How to build belonging at work (and why it matters)

According to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2020 report, belonging at work and well-being are the two most important human capital issues right now. Efforts to create a sense of belonging have traditionally focussed on respect and inclusion in many organisations. The theme here has been that if we can support people to feel comfortable and accepted for […]

Team building across the miles

The phrase team building has a warm, inclusive feel about it. It conjures up images of victorious World Cup winners or athletes celebrating a record haul of gold medals at the Olympics. The archetypal pictures of hijinks in the locker room and sports stars carrying each other on their shoulders spring to mind. Consciously or […]

Difficult conversations: the good news (Part One)

As far as difficult conversations go, workplace-related ones appear to be in a league of their own. Research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), for example, revealed that British workers find it harder to ask a manager for a pay rise than to dump a partner. The CMI’s study of 2,000 UK workers found that […]

Conversational meltdowns and how to prevent them: Part one

Most of us have either witnessed or found ourselves involved in work-based conversations that suddenly seem to erupt into verbal pyrotechnics and turn into conversational meltdowns. Other times, there are conversations that are intended to be about important work-related matters, but everyone in attendance nervously knows that the interlocutors involved have a history of antagonism […]

Positive Psychology and the problem of the ‘not positive’ (Part 1)

Positive psychology has become the focus of considerable critical attention of late – a mark, perhaps, of its growing stature. However, I think there is a misconception in some of these critiques – the assumption that positive psychology necessarily excludes experiences we might designate ‘negative’, or at least ‘not positive’. Positive psychology is not about […]

Good questions create better worlds: Appreciative Inquiry (Part 1)

People often ask good questions; but that they ask questions is rather less important than how they ask them. Case Western Reserve University Professor David Cooperrider puts what is at stake when asking a question rather deftly: “We live in the world our questions create.” Cooperrider is a pioneer of ‘appreciative inquiry’, which holds that good questions are […]

Curing functional fixedness (Part Two)

Karl Duncker’s experiment demonstrating Functional Fixedness, which I described last time, has a good deal of relevance for any company trying to develop a breakthrough product. Most of the time, a talented group of people fail to make headway not because of a lack of intelligence or imagination but because their talents are confined by […]

Curing functional fixedness (Part One)

Curing functional fixedness (or, how to turn a desk into a magic castle). Small children are extraordinary inventive in using everyday objects to augment their imaginative play. A large box becomes a space capsule; a table, a blanket and a couple of chairs become an enchanted castle. “Growing up” tends to bury this ability, making […]

Why choose Gestalt organisational development?

When leaders want to make their organisations more efficient in realising strategic goals, many of them resort to behaviourist, carrot-and-stick approaches. However, there’s a big problem: despite all the scientific-sounding talk of “measurable” KPIs and clearly defined goals, many of these approaches fail to deliver. Most human beings dislike feeling manipulated in some way. But core to […]