Chris HOHMANN & Bill DETTMER
I was fortunate to attend the six-day Logical Thinking Process (LTP) training delivered by Bill Dettmer, June 2015 in Paris, France and here are some thoughts about it.
Prerequisites for attending Bill’s training course
Good command of English
First of all, the training course and related material are delivered in English. Even if Bill takes great care to speak with chosen words and use minimum idioms, non-native English speakers must be aware of the required command of English in order to follow the lectures, the readings and the comments during a fairly fast-paced training course.
Reading the book(s)
Reading Bill’s book beforehand, at least the chapters he’ll indicates, is another prerequisite.
And indeed I can’t imagine anybody without sufficient prior knowledge about LTP follow the dense and again the relatively fast-paced training course.
Having a real problem to solve
Having a problem to solve is another prerequisite which makes sense from the very first day: each participant has to solve his/her own problem, that is go through the whole LTP with a problem he or she knows well enough.
Without this, no way to pick a general example and leave the session with an actionable example of how to solve a complex problem. Therefore, the training course is much more suitable for people having control or at least sufficient influence within the organization.
Every participant left with his (no ladies this time) set of trees and Conflict Resolution Diagrams, scrutinized and robust, ready for communication and action.
This is a real bonus compared to many other training courses where only simplified case studies, specifically designed to fit the purpose, are used.
So, attending the training course having no problem to solve is a problem!
Bill’s first career as officer in the USAF shows not only in the numerous war stories (not documented in his books!) he told us, but also in the rigorous manner the training course is designed and delivered.
It is simple, thorough, straightforward and backed up with checklists.
What could appear as too simplistic at first glance proved tricky enough when it was time to do it ourselves!
Military rigor during the hands-on exercises does not mean we spent six days in excruciating bootcamp-style drill. No, we had a lot of fun.
First because Bill has a highly developed sense of humor and uses cartoons and jokes in his lectures. Most of his “war stories” are funny, as is the way he usually speaks.
Second the venue was in Paris, France, a place not notorious for grim seriousness in the summertime. In the capital of the good food and drinks country, it is mandatory to relax during lunch and diner.
Third, sooner of later participants find themselves trapped in some kind of silly situation in front of their trees, which escape will be an occasion to get a laugh.
The weekend in between
When going for six days, and it sure is difficult to figure out how to do it in less time, a week-end at least has to cut the training course. Being myself delivering trainings, I know how draining it can be for the trainer. In this case I must admit it is tiresome for participants too, and the brain really needs a break in between.
All the non-Paris area residents participants picked the opportunity to stay and enjoy France’s capital over the weekend. Monday morning started exchanging the experiences..!
Inspiration and help
When working hands-on, which is about half of the time, participants can get inspiration and help from each others. This implies accepting to expose the current reality of one’s organisation to the others and be scrutinizer as well as scrutinized in turns.
This is great because it offers more opportunities to train the scrutinizing ability and get many feedback on one’s work, on top of the feedback from the Master.
Scrutinizing other’s trees and clouds proves that many problems are pretty generic, which is no surprise.
One-on-one with the Master
Regardless of the number, Bill spends time on one-on-one reviews of the work and will give directions and advice as a private mentor. Do not expect complacency, if it’s crap you’ll know it.
Bill is merciless about clarity and all other Categories of Legitimate Reservations. His suggestions (feel more like orders!) about the statements in the entities sometimes appear as to force to express something else, but ultimately the statement is reflecting the reality, in a much better way!
Attending the course gets participants in touch with other practitioners and alumni, which can be helpful in future, both for maintaining and nurturing the LTP principles and tools mastery and for finding advice if necessary.
What did I personally get from the training course?
Besides the pleasure of deep-diving into something I like and have fun with the others, most of all I got a kind of ‘calibration’ by the expert and Master.
I started to learn and practice the Logical Thinking principles and tools by myself, so it allowed me to assess what I got right, what I did not get exactly right or why Bill does it his way and finally what I developped and will keep even it is not (yet) in the books.
As I use LTP more and more with our clients, I was also interested in the practical how-tos: how to initiate the work, how to setup the scene, even how to place post-it notes onto brown paper!