The Communication Model at Work

A mining company in the heart of the Rockies is not the first place you might think of as fertile ground for the Communication Model. For Terri Wolfe, however, bringing Haven learnings into the organization she co-leads is having very positive results.

Terri first came to The Haven in 2000. She is now an intern and a major donor, supporting The Haven’s Financial Aid program. Over the years she has taken what she learned not only into her personal life, but made a commitment to utilize the models in her workplace. Over the last eighteen months, Terri and her brother David have transformed John Wolfe Construction from a traditional, autocratic organization to something more democratic, incorporating the Communication Model in all areas of their work.

As a first step, all supervisory staff were scheduled to attend Come Alive. This experience created “space for something different”, according to Terri. Cathy and Ernie McNally were then invited to teach the Communication Model to the rest of the 30+ employees, who in turn were encouraged to bring family members along to the training.

This is a courageous step and one which is already working well. Terri describes the Communication Model working as providing a ‘container’ for dialogue, creating an environment where her employees experience their needs being met. With greater self-awareness and openness comes increased self-responsibility, and as a result the company is thriving and expanding. Terri incorporates the Communication Model in her own work by “leading with curiosity and questions” and loves being part of the creative process of growing herself and her employees at the same time.

The process is not over, nor is it without its challenges. Things do get missed, but “clear communication is the key,” according to Terri, and problem solving is done collaboratively. Now Terri is working on following up what has already been achieved to ensure greater integration and understanding.

Terri is very confident of continuing success: “I am solid in my learning, which makes it easier to deal with people’s resistance to new ideas, and new ways of doing things,” she says.

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