What is Core Process?

Let's start by asking 2 questions:

Why are you on the planet? What's your purpose?

Most of us, if we are honest, have no idea. So how would you feel if you knew? Do you think it is likely that you would be better at your job? Do you think it likely that you would be better at a lot of things? Would you have more friends? Would you find it easier to deal with new people and situations? In short, wouldn’t you be happier?

Most of us spend a lot of our lives searching for that “something” that will make us happier. The irony is that we all of us have it already. In fact we were born with “it” – that special thing that has an enormous impact on both ourselves and those around us. And being human, we love to make things happen – to have an impact. In fact it makes us happy.

So having established that we want, if not need, to be happy. how do we go about finding what it is that makes us so good at one particular thing? This is where the work done by Chris Bull and Janet Mills in the early 1970’s at ICI (the world famous chemical company) was so important. Working with open systems planning, they realised that it’s central theme of a corporate “core mission” could be applied to individuals; that with counselling, and encouragement, everyone could find their own core mission. They called this “Core Process”.

When you discover your Core Process, you find 2 words, a verb and a noun, which describe what you do when you are at your most powerful – what some people describe as being “on fire” or “in the flame”. These words, which capture the essence of you at your best, may seem strange to others but to you, they mean everything and you understand them and the effect they have on you all too clearly.

In fact these words can be literally life changing. People often change without realising it as they (i.e. their subconscious) align everything with their Core Process. It helps them to not only cope with difficult situations but to overcome them.

Your Core Process shows you why you are on this planet and what you are here to do. It teaches you the best way for you to understand and to handle just about any situation you may encounter. In corporate terms, it is a useful guide to management styles and can be extremely effective in building teams that really perform.

To a lot of people, this will seem too “way out man”. But consider this: the ideas were formed at a major worldwide corporation (ICI), and many of the contributors below are pillars of the establishment who work, or have worked, for household name companies in very senior positions.

If the Core Process experience works for them, don’t you think it just might work for you too?

Philip de Lisle
"Mapping Beauty"

I would like to thank Nick Heap who helped deliver my Core Process. He was a colleague of Chris Bull at ICI and so was very much on the leading edge of this work.

Client Experiences

The Core Process experience was a rare opportunity to sit back and reflect on what motivated me and what I found essential to ensure any experience was personally rewarding. It allowed me to distill personal drive and passion into a simple and memorable phrase which crystalised everything I hold most dear about my own values. Now anything I do in work or personally has to pass the "CP" test... if it doesn't, it gets very rapidly stopped.

Prof. Chris Bones — Core Process: "Achieving Truth"
Former Dean, Henley Business School,
respected authority on management and leadership
Led the Reform Commission for the Liberal Democrat Party in the UK.

Although the meaning of the outcome of my Core Process experience was not at all clear to me at the time, it did not take very long for that to change. I now find myself repeating the statement regularly. In simple terms, if I do not totally understand why something feels right (or wrong), I find that acknowledging "Trusting Truth" as being at the heart of what I would otherwise call my intuition is totally satisfying. In effect, it prevents me spending (wasting) time trying to reason something out further than I am able. If I have run out of reasoning, then the rest is my "core process". This has added something fundamental to my understanding of myself. What more can anyone ask as they try to grow and evolve themselves?

Christopher Parr — Core Process: "Trusting Truth"
Corporate Counsel at ON Semiconductors
Former Corporate Counsel at Monsanto
Former Partner at Collyer Bristow

I am driven by what I call the human balance sheet (health, family, work and reward) which is frequently updated by life’s experience and underlying feedback. However every now and then it needs a ‘service’ and the Core Process experience provided this. Core Process took me off auto pilot and asked me about all of me, the good and the bad, looked backwards and forwards, identified sacred cows and more. Its output is presented in two words that are me.

Paul J Hemsley BA FCA FRSA — Core Process: "Seeing Opportunities"
IN51GHT Ltd – real interims
formerly Group Finance Director at Innovation Group plc (LDN:TIG) and Ordinance Survey

The Core Process experience gave me a period of looking inward on myself, something that we rarely do successfully. Having someone walking the path with me, posing questions and offering the opportunity to take different directions allowed me to find my Core Process. Once discovered, it made sense and put into context why I approach much of my life and work in the way that seems natural to me. It also allows me to be flexible when dealing with others when you understand that their core processes are different.

Stephen Harvard Davis — Core Process: "Demonstrating Visibility"
Best selling author
Principal – Assimilating-Talent
former Group Training Manager, National Mutual Life

A growing number of topinterim members have gone through the Core Process experience with Philip with considerable personal payback. It’s interesting, valuable, and challenging. For how can you help others if you don’t understand your own personal drivers? When you discover your Core Process, you learn how you work.

If you find yourself moving too far away from your core drivers everything starts to become ‘hard work’. What can give greater pleasure than the knowledge discoveries that we can all make and share about ‘change’ and how to help individuals, businesses and organisations achieve really difficult shifts of attitudes and behaviours? The Core Process experience is a great first step.

David Pinchard — Core Process: "Relishing Discovery"
MD, topinterim.com
Formerly at J Walter Thompson, Unilever, Bass and former interim change leader at IDV Grand Met (Diageo) and Granada Forte

Core Process, for me, was the equivalent of being given the front door key to myself – I can immediately identify what is good for me, and what is not, by checking to see if it meets my Core Process description – and this is as applicable in my professional life as it is in my personal life. The experience of identifying my Core Process was both rewarding and stretching, allowing me personal space to explore what makes me tick. I continue to identify new opportunities, and new blocks to opportunities, by simply applying my Core Process and seeing whether it applies to the situation under review.

Pippa Mitchell — Core Process: "Synchronising Energy"
Former Vice President at Butterfield Private Banking, Bermuda
Formerly with JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch and SEB, the Swedish bank

When do you ever step back from life and really think about yourself? What you are, what you want to achieve, what will give you a sense of fulfilment. Not often enough – if ever. That was for me the best thing about spending time with Philip and going through the Core Process. It makes you see yourself in a different light . Even now, six years later, it's still making me think.

Martin Dale — Core Process: "Exhilarating Glory"
Former Business Development Director, Citibank CSG UK

I was initially rather skeptical about discovering my Core Process but as I was half way through it, I realised that it was leading me to discover and, more importantly, to reveal my inner desires and ambitions that I had never discussed with anyone before. I now feel that I am ready to achieve this ambition in the current phase of my life. It is truly enlightening and very powerful.

Gabriel Kow — Core Process: "Enriching Lives"
Interim Change Director and Non-Executive Chairman
Former Country Manager for Greater China, GlaxoWellcome
Former Executive Director, Albright & Wilson (Asia Pacific & Europe)
Former President & CEO of Huntsman (Surface Sciences Division)