Getting Real Work Done by Being Real

A blend of our science-based instruments and interactive, experiential learning, this foundational and comprehensive solution addresses the unspoken interpersonal issues in organizations and provides the basis for individuals and teams to increase their effectiveness in working together.

Compatibility Among People
Difficult Conversations
One-on-one Relationships
Group Decision Making

The Aim of The Human Element

To maximize individual, team, and organizational potential and to shift the way in which people work together and solve problems.

Part One creates an open atmosphere in which people can solve problems. A process of self-discovery using experiential methods and FIRO instruments helps people learn about their behavior and motivation and the impact this has on work.

Part Two addresses the organizational areas that drive results: compatibility among people, difficult conversations, teamwork, one-on-one relationships, and decision-making. By creating atmospheres where people speak directly and truthfully to each other, teams solve their own problems, become more accountable, and inspire each other.


Principles for creating continuous, positive change


A simple framework for understanding human behavior, motivation, team dynamics, and team functioning (FIRO theory)


Practice speaking openly and accountably, having difficult conversations, and improving group functioning and problem solving


Part One:
Individual Awareness

Communicating openly and candidly

  • Candor, the fastest route to problem resolution
  • Communicating what you know: your experience
  • Conveying messages through sharing rather than advice
  • Practicing real listening and asking good questions

Being Fully Accountable

  • Understanding the choices we make
  • The unconscious reasons for our choices
  • Eliminating blame and shame
  • Personal responsibility and accountability

Increasing self-awareness

  • Personal behavioral and relationship patterns
  • Three basic behavioral areas common to all people (FIRO Theory)
  • How behaviors affect individual effectiveness
  • Increasing personal and interpersonal effectiveness through feedback and reflection

Connecting human behavior and motivation

  • Emotional drivers of behavior
  • How others see you
  • Emotional traps that sabotage the workplace and undermine productivity
  • Understanding behavioral flexibility and rigidity

Changing ingrained behavioral patterns

  • The origins of our perceptual distortions
  • Cleaning your perceptual lens in order to see situations more accurately and make better decisions
  • The impact of past experiences on current behavior
  • Letting go of self-limiting beliefs

Getting out of your own way

  • The high cost of blaming others
  • What people don’t like about themselves and each other
  • Identifying what “pushes your buttons”
  • Reducing defensiveness in the midst of difficult circumstances

Part Two:
Organizational Solutions

Understanding how teams work

  • How compatibility among people affects productivity
  • Rigidity, the enemy of teamwork
  • Working with differences
  • Effectively working with the stages of team development


  • Team formation
  • Clarifying team structure
  • Optimizing team functioning through dialogue and feedback
  • Working through difficult conversations and interpersonal conflict


  • Performance improvement through conversation
  • Getting away from evaluation that produces defensiveness
  • Using a common language to resolve issues and stay flexible
  • Improving relationships with simple action steps

Group decision-making

  • Incorporating everyone’s expertise, creativity, and intelligence
  • What “buy-in” really means
  • Getting rid of blocks that prevent implementation
  • The “Yes” Method

Will Schutz, PhD

Author and Creator of The Human Element and FIRO Theory

Will Schutz received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1950. During the Korean War in 1952 he was recalled into the U.S. Navy and did research on understanding and predicting how any given group of men would work together. This resulted in his first book, FIRO: A Three-Dimensional Theory of Interpersonal Behavior (1958), which presented the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) theory and several measuring instruments including…

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