I initially reached out to Ryan Polly to discuss a management workshop after I was lucky enough to see him present to the local VT HR group. I enjoyed his approach to EQ and Communication and knew his insight was needed by our organization. Over the course of several meetings, I came to realize that one or two sessions with Ryan would not be enough for our management group. Over time, Ryan and I developed what has now become our 2016 Management and Leadership development program. I am so grateful for having met Ryan and that he took the time to explore what I wanted to accomplish with the group and what he could offer us in terms of a consulting relationship.

I would highly recommend to any HR professional to take the time to have a in depth conversation with Ryan to see how his many skills and background can help take your initiatives to the next level.

Cynthia Turner

VP Human Resources, Vermont Federal Credit Union


When people are at their best, organizations thrive. Over the past ten years my work in leadership and organizational development, neuroscience, and transformative studies has led me to a powerful conclusion. There are three conditions that must be present for people and organizations to be their best:

  • A culture of empowerment so that individuals are able to bring forward their authentic selves
  • A culture of resilience to tackle short-term challenges and reach long term goals
  • A culture of courage to explore setbacks with the openness to learn and grow

In other words, to get unstuck we must help people develop the mindset of authenticity, the resilience to navigate a changing landscape, and the courage to explore and learn.

In my work I have developed a four part methodology that I use on a micro-level with individuals seeking to do things such as lose weight, change careers, or simply find their happiness, and at a macro-level with complex organizational systems looking to find new and innovative solutions to complicated problems. The results are the same, –we develop clarity of purpose and a roadmap towards long-term success.

Let me take you through it with some context.process graphics

magnifying glassPHASE ONE: DISCOVERY

Recently I was asked to provide a resilience workshop for a group of informal wellness leaders across various organizations. The “ask” was to facilitate a workshop that would give these wellness professionals an understanding of resiliency AND some key resilience behaviors that they can take back to their organizations. I approached this as I would any request, by going through the discovery phase.

In this initial phase I ask a lot of questions. I want to understand why there is a desire for the requested work. Is there a problem we are trying to solve?  I also want to understand the people involved. What is the demographic? What are their desires and dreams?  What would excite them? What’s been done before? I asked many other questions to help me understand the situation and the people so that I can deliver something that will have impact.

This discovery phase can take anywhere from a few hours to days, or even months. I recently worked with a medium-size organization and the discovery phase lasted close to eight months. I realize that may sound rather lengthy but organizations are complex and their problems are layered in that complexity. I have learned that it takes time to build trust and I need that solid trusting relationship to have the influence that leads to impact.


Once I have a clear understanding of the current state, I transition into understanding the desired state in what I call the dreaming phase. What could this be like?  In this phase we brainstorm a lot.  No ideas are bad ideas. Every idea is considered.  Going back to the resilience workshop request, I could have said, “Here’s my program on resilience, it’s a great fit.” And, yes, my out-of-the-box program on Transformative Resilience IS a pretty amazing program but without the dreaming phase I couldn’t recommend it. This phase helps with clarity which is essential for getting unstuck and moving forward. At the end of this phase there is generally a very clear sense of purpose, which can be leveraged moving forward into the planning phase.


During the planning phase, I take all of the information from the discovery and dreaming phases and put together a few options that would fit within the parameters we had discussed. Ultimately it’s up to the organization to decide which approach they want to take. On occasion there may be a counter proposal or amendments that better fit the needs or culture of the organization. I prefer a flexible approach that allows for such movement or changes when needed.


Finally we move into the implementation phase where we go about implementing the desired work. In the case of the resilience workshop request, we are implementing a training series over the course of a few weeks, built on new models of adult learning which maximize learning and retention in shorter bursts of time. These sessions are designed to give the learners not only skills in resiliency, but the ability to influence and lead resilience initiatives in their respective organizations.  This is over and above my stand-alone training’s and this unique approach was the result of a creative brainstorming session with the organizer.


My work isn’t always about training. Take, for example, an individual I worked with named Monica, who had a strong desire to lose some weight and start running. She has a chronic health condition and recognized that she needed to do something so that she could stop living in pain. I partnered with Monica and we went through all of the phases of work. Monica gained clarity and recognized that she needed to build her own self-acceptance before she would ever lose weight and start to run. During the implementation phase I provided Monica with regular emotional/mental exercises centered on resiliency, emotional intelligence, and neuroscience principles to help her regain a love for herself that had been lost.  Over time Monica became proud of herself again and made some dramatic life changes which resulted in an increase in happiness and a decrease in weight.

Sometimes my work involves larger organizational strategies. Back to that medium-size organization that I mentioned earlier. During the discovery phase it became evident there was a need for a solid leadership development strategy.  In the planning phase, I worked directly with the senior officers to help them uncover their vision and strategic priorities so that we could align the leadership development program to the organizational needs. From there the program was designed as a unique opportunity focused on priorities, clarified the organizational goals, and developed the leaders to be able to support the business drivers. All in all we had a successful outcome.

While this may sound like a formal process, I assure you I work in a flexible and fluid way. While I use this basic roadmap with every individual or organization, the time spent and tools used in each phase may look completely different from organization to organization. After all, I am dealing with people and systems, which are complex, and a single static approach simply doesn’t work.

No matter the tool, the one consistency in my approach is my distinctive partnership. I serve a team member, not an outsider, and I roll up my sleeves and personally invest in the outcomes. Honestly, I have found through my years of doing this work, people don’t like being told what to do or how to do something. In fact, neuroscience has demonstrated that people resist being told what to do, even when they hire a consultant. I don’t tell people what to do. I provide a background of tools and experience coupled with a natural creativity that leads to amazing results.

The best thing is, this works with individuals or organizations.The process is similar, customized and tailored to the personalities and dynamics of those I am working with. My thinking is always, how can I help influence lasting learning so that the results are sustainable? When I get the call three years later, saying that they are still energized and doing whatever it is they hoped to do, I feel proud. It is in that moment I truly feel like my work is complete.

Want to learn more? Feel free to drop me a line at ryan@ryanpolly.com or find me on social media. I’d love to hear your story!

I was lucky enough to work with Ryan Polly at a time in my life when I needed him the most. I was lost and struggling and Ryan helped me to get out of my own way and focus on what I really want. Through a series of conversations Ryan helped me to learn to find my authentic voice and honor and love myself again. The result was a divorce, weight loss, and moving towards a goal of becoming a runner. I highly recommend Ryan to anyone who has given up hope. If you listen to him and utilize his techniques, amazing things will happen.

Monica Lynn Santore

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