The Difference
that Makes The Difference

"Most large institutions operate at something less than 20% of their potential, if you measure potential by right decisions and right actions taken quickly and effectively."

~ Robert Shapiro, Former CEO, Monsanto




During 1995-97, Monsanto was undergoing a transformation
to prepare itself for the twenty-first century and become a life sciences company.


Reward System at Monsanto







Techniques Used

Skills Learned

360-degree feedback to obtain information from superiors, peers, and subordinates that can be practically applied to improve interpersonal relationships in the workplace.

Each executive was given an in-depth report based on informative (and anonymous) quotes from several peers, direct reports, managers, and others on the Monsanto team. The information was augmented from the feedback surveys with two personality inventories: the Sixteen Personality Factors and the Myers-Briggs Preference Indicator.

Generous listening to enhance understanding, not just of words, but of the emotional context of the message.


There is more power in listening than in talking, and that they could become more effective by employing "generous listening": the ability not only to summarize the content of what is said, but to understand the fuller emotional content, particularly the speaker's underlying intention. Generous listening means being truly interested in what is being said (not just waiting for the person to finish talking). With generous listening, you gain stronger relationships and more accurate information. Consequently, you make fewer mistakes when acting on information

Story vs. fact, a skill to help people distinguish between facts and opinions, to help reach "the truth" faster.

The Core 32 members were taught to distinguish between facts and their opinions to avoid the mistake of disguising their personal judgments as "the truth." The emotionally intelligent organization gets to the full truth faster and clears up many arguments by distinguishing between objective facts and interpretive opinions.

Personas, coping devices used by everyone, can motivate or erect a defensive posture. Not part of our authentic selves, personas need to be recognized and "disabled" through generous listening to avoid spinning into unproductive emotions such as anger.

Understanding "personas," those universal coping devices, often rooted in fear, that can take on either a successful or defensive flavor is the key to a successful behavioral change program. Successful personas help us prove our value and worth, whereas defensive personas help us avoid losing out on something. Although personas help us win approval, accomplish tasks, and motivate others, they are not a part of our authentic selves. They are acts. The company's leaders must become aware of their individual personas ‒ there may be several ‒ and learn how to convert any negatives into positives.

Each member of the group was asked to share two of their personas. The group learned that what a person says can often trigger a persona. By using generous listening, the mind
does not spin off into an emotional area such as anger, because it remains focused on what is being said.

Limiting beliefs are formed in times of stress and serve as the foundation of personas by constricting energy, attitudes, and actions. Like personas, they need to be recognized and "disabled" from interfering with relationships.

Limiting beliefs, the foundation for personas, are formulated in the experiences we have that evoke fear and constrict our energy, actions, and attitudes. Unrecognized, our limited beliefs will surface as hidden (e.g., an executive can be consciously committed to a project yet stall decisions, limiting the project's success).

Work Smart and Hard

Personal purpose ‒ how we want to use our gifts and talents to serve others ‒ can make our motivation and creativity soar when it is part of how we work.

Understanding our personal purpose and connecting with it by identifying how we want to serve others. When people are working in accordance with their sense of personal life purpose, their motivation and creativity soar.  >>>

Taking 100 % responsibility, a state of "co-creation" with others that avoids the pitfalls of burden (doing it all yourself) and blame (having no role).

"Taking responsibility" is a state of co-creation with others, rather than the view that "it's all up to me" (burden: 200 % responsibility) or, the other extreme, "ain't it awful" (blame: 0 % responsibility). Taking responsibility 100 % is more than ownership ‒ it is an act of identity. It means "I fully identify myself with the actions, integrity, and results produced
by this group of people. I will act, and react, as if I were the one taking any of these actions." Becoming 100 % responsible means looking inside and overcoming any personal barriers to fulfilling a commitment while calmly and truthfully facing any reservations without blame or shame. Even when authentic reservations arise, or slippage in responsibility occurs, there is a "home base" to come back to for renewal.



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