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Interview with Martyn
Fee, Cost, Price

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Interview: Martyn Carruthers

Zagreb, Croatia (2002)

Martyn, thank you for this opportunity to ask questions. I enjoyed your talk this evening. Systemic Solutions sounds like a great package of services for organizations. Could you tell me please, is this new, and what can companies gain by relationship management?

The concept is not new - organizational effectiveness and productivity are not only increased by technology, but by the relationship and communication skills of the managers. Many organizations focus on managing technology - I would say that managing relationships is still in the "Stone Age".

Managers should care about professional relationships, yet these relationships are often taken for granted and ignored in strategic planning. Systemic Solutions offers cost-effective processes that combine strategic planning with relationship management. Companies can create a strategic plan consistent with the owner's or CEO's vision, detailed relationship management steps to realize that plan, and assistance in preparing for and achieving those steps.

Can you please explain briefly, how can people increase organizational performance with systemic solutions?

I can refer you to case histories describing some situations in which organizations benefited from Systemic Solutions. (Some resources are available on the internet - see below).

Systemic Solutions offers three basic tool-sets, strategic planning, relationship management and success coaching. However, focusing on the blocks is not effective. We investigate and change the systemic causes so that blocks to success are not only removed, the blocks cannot be recreated.

We can also resolve very many individual, partnership, team and family problems, while focusing on organizational productivity. Deficiencies in these areas, especially in the life of the founder or CEO, will show as success blocks for a whole organization.

We dissolve blocks to success ... any lack of creativity, motivation or loyalty usually reflect relationship issues. We provide fast and effective solutions for most conflicts. We improve cooperation by dissolving relationship challenges (such as transference loops and hidden agendas) that stop people working with full energy.

What are transference loops?

There appear to be six common ways that people contaminate their relationships with their inner chaos. These are ways in which people react to a person as if that person were someone else. If two people do this simultaneously, each feeding the other's chaos, we call it a "loop".

What do you mean by hidden agendas? Do you mean things we want - but we don't want other people to know that we want?

Exactly. And sometimes people even hide their real agendas from themselves. Anyway, our Systemic solutions training programs provide ways to resolve all these issues.

What skills can people develop in Systemic Solutions training?

Many people show significant blocks to using and developing their skills. For example, many people believe that they cannot change, and this belief limits their chances for success. Yet most people CAN develop their qualities in a wide variety of areas. For example - can you incorporate your interest in people, your skills as a partner and parent, and your desire to be an artist into journalism?

Yes ... of course ... that's why I'm a journalist ... I see what you mean ... so what is needed to develop NEW skills?

Creative people can develop many ways to increase their skills. Creativity is one ingredient for success, but learning depends very much on the quality of training.

When we coach people to learn or improve skills, we focus on four factors: motivation, information, practice and application. Some people have enough motivation but not information; some people get the information but they don't practice; some people practice the wrong skill for the application. We provide all four.

The lack of one factor limits success. Systemic Solutions helps people find their deep motivation for success, and then we provide the required information. Then we coach people to practice skills with quality feedback, and then we discuss when to use or apply those skills. People learn very quickly this way.

Can you please say a few words about your background and experience.

I joined the Royal Navy to study health physics and medicine, and I served on nuclear submarines during the Cold War. I later worked with nuclear generating stations, government agencies, industries and hospitals - providing radiation safety, nuclear compliance, environmental monitoring, emergency preparedness and inspection.

During this time I became a professional trainer. I was fascinated by accelerated learning, expert modeling and behavioral changework. I eventually became a full time trainer-consultant, providing accelerated learning and management services. I worked extensively with individuals, marriage and business partners, teams, families and organizations. I provide planning and communication services, and intercultural relationships. This helps organizations streamline their management teams and expand into foreign markets.

Can you briefly define your business model?

We grow through strategic alliances rather than by hiring employees or building branches. Systemic Solutions is professional, creative and entrepreneurial. We seek appropriately experienced people - people who already get great results - and invite them to participate. We also train people - the training time depends on their attitude, previous training and experience.

Will you describe some challenges you have overcome.

Every case offers challenges. The most obvious challenges are lack of time, lack of motivation, lack of capital and lack of revenue. Other challenges include poor managerial communication and poor decision making. All of these usually reflect a missing or inappropriate company vision. Another type of challenge are the relationship histories of the owner, CEO and top managers ... many people bring personal problems to work, and unconsciously recreate their domestic chaos amongst their management teams.

My ongoing challenge is always "the next project". We form alliances of experts, which improves our visibility and marketing. Persistence and networking helps.

What were the keys in bringing Systemic Solutions to where it is now?

Persistence, creativity and mentorship! We continue to create and use effective models. And many people inspire us to continue.

How important is creativity in your success?

Creativity is a sword with two edges - creativity is both unpredictable and innovative. Without creativity, all we could do is repeat what others have done. But creative solutions do not necessarily work, and may not be cost-effective. All creativity should be tempered by realism and feedback - internal consultation.

How important is mentorship for young consultants?

Young consultants have the incredible luxury of time - they can make mistakes and they have time to learn from those mistakes. Having said that, they can find quality mentorship and benefit greatly from the wisdom of mentors. The problems are 1. finding appropriate mentors and 2. convincing appropriate people to mentor you.

Although anybody can be a mentor for something, few people will have exactly the values, integrity and experience needed for multi-dimensional success. Such people rarely advertise themselves - those that do advertise themselves may have strange deficiencies. But wonderful mentors are out there, and many are eager to mentor appropriate people.

Gaining their assistance may be simple if you stay in your integrity and state your vision clearly. The problem may be getting close enough to them to ask - top people are usually well insulated from the casual public.

Where do you see as the next step for systemic solutions?

The underlying dynamics of organizations are fascinating, and I want to focus on coaching communities. I want to help community leaders manage and solve community issues - such as integrating families with different religions, cultural beliefs and traditions, etc. Community coaching integrates all that we have learned in individual systemic coaching, family therapy and management consulting - at a higher level of complexity. It is fulfilling to consider the services that we can provide to community leaders.

How do you keep advantages over your competitors?

I find that many consultants are potential partners - we offer expertise that they lack, and vice versa. Our advantages are:

  1. we specialize in strategic planning, relationship management and systemic coaching
  2. we have a proven underlying philosophy, methodology and track record
  3. we have very wide experience in all manner of planning and relationship issues
  4. we can quickly apply our methods and experience to new challenges
  5. we personalize our services for each client organization
  6. we are present and accountable throughout a project (uncommon in consulting)

What marketing methods have you used successfully?

We rely on referrals; so we network, we write articles, we train people and we give talks and presentations. Many of our articles are published in magazines, and some are available on the internet at and We speak at conferences, at annual meetings and teach our work at both public and in-house meetings.

What resources would you recommend for new consultants?

A lot of resources are available at our web site. New consultants can ask people for recommendations and they can keep digging to find what is applicable to them. I suggest that they do not believe any model or accept any consulting idea as "truth". Instead they can check every detail in their own experience to find "what works where, when, with whom and why".

What is the most important thing you have learned about business?

To be true to my sense of integrity, and to cooperate with people who are true to theirs.

Do you have any advice for new consultants?

  • Learn from every action and reflect on every feedback
  • Overestimate your expenses
  • Underestimate your income
  • Start now - use what you have - earn as you learn
  • Remember that if "you fail to plan - you plan to fail"
  • Imagine you have already succeeded - how could you do it better?

Martyn, thank you very much ... I have a lot to think about!

Case 1: Mentorship in Upper Management . Case 2: Manage Families in Organizations

Case 3: Manage Conflict in Organizations . Case 4: Entrepreneurial Management in a Bank

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Have You Suffered Enough?

 Where are you now? Understand your emotions, fixations and enmeshments
What do you hope for? Know your goals and stop sabotaging yourself
Do you feel resourceful? Learn to develop your inner resources
Do emotions block you? Relationship problems and mentor damage
Do your beliefs limit you? Change limiting beliefs and end dependence
Do you feel connected? Resolve identity issues to recover lost resources
Is your partner happy? Build healthy partnership (or separate peacefully)
Are your children healthy? Happy parents better manage family problems
Do you want team success? Team leaders and their teams develop together
Do you have complex goals? Specialty coaching, counseling & therapy

Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers 1996-2018  All rights reserved. Soulwork Systemic Coaching was primarily developed by Martyn Carruthers to help people solve emotional problems and relationship conflicts to achieve their goals. These concepts and strategies are for general knowledge only. Consult a physician about medical conditions and before changing medical treatment. Don't steal intellectual property ... get permission to post, publish or teach Martyn's work - email