Transactional Analysis

  • 3GHR  
  • 2 December 2018

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My History with TA

I first learned about Transactional Analysis (TA) on one of my earliest Management Training courses back in the 1980s.  I loved its simplicity and face value insights into relationships.  I’m afraid to say, however, that my use of TA faded over time.

I was to next engage with TA thanks to an old friend and respected colleague.

We were catching-up after a long interval and he explained he had just completed a 2 year qualification in TA.  Two years of material…..there was obviously a lot more to it than I was able to recall!

and now…

Jumping forward to the last couple of weeks and I am just returned from running TA workshops for one of our valued clients.  Targeted at the executive team and their direct reports, the goal of the programme was to improve communication effectiveness.

This is by no means a unique issue.  In virtually every organisation we have been engaged by, there is a communication ‘gap’ between these two most senior leadership levels.  This usually presents itself as something like this:

Executive Team member: “We really need our direct reports to step-up and take more responsibility and accountability for running the business. We as an Executive Team keep getting dragged into issues that really ought to be resolved at their level.”

Senior Leadership group member(direct report to above): “It would be really great if the Executive Team members could stop getting so involved in the day-to-day running of the business.  That’s our job.  But they are constantly interfering, asking questions giving instructions, even going directly to my people.”

Sound familiar?  I have heard this so many times in so many companies.  Both parties actually want the same thing, and yet they are “stuck” in a pattern of behaviour that neither seems able to break out of.

This is where TA can help

We have found that by bringing the two groups together, sharing the basic constructs of TA – the PARENT, ADULT and CHILD model – and having them review their conversations through that lens, they very quickly see what is happening.

Often they are trapped in a habituated pattern of PARENT:CHILD transactions, entirely counter to their rational intent.  Without realising it, both parties are complicit in perpetuating this unhealthy pattern.  Helping them see this and giving them easy and readily applicable alternatives can transform their relationships.

In one recent case we helped unlock a 5 year pattern of mis-communication, where the company’s performance was beginning to spiral downwards despite great people and healthy market conditions. Their ability to change following their insights has completely turned the performance around and their reputation in the industry is well on the way to a full recovery.

Transactional Analysis provides an insight that’s simple to understand and quick to apply, resulting in a significant positive effect on communication no matter what your experience or seniority.

Scott Chambers, CEO – 3GHR