Tahsis Forest Products

Creative community enterprise creates community.
Seeing ourselves as a failure or allowing others to treat us as a failure creates failure and a lack of confidence. We need to set our own ideas and standards for our success, – our behaviour, and our accomplishments

In 1969, shortly after joining Kates, Peat, Marwick, I was given the opportunity to develop and conduct an in-house management training program for the Tahsis Forest Products Company in Gold River on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The program was for eighty managers from first-line supervisors to the heads of the pulp mill and logging operations.

It was a six-month program in which I took four groups of twenty people each, from first line supervisor to senior management, through a day of learning experiences and conversation. This included two hours each day on public speaking.

I created a program of leaning experiences,  – role playing, decision-making, problem-solving, and group and individual experiences and activities. I was the greatest beneficiary of the learning experiences and of the experience of creating.

The company wanted to continue the program so in the second year I took everyone mixed into four different groups of twenty through a week-long retreat in Campbell River.

I learned about the forest products industry and the cultures of the West Coast of Canada. I learned from working with a group of intelligent, independent-minded, educated, and responsible people involved with one another in role-playing, problem-solving, and decision-making experiences. The most valuable was what I learned about human nature

Six people were given the opportunity to participate in a trial to explore how we learn new patterns of behaviour.

We are accustomed to sorting a deck of cards into suits. The trials were to see how long it would take us to learn new patterns. Each person had ten tries to sort a deck of cards in a different order to see how well they could learn. With the four aces up and the deck in hand, a trial began when the first card was turned over and placed on the ace of spades. The next card was to be placed on ace of the same suit as the card played on the ace of spades, and so on. I would measure their times with a stop watch to track their progress.

I made half the people in the trial win and made half of them lose. I would give some people an improved score regardless of their actual times and observe positively on what was happening. Others I would allow to improve a bit in the beginning and then taper off and sometimes even lose ground. I tracked the numbers I told them and their performance.

The winners became increasingly excited about their experience believing they were achieving numbers that are physically impossible and often wanting one more trial. Their actual performance improved at a more physically possible rate tapering toward the end.

To successfully communicate and create connections and conversation, we need to conscious of our context, of the context of others, and their context of the communication, – how we see them, how we imagine they see us, and how they really see us. These are the differences we have to communicate across.

How quickly people gave up if they were made to fail, – even if they were highly successful in life. We learn how to do something by doing it, whether we learn how to do it on our own or not.

The challenge of communication from one context to another, – across the differences in our contexts.

When our expectations of our performance are not realized, we become despondent and lose our interest

Our response to the context we imagine for others

Opportunities to think about and learn from their experience, – and from how others responded, observed on, learned from, and thought about their experience.

I had to demonstrate how things could be done to show how we could do things and show how things could work.