How can you possibly engage people when they feel like this? When change is done to people rather than with them they feel paralysed. What happens in your organisation? Tweet This Post Read More →

Is social media a faustian bargain?

I use my iphone, facebook, email and text all day most days, so I can’t say Im a luddite. I sometimes wonder how could I live without it. When one is so embedded in something it is often no longer possible to objectiviely critique it anymore. In conversations about the merits of social media, I am curious about what it might rob us of, and try to articulate my unease with it. this often meets with cries of “unbeliever”! I can’t... [Read More...]

A senior leader’s response to public sector reform

I heard this at a recent conference on the public services, and it really resonated with a lot of people in the audience when I drew it up on a wall. Does this resonate with your experience? what is it like for you? Tweet This Post Read More →

The hidden Dimensions of Change

This picture was inspired by a talk I attended a few months ago by Robert Marshak, an American OD researcher specialising in covert processes in organisations. [click on the image to see a bigger version] Due to the difficulties of discussing unspoken stuff it often stays under the table. This can severely impact the bottom line, as well as a team’s ability of operate effectively. Have you had any recent experience of an ‘unspoken’ that got... [Read More...]


We all know that we are expected to look after our teams and take care of them, but do we put the same effort into taking care of our selves? If not why not? Tweet This Post Read More →


How can we keeping getting more for less? This metaphor reflects a common experience for many senior managers. All businesses seem to be going through this, and it can feel like an unresolvable paradox. How do you experience this challenge? Tweet This Post Read More →

Change Lever

“levers for change” is a common metaphor in organisations. It can often feel like quite a struggle to manage change in times of uncertainty, and we can often work very hard to leverage change. Yet can we really control the uncontrollable? Tweet This Post Read More →


No change comes with some kind of discomfort or reaction, as it can often feel like a threat to our status quo. People react in different ways, what kind of patterns of reaction have you seen recently? Tweet This Post Read More →

Walking the talk

The sure-fire way to make your company values meaningless is to demonstrate that you are unwilling – or unable – to practice them yourself.  We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve heard this line “leaders don’t walk the talk” when it comes to the company values. For a leader to fail to embody the values visible and productively is to fall at the very first hurdle when it comes to culture change. If you don’t do it then not... [Read More...]

You are engaged!

Sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking that we’re listening to what our people have to say when in fact, we’re still in ‘broadcast’ mode. People know when they’re being listened to and when they aren’t. One strong sign is when something they contributed makes a difference. Of course, you can’t action everything everyone says – but don’t ask people to engage if you’re not prepared to listen and change what you plan to do... [Read More...]

Us and Them

A problem with ‘Us and Them’ thinking is that it creates conflict between groups of people. We are always right; they are always wrong. And if something needs to change, it’s invariably them who need to change, not us. When everyone thinks that way, you’re trapped in a web of stuckness. And yet ‘us and them’ is also at the very core our economy.  After all, isn’t business all about how our business performs against the competition? ... [Read More...]

Too many agendas

Since each of us has a different point of view about what’s important in our organisation and why, its no surprise to find that teams – at all levels – are awash with personal agendas. They are, after all, what make us who we are and what gives us our unique approach to the roles we play in the organisation…aren’t they? Having an agenda isn’t the problem but being unconscious about it is – especially at Board level. The hardest work... [Read More...]

The inflated ego

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Playing the board game: without space to think nothing moves

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The keys to engagement

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Why don’t people tell me when there’s a problem?

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A relentless focus on efficiency

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Leadership, change and the “Comfort Zone”

These four  images explore different examples of the ‘comfort zone’ – a place  that often keeps us from leading change. The first shows our tendency to put on armour and let our egos slug it out when we feel threatened, and how this gets in the way of service. The second shows the way we can collude to de-risk the language of change. The third shows how hard it can be to see things differently when our thinking keeps us “getting... [Read More...]

Working with contradictions

I noticed this paradox watching TV news recently, it is such a big issue I often feel powerless  at the impossibility of resolving it. How do you feel about it? It feels difficult sometimes to work out what is the right thing to do. Holding the tension between conflicting interests and courses of action, having the courage  to take a risk and do what feels right in the service of others are leadership skills I admire. If we don’t take risks... [Read More...]

The defensive cycle

This picture represents a collection of comments that we heard in one organisation that was pushing through budget cuts.  Employees felt their jobs were under threat, so were unwilling to speak up about the pressure they were coming under.  Unable to prioritise or say no, they become less productive, inviting further pressure, and so the cycle continued.  When everyone’s feeling under threat our natural defensive inclination is to hide our... [Read More...]

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