SeeChange Partners

An Interview with Jane Tight and Joni Minault

MEET Jane Tight and Joni Harris Minault, the two women behind SeeChange Partners. Recently, Jane and Joni sat down with veteran journalist Julie Pitta to discuss their partnership, their clients and the importance of being fully human in the workplace.

There's an entire industry of corporate team builders and executive coaches. What's unique about your services?

Joni: Us! There are a lot of firms out there offering training, executive coaching, and what's being called change management. What you're buying in all these instances are the people delivering these services.

Jane: People trust and respect us and that's so important in this kind of work. And that goes a long way toward making us effective. We speak the languages of business and personal development. It's why the people who hire us once, bring us back again and again.

Joni: For example, I'm a six on the Enneagram. I focus on content, data, process and outcome. I care about relationships in a different way and for different reasons than Jane. I want everyone to be playing on the same team.

Jane: I'm a two. I'm intensely focused on relationships. And, I'm spontaneous and very much in the moment. I love the complexity of human interactions. It's the contact with people that energizes me the most and I love helping them discover their strengths and face their challenges in new ways.

We customize our programs and services for each client and we draw from a unique toolkit.

Joni: Yes, and our programs are unique. The personality typology that we introduce - the Enneagram - provides the foundation for all the insights people have gained from other tools like Myers-Briggs or DISC. Our format is interactive, experiential, teaching, self-disclosing and FUN. And everyone participates.

In your work, you talk a lot about types. Are there any 'bad' types? People who aren't built for change?

Jane: It turns out that self-awareness is more important than type. All types have their strengths and challenges. Our goal is to move people away from rigidity and toward flexibility. This naturally happens when they understand themselves and their effect on others.

Joni: We've found that the people who see the most dramatic change have done some kind of personal development work before. But anyone who values people and relationships, and who looks at change as a force for good, will see results. Everyone wants to be happier. We help people find ways to be happier.

What kinds of companies need this work?

Joni: Basically, any company that has people in it!

What kinds of companies bring you in?

Jane: Companies that have track records of investing in their employees and providing them with opportunities throughout their careers.

Have you found that your clients experience an initial resistance to change?

Joni: At first, the CEO may wonder if this kind of work will make people uncomfortable. Or, they wonder if the investment of time and money will be worth it. Then they see their teams get excited and animated when they are in a workshop, or come back from a coaching session. They quickly come to see that it's time and money well spent.

It's hard for me to choose just one success story, but here goes. One client who worked with us went on to reorganize his company. The change wasn't cosmetic: the company expanded its products and completely revamped its business model. The results were immediate: profits increased, turnover slowed and he's noticed a positive change in their attitudes. It's great!

Jane: People have a deep desire to be fully human at work. One of our clients, a very successful woman executive at a wealth management firm told us, "I can't stand it anymore. I want people at work to know what really motivates me." We were able to introduce a whole new language to her company. One workshop led to others and now people understand and appreciate each other, and the value they add to the firm.

Initially, there will be some who chafe. They worry about being labeled. I tell them, 'You're already being put in a box by the people around you.' The idea is to explore the limitations of that box and how to open it.

What drew you to this kind of work?

Joni: Most of my business career, I've been focused on the mechanics of business. By focusing on the people-side of business, I get more immediate results and more personal satisfaction.

Jane: I love to bring out the very best in people and see their best show up in the workplace.

When people are unhappy, they're constricted and they're not creative or innovative. The companies that bring us in see results immediately and I like to know that I played a part in that. These executives have told us it's one of the best investments they've ever made. Of course, it is; it's an investment in employees, their most important asset.

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