The paradoxical theory of change

There is an old joke about a tourist trying to get to New York, Dublin or the city of choice for whatever national stereotype. He stops in a village out in the sticks to ask a local for directions. After long consideration, the local replies “If I was you, I wouldn’t start from here.” This […]

Gestalt Theory and Self-Regulation

A few months ago, I discussed the basis of Gestalt theory and its practical applications in the workplace. A fundamental principle that underlies Gestalt is the holistic nature of humans, every part having an influence on and being influenced by another part. This means that each person needs to be viewed as a whole, and […]

Navigating a Team through Changing Times

Over recent weeks, I have spent some time talking about gestalt psychology and its role in change management. One of the key lessons from the discussion was that humans have an instinctive and psychological aversion to anything that is perceived as “not right” or out of kilter. When changing times impact daily routine, some teams can […]

Practical Gestalt techniques

Last week, I discussed the concept of gestalt psychology and how it relates to change management from something of a theoretical perspective. With the theory in place, what I would like to do in this post is get down to some Gestalt techniques that can help you facilitate change in the corporate environment. Framing  This […]

Gestalt change management

If you are involved in any kind of change management within your organisation, gestalt change management may be an approach you have stumbled across at one time or another. Gestalt theory suggests that as humans, we are constantly trying to create order and restore balance when something seems off-kilter. At its root, this stems from […]

Decision-making, charts and illusion: Gestalt visualisations, Part Two

Writing in the Harvard Business Review recently, chart designer Scott Berinato proffered a vivid example of the profoundly misleading influence that clever chart visuals can exert. In emails, engineers from the leading Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata allegedly changed the colours or lines in a graphic to “divert attention” from the actual details of test results […]

Decision-making, charts and illusion: Gestalt visualisations, Part One

We live in an era of digitally produced charts laden with eye-catching, attention-drawing visualisations. Charts seem to speak louder and more persuasively than words, and there is little doubt that visual representations seem to appeal to a human desire for tidy simplicity in a sea of chaotic complexity. Charts can undoubtedly help us to understand […]

Team building and sustaining trust in times of change

There is widespread agreement that the art of building effective teams involves being clear about collective and individual objectives. What happens to sustaining and building effective teams in times of anxiety-inducing change when mergers, new roles, new processes and redundancies are in the air? According to Roffey Park leadership consultant Catherine Shepherd, one thing emerges […]

Emotion – the ‘elephant in the room’ in team conflict (Part 2)

Last time, we summarised the three major sources of team conflict identified by leadership expert Annie McKee (insecurity, desire for power and habitual victimhood). I’d like to explore what can be done to prevent these patterns from undermining and sabotaging the healthy team conflict of debate. Firstly, conflict should be seen as pervasive and inevitable – […]

Essentials of effective business coaching (Part 1)

An orthodoxy has started to ossify around the concept of effective business coaching: it is all about helping small business owners streamline and optimise their strategies for business expansion. That is true as far as it goes; however, I think it leaves a lot out. Business coaching, from a Gestalt point of view, involves working […]