The Heart of Accomplishment

Acquiring Velocity through Creating Accountability and Generating Coordinated Action

This program is generally delivered business communities as an in-house offering. The outcomes have been so exceptional, that we periodically serve our constituency on a wider business, through making this offering available to people who work together, from a wide variety and sizes of businesses, allowing them to engage together in this most powerful conversation.

The title of this program means exactly what it expresses. The Heart of Accomplishment is a four day conversation which gives Heart of Leadership graduates an opportunity to dwell, live into, explore, and delve into exercises, to research, intuit, and inquire into what is at the “heart” — the very soul and essence — of accomplishment. It is a strategic and tactical course, a conversation whose intention is to give over to those who engage the design of being in communication in such a way that they can authentically say, “I can and am committed to being responsible and accountable for generating coordinated action with others, for creating collaborative workability, and fulfilling my intentions and accomplishments throughout my life, including both my personal concerns and my operational or institutional concerns.”

The Heart of Accomplishment, goes a long way in standing in the footsteps of The Heart of Leadership, deepening that work, and delving into the nature of the design of accomplishment, weaving accomplishment’s relationship with Temporality, with Grace, with Fierceness, with Flow, and with Compassion, throughout each of the conversations that human beings engage in with one another as they are out to fulfill Life, to fulfill themselves and each other, to fulfill what they are up to, and to fulfill a business and their accountability in their business.

There is a deep cost to not coordinating action well. Costs are in finances, well being, productivity, relationships, one’s ability to fulfill what one promises, integrity. This course addresses questions like: How do you open a space for others to give and keep their word? To be responsible? To coordinate action well, like trapeze artists do. To have partners everywhere, including where people have broken their word with you? What does it take to get out of the win/lose game, and into the game of creating collaboration and workability? What does it take to make an effective request? To enroll people in what you’re asking them to commit to? To give and keep your word? To handle breaches of integrity well? To restore trust? All of these are critical questions in all of life, and, especially business, and so many opportunities go by the wayside without having some mastery in this conversation for generating Accountability and being, yourself, a space of possibility in which others can make and keep commitments. People who have engaged in the conversation report breakthroughs in living, practicing, and being powerful in all these areas.

In addition to the general and specific purposes of The Heart of Accomplishment, some of the comments made by participants afterward are included in this document, in behalf of giving you a sense of what the program could make available in your business, community, or organization.

This is an excellent follow up to The Heart of Leadership and allows for a re-visiting of that conversation inside of the distinctions of Conversation for Accomplishment: and, particularly, accountability, coordinated action, holding people to account, handling breaches of integrity, and creating a culture of integrity in action.

The following purposes are the purposes for The Heart of Accomplishment.

“Thought without action is nothing much

And action without thought is nothing at all.”

–George Bernanos

The Purposes of The Heart of Accomplishment: Acquiring Velocity through Generating Accountabilityand Creating Coordinated Action

You are able to create accomplishment throughout your life – in business and personal — in your developmental life, and your operational life, through developing yourself to live and work in relationship with others, discovering, exploring, correcting, and leaning into the principles for authentic communication, accountability, and coordinated action, as pathways for providing velocity, community, and extraordinary service.

You, and the team with which you work, are committed to and own being responsible for yourself and others making and keeping clear commitments (both requests and promises), so that effectiveness and workability exist in your collaboration with others.

Another way of saying this: You are someone around whom others make and keep commitments (both requests and promises), give and keep their word. To empower you and the people with whom you work to be accountable for causing the fulfillment of what you intend.

1. To empower you and the people with whom you work to be accountable for causing the fulfillment of what you intend.

2. You are clear about what it takes to negotiate and align on specific, agreed upon conditions of satisfaction (and are “practicing” in everyday life, doing so).

3. You are empowered with tools to instill practices, protocols, and ways of working that support a culture in your business, your family, and organizations with which you participate, of connectivity, possibility, workability, accountability, and accomplishment.

4. To enable you to accomplish what you set out to accomplish in coordinated action with others, and to unfold your projects as accomplishments.

5. You have a breakthrough in your ability to engage others in making and fulfilling their word, or, in other words, your and their specific, agreed upon, commitments.

6. You are developing yourself to transcend or remove your barriers and stops to being straight with others, including holding them to account, as a way to follow through and correct, graciously restoring a condition of integrity (and trust) in your working together collaboratively.

7. You are developing yourself, as you move through life and your career, in listening from and listening for the conversational pathways that allow you to be responsible for fulfilling intentions.

8. You have a breakthrough in your ability to lead from being of service, deepening your relationship with Generosity, Compassion and Understanding, as you embody the distinctions of Accountability.

Who can participate? 

Anyone who has taken The Heart of Leadership and is now interested in and willing to committedly and seriously explore arenas of concern that allow for breakthroughs in the areas outlined in the purposes. This course is for individuals as well as communities working together.

While we are accepting participants, we strongly recommend that a business send between two to six participants into the conversation, in behalf of creating a sense of community amongst and between the participants, as they develop a sense of accountability and “ownership” of the business.


The Heart of Accomplishment will be held on a date to be determined. The tuition for the program is $2295.00 and includes lunch.

What Previous Participants have said about The Heart of AccomplishmenT:

The Heart of Accomplishment allows for intentions (dreams) to be fulfilled in a meaningful way. The course has given our company the framework and tools to manifest our desire to work collaboratively and in community with each other. It has brought the best out of all of us as we dig deep to make sure that we are not only moving projects ahead but being an active contribution to the success of others. When in practice, HOA fosters a truly synergistic system of being, where people can work from the heart, with the clarity of a shared vision and in a nourishing community. I believe this is how we are meant to work, not worrying about who’s doing what or what is supposed to get done, but rather from a place of moving towards a common vision and having faith that we will be able to work through any challenge because it is on behalf of something greater than ourselves.”

Susan Allen, Owner
Town and Country Markets

The Heart of Accomplishment proved to be a powerful course and a wise choice of action for our core leadership team following The Heart of Leadership. Filled with tools in communication that seem so simple and straightforward but are so often overlooked or ignored, Heart of Accomplishment strengthened our connection with each other, our ability to both give and receive information and our accountability to outcomes. Following are results that have been generated and continue to evolve from our work.

1. Identifying breaches in integrity and restoring trust as the first and most necessary component in working together.

2. Deepening of background of relatedness recognizing it as the primary driver for accomplishment.

3. A heightened sense of community in that we are all out to achieve the same and we are all in support of one another.

4. A new dialogue that includes clear requests, real deadlines, stated intentions, and desired outcomes. And guess what? It works!

5. A heightened sense of accountability to our standards, our policies and our core values that, most importantly, is filtering down from our leadership team to every member of our team through example and conversation using the tools of Heart of Accomplishment.

6. A holding to account both of ourselves and others that is absent of blame and is generous and empowering.

7. An acronym that we regularly refer to as a means of checking our design, our process and our results which quickly enables us to see our missing and gets us back on track: Communication, Alignment, Commitment, Accountability.

Finally, on a personal note, while outward appearance led me to believe this work is of a practical nature, it is that and more. It is a continued journey for the self with the ultimate message being who I am as the essence of accomplishment. Thank you, Amba.”

Mary Harrigan, Owner
Stonefire Grill Inc.


The Heart of Accomplishment (HOA) was an amazing journey for both me and my managers. A journey because we had all experienced Heart of Leadership (HOL) at some point in time, and this course seemed like the next natural rest stop in our 1967 Chevy wood paneled station wagon filled with 20 other people constantly asking “are we there yet?

The tools we gained to deal with so many unfulfilled requests, so many breaches, so many missed communication opportunities were discovered on this journey. Silos (walls) have been lowered to eye level. Old and new friendships were re-discovered. A new respect was introduced in our company culture.

All in all, a wonderful continuation of development that I would recommend any company that places integrity, authenticity, and mutual respect at the forefront of their culture should take the plunge and discover. Think about the possibilities!”

Tom Brugato, President
Pacific Coast Fruit Company


“There were several conversations from The Heart of Accomplishment that I have greatly benefited from since attending the course. The most impactful conversation for me has been around the idea of slowing down to gain velocity in our coordinated action. Being new to my role and wanting to prove myself, I found myself quickly saying yes to everything and anything that came my way. There was little time given to reflection, listening to other perspectives, clarifying conditions of satisfaction or acting on what matters most. It was simply accepting a task and running with it full steam ahead. I sense there has been a shift in all of us who attended Heart of Accomplishment. Today, we all take a little more time to be reflective and to gain the insights and perspectives of others. Today, we all take a little more time to clarify conditions of satisfaction and to act on what really matters most. By no means are we perfect in doing all these things but we seem willing to slow down and collectively be more aware of our own accountability on behalf of gaining velocity in our coordinated action. Our journey has begun.”

Jim Huffman, Chief of Retail Operations
Town & Country Markets


“Our company is so fortunate to have worked with Amba for many years. This work has really defined who we are as a company, and for each other. After completing Heart of Accomplishment it feels like we have reached a whole new level. It is almost as if we have “awakened” as a community, committed to an even greater future. While there are many new commitments that came out of the course, the following stood out for me:

1. Gaining greater clarity on what it means to have a true foundation of connection with each other.

2. The power of making clear requests and the commitment to fulfill them.

3. Increasing the velocity of accomplishment by “creating” the right moment to communicate as opposed to waiting for the right moment.

4. Developing unity of purpose committed to coordinated action.

5. Moving from a collection of individuals to a true community that is powerfully “leaning into” our future.

Every course I have taken from Amba has contributed to my transformation as a leader. But this course, in particular, has transformed me as a leader within our community. I feel more connected than ever. And I know that all of us, as community, are more committed to creating ongoing, potent, sustainable, accomplishment that will provide Town and Country with an outstanding future.”

Bill Weymer, CEO
Town &Country Markets


“As I shared with Amba the Monday after the class, I was presented with a request that left me feeling like I wasn’t comfortable saying yes as I would be doing a dis-service to the requestor and more so to myself. So I paused and thought what is he really asking for and what can I provide comfortably to meet those needs and keep my integrity and trust high with this person. It only took an extra 2-3 minutes to come up with a response that satisfied both. It felt empowering to put into practice my newly learned skill. From there I have been willfully practicing listening from nothing and listening for the gold. Previously I was quick to answer or heal or fix the problem (I thought I already knew) when in conversations. Now I try to be of service and listen for what they are trying to convey. It is so relaxing to have a conversation where the tempo slows down… and there’s no competition for getting “your” views heard but just being there and providing a space for the other person to talk into. I get so much more out of these conversations. They are also more satisfying for the speaker to feel heard and fully understood.

I’ve also taken on another stand.

As general contractors the norm is that we have a job to complete and we hire sub-contractors to do that work. We tell them when we need them….what we want them to do…and “by when”. Pretty cut and dry. Hell – it’s worked for decades.

After the conversations we had about relatedness and conditions of satisfaction I realized I had little relatedness to the subs and I was a one-way street as I was giving only “my” conditions of satisfaction. I actually had a moment of clarity on day three. I never asked what “their” conditions of satisfaction were and realized that if we partnered and I understood their requirements to perform the work successfully, in turn we would both be successful. So now at each of my pre-con meetings I am asking, “What do you need from us to make this a successful project for you?” So far it has brought much clarity to our conversations. Some subs seem a little taken aback like what’s up with this guy? But I’m going to continue this path through this project and I hope to find a new way of doing business that opens the dialogue flow, creates a space for discovery and helps us all work better as a team.” 

Jeff Weimer, Superintendent
J.R. Abbott Construction


“After finishing The Heart of Accomplishment and spending a couple of weeks living with what the conversation was in that course one thing has become very clear for me. And that is the reality of requests and how they affect everyone’s lives.

The beauty and synergy of a well-crafted request makes all the difference in the end result. HOA gave me the tools to be able not only to make a request with clear conditions of satisfaction but also and almost more importantly it has given me the permission to receive requests in such a manner that I am freed up to decline requests that I know going in that I cannot fulfill. Even more valuable is the language it gave me to ask for clarity in conditions of satisfaction prior to saying
“yes”, “no” or giving a counter to the request.

I’ve had opportunity to experience the sense of relief on peoples face as conversations unfold and they realize that they can A) decline the request or B) counter the request . But it’s especially rewarding to see the RESULTS that come from clear requests.

Thank you for sharing those tools and the language, which will no doubt continue to make a difference in the “how” of things getting done.”

Shauna Howell, Director of Culinary Services
Town & Country Markets


“After our four days together in The Heart of Accomplishment class, what was residing in me was a desire to slow down, to allow myself the space and time to reflect on what was important to me and what it was that was keeping me from it.

Two areas that kept coming up for me during this reflection process were Connection and Listening; how do I deepen the connections I have with others, and do I have a powerful listening for the people I come in contact with? Both of these areas contribute to my strong desire to be a part of and in coordinated action with others.

I am invested in deepening connections in my work, family, and friends by practicing mindfulness in listening. By being in inquiry and getting into another’s world, setting aside my own point of view, I have been able to experience a compassion and caring for others that hasn’t been present in me for a while. I am experiencing deeper, more meaningful insights into the people around me. Connections are being made, and I am seeing forward momentum in areas of my life that have been stalled for some time.

I’m learning that my heart is most happy when I’m present and take responsibility for my actions and outcomes.” 

Debra Cox, Housewares Category Manager
Town & Country Markets


“I write this coming from a whole new place in my life. What a difference three days can make!

When I look back at how I was operating with other people, it seems that I was not being clear in my intentions with myself and I was certainly not communicating specific conditions of satisfaction. Some of the time I would communicate what I wanted and would get results accordingly. But other times I was thinking I was being clear and not getting the results and getting frustrated. Now I know that I need to get clear, communicate fully with my specific conditions of satisfaction with a “by when” and then have the other person accept the request. (Or decline, counter-offer, get back to me…)”

Don Thornton, Beer/Wine/Spirits Specialist
Town & Country Markets


“What has really showed up for me since our time together is the power of my words when making a commitment and how my integrity is wrapped up with how I respond to a request. I now take the time before responding, to think if I can fully commit myself to that request and understand how important it is to honoring and fulfilling the request. I have also accepted that it’s ok to say “no” to a request or counter offer a request. That it’s more than OK to say “no” to a request because if I just gave them a passive “yes” without true commitment it again comes back to me not honoring or upholding my Integrity. It also shows the other person I care about the request but it’s just not the right time to fully give myself to it.

I now also pay more attention on how I’m making requests of others. Attempting to come from a place of honoring them in how I offer my request. Honoring their space and time. This I feel has also helped with building my relationship with others all from the approach of a request. Thank you for helping me become more aware in this process of making requests coming from a place of honoring.

I really enjoyed how the simplicity of the Me/We showed up in our days together and the truly wonderful conversation around it. I do feel we are continually working together as a We in our communication and commitments together. It’s amazing the impact we can have as a company in our projects and the processes with clear intentions working together as a WE. Sure takes the weight off knowing you’re not alone. It’s a great feeling knowing that we are never alone in this company and that we are all open to working together. All we need to do is ask.

I feel blessed everyday working for such an amazing company that care and loves others like they do.

I appreciate you for all your time and heart you have invested in me. I am truly honored knowing you. Thank You!”

Teri Kendrick, Bakery/Espresso Specialist
Town & Country Markets


“The class was a liberating experience on several levels.

It made me realize that I have held on to some of my past which needed to be let go. The reading of John O’Donohue about crossing the threshold, hit me between the eyes. I’ve even found the use of it in multiple conversations to help others since the class.

I’ve adopted a new catch phrase from attending the class: “Listening from nothing with the intent of discovery.” Wow, what a major shift in myself. I’m constantly working at it and it’s getting much easier.

The class gave me focus and the desire to start a new life in communication and inclusion. This change alone (at work as well as personally) has excelled projects and relationships to a new level.”

Michael Latham,
Director of Food Safety & Loss Prevention
Town & Country Markets, Inc.



“The greatest gift of The Heart of Accomplishment has been my re-connection to the word,
“nourishing”. If the deeper purpose of my life/work is to “nourish the quality of life”, then what does that mean in how I spend the moments of my life?

I’ve found myself in deeply rich conversations, really sourcing my connection to others in a way that nourishes “us”. I’ve noticed that so much of the time, I’m busy and that the slowing down of time is critical for nourishment. To fully acknowledge and honor others and myself and to hold that space for “us” fills our souls. To love unconditionally and yet hold myself and others accountable is liberating.”

Susan Allen, Owner
Town & Country Markets
(this was written after the first “ in-house” with T&C)


“I decided to take you up on your invitation to reflect upon the work that we did at the Heart of Accomplishment for a couple of reasons. I genuinely feel that the work we did while in this course is of the utmost importance within our organization as well as our individual lives. The duty we all have to live and breathe this work on a daily basis is vital and for that reason I want to take the time to reflect upon it and rejuvenate it within myself.

As I have stated before I was raised in a world of accountability. You weren’t anything if you didn’t keep your word or follow through on your actions so you can imagine that integrity is big with me.

That was ever apparent from the time I was a small child so I rarely find it difficult living and breathing that piece of this work. I did, however, realize after our first session that although I wasn’t in breech with anyone or any commitment that I had made, I was unintentionally giving myself an out when committing to a request with no by when. If the requestor didn’t give a by when, I wouldn’t ask for one. This gave me the flexibility to shift those “no by when” tasks around to accommodate other priorities. Again, this was all unintentional and I managed to get everything completed but I may have been letting people down and potentially losing my integrity because the stipulations of the request were not detailed out in the beginning. Thankfully, this course came at the perfect time. I was finding myself in a place where I have never been before – I was struggling to manage the overwhelming amount of commitments that were being requested of me and I was finding myself unable to manage my to-do list and my calendar. Between commitments at work and commitments at home I felt like I was in a washing machine day after day. If I continued to operate in the “no by when” zone, I am certain my integrity would be lost in the eyes of others in my life, which is not acceptable to me.

I am glad this became very clear to me as I was able to come back to work and set up systems for myself to maintain my integrity with the people making requests of me before it was too late. I also realized that I am relatively successful at creating coordinated action; I just didn’t know that’s what I was doing. Although I can’t get over the fact that I now need to keep a to-do list, as my brain can’t keep up anymore, I am thankful that I could go through this process and realize that I had some work to do in order to feel good about how I was operating and to maintain my integrity with others around me.

Present day, I find myself in a different place at work. It is evident that I am showing up differently to people and I am being seen as a listening for things. People often ask me what I think about something or what they should do in a situation. This makes it clear that the work we did at The Heart of Accomplishment had a huge effect. I have also found it easier to face and declare a breakdown when something isn’t working and I think that comes from the straight talk piece of this work. There have been a couple of opportunities to exercise this and I found it a very different experience than I ever have before and with very different outcomes. Along those same lines I find myself being the “voice” of account. Reinforcing the commitments made in meetings, or guiding the conversation to result in some type of committed response, or aiding the requestor in getting a committed response. I have seen in doing this that it awakens the work that we did within people who went through the course that are present.

I am truly honored to have been a part of this and a part of the amazing group of people that I work with that have been tasked with moving this forward. I have confidence that we can accomplish what we intend if we keep each other accountable. I feel very privileged to have engaged in this work and to have experienced the wealth of the two of you, this course was very unlike the Heart of Leadership in a very good way – it hit home for a lot of people. I see it alive here as well every day. Thank you very much, the both of you for investing so much of yourselves in us and our work. It is of tremendous value to us as people.”

 Anna Smithlin, J.R. Abbott Construction


“The biggest day to day take away for me has been practicing the art of persistent nudging to make sure that conditions of satisfaction are stated and the by when is established. It is very easy for people, in including me, to give weak or unclear commitment and then move past an item. The lessons learned in HOA are great because it goes back to awareness, I am much more equipped now to identify when this is occurring and then I can stop it from happening and make sure everyone is clear.

I also see that I need to work on making/keeping my own conditions of satisfaction and “by whens” as items that are internal only to me. A lot of what we do are items that are internal and just need to be completed for the job to be successful and run well, an example would be writing the contracts. I don’t owe them to anyone but myself but they need to happen and have steps to get completed and sometimes it is easy to take care of the items you promised other people before you take care of your own tasks, which many times is more important to the success of the job.

Another aspect is that it is great to see the progress that has been made on both the project that I identified for myself and the one that I worked on Mike with. As I mentioned in the class I had been responsible for helping initiate the BIM (building information modeling) effort at Abbott and over the last 1 ½ years it had lost steam. Based on the 4 days at the HOA it spurred several conversations and meetings, the most recent involved meeting with one of our key subs who gave us some great insight into their program and how we can implement it.

The last thing that comes to mind is that whenever I have left one of your courses it has always been a chance for me to take a larger look at things, it allows perspective and helps form goals and create velocity in the things that have lost steam.

Thank you for the positive impact you have had in my life.”

Michael Sloane, J.R. Abbott Construction


“For me the word “specificity “has become a mainstay of my vocabulary. I have come to believe that the greatest miscommunication that I experience from myself to others, and others to me, and others to others truly stems from a lack of being specific. I have found that I am asking more questions to truly understand what it is someone is asking or requesting of me. I am also being more specific and intentional of what I am requesting.

I was talking to a superintendent a couple of weeks ago, who was complaining about how people just where not following through with what he thought they were committed to do for him. In talking with this person I found that most of his request where very non specific. I suggested that he spend more time communicating what he wanted to take place. Start when? What work needed to happen in what order, how many people did they agree would be on site, Just be more specific. I asked him to try this and see what might happen. I followed up with this person a week later and asked him how thing where going. He shared with me that the people around him seemed to be doing and completing the work better than they were before. I asked him what had changed. He replied that being more specific in his request and communication was the difference and acknowledged that the venting in our first conversation should have been more about what “HE” was not doing not what “THEY” were not doing.” 

Ron Nelson, Field Operations Manager
J.R. Abbott Construction


The following was written by Ron Nakata, one of the owners of Town and Country Markets, Inc., and in-house sponsor for Business Culture and Personal Development, who worked extensively with Amba Gale on the design of this particular conversation:

The Heart of Accomplishment: Velocity through Accountability and Coordinated Action was the right course at the right time and with the right people. Twenty-six members of our Company’s leadership participated: a blend of both Retail and Corporate personnel. I sat in the back of the room with Ruth Blaney, which afforded me the opportunity to be with the participants, observe the dynamics, as well as “blow wind behind the sails.” There were occasions during the first three days where I was also able to share myself with the group, as I was as much a participant as the others.

In the designing period prior to the course, Amba and I had many conversations where we collaborated in searching for the most appropriate context, the right language, the next cultural evolutionary stage for our people. This was truly a discovery and enlightening process for the both of us, and a critical element for empowering Amba to lead and teach most effectively.

My personal intention for the course was to organically transform the participants authentically and integrally into Community. This was accomplished when the group was able to see our collective developmental journey as: ME to WE. One of the most powerful moments ever experienced in an in-house course. There was even space for people to examine some of the Company’s core values and key words, which resulted in individuals seeing much more distinction and depth and ultimately a connectedness they hadn’t had before.

As tumultuous and ever shifting as this world has become, there is a pathway to generating sustainability and vitality. The Heart of Accomplishment: Velocity through Accountability and Coordinated Action is definitely a clear, intentional act of leadership one can choose for themselves and their company.”

Ron Nakata, Owner
Town & Country Markets


The following was written by John McGowan, one of the owners and the President of J.R. Abbott Construction and was the original initiator of the request for Amba to design and offer this conversation for his company. He, too, worked intensively with Amba to have the design be forwarding for his industry and his staff.

“If we really were able to track and account for the staggering amount of time (and cost) we all spend cleaning up situations which were the result of either – unclear requests, uncommitted responses/hollow promises, or a weak (or nonexistent) background of relatedness between two, or more parties –we would be shocked.

Thus, the cost to learn how to, and ultimately invest the time up front to, – achieve alignment between two or more parties, to make clear requests, to receive and give clear conditions of satisfaction, and to give and receive truly committed responses – is nothing, absolutely nothing, in comparison to the time and cost we spend cleaning things up.

I believe so much in the tools and pathways that this course gives an individual, and the positive results that we have seen relative to getting things done, that I have put 60 of our people through this course to date.

Thank you!”

John McGowan, President
JRAbbott Construction

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