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The Eggs Teaching the Chickens: Reverse Mentoring

‘The old adage “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow” may be true, but what do you do when your “acorn” days are far behind you? How do you continue to grow and flourish? Mentoring apprentices and protégés has been a part of business as long as we’ve had crafts and professions. But when you’ve put […]

Workplace Evolution – a Process of Natural Selection?

In recent months our organization has undergone some restructuring and our team has accordingly received a new mandate. Whilst continuing much of our existing work, we now have the scope to develop in new areas, including in the area of ‘leadership’. Thinking for some time now about what this might look like, we have been […]

Tapping Into Natural Talent: Bibliotheca Talent Shows

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina was, last week, host to a couple of talent shows. One was that of participants in the Youth Employment Summit (YES). Amongst others, Dumisani Nyoni was on stage with his guitar performing a medley of songs from across the world – with his audience standing and singing along as he strums something […]

How Is Networking Form Following Function?

‘Are formal networks pre-internet artifacts?’ – asked Gillian in her post of August 30th. For some time now, we have been dabbling in and experimenting with the ever-evolving networking technologies available online. Working with a formal membership network of over 600 people worldwide, we have been seeking ways to use online technologies to stimulate decentralized […]

When Do Facilitators Need Facilitating?

For professional facilitators practised in the art of designing and running effective group processes, skill in reading the underlying dynamics in a group (‘The Orchestrator’) and maintaining objectivity (‘Under the Neutral Flag’) are two of fourteen key competencies described in the June 2007 issue of The Global Flipchart. I have marvelled at facilitators displaying these […]


How Should We Manage the Hard Sell?

Some months back, Dennis Meadows – a renowned Systems Dynamist and author of ‘Limits to Growth’ (1972), visited our organization and spoke with us about the future of oil. Recently I’ve been referring back to his presentation, and especially to the series of three graphs shown here and illustrating easy problems, hard problems and how […]

Visualization: (a no-brainer or) a right-brainer?

On the morning of day three of a workshop launching a multi-million Euro strategy, we asked more than fifty international participants to write on a few flip chart sheets what they wanted to continue working on, what they wanted more of and what they wanted less of. Top of the ‘more of’ list was a […]


A week ago, whilst on the train returning from a week-long workshop, I was skimming through the feedback forms and surprised to read the comments of one participant. A recommendation for next time: “Less touchy-feely”. For a while I’ve been wondering where this comment came from. In a literal sense there was no physical touching […]

Getting Back in Shape: Blogging and Jogging

Draft one (late February): So, I’m sitting on the train this morning; the air is cool, sky clear, and I’m enjoying the aroma of a pain au chocolat that I’ve just bought, asking myself – At what point did I slip back into this naughty habit? And I realize that it was just about the […]


Shedding Light On Our Sundials

What are your talents and your key strengths? And what are you doing to maximize these day-to-day? I recently received a fascinating book for my birthday, written by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton: Now, Discover Your Strengths. Refreshingly, this book sets out to dispel the “pervasive myth” that excellent performers must be well-rounded. It […]

Me and My Multiple Intelligences. We and Ours.

Eight kinds of “intelligence” exist in us as humans and we all possess varying levels of the different intelligences, determining our unique cognitive profile. This is at the heart of Howard Gardners Multiple Intelligences theory – explains Ann Shortridge. Ann and Benay Dara-Adams have been looking at the theory of Multiple Intelligences and posed the […]

Fish!ing for a compliment?

Arriving at my desk this morning, I was greeted by a delightful surprise. In fact, it was a surprise that made my day. Stood proud on my desk was a bottle of wine, wrapped in a paper bag sealed with a staple, with a small, silver, star-shaped sticker attaching a little note. On the front […]

The Rules of the Game: Understanding the Unknown

A colleague and I wait by the large gorilla statue in the entrance hall. Dumisani Nyoni joins us. As part of our Exploring Change Processes workshop, Dumi is introducing us to a game used by Pioneers of Change (http://pioneersofchange.net/). Right, says Dumi, It’s simple. I would like you to go into the room and try […]

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Generating a new relationship and behaviour: me and my work

Multiple definitions exist for the transitive verb ‘to generate’, all of which have to do with positive change and the emergence of something new. When we talk about positive change in the world, we talk of generating new relationships and new behaviours. Yet to what extent are our personal and professional practices generative? Many of […]

Framing Change: The Trojan Horse Approach?

“It is not always necessary to frame initiatives as part of a sustainability movement in order to get people to think about the environment and peace” said Junko Edahiro, initiator of the Candle Night Campaign (www.candle-night.org) which started in Japan in Summer 2003. Turn off the lights; Take it slow are the key messages of […]


The Art of Networking and Being Beautiful

Sticky croissant in my left hand, coffee in my right, congress programme tucked under one arm and computer bag precariously balancing on the shoulder of the other, I awkwardly weaved in and out of the people thronging in the ‘Atrium’ until I found some breathing space by the outer wall, along side a documentary photo […]

What is your theory of change?

When I first drafted the opening paragraph of this blog entry, it read as follows: I was out with a group of friends on Saturday night when a number of supposed non-smokers lit up cigarettes. ‘Social smokers’ – they called themselves. This has always baffled me (not in the least because I believe smoking is […]


Dialoguing about dialogue

In a beautiful retreat forty minutes drive from Boston, two dozen members of the Generative Dialogue Project community (http://www.generativedialogue.org/) came together. I was extremely privileged to join the group and, over the course of three days, engage in dialoguing about dialogue. From the outset we were charged with the following: “Listen to one another with […]

In our day to day conversations, how do we “talk the walk”?

We’ve all heard of “walking the talk” – but what of “talking the walk”? Googling this just now I came across a report Talk the Walk – Advancing Sustainable Lifestyles through Marketing and Communications (http://www.talkthewalk.net/) by Utopies, UNEP and UNGC. However I don’t want to talk now about “design, development, branding, packaging, pricing, distribution, personal […]


Are we having conversations that matter?

We have conversations everyday. How many of these conversations matter? When did we last have a conversation that mattered? And what was it that made it matter? What defines a conversation that matters from the multitude of conversations that so often fill our world? We’ve all come away from conversations that have mattered and to […]

When Our Organization turns Sixty, what will she be saying?

“Today this organization celebrates its 58th birthday!” it was announced at yesterday’s staff meeting. In two years time, its 60th birthday will be celebrated at the opening ceremony of the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona. What will all those present be saying about these past sixty years in our organization and those of the future? […]