Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The LIFO® Story







The LIFO® Method originated in 1967 as a positive and structured tool to supplement organisational development, T-groups, and sensitivity training. These new group methods helped people learn how to improve themselves by studying each others' behaviour, thoughts, and feelings. However, many participants objected to the method as too un-structured, personal, and embarrassing for people who work together.

Responding to these concerns, Dr. Stuart Atkins, with consultant Dr. Elias Porter, developed the Life Orientations® Survey and the Life Orientations® Method based on the work of Erich Fromm, Carl Rogers, and Abraham Maslow. In 1968, the Life Orientations® Survey was presented by Dr. Atkins and his partner Dr. Allan Katcher in the Human Factors in Management course at UCLA and with such diverse clients as the American Cancer Society, Mattel Toys, General Foods, U.S. Steel, and the State of California.

People were fascinated with the non-critical, easy-to-accept interpretation of their survey results and were delighted with the objective way in which they could now talk to each other about their strengths. After the fun and surprise of classifying their behaviour, they began to ask what they could do with their new-found self-awareness and understanding.

To answer these questions, Dr. Atkins extended the Life Orientations® Method beyond diagnosis to include six developmental strategies--Confirming, Capitalizing, Moderating, Supplementing, Extending, and Bridging--for performance improvement. To simplify and aid memory, the Life Orientations® trademark was shortened by Dr. Atkins to LIFO®, a contraction of Life Orientations®.

Atkins and Katcher soon found the demand for the LIFO® Method outstripped their delivery capacity, so they started licensing organisational trainers in the LIFO® Method and developing workbooks to accelerate learning. In 1976, Katcher began to focus his LIFO® practice internationally, appointing agents in many countries, and focusing on executive coaching, teambuilding, and OD applications. Atkins directed LIFO® programs in the United States, with emphasis on the developmental strategies applied to management development, individual productivity, communications, and teamwork. He named this developmental emphasis LIFO® Training.

Since then, the LIFO® Method and LIFO® Training have been used by over 8 million people in 20,000 organisations in 28 countries.

One of Katcher's earliest LIFO® agents, Business Consultants, Inc., Japan, grew to become one of the largest consulting firms in Japan and one of the largest users of LIFO® Training in the world. Since 1978 in Japan alone, 1,117,635 people have completed a LIFO® survey.

BCon, as it is also known, purchased Allan Katcher International, Inc., in 2000 and Stuart Atkins, Inc., in 2001 in order to integrate the worldwide reach and expertise of the two companies. The firms were merged in October 2001 to become BCon LIFO® International, Inc., which is now the sole source for the LIFO® Method and LIFO® Training worldwide.

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