Author Archives: John Watters

Lessons from Winne the Pooh on how to navigate our complex world

For the last 20 years my specialism has been to work in situations that are often conflicted (sometimes high levels of disagreement and blame), with significant issues of either unrealised potential or underperformance, complexity, and often a feeling of stuckness … Continue reading

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Where does spirituality meet leadership?

There’s a crisis in many modern organisations:  Who are they serving? What is their essence? How should they operate? This week reveals the most shocking analysis of how a major ‘public service’, South Yorkshire police, not only systematically covered up, … Continue reading

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Is Barry Oshry’s Systems Thinking Still Relevant at the Teal level?

A significant number of leaders we meet are interested in a new way of organising: one that is centred on a larger and more compelling sense of purpose than just meeting the numbers, which liberates human potential and treats people … Continue reading

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Spirituality – refreshing the parts that performance management can’t reach

The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) in the UK published an ambitious report last month: Spiritualise – Revitalising Spirituality for 21st Century Challenges. The report seeks to integrate scientific understandings of human nature with an exploration of the role and … Continue reading

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Putting the challenge into context

A colleague of mine was chatting about the Longitude Prize that was launched on the BBC last week.  The competition is to commemorate 300 years since the first challenge was set (and consequently won by gruff Yorkshire clockmaker John Harrison … Continue reading

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Are we doing the work that is needed or the work that is comfortable?

“Taking a new step or uttering a new word is what people fear most.” Dostoyevsky I notice how quite frequently we talk on the one hand of the need for innovation, transformation, world-class practice or other words to describe great … Continue reading

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Here be dragons: Leading in complex times

Think about a big challenge you are addressing: a current situation that matters, where you know something qualitatively different is required. It could be in your paid work, in the community, a national or a global issue. How do you … Continue reading

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Hope and Hopelessness: centre your life in the practice of Active Hope

Faced with strong, overwhelming feelings of hopelessness I’ve been asking myself how do we sustain ourselves in dark times? Last week, I responded to a tender for work with a failing organisation: I felt I could offer nothing. Later that … Continue reading

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Making Sense of Complexity: the Personal and the Systemic

Many of us yearn for simple principles to guide our work and life in a complex world. At the heart of this conundrum is an understanding of the relationship between the personal and the systemic. If some of us have … Continue reading

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Innovating culture

One theory of culture is that the organisation’s core business, or dominant technology, often gives rise to a pervasive culture. We experienced this in some recent client work: we were designing and facilitating a Top-100 event for a global company, … Continue reading

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