WHO WE ARE
Inflection Points is owned by Jim Ulrich, Managing Principal. Jim also uses a variety of other independent consultants on an as needed basis to create customized solutions for clients.
use consultants because they believe the consultant can help -- even though the consultant does not know the client's organization and has
not lived with the client's problem. What enables a consultant to help is - among other things - having a different perspective. The consultant
has a divergent frame of reference from the client's and will see things that perhaps the client doesn't see (or isn't paying attention to). The
perspective that Inflection Points consultants bring to clients is a whole systems perspective.
A systems perspective is one which views the client's organization first as a system - where every element in the system is connected to and has an impact on every other element. A "whole systems" perspective, then, is one that looks at the whole, that consciously avoids breaking the client system down into separate parts. If one determines that a certain problem is "an operations problem," or a "training problem," or an "IT problem," the potential range of solutions is diminished. Addressing the problem from just one department or one perspective within the system almost guarantees that whatever action is taken will be a "quick fix," and more symptoms of the underlying root causes will pop up somewhere else in the organization later -- and will usually be more costly to fix.
Modern organizations are incredibly complex. What Russ Ackoff called "wicked problems" abound. Here are typical characteristics of wicked problems:
A whole systems perspective is the only effective way to address the wicked problems that many modern organizations face.
Inflection Points is guided by the following principles:
|APPROACH TO ENGAGING WITH CLIENTS|
|The form of
relationship that Inflection Points prefers to establish with clients is a flexible, mutually responsive and working partnership that is
leveraged to the client's benefit - one where responsibility is shared for planning and executing any particular initiative. Within
that partnership, the role played by Inflection Points is first and foremost facilitative - that is, one that shapes and influences
process while always honoring the client's need to define the context and direct the content of every initiative. At the highest level of
performance, Inflection Points and client leaders will work together to clarify intentions, identify and test assumptions, and design and carry
out appropriate initiatives and/or action plans.
A further word about the preferred Inflection Points approach: whenever possible, a client's strengths will be consciously identified in an appreciative manner, then leveraged to help achieve new levels of organizational effectiveness. Particularly in the context of creating a high performance work culture, operating from a 'problem' or 'deficiency' mindset is often counter-productive. The adage of 'building on strengths and making weaknesses irrelevant' helps everyone focus on and reinforce the positive, while addressing organizational liabilities competently and constructively.
A core competence that Inflection Points brings to each client engagement is design -- creatively exploring options and making choices that yield the desired results. As we plan for change within the client's organization, we expect to:
|JIM ULRICH'S BIO|
Jim Ulrich (pronounced UL-rick) is an accomplished Human Resources professional with over 35 years experience in a variety of settings. Currently he is exploring opportunities for the next phase of his career. Prior to his retirement at the end of 2014, Ulrich was Associate Professor and Team Leader, Leadership Faculty, having served for 12 years in Duquesne University's School of Leadership and Professional Advancement. He also serves as a consultant specializing in leadership development, training and organization development.
His clients have included: Aon Corporation, Bechtel-Bettis, Equity Office Properties, Parco Foods, Ameritech, Harper-Wyman, Boise Cascade Office Products, the Baptist General Conference, Evangelism Explosion, Scripture Press Ministries, Summa-Tech, World Vision International and World Relief Corporation.
Jim received his B.A. from Brown University with a double major in Mathematics and Logic and Philosophy of Science. He also holds an M.A. in Theology from Wheaton College. Jim earned his Ph.D. in Adult and Continuing Education from Michigan State University in 1988. His cognate major was Rural Community Development. His doctoral research focused on the organizational culture of a voluntary association in Africa and sought ways to promote better management and communication across cultures.
Jim is currently active in the International Leadership Association, and has presented at multiple ILA conferences. Between 2000 and 2002, Jim served as core faculty for Organizational Systems Renewal - Midwest, a Chicago-based masters degree program in Whole Systems Design currently granted by Pinchot University.
Jim has taken improvisational acting classes at Chicago's Second City Theatre, and he is an avid photographer. He is married, is the father of two grown children, and lives in Salinas, CA.