Category Archives: change

Is it time for a Change of Gear?

Are you contemplating a new direction? If you’re ready to think about change you may be ready for GearChange. Drawing on their own experience of switching between employed and self-employed roles and re-launching ourselvs in new directions, Janet Dean and I have developed a programme of support for people who are embarking on major life and career change. What is GearChange? GearChange offers support to individuals embarking on career and life change through a menu of tailored products, including: One to one Coaching, either face to face, telephone or Skype. Mentoring, practical advice, access to knowledge and networks. Action Learning… Read more
Posted in Appreciative Change, change, Executive coaching, Strengths, Talents, Well Being | Leave a comment

Adaptable Leadership in the Public Sector: Courage to take the Strengths-based Approach for Key Outcomes

Introduction The early 2000s was a febrile period for public services in the UK when government expected improved outcomes for increased funding levels and regulatory inspection and audits were expanding in scale and reach. Direct or implicit intervention was an ever present risk if failure was suspected. Resilient and adaptable leaders were expected to craft effective responses to the challenges. Some interventions took the form of relatively ‘light-touch’ oversight of specific services. In other cases the interventions were more dramatic and included: Leadership teams excised from the organisation Interim leaders installed Governmental appointees sent to guide and oversee improvement Councillors… Read more
Posted in Appreciative Inquiry, assumptions, change, Complexity, courage, Culture change, Good-finding, Interims, leadership, Leadership styles, learning, Listening, Local Government, Make a difference, Organisational development, People, Positive core, Public Service, reputation, Strengths, Supporting leaders, Transformation | Leave a comment

It’s people who make organisations work well…and they do so by using their strengths

Strengths-based organisational development People make organisations work well. Not the procedures, processes, structures or governance mechanisms. These elements can all assist, as well as frustrate, the effective working of an organisation, but they rarely if ever play the pivotal role that people do in delivering what an organisation is about. Our coaching and thought-support work with clients invariably tells us that the deficit or weakness-centred approach to individual and organisational development is strong and worryingly prevalent. It is easy to get stuck in our old ways of thinking. It is also easy to get stuck in our relationships and act… Read more
Posted in Appreciative Inquiry, change, Deficit, Executive coaching, not problem-solving, Organisational development, Positive core, productivity, Strengths, Talents | Leave a comment

Members and Officers Working Together Through Strengths

I’ve been working with some exceptional people during the past week. Senior officers in local authorities and fire and rescue services who as one writer has it, are “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” What’s extraordinary is that amongst all of the inevitable complexity and complications of organisational life in public service (sometimes more complex than needs be, admittedly), they are finding ways to deliver public good in an environment of almost perpetual uncertainty, resource reduction and organisational dilemma. This perpetual uncertainty manifests itself in a number of ways. In relation to officers working with locally elected politicians, it often surfaces… Read more
Posted in change, Councillors/elected members, Public sector cuts, Public Service, Public Services, Seeing Systems, Strengths, Supporting leaders, Talents | Leave a comment

Do you really want to make a sustainable difference?

It’s over ten years now that I have been using appreciative and strengths-based approaches in individual and organisational development settings. I have been working with a number of coaching clients recently who spend a good deal of time describing the problems and challenges they face and how their organisations tend to respond quite elaborately to these aspects, paying particular attention to the problems and looking for the quickest fixes. This concentration or perhaps over-concentration on the ‘deficit’ view, speaks to the enduring and maturing debate around the merits of taking a strengths-focused approach to change and improvement, compared to the… Read more
Posted in AI, appreciative, Appreciative Change, Appreciative Inquiry, Appreciative planning, Behaviours, change, Culture change, Deficit, Make a difference, productivity, SOAR, Strategic Planning, Strengths | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Performance Improvement – Ten Lessons for great sporting and organisational performance

I’d originally intended this blog piece to be about some very recent conversations I’d had with Chief Executives and Chairs of charities about their organisations and how they approach thinking about and implementing strategic planning and performance improvement. It hasn’t quite turned out that way. I think you’ll see why shortly, ‘though I will return to those conversations in another blog soon. A particular prompt to these conversations about performance improvement has been not only the organisational perspectives I’m perennially interested in, but a far more personal and individual one. In fact, it’s about my thoughts around my continuing and… Read more
Posted in Action Learning, authenticity, change, commitments, courage, learning, Strengths, Tour De France, Transformation | Leave a comment

Change – Our Worlds, Contexts and Conversations

The imperatives to change and transform our organisations, and the risks of not responding coherently and appropriately to those imperatives have never been greater or more pressing. During change, the emphasis is often on the ‘programme’ and the programme management tools; the Gantt charts; the HR procedures, cost-management and delivering the ‘benefits’ (how I recoil from that particular term) and so on – and perhaps rightly so. Without appropriate emphasis on those technical aspects, many change programmes (again, not keen on that way of describing change, as programmatic, almost guaranteed to succeed) can and often do falter or fail to… Read more
Posted in change, Culture change, engagement, Illuminate, leadership, Seeing Systems, Strategic Planning, strategy, Transformation | Leave a comment

The Secrets of Great Groups

I’m re-reading a tremendous book I picked up a while ago ‘- Leader to Leader’, from the Drucker Foundation. It’s a compendium of short, highly readable articles by great leaders and organisational thinkers and researchers. One particular article has my attention at the moment. Warren Bennis in his article, ‘The Secrets of Great Groups’ suggests there are enduring lessons to be learnt not only from studying personal leadership, but from studying group leadership. He suggests that the “few great accomplishments are ever the work of a single individual”. Mythology refuses to catch-up with reality, according to Bennis, so the myths… Read more
Posted in Action Learning, AI, change, co-create, Complexity, courage, Culture change, cuts, Executive coaching, Future Search, ideas, leadership, Leadership styles, learning, Peter Drucker, Public sector cuts, strategy, Summit, Talents, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Transform the Culture as well as the Structures and Systems

David Clark, Chief Executive of SOLACE, (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) wrote this weekend about a recent survey of Chief Executives throwing up some interesting views on the subject of transformation. “Many (most?) councils feel they must “transform” themselves, if they are to survive the harsh conditions of austerity. Many embarked on large “transformational” programmes, some even appointed new staff to lead the transformation and a few now report that their transformation has now been concluded successfully. But these transformations are in no sense homogenous. They have often started in very different places. Some have included customer led service… Read more
Posted in Appreciative Change, Behaviours, change, Complexity, Culture change, customer service, cuts, engagement, leadership | Leave a comment

Leading Change and the Metaphor of the Rings

As we navigate complex change, as a result of the government’s public services transformation programme, i.e. cuts, or other models or imperatives to change, we can often benefit from stories and metaphors to help us understand change in different ways. One such metaphor is the Metaphor of the Rings, which we found in David Noer’s excellent book, Breaking Free. Here it is… The Metaphor of the Rings It begins with the vision of a series of gymnastic rings, hanging by ropes. A person jumps from a platform and grabs a ring with the right hand and then – while maintaining… Read more
Posted in change, Complexity, Metaphor, Transformation | Leave a comment