History of 5 Dynamics
W. Michael Sturm spent his life developing an amazing methodology that quickly and easily identifies why people do what they do. His work was at the crossroads of counseling, Gestalt Therapy, learning and educational psychology. Mike received his master’s degree in psychology and pursued a doctorate in psychology at the University of Missouri. His career focused on learning where he served as a teacher, principal, differential learning diagnostician, director of services for exceptional children and director of creative learning at the elementary, junior/senior high and adult levels.
Mike began working with assessments in the early 1960’s focusing on the perceptions, communications and learning styles of parents, teachers and students. In 1984 he started Growth Associates International, a consulting firm based in Boston and Boca Raton, Florida. In June 2006, the first comprehensive products leveraging Mike’s assessments were launched.
Mike was a math and physics student at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts in the 1960’s, searching, like so many college students and recent graduates, for his niche in life. From the East Coast to the West, Mike embarked on a long and often winding path through the fields of education, mental health, business development and management consulting.
While his experiences in these fields were often entirely different, the Massachusetts native found that his initial fascination with what makes human beings think the way they do was a guidepost along the way. “I’ve found without really giving it much thought that all the experiences I’ve had have been leading somewhere. It’s been serendipitous really. I haven’t been fiddling around,” Sturm said in his understated manner. “This is a real path with a real destination.”
Over half of Mike’s career was spent developing the tools and methodology that form the heart and soul of the 5 Dynamics’ products. Mike’s 25 years of research and testing on well over 10,000 subjects enabled him to create an assessment and related applications that are beneficial in virtually every conceivable business and personal situation.
Ultimately, Mike believed that his system’s Success/Satisfaction Cycle is what set it apart from others. Simply put, other tests and assessments “emphasize being stuck,” he said, while his system helps people “get their energy to flow.” Following the energy flow in the average human is like following the flow of a stream. In places where it is blocked, the flow stops. In places where it is clear, it moves rapidly and strongly. Acupuncturists, Sturm said, have been tapping into energy flow for centuries, utilizing an individual’s own energy to cure illnesses and overcome physical and mental setbacks. The subject of energy flow is a foreign concept to most Westerners.
He said his system is “part Gestalt (Mike studied at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland), part Piaget (Jean Piaget is the author of Epistemological Studies and Assessments for children and young adults) and part energy flow.”
All Mike’s experiences taught him the simple fact that people are generally unaware of what drives their impulses, what forces rise up to shape the direction of their thinking and actions time and time again. Only when they are given some insight, can they work to draw on their innate strengths and avoid their inherent weaknesses. “I didn’t develop this to fix people. I developed this to set them free.”, Mike Sturm.
In 2007, Mike met Karen Gordon, current owner and CEO of 5 Dynamics. Karen was a Platinum member of the Women Presidents Organization and Mike was their speaker. At the time, Karen was running a successful business in data and telecommunications. Her first company had 1100% growth in three years and appeared on the Inc 500 list two years in a row. In 5 Dynamics terms, she was Successful but not Satisfied. Her first company experienced a great deal of outward success but she did not feel like she was making a difference in people’s lives. Karen immediately saw the opportunity to develop a business that would allow her to be Successful and Satisfied. After three years of discussions and negotiations, 5 Dynamics was founded in 2010.
Today, Karen and her team are working with Fortune 500 companies, leading universities, and non-profits. The focus of 5 Dynamics is on creating cultures that allow people to do their best work, where individuals understand their gifts and the gifts of others. Friction and confrontation are replaced by collaboration and appreciation, which allows organizations to meet their goals and objectives.