Current projects…

The Pollinator Project - a study of Opportunity Makers like me. I'm talking to those with a natural instinct for providing that vital impulse - an introduction that leads to so much more; experience that saves time and effort; knowledge that changes possibilities; wisdom that settles differences; and curiosity that inspires creativity.  Can you support this project? We're looking for funding to analyse the behaviour of these unsung heroes of progress so we can and publish their brilliant insights. Write to us if you can.   UK Coworking Assembly - Chair of the company, co-founder and facilitator. I'm helping gather, strengthen and guide the board and a Wisdom Council to work out strategic priorities and find the resources to deliver them. Research & Support - The links below are regular haunts for sharing learning, actions and support.  Weaving Lab Wellbeing Economy Alliance New Economic Organisers Network  Losing Control network Build back better campaign  Schumacher Institute School...

The Art of Leading Together: How to develop your Collaborative Advantage

Here's an open lecture I gave at the Institute For Leadership And Sustainability (IFLAS) in Cumbria on 11th June 2019. Based on workshops I've been running since 2016, this talk squishes a full day's content into 57 mins. I suggest you start at 3m 32s to save yourself the intro whiffle.    If you decide to watch, please give me feedback - I always love to hear what people find most interesting or useful so I can learn from that.

Books to help you work well with people

People are tricky.  We’ve got a lot of moving emotional parts, so we do well when we handle each other with care. Innocent mistakes are easily made and work can really suffer if things go wrong when we’re trying hard to get it right. The trouble is, the saying ‘you can’t please all of the people all of the time’ is true.  So how best to deal with that? I’ve spent 26 years studying people skills closely as I’ve helped people collaborate and build partnerships. This article is a quick share of some of the ‘go to’ books I recommend when coaching people in the art of leading together.  Hope you find them as useful as me. Humankind, a hopeful history by Rutger Bregman is a valuable read because it gives clear evidence in favour of having faith in others. Bregman puts the stories of mistrust and conflict that surround us...

Leaders in Coworking Flock to put people and planet first

I've just published a piece on my Medium page about how I'm helping to bring coworking leaders across the UK together for the benefit of people and the planet.   The impact of coworking on UK society is hugely underestimated.  It's a hotbed of innovation and change, and rich in people whose work reflects concerns about the 'big' social and environmental issues of today.  This is partly because the sector is full of very driven independent entrepreneurs - so it's self-organising by nature. Just like nature, it's power to make vast changes comes through the magnifying effect of many small actions.  The magic of self-organising comes from the freedom to act swiftly, experiment and learn.  But! There are flip sides to everything, and duplication occurs if lots of independent people act fast, responding to similar conditions. That's not a bad thing - often it's part of the way the problem gets solved, but...

Nature’s mindset can save us: Have you tuned in to her wisdom?

The problem with being rational, is that what you think is reasonable depends on what you believe. You know science is reasonable and you think you’ve got it licked — but then you bump into quantum physics and find out there’s a liquid that can run uphill, or some other crazy thing like the faster you travel, the slimmer you get. Totally nuts, but true*. These discoveries were not made by those who ignored or rejected the evidence because they couldn’t explain it. They were made by people who suspended their disbelief and opened their minds enough to see the possibility of something new. I think the chaotic times we’re living in aren’t here by chance — they’re here because so many of our most popular and firmly held beliefs aren’t as reasonable as they seem. One of the main culprits is the big disconnect from nature. There’s a gulf between the views...

15 years ago I made nature my boss: Here’s what she taught me about running companies

The way a company is run depends mainly on the goal. There’s lots of guidance like ‘9 types of organisational structure every company should consider’, but most company designs start out ad hoc. It’s not until something significant changes that people start to focus on what they’ve created, as this excellent article from MindTools explains. Since people tend to feel safer with the clarity of command and control, it’s by far the most common strategy, but it has its pitfalls. Elevating responsibility concentrates risk, and those who shoulder that burden are likely to demand more, and to spend more as they seek to justify, protect or force their positions. The irony is that the feeling of control is often far greater than the reality. Nature does things differently. In 2005, I played a key role in creating The Association of Sustainability Practitioners. Since the goal was to promote sustainable behaviour, I had a hunch the organisation...

More Energy, Less Stress — An Easy Guide to Better Quality Time

Don’t watch the clock, watch whatever you’re doing(First published in The Innovation on Medium here)Last time I baked, I burned the bread. Such a stupid mistake to make, and yet it’s so common. Watch the clock instead of the thing you’re doing, and things will often go wrong. I was paying attention to the wrong kind of time… If only I’d stuck to the principles of Open Space, it would all have worked out fine. Open Space started out as a “simple way to run productive meetings, for five to 2000+ people” which we quickly learned also turns out to be a “powerful approach to leadership”. I fell in love with the method 15 years ago, finding it so useful that besides using it to facilitate work, I regularly call on it’s wisdom in everyday life. There are just 4 principles and one ‘law’ in Open Space, and you don’t need to learn anything new or have...