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Navigating organisational change

Navigating organisational change

“I feel like we’re this close to figuring this all out”, the CEO says smiling. And then she adds after a little pause, “even though I know it’s much more complex and we aren’t.” Everyone on the Board is smiling now, because they are all aware of their own conflicting...

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Making Difficult Conversations Easier

Making Difficult Conversations Easier

I was recently working with a group of Senior Researchers, Post-docs and Laboratory Managers from across Europe. The topic: difficult conversations. A popular topic for leaders, new and well seasoned. What makes a conversation difficult? That’s partially individual,...

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Getting unstuck by exploring your many parts

Getting unstuck by exploring your many parts

Think of a moment when you were stuck. As you talked to a coach or a friend, you gained new insight into your stuckness, and with the liberating energy of this insight, you were able to do what it took to move toward your goal. Getting unstuck can be so easy! However,...

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Stop Downloading – Start Listening

Stop Downloading – Start Listening

I recently wrote about the challenges that leaders face when attempting to listen generatively. We spend too much time downloading (to reconfirm what we already know, i.e. not really listening) or listening factually (to confirm or disconfirm what you already know,...

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Listen to Lead Change

Listen to Lead Change

“The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.” Bill O'Brien, former CEO of Hanover Insurance, famously said this. It underscores that not only does it matter what leaders do and how they do it, but that their interior condition,...

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Vows and Forgiveness

Vows and Forgiveness

David Whyte’s 1996 poem, All the True Vows, from The House of Belonging, calls us forth into the world. Its first line, “All the true vows are secret vows”, poses an inquiry for leaders: What are the secret vows you have sworn? These vows are no idle covenants. They...

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Overwhelm

Overwhelm

Overwhelm is an emotion. Which means it is an energy that is stuck in our bodies. That’s why it is more effective to work with the body than telling oneself or someone else all the reasons for the overwhelm – which really only keeps it alive.

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The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

I have always misheard one of the famous lines in Simon and Garfunkel's “The Sound of Silence”, as: “the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, Tiananmen falls.”, rather than as “and tenement halls.” Just as I have always deeply misunderstood the...

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“In the end, we’ll all become stories”

“In the end, we’ll all become stories”

“In the end, we’ll all become stories.” This quotation from Margaret Atwood has been in my ear, like a song you hear that you can’t stop humming. It landed in December and hasn’t gone away.  I shared this with a friend who recently lost a parent and they remarked...

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Deep Listening in Change Leadership

Deep Listening in Change Leadership

It is often said that successful change in the workplace requires buy-in from the people who work there. And that, unfortunately, people resist change. However, I don’t believe for a moment that most people resist change. What most people do resist - and I include...

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The Beginning of a Leadership Journey

The Beginning of a Leadership Journey

“That’s not me! I would never do that! And yet, I did do that, didn’t I?” And so a leadership journey begins. It is not uncommon for coaching clients to experience themselves saying or doing something which generates a feeling of embarrassment. While they share what...

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Leading with power in every punch

Leading with power in every punch

When Master Chen Ying Jun demonstrates the ‘form’, there is power in every punch. Rootedness to the floor, connection to his inner strength, full presence to his environment: Watching him reminded me of the co-active® leader’s dance between the Leader Within and our leadership in the world.

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One More Time: Leaders Need Coaches

One More Time: Leaders Need Coaches

One of the most common refrains we hear from new leadership coaching clients is “Wow, it’s really great to be able to step back and talk about me in the context of my work and organisation. No one else ever listens to me like that, including my boss or partner." When...

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Leadership requires Agency

Leadership requires Agency

Photo by Kevin André on Unsplash The component required for leadership to shift from being a noun to a verb, is agency.  Agency is someone’s ability to act or take action. Without it, you may be aware, but you lack choice  - you’re  stuck in stasis. Why...

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Leadership Learnings from Taiji

Leadership Learnings from Taiji

The art of Taiji teaches us that leadership is a harmonious blend of humility, adaptability, and a mindful connection to the collective energy.
Explore how a remarkable Taiji instructor, Becky, demonstrated these leadership qualities.

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Self-Awareness is the Start of Leadership

Self-Awareness is the Start of Leadership

Regina Vogel and I spent time this week with a group of young leaders who will be a crucial part of a Theory U initiative in the Irish public sector. As we engaged with them and got to know them, we noticed that they were conscious of their newness and that others...

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The is no ‘I’ in TEAM. Nonsense.

The is no ‘I’ in TEAM. Nonsense.

You’ve likely heard the old chestnut “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM.” Whether said in jest, or in dead seriousness, it is simply not true. If you want to have a team which can navigate complexity and uncertainty, you need to recognise that it is filled with ‘I’s. Why?...

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Your Inner Game drives your Outer Game

Your Inner Game drives your Outer Game

I have been reflecting on two quotations for a few weeks now: First, Bill O’Brien’s “The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervener.” And Carl Jung’s “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will...

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Start with Who, not What or How

Start with Who, not What or How

Bill O’Brien, former CEO of Hanover Insurance, observed of his efforts to lead transformational change in his organisation, that “the success of an intervention depends on the inner condition of the intervener.” To make clear what this means, O’Brien is making the...

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Change is a conversation

Change is a conversation

“In the past 10 years, we've created a lot of change that benefits our employees. Why then are they still complaining about the same things as 20 years ago? Our staff engagement surveys and focus groups produce valuable information, but we haven’t gotten to the bottom...

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Change v. Transition: It Matters

Change v. Transition: It Matters

Change is about an external, situational event: something old stops, something new begins. Transition is about the psychological reorientation which takes place inside of us as we adapt to the change. The distinction between the two matters because this is where the rhetoric of change and psychological safety and DEI and leadership meets reality.

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Boredom breeds genius!

Boredom breeds genius!

Counter to what you make think, the constant respond-ability of your team members is detrimental to productivity. To solve the many challenges of today’s workplaces, we need more creativity.
That’s why it’s so important to create uninterrupted times to focus, or to just drift, at the workplace.

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Being with Polarities

Being with Polarities

Brian Emerson & Kelly Lewis have written a short book about a complex topic, polarities: paradoxical situations in which two seemingly opposite yet interdependent states need to coexist over time in order for success to occur. Why? Either/or thinking creates binary worlds and narrows our options to “this or that”.

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