A collection: practical ideas for leading in a complex world

Why conversations matter

By Eerika Hedman

“We can also learn to re-wire our brains through the mindful changes we make in our relationships = our conversations.”


“All the time we leave marks in each other’s stories, and those marks can boost our potential and expand our stories of ourselves. Or in the worst case, they can create limitations for our actions and invite the undesired ways of behaving.

So the next time you think you are ”just” having a chat or a conversation with someone, think again.”

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Conscious business — impact and implications for HR and OD

By Pete Burden and Rob Warwick

“There are many things we can do. These include:

  • noticing and challenging our habits of speech
  • learning to sense and understand our feelings more accurately
  • learning to inquire not just advocate
  • reaching out to new and different types of people who will have challenging conversations with us
  • modelling different ways to work with power.”


“Conscious Business is an invitation to inquire”.

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To control freaks everywhere!

By Pete Hamill

‘we face a choice between the easy and less effective attempts at control, and the harder, riskier and much more effective move to leadership.’


‘Notice what happens to you when you feel the need to control – you will probably tense up (notice where), and feel an unpleasant out of control feeling. Perhaps there will be a familiar voice in your head telling you it’s all about to go horribly wrong.’

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Six things you can stop worrying about as a leader and one thing that should keep you awake

By Chris Mowles

“So if you are a leader you are always a work in progress making it up as you go along with your colleagues. You won’t always know what to do, and that’s ok. One of the central tasks of leadership is how you work out what needs to be done together.”


“You are highly unlikely to ‘transform’ anything if you mean by this that you can guarantee bringing about wholesale change for the good. Changes you make will bring about the expected, the unexpected and the unwanted. There will always be unintended consequences, and ‘success’ will depend upon who is judging and when the judgement is made.”

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10 much-needed shifts in the way we think and talk about leadership

By Chris Rodgers

“Leadership would be recognized as an emergent property of people interacting together, not as an elite practice confined to those at the top of organizations (and of society more generally).”


“The search for, and expectancy of, certainty and predictability would have been replaced by the valuing and practice of curiosity.”

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Creating conditions so that all voices can be heard

By Rowena Davis

“What helps us open to differences?

So how do we interrupt or at least catch our automatic Flight/Fight response before it gets entrenched and costs us dearly? From many perspectives – including Systems-Centered Theory, complex responsive processes, dialogue and Positive Psychology – how we talk to each other (and ourselves) is key.”


“Part of opening up to difference involves slowing down enough so that our autonomic response is interrupted sooner rather than later. For facilitators, it means a commitment to notice and work with our own triggers around difference, so we can be more open to them. For leaders in organisations and in communities, it means an awareness that this is not easy and that we need to shift behaviours.”

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Humility in Leadership

By Julian Stodd

“Humility is a willingness to recognise that we don’t have all the answers, and a strength to help others find the answers that they seek: and to do so with no expectation of reciprocity in the moment. It’s to engage without reward, beyond the sense of value that we add into our communities and to others.”


“Humility is not a position of weakness, it’s a foundation of strength. It’s not something nice to layer on top, but rather something to weave into our thought and action. It’s not incidental to great leadership: it’s the foundation of it.”

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Reframing accountability in organizational practice

By Chris Rodgers:

“Whatever happens in practice, then, (whether ‘good, ‘bad’, or ‘indifferent’) is not determined by formally designed structures and accountability systems. It emerges instead from the widespread interplay of myriad local interactions.”


“It’s in the detail of people’s moment-to-moment exchanges that organization is enacted and ‘outcomes’ emerge. Managers would therefore do well to direct their attention towards the quality of people’s participation in this ongoing interactional process.”

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The personal is political

Elena de Ferrante, writing about the words ‘The personal is political’

‘I owe much to that famous slogan. From it I learned that even the most intimate individual concerns, those that are most extraneous to the public sphere, are influenced by politics; that is to say, by that complicated, pervasive, irreducible thing that is power and its uses. It’s only a few words, but with their fortunate ability to synthesize they should never be forgotten. They convey what we are made of, the risk of subservience we are exposed to, the kind of deliberately disobedient gaze we must turn on the world and on ourselves.’

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