I am a veteran "change agent", sustainability consultant, OD consultant, author, facilitator, speaker, business school teacher, activist, researcher and mentor. I gained corporate experience in UK, Jamaica and North America in many sectors, first in HR, later in strategic leadership development and internal consulting. Working in the Caribbean had a profound influence on how I see the world. In 1987 I started my own business as an independent management consultant, helping senior people lead strategic change and create better workplaces and providing training and development for consultants.
The focus of my work has changed: My main interest is sustainability, in the broadest sense, and how we can bring about system change in global society, as well as creating better workplaces. Now I work with people in many contexts helping them make their lives, work, organisations, communities, and the world sustainable.
I am passionate about global justice and sustainability. Working at a strategic level has confronted me with global issues and what I see as an unsustainable and unfair economic system that makes it hard for business to act responsibly and serve people’s needs. Five and a half years in Jamaica and returning there several times recently had a big effect on me, as have visits to Cuba and India. Seeing the state of Jamaica on my last visit made me so angry, I decided to write my fourth book, LIVING SYSTEM making sense of sustainability. Having done history at school and PPE at Oxford still influences me.
I am determined to do whatever I can to help people, including entrepreneurs, fundamentally change the global system. I support many NGOs and research groups working for systemic change. I belong to my hometown’s new Transition Towns steering group.
I love the countryside, mountains, trees, cultivating fragrant shrubs and flowers, fruit and vegetables, architecture, music, different cultures and hot countries, especially Jamaica, and Southern Europe. I live on the edge of the Chilterns
creating better workplaces for the 21st Century
Having worked in a wide variety of organisations, both on the inside and then from the outside, gives me a deep understanding of the challenges facing leaders; how organisations can best respond to change in the 21st century; the impact of leadership and culture on organisation performance; and how to help people change, learn and make things happen.
I listen to a lot of different people. This has always been my most valuable source of research and learning. They all say much the same but from different perspectives, whether from the top, the middle or the bottom or outside.
Not having enough time is one of the main causes of problems in the workplace and this is having an effect on almost everything we deal with relationships, feeling overworked and undervalued, neglecting moving you or your company forward.
Leaders tell me it is hard to respond to a rapidly changing, complex, and a highly competitive world, full of uncertainties and dilemmas. Their work is stressful, often lonely, and their options are constrained by the demands of financial markets. Often their values and work are in conflict. It is hard to create a sense of ownership and commitment amongst employees and overcome resistance to change. They struggle to resolve conflicts and differences amongst colleagues. Many workpeople dislike the culture; feel unappreciated; not listened to or involved in changes; insecure and under extreme stress. Their conditions get worse while they are expected to deliver more. Yet top people get immensely richer. They grow increasingly cynical as they see a succession of structural changes that make little difference and new bosses who do not understand the importance of people. They say top management focus too much on the stock market and profit. Many good people get out as soon as they can. There is widespread concern about the effects of globalisation, despite all the benefits it has brought, on society, our lifestyles, the poor and the environment.
Sustainability saving our planet, eliminating poverty, resolving conflict without violence, reforming democracy and liberating workplace culture are the biggest issues at the beginning of the 21st Century.
As I work with people, I see how the work we do together is limited both by the system within which business functions and by our own internal blocks. This is why I have grown increasingly interested in both global issues and a holistic approach to development heart, spirit, mind and body more of this in my articles. The impact of business on society and on the Earth, beneficial and harmful, global and local, is enormous. I see a need to change both our values and the global framework to enable businesses of all sizes to act responsibly for the common good. Unless we take these challenges seriously there will be more "natural" disasters, 9/11s, 7/7s and Madrids, more alienation, poverty, stress, social problems, disorder, wars and terrorism.
We will make better progress, if we support women's leadership, bring together female and male perspectives, and a wide diversity of people to work and learn together in finding solutions.
A number of questions interest me:
- How can we make it possible for the economic system, corporations, governments and global institutions to serve people, everywhere?
- What needs to be done about the global financial and trading framework, with its underlying values of consumption and power?
- What kind of leadership is needed in the early 21st century?
- How can businesses survive and thrive in the global economy and act responsibly in a globalised world at the same time?
- What kind of organisation culture do we need?
- In a world that is unpredictable, complex and outside our control, how can we bring about beneficial change instead of swinging from one "solution" to another?
- How can we live balanced, sustainable lives, which honour our values and human dignity?
- How can we learn to collaborate for higher purpose and avoid the dysfunctional aspects of our innate tribalism, xenophobia and out of balance male energy?
I offer time and space or one-to-one mentoring for leaders concerned with these issues.