Organisational development and diversity, Part One

Linking organisational development and diversity may seem incongruous, sort of linking goat’s milk and lettuce. However, it’s a highly salient relationship. Organisational development aims to enable organisations to navigate the changes necessary for survival and growth in changing times. While obvious change will inevitably sponsor resistance and fear amongst the workforce, certain organisational characteristics can […]

Organisational change and the art of crocodile management, Part Two

When organisations are developing an order of change designed to achieve a whole new level of performance, you can be sure of one thing: it will rouse from slumber the “inner crocodiles” of the staff who have to implement it. This happens courtesy of a small but powerful brain structure called the amygdala. Amygdalas are […]

Organisational change and the art of crocodile management, Part One

Lest anyone think I’ve taken leave of my senses, what I’m calling “crocodile management” has a well-established basis in neuroscience. Let me explain. Organisational change may often be in dynamic interplay with organisational conservation; think small innovations that don’t rock the boat too much. However, every so often, big, disruptive change becomes an unavoidable necessity. […]

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 […]

Collaboration at work

Everyone understands that collaboration at work is a good thing for an effective business, which is one reason why (according to HBR) collaborative practices in business have risen by over 50% in the past two decades. This is also because we live and work in an increasingly connected world. The virtual office now spans the […]

Slow down; you have nothing to lose but your stress

Late last year, a survey from global executive recruitment firm Odgers-Berndtson brought into public focus the disturbingly relentless and intense levels of stress to which C-suite managers working for FTSE 350 companies were routinely subjected. Tellingly, the report was titled Lonely at the Top, and sadly, for those of us involved in executive coaching, it […]

Good questions create better worlds (Part 2)

Carrying on our focus on Appreciative Inquiry and the use of good questions, here we will consign a few more well-intentioned but counter-productive questions to the bin marked ‘never to be asked’. Bad question #3: Have you thought of doing it this way? This sounds like a helpful intervention, but no matter how benign the […]

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 […]

Emotion – the ‘elephant in the room’ in team conflict (Part 1)

Where does team conflict come from? One of the answers, of course, seems obvious once you name it: emotion. Aggressive emotion to be precise. Emotion can overheat – it’s volatile stuff – and it makes much better sense to learn to become aware of its influence, both in us and in our colleagues or bosses. Leadership […]

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 […]