“I used to be more future-oriented: rigorous planning, talking of sustainable change, imagining that the changes, I and others, were involved in would endure. I now see that changes cannot be “built in”; we and the world are too complex. The quality of the future we want has to be present in the here and now. The key to creating the future is a shift in our being and how we act, now. As you start on the way, the way appears: one meeting, one conversation, one decision at a time. This has been a process of reconsidering, not a single moment of insight.”
John describes himself as a ‘systems alchemist’ who curates transformational learning experiences to release human potential. He specialises in working with complex challenges that involve multiple stakeholders; creating the conditions for fundamental shifts in performance and realising personal and organisational purpose.
His approach pays attention to the multiple factors at play in any situation: the interrelationship between the individual, team and the wider system; the interface between strategic priorities of the organisation, leadership behaviour and the organisation’s culture. His experience is that personal and organisational transformation comes from engaging head, heart, gut and spirit. Clients describe John’s style as challenging and warm-hearted, rigorous and inspiring. John pioneered the introduction of Barry Oshry’s human systems frameworks to organisations across Europe and accredits trainers in Power+Systens’ methodologies.
Specialties & Passions
- Consulting on multi-stakeholder complex challenges.
- Leadership programmes that create fundamental shifts in mindset, behaviour and performance.
- Designing and facilitating large group events that build common ground, personal responsibility and a commitment to act.
- Identifying and catalysing the smallest, high-leverage shifts (in behaviour, process and culture) that release untapped capacity and energy in the organisation and wider system.
- Deep understanding of the links between personal and system-wide transformation.
- 15 years of consulting experience, including eight years at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he established a successful practice working with public sector organisations that were in crisis to create breakthroughs in performance.
- Seven years as a General Manager working in teaching hospitals, health authorities, community and primary care in the National Health Service in England.
- Wide experience across commercial, central government, public sectors and not for profit sectors in UK and internationally.
- His clients have included Shell, F. Hoffman-La Roche, Microsoft, Further Education Colleges, Local Authorities, UK Cabinet Office and the Church of England.
- MSc in Change Agent Skills & Strategies(Surrey University)
- MSc in Health Planning & Financing (London School of Economics)
- BCom Honours Degree in Business Studies (Edinburgh University)
- Accredits trainers and consultants in all of Power+Systems frameworks
- Certified in Bill Torbert’s Leadership Development Framework & MBTI Step I
Recent Posts by John Watters
A colleague of mine recently sent me complexity theorist Ralph Stacey’s short video on the paradoxes of organisational life, and the importance of taking experience seriously. Some of Stacey’s ideas resonate with me so I posed a question to Barry Oshry about what he thought of Stacey’s notion of organisations as “complex social processes of relating between […]
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 or hopelessness amongst those involved. VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) is a term growing in […]
There’s crisis of leadership in many modern organisations: Who are they serving? What is their essence? How should they operate? Can they really claim to be demonstrating authentic leadership? This week reveals the most shocking analysis of how a major ‘public service’, South Yorkshire police, not only systematically covered up, for 27 years, its culpability […]