Consulting | Coaching | Facilitation | Speaking
Consulting to private and public sector organisations on strategy, complexity, culture, change, management, leadership and team effectiveness.
“Useful conversations” that enable reflection, goal clarification and achievement, capability enhancement, self-confidence and presence.
Facilitating “useful conversations” that enable reflection and change for teams, large groups, whole organisations and communities.
Sharing sought after thought leadership on management, change and the future of work through seminars, conferences and keynote speaking.
Thought Leadership in Management and Change
Allana reflects on our conversations over coffee I had come to a point where I had been in the same role for eight years and I loved it. However, I felt I needed something more from my career but I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant. I just knew I was ready for a change.[…]
I recently wrote a post calling for a rethink of systems thinking. I argued that “thinking of organisations as ‘human systems’ leads to the assumption that people are ‘devices’ in a machine. They become thought of as similar to the computers and other non-sentient resources [and that therefore] human beings continue to be ‘human resources’[…]
Sometimes the only place to be is right here and now Coaching should be about much more than just setting goals to be achieved in the future. Important as this can be, it just doesn’t cut it for many professionals I work with. They are looking for something more meaningful, more immediate and more generally[…]
Personal Development is hugely popular and an important focus for many people. However, I rarely see anyone stop to think about what it actually is. Nor do I hear people ask what its potential benefits might be beyond the vagueness of “to achieve my potential” or more pragmatic outcomes such as “to get that promotion”.[…]
I was recently gifted a book titled Consiglieri: Leading from the shadows¹. It was a present from my Mother-In-Law who was told about the book by her friend, who is herself the Mother-In-Law of the author, Richard Hytner. By this circuitous, in-law-laden route I am pleased to say I have in my possession a refreshingly[…]
This post explores the limitations of systems thinking when referring to groups of people or whole organisations. It argues that differentiation is needed between the complicated and the complex and that, in the absence of this, the universal application of a system metaphor is propping up outmoded and unhealthy approaches to management within organisations. The[…]
I’ve recently been working with teams reviewing their progress against goals, celebrating achievements and exploring areas for development. Most interventions of this kind would involve the team reflecting on their successes and failures. The team would highlight strengths, problem solve for underlying causes of weakness and action plan for change. This is certainly an approach[…]
I recently attended a conference at which Ralph Stacey, a renowned professor in the field of complexity, said something that resonated with me. He said that “we have become obsessed with change.” He went to say that “this is nonsensical. We also need tradition and stability”. I’ve recently become acutely aware of how much pressure[…]
After reading Edgar Schein’s latest book (Humble Inquiry, The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling), I was initially dismissive: ‘These are old ideas rehashed’. I was able to skim-read the book in less than 30 minutes and didn’t feel the need to deep-dive into any sections. This is usually a sign the material is[…]
I was recently watching a BBC current affairs programme during which Jeremy Paxman, a somewhat cantankerous British journalist, hosted a healthy, challenging debate about the English Lake District National Park. This debate was of particular interest to me. The Lake District is a place of significant spiritual meaning to me. From an early age, I’ve[…]
This post explores alternatives to the behaviourist-informed practices that currently hold sway as many organisations attempt to change their cultures. After writing about Gestalt as an approach to personal development, I’ve also been reflecting on how it offers solutions to the challenges facing many of our organisations. Flowing from what seems to be an endless trail of[…]
I recently revisited the work of Paul Barber¹, a recognised authority in Gestalt facilitation. It reminded me how much my work with individuals, groups and organisations has Gestalt theory and practice as a core strand. It also reminded me just how powerful Gestalt approaches to personal and group change can be, but also how paradoxical[…]
This post is a review of Pete Hamill’s book, Embodied Leadership: The Somatic Approach to Developing Your Leadership. At just short of 1400 words, this post is longer than usual, but I make no excuses. Stretch your attention span a little. This is an important book covering an important approach to leadership development. I’ll start by[…]
Congratulations must go to the humble password for adding unnecessary cost into our businesses, making our systems less secure and contributing to the disengagement of millions of employees. They are indeed symbols and actual contributors to disempowerment within our organisations. A bit harsh? I don’t think so. For me, passwords have become one of the[…]
I recently attended an event with Peter Cheese, newly appointed CEO of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), which celebrates its centenary this year (2013). Peter was answering questions put to him by an audience composed of mainly HR professionals. He was refreshingly honest and candid with his answers. He seemed to be[…]
In a previous post I wrote about weaknesses in formal Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes required of some professionally qualified sectors. I bemoaned the tick-box exercise that most had become as people attended events in order to achieve a target number of study hours. The so-called learning delivered through this CPD also came under my critical eye.[…]
This post covers some of my long-held concerns about formal Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes. It was prompted by discussions currently underway in the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) on their support for ongoing professional development in HR. It finishes with an ask of regulators and professional bodies to review their thinking[…]
I recently came across an article in Harvard Business Review (February 2013) on incivility in the workplace. The authors talk about the costs of incivility to the organisation: “Many managers would say that incivility is wrong, but not all recognize that it has tangible costs. Targets of incivility often punish their offenders and the organization,[…]
One doesn’t have to look far to see examples of unethical behaviour in our corporations and public bodies. The sale of unwanted or inappropriate products and anti-competitive collusion seems to be rife. Slavishly following process is proving to have lethal consequences in some of our hospitals. These stories add up to give the false impression[…]
This post outlines my views on HR’s credibility in the board room and how attempts to earn it have backfired. The basic premise of my argument is that, in attempting to win credibility, HR has proposed and implemented copy-cat best practice as a low-risk route to delivering HR strategy. This low risk approach has back[…]
Jerry Connor (2011) wrote a very interesting article in People Management, the magazine of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. In it Jerry describes learning agility and its perceived importance in developing future leaders in organisations. He defines learning agility as the “ability to learn from experiences and to apply that learning to[…]
This post offers a brief summary of the similarities and differences between OD and HR as fields of practice. It also offers a view on the challenges HR is currently facing and how the field of OD could be the source of insight it badly needs. Let’s first look at the similarities. There is one[…]
In the run up to London 2012, I attended a breakfast seminar put on by MDH recruitment. The focus was talent attraction and retention. The speakers were Paul Modley, then Head of Recruitment at the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Anna Herko, Head of Learning, Leadership & Talent at Shop[…]
Two sets of values combine to create the bedrock of my practice. Firstly there are those of the field of Organisation Development (OD). Secondly, there are my own. The field of OD works to a broadly agreed set of values, or what might more accurately be referred to as principles. These have been summarised by[…]
For Organisation Development practitioners, a primary focus has got to be an attention to and ongoing development of, appropriate skills. I don’t bring any machinery or magic tricks with me to a client’s situation. I am the principle instrument of change through being both catalyst for change and leader of change. It is therefore very[…]
Traveling frequently, especially on trains, is part of my working life. For the most part it is for the sole purpose of getting from a to b efficiently (but seldom cheaply!). Occasionally I get time to admire the view as I speed through some of the UK’s glorious countryside. There is a debate raging in[…]
Picture the scene: a packed commuter train with hundreds of people crammed in. I just about manage to squeeze into the carriage as the doors close. It’s Friday evening after a busy week at work. I contemplate 40 minutes of this hell, standing within inches of several, similarly tired commuters (and a yucca plant…don’t ask).[…]
Challenging others’ behaviours is not easy. Not only have you got to offer feedback to someone who has just upset you in some way, you have to run the risk of them becoming upset themselves and risk the relationship spiraling in a negative direction. Some might say you can avoid the need to confront others’[…]
I think it is important to ask this question. The thinking that unfolds below may help you focus on why you are on the journey you are on and whether it is the right one for you right now. I hope it also peaks your interest in the social sciences and their contribution to our[…]
Much has been and will be written about Steve Jobs and his leadership of Apple. He was certainly an amazing business man and brand evangelist. He was also obsessive over both form and function in product design. We have Apple to thank for much of the innovation in personal computing. Steve Jobs has left an[…]
When I’m traveling by train or on the underground in the UK I often see the words ‘Mind The Gap’ painted on the platform edge. The phrase is also often spoken through a recorded message. This is obviously to warn passengers of the gap between the platform and the train. I took this warning on[…]
As an Englishman, if I were to be stereotyped I’m sure the caricature would include a ‘stiff upper lip’ and ‘repressed emotions’. I’m not sure the former is accurate but the latter is, for me, where my stereotype is sometimes confirmed. I am not particularly good at expressing my emotional needs or discussing my feelings.[…]
I’m wary of using the phrase ‘life purpose’ because it is often assumed to be somehow divinely or genetically predetermined. Genetic predetermination actually holds some credibility for me, but more of that in a minute. Let’s first look at divine predetermination. I’m an atheist, so the thought that a supernatural entity has programmed my life,[…]
My first exposure to personal development in the workplace was when I started selling life assurance. The life assurance industry is well known for its use of personal development in supporting its mainly self-employed sales people. One of the first concepts I was introduced to was The Broad Concept. This was a model for structuring[…]
A Selection of Published Articles and Quotes
The Telegraph Business SME
The Times Raconteur
The Times Raconteur
ILM The Edge
The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of The Parts
Tony recognises his presence is the instrument of change, not the models and frameworks others might refer to. His whole self shows up when engaging with a client. Who he is, what he knows and what he can do, all play a part in what he sees, what he shares and what questions he asks.
Chief amongst Tony's skills are seeing patterns in complexity, sensing the meaning making taking place in groups and articulating his thoughts succinctly and with impact. As an instrument of change, his primary intervention tools are curiosity, questioning and facilitation.
Tony's career is now 30+ years in the making. Gaining a 1st in Aeronautical Engineering, Tony soon realised that people, not planes were his passion. In 2009, Tony was awarded an MSc in People and Organisation Development from Roffey Park, the internationally-renowned Leadership Institute.
the other 25%
Tony lives with his wife Jane in the UK. Daughter Olivia recently graduated in Psychology from The University of Birmingham and Son James is working and living in Liverpool. Favourite leisure activities include walking his Border Terriers and watching Rugby Union.