Peter Norlin

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Peter has spent over 30 years as a leader-consultant in the human systems development professions, working in partnership with individuals, groups, and whole systems to help them to embody leadership; to move values into action; and to create mindful, spirited, flourishing workplaces. His internal experience has included roles as the head of organization development at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Maryland, and as a human resources consultant at USF&G Insurance.

As an external consultant, he has worked extensively with senior leadership teams in both new and mature business settings to help them manage the key evolutionary transitions from entrepreneurial start-up, to large-system change, to organizational renewal. He is especially interested in the complex role and emotional dynamics of executive leadership, and he has experience coaching executives and leadership teams to deepen self-understanding, find the insights that propel new business strategy, make decisions that successfully integrate new technology with complex human needs, and put their collective values into action with courage and confidence.

I’ve been trying to figure myself out since I was a child, and I’ve discovered that this turns out to be a life-long process. When I look around me, though, I’ve noticed that other people who are also curious and seek to understand themselves usually seem more balanced, more vital, and more able to withstand life’s storms. So, over the years, I’ve learned that my ability to handle the challenges in my outer life depends on my willingness to develop my inner resources.

Peter is also skilled at bringing large and small groups of people together for the conversations needed to build community and a commitment to a new future, and he has successfully designed and facilitated meetings, retreats, and work conferences for groups of 5 to 500 participants. His other areas of consulting expertise include developing satisfying, sustainable teamwork and business partnerships; crafting robust organizational architecture; designing physical environments where people can do their best, most creative work; and assisting leaders to develop a powerful, persuasive spoken image.

Through the years Peter has served a wide variety of customers, in corporate, government, and not-for-profit settings; from two-person partnerships, family businesses, and entrepreneurial high-tech start-ups, to Fortune 100 companies; and in manufacturing, health care, education, retail, hospitality, legal, financial services, entertainment, and professional services sectors. His corporate, government, and not-for-profit clients have included Public Broadcasting Service, Eastman Kodak, Pfizer, General Mills, Texaco, Inc., American Express, Procter & Gamble, Anheuser-Busch, The Louisiana State Office of Mental Health, The Vermont Agency for Human Services, AT&T Credit Corporation, S.C. Johnson Wax, The Interlochen Center for the Arts, McNeil Consumer Products, The Internal Revenue Service, Clairol, AARP, Union Carbide, Philips Electronics, and the U.S. Department of Education.

When I work with leaders and teams now, I see more and more that concerns me. People often seem buried under a never-ending avalanche of work—pushed beyond their capacities, pushed into their personal danger zones, and pushed almost to the point of hopelessness. And what concerns me the most? That they can’t talk about it for fear of being too vulnerable and of being seen as weak or unable to “take it.” So at a time when the world needs more careful thought, creative insight, and systemic strategies than ever before, many people feel that they can’t take the time to think. To counteract this pressure now, people need a particular kind of resource, and that’s why Tom and I developed LifeLine.

A graduate of The Johns Hopkins University Masters Degree Program in Applied Behavioral Science/Organization Development, Peter also has an M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and his teaching experience includes faculty appointments at Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University, and Georgetown University. Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he is a professional member of the NTL Institute and the Associate Editor of the OD Practitioner.

I feel both excited and prepared to introduce leaders to LifeLine’s special resources because I feel credible to myself—I’ve tested these concepts and skills myself, and I know they work. I’ve also had enough experience using the LifeLine approach in the workplace, with leaders, to see that it gives them what it’s given me—more freedom, flexibility, and focus in their lives. When I see people working so hard to stop working so hard, I want to say to them, “Here, do try this at home!