|Formation||January 16, 1991|
|Type||Privately held company LLC|
|Products||The landmark forum, associated coursework|
|Harry Rosenberg: director, CEO; Mick Leavitt|
|US$77 million (2009)|
Landmark Worldwide (known as Landmark Education before 2013), or simply Landmark, is a company, headquartered in San Francisco, which offers personal-development programs.
Landmark Education started in 1991 with the licensing of rights to use intellectual property owned by Werner Erhard, who had originated the est (Erhard Seminars Training) system in the 1970s. Landmark has developed and delivered multiple follow-up and additional programs. Its subsidiary, the Vanto Group, markets and delivers training and consulting to organizations.
Landmark Education, founded in January 1991 by several of the presenters of a training program known as "the Forum", licensed the intellectual property rights to the Forum from Werner Erhard and Associates. The new company offered similar courses and employed many of the same staff. The Forum was updated and reduced in length from four days to three, and this revised course, named "the Landmark Forum", has been further revised by Landmark's program leaders over the years.
According to Landmark, Werner Erhard (creator of the est training which ran from 1971 to 1984, when it was superseded by the Forum) consults from time to time with its research and design team.
This section needs to be updated.(July 2021)
As of 2013[update], Landmark Worldwide's core business operation is the delivery of seminars and training courses which aim to offer improvements in personal productivity, vitality, communication skills, and decision-making. Some of these are intensive two- or three-day courses. Landmark structures others as weekly three-hour seminars over a three-month period. The organization also advertises six- and twelve-month training programs in topics such as leadership, teamwork, and public speaking. Some of the courses require participants to start a community project, and those courses are structured to support them in the design and implementation of such projects.
Landmark Worldwide operates as an employee-owned for-profit private company. According to Landmark's website, its employees own all the stock of the corporation, with no individual holding more than 3%. The company states that it invests its surpluses into making its programs, initiatives, and services more widely available.
The company has reported as of 2019[update] that more than 2.4 million people had participated in its programs since 1991. Landmark holds seminars in approximately 115 locations in more than 21 countries. Landmark's revenue surpassed $100 million in 2018.
Vanto Group, Inc., founded in 1993 as Landmark Education Business Development (LEBD), a wholly owned subsidiary, uses the Landmark methodology to provide consulting services to businesses and to other organizations. The University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business carried out a case study in 1998 into the work of LEBD with BHP New Zealand Steel. The report concluded that the set of interventions in the organization produced a 50% improvement in safety, a 15% to 20% reduction in key benchmark costs, a 50% increase in return on capital, and a 20% increase in raw steel production. LEBD became the Vanto Group in 2008.
Landmark's entry course, the Landmark Forum, is the default first course for new participants and provides the foundation of all Landmark's other programs. The Landmark Forum takes place over three consecutive days plus an evening session (generally Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday evening.) Forum attendance varies in size between 75 and 250 people. Landmark arranges the course as a dialogue in which the Forum leader presents a series of proposals and encourages participants to take the floor to relate how those ideas apply to their own individual lives. Course leaders set up rules at the beginning of the program and Landmark strongly encourages participants not to miss any part of the program. Attendees are also urged to be "coachable" and not just be observers during the course.
Various ideas are proposed for consideration and explored during the course. These include:
- There can be a big difference between what actually happened in a person's life and the meaning or interpretation they make up about it.
- Human behavior is governed by a perceived need to look good.
- People often pursue an "imaginary 'someday' of satisfaction".
- People create meaning for themselves since "there is none inherent in the world".
- When people have persistent complaints that are accompanied by unproductive fixed ways of being and acting, this can be "transformed" by a creative act of generating entirely new ways of being and acting, rather than by trying to change one's self in comparison to the past.
The evening session follows closely on the three consecutive days of the course and completes the Landmark Forum. During this final session, the participants share information about their results and bring guests to learn about the Forum.
Landmark emphasizes the idea that there is a difference between the facts of what happened in a situation, and the meaning, interpretation, or story about those facts. It proposes that people frequently confuse those facts with their own story about them, and, as a consequence, are less effective or experience suffering in their lives.
Meaning is something that human beings invent in language, Landmark suggests – it's not inherent in events themselves. Therefore, if people change what they say, they can alter the meaning they associate with events and be more effective in dealing with them.
Landmark suggests that as people see these invented meanings, they discover that much of what they had assumed to be their "identity" is actually just a limiting social construct that they had made up in conversations in response to events in the past. From this realization, participants in Landmark's programs create new perspectives for what they now see as possible. They are then trained in sharing these with family members, friends, and workmates, so that the new possibilities live in the social realm, rather than just in their own minds. In other words, Landmark suggests that the more one's social environment supports one's goals, the easier it will be to accomplish those goals. When Landmark uses the term "new possibilities", it does so differently from the everyday sense of something that might happen in the future, instead using it to refer to a present-moment opportunity to be and act differently, free from interpretations from the past.
Influence and impact
The ideas found in Landmark's programs, as well as in those of Landmark's predecessor est, are identified by some writers as being among the most influential in the development of the modern coaching industry.[need quotation to verify]
Public reception and criticism
Some scholars have categorized Landmark or its predecessor organizations as a "self religion" or a (broadly defined) "new religious movement" (NRM).  Others, such as George Chryssides, question some aspects of these characterizations. Landmark maintains that it is an educational foundation and denies being a religious movement. Landmark has threatened or pursued lawsuits against people who call it a cult.
In his review of the Landmark Forum, New York Times reporter Henry Alford wrote that he "resented the pressure" placed on him during a session, but also noted that "two months after the Forum, I'd rate my success at 84 percent." Time reporter Nathan Thornburgh, in his review of The Landmark Forum, said "At its heart, the course was a withering series of scripted reality checks meant to show us how we have created nearly everything we see as a problem" and "I benefited tremendously from the uncomfortable mirror the course had put in front of me."
Amber Allison, writing in The Mayfair Magazine describes Landmark's instructors as "enthusiastic and inspiring". Her review says that after doing The Landmark Forum, "Work worries, relationship dramas all seem more manageable", and that she "let go of almost three decades of hurt, anger and feelings of betrayal" towards her father.
Journalist Amelia Hill with The Observer witnessed a Landmark Forum and concluded that, in her view, it is not religious or a cult. Hill wrote, "It is ... simple common sense delivered in an environment of startling intensity." Karin Badt from The Huffington Post criticized the organisation's emphasis on "'spreading the word' of the Landmark forum as a sign of the participants' 'integrity'" in recounting her personal experience of an introductory "Landmark Forum" course, but noted, "at the end of the day, I found the Forum innocuous. No cult, no radical religion: an inspiring, entertaining introduction of good solid techniques of self-reflection, with an appropriate emphasis on action and transformation (not change)".
Reporter Laura McClure with Mother Jones attended a three and a half-day forum, which she described as "My lost weekend with the trademark happy, bathroom-break hating, slightly spooky inheritors of est."
France 3 documentary
In 2004, the French channel France 3 aired a television documentary on Landmark in their investigative series Pièces à Conviction. The episode, called "Voyage Au Pays des Nouveaux Gourous" ("Journey to the land of the new gurus") was highly critical of its subject. Shot in large part with a hidden camera, it showed attendance at a Landmark course and a visit to Landmark offices. In addition, the program included interviews with former course participants, anti-cultists, and commentators. Landmark left France following the airing of the episode and a subsequent site visit by labor inspectors that noted the activities of volunteers, and sued Jean-Pierre Brard in 2004 following his appearance in the documentary.
The episode was uploaded to a variety of websites, and in October 2006 Landmark issued subpoenas pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to Google Video, YouTube, and the Internet Archive demanding details of the identity of the person(s) who had uploaded those copies. These organizations challenged the subpoenas and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) became involved, planning to file a motion to quash Landmark's DMCA subpoena to Google Video. Landmark eventually withdrew its subpoenas.
- Applied Ontology
- Large-group awareness training
- List of large-group awareness training organizations
- Landmark staff 2002a.
- Landmark staff 2014b.
- Pressman, Steven (1993). Outrageous Betrayal: The dark journey of Werner Erhard from est to exile. New York City: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-09296-2, p. 254. (Out of print).
Farber, Sharon Klayman (November 16, 2012). "6: Cult-Induced Ecstasy and Psychosis". Hungry for Ecstasy: Trauma, the Brain, and the Influence of the Sixties. Lanham, Maryland: Jason Aronson, Incorporated (published 2012). p. 134. ISBN 9780765708595. Retrieved January 23, 2021.
Landmark Education LLC, a personal training and development company founded in 1991, bought Erhard's intellectual property and began offering education programs worldwide [...].
- Marshall 1997.
- Pressman 1993, pp. 245–246, 254–255.
- Faltermayer, Charlotte; Richard Woodbury (March 16, 1998). The Best of Est?. Time. Retrieved on October 22, 2008.
- "Landmark Company History – Landmark Worldwide". www.landmarkworldwide.com.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 28, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Landmark (Art Schreiber) 2005, pp. 3–4.
Grigoriadis, Vanessa (July 9, 2001). "Pay Money, Be Happy". New York. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
Landmark's CEO, Harry Rosenberg [...] says the company has bought outright Erhard's license and his rights to Japan and Mexico.
- Hill 2003.
- Allinson, Amber (April 2014). "Mind over Matter". The Mayfair Magazine. April 2014: 72–73.
- "Helping professionals take up community welfare projects". Chennai, India: Hindu Times. September 13, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
- "Charity walk to boost anti-suicide initiatives". Bay of Plenty Times. August 20, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
Irene has undertaken the charity event as part of her Landmark Education Self Expression and Leadership course.
"I had to set up a community programme of my choice that would make a difference," Irene said.
- "Cherish the mammary: Restaurants raise funds for breast cancer survivors". Philadelphia Daily News. July 31, 2008. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
This fun idea was the brainchild of local waitress Caralea Arnold, who hopes that the one-day event will raise $5,000. She was inspired by a leadership course she recently took at Landmark Education (www. landmarkeducation. org), an inspirational online forum.
- LandmarkWorldwide.com. Landmark Fact Sheet. Retrieved on October 22, 2008.
- Heidi Beedle (July 31, 2008). "Landmark Worldwide, the arts community and the big, bizarre business of personal development". Colorado Springs Independent. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
If you do the math, 1/1000 of 1 percent of Landmark's purported 2.4 million participants is 24.
- Caroline Phillips (March 1, 2017). "How an American motivational guru is inspiring British businesses". Spear's Magazine. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
- LandmarkWorldwide.com. Landmark Fact Sheet. Retrieved on October 22, 2008.
- LandmarkWorldwide.com. Company History. Retrieved on October 22, 2008.
- Badt, Karen (March 5, 2008). "[need quotation to verify]dt/inside-the-landmark-forum_b_90028.html Karin Badt: Inside The Landmark Forum". The Huffington Post. Retrieved on October 22, 2008.
- Nathan Thornberg April 10, 2011 Change We Can (almost) Believe In. Archived April 1, 2019, at the Wayback Machine
- Heidi Beedle (July 24, 2019). "Landmark Worldwide, the arts community and the big, bizarre business of personal development". Colorado Springs Independent. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
Landmark, founded in 1991, has since trained millions worldwide. It's a for-profit company that surpassed $100 million in revenue in 2018 [...].
- Logan, David C. (1998). Transforming the Network of Conversations in BHP New Zealand Steel: Landmark Education Business Development's New Paradigm for Organizational Change (Case 1984-01). USC Marshall School of Business.
- (February 1, 2008). "Landmark Education Business Development, LEBD, Changes Name to Vanto Group Archived 2009-04-08 at the Wayback Machine". Reuters. Retrieved on October 22, 2008.
- "The Landmark Forum - Personal Development Courses – Landmark Worldwide".
- Badt 2008.
- Stassen 2008.
- McCrone 2008.
- Businessweek staff 2010.
- Sacks 2009.
- Rosman, Katherine (February 2, 2016). "Chip Wilson tries to reinvent himself after his Lululemon turmoil". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
- McCarl, Steven R.; Zaffron, Steve; Nielson, Joyce; Kennedy, Sally Lewis (January–April 2001). "The Promise of Philosophy and the Landmark Forum". Contemporary Philosophy. XXIII (1 & 2). doi:10.2139/ssrn.278955. SSRN 278955.
- Wildflower, Leni; Brennan, Diane, eds. (2011). "20". The handbook of knowledge-based coaching from theory to practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. ISBN 9781118033388. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
- O'Connor, Joseph; Lages, Andrea (January 1, 2009). How Coaching Works: The Essential Guide to the History and Practice of Effective Coaching. London: A&C Black. ISBN 9781408109861 – via Google Books.
Werner Erhard's ideas and approach to self-development training were very important at the time. [...] However, although Erhard introduced the word 'coaching' into EST, he was not interested in training coaches. Werner Erhard has been described as the second most important influencer of coaching of all time [...]. Only one person in the coaching world gets more testimonials, and that is Thomas Leonard. [...] Thomas Leonard, who arguably did the most to found the discipline of coaching, was Budget Director for Landmark Education in the United States in the early 1980s and was thoroughly familiar with their training. However, Landmark worked with groups, and Leonard wanted to work with individuals.
- Santow, Simon (September 15, 2011). "Inspiring tale from founder". The World Today. ABC News (Australia). Retrieved May 22, 2015.
So I went and did a self-improvement course I suppose you'd call it, an education called Landmark and as part of that they had you do a project which was about inspiring yourself and stretching yourself and inspiring others and I chose suicide prevention. [...] And with the help of some key people got it started and kick-started RU OK? Day.
- Compare: "RUOK? – Home". Retrieved June 11, 2017.
In 1995, much-loved Barry Larkin was far from ok. His suicide left family and friends in deep grief and with endless questions. In 2009, his son Gavin Larkin chose to champion just one question to honour his father and to try and protect other families from the pain his endured. [...] While collaborating with Janina Nearn on a documentary to raise awareness, the team quickly realised the documentary alone wouldn't be enough. [...] To genuinely change behaviour Australia-wide, a national campaign was needed. And from this realisation, and with Gavin and Janina's expertise and passion, R U OK? was born.
- Compare: Apoorva Verma (June 17, 2015). "Amdavadis Realise Their Potential by Making a Difference in The Lives of Others". DNA India. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
A member of SELP works for several causes like blood donation, women's empowerment, health related issues, education, etc. Initiated by a US-based company, Landmark, it has helped many to gain confidence and develop into a better person.
- "The Believer, issues 1-4". McSweeney's Pub., LLC. 2003. p. 24. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
Today, CEOs in companies including Reebok and Microsoft are fluent in the Landmark Forum teachings and its jargon.
- Compare: Caroline Phillips (March 1, 2017). "How an American motivational guru is inspiring British businesses". Spear's Magazine. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
This is an abridged version of an article that appeared in the March/April 2017 issue of Spear's, an award-winning British luxury lifestyle and wealth management magazine founded in 2006. [...] There are people who have created global businesses after doing it. Others who have seen their profits leap after attending a seminar. FTSE 100 companies that swear by its approach. Names like Nasa, Apple, Microsoft and GlaxoSmithKline that have benefited from its methodology. [...] This is Landmark Forum, a self-development course and global educational enterprise dedicated to personal and professional growth, training and development. It marks the return of Werner Erhard, founder of 'est' and Seventies avatar of the human potential movement. In the Eighties, Erhard repackaged est as the (gentler and more success-oriented) Forum. In 1991 he sold it to some of his employees. [...] Many global brands send staff on Landmark's seminars, and others benefit from its teachings through its corporate arm, Vanto Group.
- Barker 1996: "To illustrate rather than to define: among the better-known NRMs are the Brahma Kumaris, the Chuch of Scientology, the Divine Light Mission (now known as Elan Vital), est (Erhard Seminar Training, now known as the Landmark Forum), the Family (originally known as the Children of God), ISKCON (the Hare Krishna), Rajneeshism (now known as Oslo International), Sahaja Yoga, the Soka Gakkai, Transcendental Meditation, the Unification Church (known as the Moonies) and the Way International."
- Compare: Beckford 2003:"[...] post-countercultural religious movements such as Erhard Seminars Training (now the Landmark Forum) [...]."
Lockwood, Renee (2011). "Religiosity Rejected: Exploring the Religio-Spiritual Dimensions of Landmark Education". International Journal for the Study of New Religions. Sheffield, England: Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2 (2): 225–254. doi:10.1558/ijsnr.v2i2.225. ISSN 2041-9511. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
Incorporating several eastern spiritual practices, the highly emotional nature of the Landmark Forum's weekend training is such as to create Durkheimian notions of 'religious effervescence', altering pre-existing belief systems and producing a sense of the sacred collective. Group-specific language contributes to this, whilst simultaneously shrouding Landmark Education in mystery and esotericism. The Forum is replete with stories of miracles, healings, and salvation apposite for a modern western paradigm. Indeed, the sacred pervades the training, manifested in the form of the Self, capable of altering the very nature of the world and representing the 'ultimate concern'.
Clarke, Peter B. (2013). "New Religious Movements". In Taliaferro, Charles; Harrison, Victoria S.; Goetz, Stewart (eds.). The Routledge Companion to Theism. Routledge Religion Companions Series. New York: Routledge. p. 123. ISBN 9780415881647. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
Like the [New Age Movement], many of the Self-religions (Heelas 1991) have been heavily influenced by Asian, and more generally Eastern, ideas of spirituality and divinity and do not acknowledge an external theistic being but rather, use spiritual and psychological techniques to reveal the god within and/or the divine self. The Forum and/or est, whose origins are in the United States (Tipton 1982) holds to the belief that the self itself is god.
Barker, Eileen (2004). "General Overview of the 'Cult Scene' in Great Britain". In Lucas, Phillip Charles*(Clarke 2012, p. 123); Robbins, Thomas (eds.). New Religious Movements in the Twenty-first Century: Legal, Political, and Social Challenges in Global Perspective. Sociology/Religious studies. New York: Psychology Press. p. 28. ISBN 9780415965774. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
Erhard Seminars Training (est) and other examples of the human potential movement joined indigenous new religions, such as the Emin, Exegesis, the Aetherius Society, the School of Economic Science, and the Findhorn community in the north of Scotland, and a number of small congregations within mainstream churches were labelled 'cults' as they exhibited some of the more enthusiastic characteristics of new religions and their leaders.
Clarke, Peter; Sutherland, Stewart, eds. (1988). The World's Religions: The Study of Religion, Traditional and New Religion. Routledge (published 2002). ISBN 9781134922215. Retrieved June 23, 2021.
[...] the founder of est (the highly influential seminar training established by Erhard in 1971) observes that, 'Of all the disciplines that I studied and learned, Zen was the essential one.
- Chryssides, George D. (2001) . "The Human Potential Movement". Exploring New Religions. Issues in Contemporary Religion. New York: A&C Black. p. 314. ISBN 9780826459596. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
[...] est and Landmark [...] have addressed human problems in a radical way, setting super-empirical goals, and addressing what some may regard as a spiritual aspect of human nature (the Core Self, the Source, which is at least godlike, if not divine. est and Landmark may have some of the attributes typically associated with religion, but it is doubtful whether they should be accorded full status as religious organizations.
Robbins, Thomas; Lucas, Philip Charles (2007). "From 'Cults' to New Religious Movements: Coherence, Definition, and Conceptual Framing in the Study of New Religious Movements". In Beckford, James A.; Demerath, N. Jay (eds.). The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. p. 229. ISBN 9781446206522. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
[...] many other types of groups have emerged that could fall under the purview of NRM study. We have suggested some of these in the above paragraph. Others might include [...] religio-therapy groups such as Avatar, Mindspring, and Landmark Forum [...].
- Communication for planetary transformation and the drag of public conversations: The case of Landmark Education Corporation. Patrick Owen Cannon, University of South Florida
- Education Embraced: Substantiating the Educational Foundations of Landmark Education's Transformative Learning Model Marsha L. Heck International Multilingual Journal of Contemporary Research, 3(2), pp. 149–162 DOI: 10.15640/imjcr.v3n2a14
- Puttick 2004, pp. 406–407.
- Scioscia, Amanda (October 19, 2000). "Drive-thru Deliverance". Phoenix New Times. Phoenix, Arizona: Phoenix New Times, LLC. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
[...] Landmark vigorously disputes the cult accusation and freely threatens or pursues lawsuits against those who call it one
- Alford 2010, p. L1.
- Nathan Thornburgh (April 10, 2011). "Change We Can (Almost) Believe In". Time Magazine. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- Allinson, Amber (April 2014). "Mind Over Matter". The Mayfair Magazine (U.K.).
- McClure, Laura (August 17, 2009). "The Landmark Forum: 42 Hours, $500, 65 Breakdowns". Mother Jones. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
The company also vigorously guards its reputation from critics. After I told [Public Relations director Deborah] Beroset I’d be writing an article on my mixed feelings about the Forum, she called several times and sent me an email that might be described as threatening—but in the most benign, centered kind of way.
- Roy 2004.
- (Lemonniera 2005), French text: "L'Inspection du Travail débarque dans les locaux de Landmark, constate l'exploitation des bénévoles et dresse des procès-verbaux pour travail non déclaré." English translation: "Labor inspectors turned up at the offices of Landmark, noted the exploitation of volunteers and drew up a report of undeclared employment.";
- (Landmark staff 2004), Landmark's response;
- (Badt 2008), quote: It was this TV program that closed down the Landmark in France, leaving it only 24 other countries in which to spread its word.
- Palmer 2011.
- Landmark Education and the Internet Archive. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved May 25, 2020 – "In a settlement reached November 29, 2006 Landmark agreed to withdraw the subpoena to Google and end its quest to pierce the anonymity of the video's poster. Landmark has also withdrawn its subpoena to the Internet Archive."
- Self-Help Group Backs Off Attack on Internet Critic. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved May 25, 2020 – "A controversial self-help group has backed off its attack on an Internet critic after the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) intervened in the case."
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