and your real topic if the tool is used properly. It does not just give you the answer to your topic; it makes you work for it. It is not hard work, but it is a time consuming thought process that does put you in the proper direction and lead you to the answer you are looking for. It is the ease of use that tells me that this is one tool I will use again.”