I will be building a new company in the next few years, and I know what my biggest competitive advantage will be. It won’t be about compensation, an innovative idea, or even about putting people first, as you might have heard in my talk on the subject. It will be The Human Element, a powerful, simple, and practical approach to help create the authentic, ideal, organization as created by Will Schutz.

The best way to experience and learn this approach is by taking an immersive five day workshop called “The Human Element”. Before I left Code School I brought this workshop to my leadership team, and many of them described it as a life-changing experience. Recently I took a course to become a Licensed Human Element Practitioner so I can teach the workshop myself.

The Human Element

Hacking your Brain

We upgrade our lives all the time. Better job, better house, better phone, better trips, better meals. Naturally, we seek to improve the quality of our lives. Unfortunately, how much we enjoy the experience of living depends on one device we can’t upgrade simply, our brains.

What if I could sell you a brain software upgrade that would allow you have a less stressful, more alive, more self-aware, more in-control life? No surgery or brainwashing needed, just your focus and work. I consider workshops like this a brain hack, and that’s why I wanted to learn how to teach the hack.

Teaching is the best way to learn, isn’t it?

Hacking your Team

Even if you’re a small cog in a big machine, I’m sure there are people who you have a difficult time working with. Take for example this quote from The Human Element: Productivity, Self-Esteem, and the Bottom Line:

Teams do not fail because they disagree, or because they do not have common goals, or because their members’ approaches to solving problems differ. Teams fail because one or more people are rigid (defensive), and a person is rigid because his or her self-concept is threatened.

This leads to an interesting conclusion: The most effective way to improve team performance is to work on individuals. Which leads me back to The Human Element workshop, being one of the most effective ways down this path.


In my experience, a team who has taken The Human Element workshop, and follows its principles is 10x more likely to thrive together. They’re going to speak more directly and honestly. They’re going to lead with their minds and their hearts, and they’re going to feel more passionate about their work and more connected to everyone they work with.

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My Experience

My first experience with these concepts came from working with Key Talent Solutions at Envy Labs & Code School. In September 2015, on their recommendation, I did a week-long workshop called Authentic Leadership created by Judi Bell that was similar to The Human Element. This was my first transformational experience, and by the end of the week I felt like I was in an alternate reality. A reality where I found myself almost void of any self-consciousness, surrounded by people I had only met a week earlier. I was also armed with a new awareness of how I see the world, more choices on how to react to the world, and the tools to help myself stay grounded.

It was here that I started to realize how much my childhood influenced how I reacted to the world. It was just after this workshop that I started to come to terms with a difficult experience I had in college and I started to share the story. I would never have had the courage to share this painful story first with friends and then later online without this workshop.

My Story

Before I left Code School I had my leadership team take The Human Element 5 day workshop, the same one I just learned to teach. We came out the other side transformed, and closer to each other than we’d ever been. What happens when the people at the top of an organization start communicating more effectively and trusting each other more? It trickles down and the entire organization benefits. Weeks following the workshop, morale and communication had improved dramatically.

Many big organizations including NASA, Sun Microsystems, Boeing, the US. Army, and Xerox have seen the same kind of improvements. Here are a list of case studies if you want to see more impact.

The Next Big Thing

As part of the design of my next organization, everyone will experience The Human Element workshop. It will give us a common language and create a winning team. It’s not just about culture, it’s about creating a fully functional trusting, open, and honest team. I strongly believe it will be my greatest competitive advantage…

… and I’m really damn excited.


Want to Learn More?

If you want to bring The Human Element to your organization please do get in touch. I’m certain it will be worth every penny and then some.