Every few months, we interview a person of the SATAA to get more insight into who is part of our community. This time, we interview Marguerite Sacco-Turner.
Judith: Marguerite, you are part of the SATAA, and you are the only certified TA practitioner in the organisational field in Africa – tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
Marguerite: My area of specialisation is in workplace behaviour. I consult to and facilitate processes in Leadership Development, Team Development, Strategic Planning, Diversity Process and Conflict Management, where I use my Transactional Analysis as the architect for an organisational landscape where humanity, autonomy, awareness, and relationship is reclaimed for the greater benefit of the organisation at large. My work facilitates the engagement in positive, life-giving dialogue, assisting the organisation to create what it desires for optimal productivity.
Judith: When did you get to know about TA? And what is the biggest impact it has had on your life?
Marguerite: I first came across TA through an OD consultant who used it extensively in his practice. I was intrigued, and set out to find out more. I discovered Colin Brett here in Cape Town and began training in earnest. The biggest impact it had on my life was that it gave me insight into my self, and in so doing, I discovered the permissions I needed to be myself, and to grow and develop as a person.
Judith: What has been the biggest impact of your introducing TA to a person or an organisation that you have seen?
Marguerite: I think the biggest impact would be the work for the SAAF. It was certainly the biggest challenge, working with an organisation in transition from the days of Apartheid, into a new era of equality, where black men and women were entering a previously white male-dominated environment. I introduced an interface, where the new intake of Student Pilots could meet with and discuss common ground with their Instructors, using TA models as the basis for their discussions. But there have been other, smaller areas of impact that stand out for me, for instance the time when a young manager described the moment that he stopped himself from getting into a fist-fight in a road-rage incident, and thought to himself, right in the heat of the moment, “wait a minute, I’m okay and so is this guy”, and he climbed back into his car and drove away. Or the time when two employees recognised that they were deeply embroiled in a Drama Triangle with each of them switching rapidly from Victim to Persecutor, and in that realisation, both contracted to stop it – and they did just that. Or when a factory worker extricated herself from an abusive marriage and take her two young daughters to safety, after learning about the Drama Triangle , and about Life Positions and Strokes. It is in those stories, and many just like them, that the true value and power of TA can be found.
Judith: What do you think is the opportunity for South African organisations in using TA?
Marguerite: SA organisations can utilise TA to better understand the psychodynamics of the organisation as a whole and to find ways to steer the organisation into healthy, vibrant places of creativity and success. They can use TA to provide the tools needed for effective leadership and communication, conflict management, and motivation in the workplace.
TA enables organisations to work with interpersonal processes, and to create what is desirable and life-giving for all who work in them.
Judith: What are some of the things you do that ‘feed’ your natural child, that you love doing?
Marguerite: I do a lot of yoga, that soothes the Child within and makes me happy. I also do NIA dancing, which is a wonderful way to get in touch with the Child within. I have a 15 year old daughter who has many friends, all of whom sleep over on weekends. And they keep me young! When there are no friends a visiting, I sometimes invite my daughter to come to me for a sleepover, and she brings her bedding into my room and stays the night.
Judith: What have I not asked that you want to tell us that will be fascinating?
Marguerite: My husband lives and works in Abu Dhabi. I visit him during school holidays. I am learning about a new culture there, so very different from the one we know in South Africa. I intend developing a TA course to present in Abu Dhabi in the future, and will be interested to see how it lands, in this different landscape. Watch this space for new discoveries.
Something else that I find fascinating, is the correlation between the findings of neurological research and TA theory. I used to do Neurofeedback, which involves balancing the brain waves to assist with concentration, post-traumatic stress and other conditions. It is intriguing to find that the research in this field backs up what we have known for years in Transactional Analysis. So in some instances, I have been able to integrate neurofeedback, and neurological research with TA and present this as a fascinating management tool in organisations.
Judith: Thank you Marguerite, it’s been great to find out more about you…