On systems change in the third sector (part 1)

“…If you want to understand function, study structure”  Francis Crick Despite advancements in health, technology, living standards, education and wealth, their benefits have not been evenly distributed, giving rise to the wicked social challenges that blight many people’s lives. Climate change, conflict, growing levels of inequality in health, wealth, and opportunity are challenges that are […]

On tracking what’s new

Since my blog on tracking changes during COVID-19 went viral, I’ve run lots of workshops and sessions helping people apply it in their own context, from community businesses and universities to a range of NHS organisations, religious groups, schools and charities. Far more have picked it up and happily run with it. As a diagnostic […]

On framing change

My original COVID-19 change framework was a simple attempt to help track what’s going on in the aftermath of a crisis event and offer some potential routes forward once things start to settle down a bit. I captured this in the idea that it’s not as simple as stopping what you’ve started and starting what […]

On starting points for change

By definition the status quo holds. The way things are settles into patterns of conformity and repetition, defaults and norms. The here-and-now of our lives processes with daily, weekly, monthly rituals and rhythms. It’s an effort to keep challenging and enquiring into the possibilities of different. It takes bandwidth to see the opportunity, effort to […]

On Stephen Lawrence Day

I was invited to take part in a discussion on the legacy of Stephen Lawrence alongside amazing panellists – Meera Spillett, Chris Murray, Rosemary Campbell-Stephens and Keith Jarrett. It was, for me, a stretch of my own comfort. I was used to sharing my experiences and thoughts in deeply personal and private situations. This was […]

On linking pay and performance (part 2)

In part one I explored the views of human nature that often underly moves to link pay and performance, even now. I suggested that individual performance is the product of the system within which people work, and that to hold individuals to account for their performance in these complex systems of work is misguided at […]

On linking pay and performance (part 1)

“If you want people motivated to do a good job, give them a good job to do” F. Herzberg⁠1 In previous articles I have explored approaches to managing performance in complex environments and offered some insights and ways forward*. These are alternatives to the industrial management complex which assumes that all staff are inherently lazy, […]

On levelling up (part 3)

Life’s lottery deems it that none of us have any say over the families and communities into which we are born. Some of us are luckier than others, given the wide inequalities in social and economic outcomes that manifest across the estates, schools, businesses, clubs and high streets that together form the different places we […]

On music as a barometer of social change

The baseline thunders through your body, primeval, uplifting, manifestations of Gaia’s energy of life. You’re dancing around a fire to the rhythm of the pounding drums. The sparks fly upwards into the sky and you’re lost in the meditation of the moment. Ten thousand years later and you’re in a dark club in the early […]

On transformation and change (part 3)

In part one of this article I explored some frustrations with traditional approaches to transformation and change in our organisations and how all too often they are driven by finance, HR and IT. In part two I offered an alternative approach to institutional transformation and change (T/C) management based on Cultural Theory. In this final […]

On transformation and change (part 2)

In part one of this article I explored some frustrations with traditional approaches to transformation and change in our organisations and how all too often they are driven by finance, HR and IT. As Matthew Taylor, my former Chief Exec taught me, artfully describing the problem is not in itself enough. We need to back […]

On transformation and change (part 1)

Scanning job ads is a fascinating insight into the solutions companies think they need for their pressing challenges. Packaged up into a job description the answer comes in the form of a new hire, whose role becomes reactive, to fix, change or improve something, or proactive, to invent, build or take a opportunity for something. […]