Introduction to “The Angler”

Given the name of our company, it is obvious that The Angler is a play on words. Plays on words may seem like cheap or unsophisticated humor to some, but actually they are a great, simple way to keep flexing our minds to make associations and to see connections. Besides, they tend to make people smile, and that’s a healthy thing. Smiles and laughter relax barriers between people and groups and even those barriers and blockages that exist within one’s own body and mindset. That’s important when you want to innovate and grow. The “angle” you take to look at things makes all the difference in what you see and what you realize you need to do to be effective.

I am also drawn to the definition of “angler” (a person who fishes using a hook and a rod). I know many fishermen and women, and I realize there are 6 characteristics of anglers that mirror the qualities we find in serially successful innovators, intrapreneurs and leaders with a positive growth orientation.

  1. Casting among vast opportunity space. As I write this from my office, I look out at Lake Michigan and realize just what a big body of water it is, teeming with obvious things going on above the surface but even more so below the surface. Anglers go to lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and oceans teeming with below the surface dynamics, and they expect to make a catch every time. Why are they so optimistic? Because they are not random or limiting about where they cast and what they do. They are strategic and creative.
  2. Successful strategies and executions are often more subtle than obvious. Rather than one size fits all, the strategies of successful angling is made up of a lot of little strategic decisions and agile execution moves. Anglers make strategic decisions about which body of water to choose and where to stand to cast their line. They choose time of day, knowing the fish they want to catch and their behavior under various conditions. They also come prepared with a tackle box that allows them to execute with agility. They pick and choose various ways they believe will convince a fish to bite, or that will help them learn more about the environment and behavior of the fish. For instance, what you put on the end of the hook as incentive matters. It is different for different fish in different conditions. A good angler has learned that and is willing to be flexible and resourceful in their execution tactics.
  3. “Power within” resource use. Anglers are both economic and creative. For instance, in the category of bait, they may use raw hamburger, leftovers from morning breakfast, bread that everyone else finds stale and useless, worms in the ground, pesky flies. They see potential in things others may ignore or throw away. There is also an angler culture that exists, and anglers tend to share advice and stories about what’s biting where, impact of terrain, how to approach the infamous “fish that always seems to get away” and so on. They use networks and the culture, combined with other resources within their reach to win.
  4. Importance of relationships. In addition to tapping and sharing wisdom with other anglers, people I know who fish with a rod and a hook take a more individualized approach to their craft. They actually speak about each fish with a tone of respect and relationship. Whether the fish becomes that night’s supper or gets thrown back, there is something personal, mindful, and even ritualistic about it.
  5. Embrace the stillness. While anglers are known for sharing information and learning from others, there is also a stillness, a peacefulness, a stepping away from the noise and usual pace of life that all anglers cherish and use to their advantage. In fact, stillness is a simple rule of angling. Fish do not respond well to noise and aggressive splashing. Anglers know how to stay still and save the fish stories and power boating for later.
  6. It’s practical and a metaphor. “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” Almost every angler I know cites that quote from the movie “A River Runs Through It.” To them, the business of fishing is practical – literally putting food on the table and transforming a resource to meet a demand. On the surface, success can be boiled down to the measures “How many fish did you catch today?” “How big were they?” However, what sets anglers apart is that they appreciate the complexities and subtleties of what goes into it. The way they go about the art and science of angling applies to the way they see and go about life in general. They tend to stand out from the norm because, in a way, they, too, see and do things from a different angle.

Stay tuned for future installments of The Angler. They won’t always be about fishing, but they will always be about understanding what is below the surface and using the power within to see and act differently and grow.

Third Angle Advisory & Analytics

Tool Kit IconClients come here to see and grow new things, or to see and grow things in new ways. Third Angle provides access to a team of experienced executives who have traveled the road to growth multiple times across varied and robust career paths. Talent is coupled with Third Angle’s deep analytical, creative and practically proven methods and tools that enable positive growth while building capabilities and a culture poised for long-term value creation. Third Angle’s Advisory & Analytics channel is the preferred partner for each step of the journey that serially successful intrapreneurs, innovators and growth-oriented leaders undertake to achieve success for their business, their team, their people and themselves.

We support serially successful intrapreneurs, innovators and growth-oriented leaders on a distinct journey toward positive growth.

Frame – This sets the stage for your broad aim or question. It defines the parameters for the system you plan to impact through growth – the same system that will impact your chances for growth. Framing is a necessary step within and between the strategy and execution phases.

Discover – The Discovery phase reveals what you can create and/or do that will cause growth and can be adopted by external and internal markets in the near and long terms. It also reveals who and what to involve, where and how to involve them, and why they will facilitate or block the growth strategies. This phase also tests whether or not you have the Patterns of Profitability© (factors present in all successful growth initiatives) or whether work is required to develop them alongside the growth strategy and execution work.

Create – In this phase you design your growth catalyst and the means to make it work.

Embody – The indicators that lead to growth play out in real time, and you are now orchestrating adoption and execution into the culture within and beyond your business walls.

Harvest – The Harvest phase calls on you to harvest various forms of value or capital that have been grown, and to recognize and re-invest it or distribute it appropriately.

Learn – Learning is the intentional, continual process that makes growth profitable, sustainable and repeatable across conditions.

Third Angle helps companies frame, design and position across diverse disciplines, with the ultimate goal of positive growth. From workshops to model building to investment mapping, the Advisory and Analytics Practice leverages a rich toolkit to yield powerful results.


One of the proprietary tools that proves useful during any phase of the journey is the
Third Angle Action Lab Experience (TALE). TALE© is a multi-day workshop/learning session where companies bring some of their toughest nut problems and the teams (often cross-functional, even cross-institutional) charged with transforming them into growth solutions. Third Angle brings the experience and camaraderie of our multi-industry executive bench, relevant researchers and proven methods and tools for use in facilitated workshops. Together, we discover new solutions and design action plans that are realistic and fresh. Teams test their ideas and action plans with the executives in the room and with each other in what we call “The Dolphin Tank” (a kinder, gentler shark tank). We work with teams prior to and following TALE© to ensure solutions are thoughtfully designed and strategically positioned to benefit a variety of stakeholders. This is where positive growth breakthroughs occur, and how capabilities are built for the future.


Third Angle offers multi-modal data collection and analysis tools for all sizes and types of quantitative and qualitative data, both external and internal to the company. We often use mapping to represent results and to help our clients see the connectivity of resources and needs across resource networks.

Third Angle is pleased to offer the services of our strategic partner, FirstSight. FirstSight was founded by Dr. Daniel Diermeier of the University of Chicago and utilizes the analytical and computational power of top tier researchers and analysts from across the globe. FirstSight offers intelligence that is rigorous, scientific, granulated, customized, anticipatory and actionable. This intelligence is accessible for managing three key areas of your business: reputation and non-market forces, customers and culture. FirstSight’s cutting edge tools assist you in: (1) reputation management and early detection of issues brewing in your external environment, (2) marketing and understanding current and potential customers and what really drives their behavior and relationship with your product or brand and (3) understanding your true corporate culture and underlying perceptions that are deeply engrained in your business and ways of working.

In each of these three areas, Third Angle with FirstSight helps you answer critical questions, such as “where is culture created in our organization?,” or “what do all of our customers care about but are not revealing?,” or “how can we address the call of activists for new regulation, boycotts or legislation?”

Third Angle Institute

The Third Angle Institute provides powerful ways to learn while doing and transforms the way clients see and do business. The Third Angle philosophy and approach empower you to build growth, innovation, collaboration and intrapreneurship capabilities while working on real projects and achieving valuable results. The Institute provides access to a variety of customizable learning vehicles, business and executive coaching, tools and subject matter experts from multiple domains with the aim of helping clients learn to grow through the power within.

The Third Angle Institute emphasizes learning and discovery with direct value creation for your business and the work you do in it. We design goal and problem-based learning with the means to apply what’s learned across situations. This is in contrast to generic, content-based teaching that does not transfer. Learning must be profitable and purposeful to connect with its audience and context, and to add real value. The Institute is powered by Third Angle’s international bench of seasoned executives, learning scientists, subject matter experts and researchers. It’s the client, along with their growth challenges and opportunities, that remains at the center of our work. The Third Angle Institute offers:

1 – Custom workshops
We tailor and combine deep technical knowledge with the best of what is known about changing mindsets, skill sets, systems, and achieving creative breakthroughs. Examples of custom workshops:

  • Making Sense of Big and Little Data
  • Turning Complexity into Competitive Advantage
  • Whole Brain Innovators & Intrapreneurs: Integrating Economic & Human Value
  • Consistently Winning with Innovations
  • Building Bridges: Facilitating Knowledge Transfer & Next Phase of Life Post-Retirement

2 – Master Classes and Key Notes
We offer specific talks and interactive sessions with deep dives into specific areas:

  • Tapping & Motivating the Power Within
  • Fast Learning in Complex Environments
  • The Arrogance of Certainty
  • Getting into the Flows of Patients and Customers
  • Understanding Your Patterns of Profitability

3 – Executive Learning Programs & Curricula (ELPs)
We co-design programs for your company’s business and learning needs alongside you, taking into account your unique context and needs. We take a best-of-the-best approach by offering a more customizable set of options than you’ll find through a traditional executive education, and we make learning actionable and value-producing. We tap domain expertise from around the globe as well as executives with experience who are excellent at teaching and facilitating. We also leverage the internal expertise and leadership of client companies, as well as the voices of their employees to paint a complete picture.

1 – Project Partners
We help executives with collaboration, innovating from within, leading change, successful internal entrepreneurship, developing strategies and teams, and stewarding implementation and adoption of innovation.

2 – Leadership Effectiveness Coaching
Through experience and certification, we work with leaders individually to be more effective in specific areas, as well as in more general leadership competencies and self-care. This includes collaboration, emotional intelligence, and clarity of goals.

3 – Personal Coaching
We coach individuals in transition, planning for their future in work or in “retirement,” improving professional and leadership excellence, and improving health, well-being, and “mindful” ways of being.

1 – Transformation of Science to Practical Applications, Mindset and Behavioral Change
Through publications, coaching, workshops, advice, and experimental designs, we provide models, frameworks and tools, and design applications rooted in an array of scientific theories and research. We draw on these resources to determine and execute problems in new ways, and to encourage sustainable new thinking and behaviors. For example, we apply complexity science, cognitive science, data science, and biology to inform the design of adherence to new, safer practices for patients.

2 – Subject Matter Expertise Across Domains
Third Angle sustains a network of subject matter experts across the globe who teach and advise on specific matters as part of a broader learning or research engagement. We match the experts who best suit our clients’ needs. For example:

  • Experts in Biochemistry and Physics— Informing energy businesses on new technologies and ways of understanding their space for breakthroughs through short presentations and panel discussions
  • Leaders from Major Government Regulation Agencies—Informing pharma on innovation needs through innovation sessions and shared model development
  • Experts in Reputation Management—Informing boards and businesses on how to actively protect the reputational assets of their companies by providing a friendly critique of ideas and explaining the “whys” behind what works and what doesn’t

We offer licensed Third Angle games, assessments, methods and tools for use and adaptation under licensing agreements. Train-the-trainer sessions are also available for select tools.


St. Michael’s House

St M's House

Serially successful growth, innovation and intrapreneurship require changing mindsets and seeing things in new ways. Often described as The Four Seasons Hotel-meets-Jedi Academy, St. Michael’s House is a mind-bending, inspiring, and personally transforming experience that changes the way people see and do things.

The results of the St. Michael’s House Experience are breakthrough, creative paths forward that occur only when you are led to recognize your situation in light of analogous situations in domains far different from yours. Studies prove that metaphors, like those created through the St. Michael’s House Experience, are the most powerful cognitive strategies for transforming minds. The domains may differ, but the analogy translates into practical application. Guests learn how surprisingly similar patterns exist across all kinds of complex, dynamic systems.

Imagine coming to breakthrough insights and strategies about how to grow your financial services business organically through lessons on farming.  Or consider exploring how the human body is designed imperfectly to allow for adaptation and evolution and applying that to your organizational design.

Individuals and teams who reap the most from the St. Michael’s House experience are intellectually curious, open to change, and humble enough to learn, reflect and be surprised. When we distance ourselves from familiar patterns, we grant ourselves the freedom and clarity to question our assumptions and discover new insights and pathways to growth.

In inspiring venues, participants explore and experience concepts, methods and systems from diverse domains and practice translating that knowledge as metaphors into implications for business, personal, professional and team development. Examples include:

  • Participate in wine making in Napa Valley to learn lessons from the vineyard, and their application to growth processes that yield a successful harvest for current year (while preparing for future seasons).
  • Spend time at a farm-to-table establishment to learn about farming, and use that new, out-of-the-box knowledge to conquer a sustainable supply chain challenge.
  • Experience physiology and neurology through strategically selected spa treatments in order to design new ways of seeing and engineering information and capital flows.
  • In majestic nature settings or in ancient buildings, consider what many of the great philosophers and saints from both Eastern and Western traditions have to say about conditions for mindset change, creativity, and innovation and then employ their simple practices in your work and personal life

Perhaps most telling is that participants have told us these experiences are personally transforming and have freed them to grow in new ways inside and outside their business lives.