Menu +

Value of Troublemakers

April 2019

What if troublemakers are hidden resources! While it may seem counterintuitive to talk about the value of troublemakers, in fact they often have profoundly significant value. Too often troublemakers are seen as mischief makers, causing disruption and difficulties for their own reasons. However systemically, if we look at troublemakers, they're often doing something in service of the system. In this case we would be wise to listen to what the system is trying to communicate.

Understanding Recurring Patterns

March 2019

Recurring patterns occur across organisations of all shapes and sizes every day. When the pattern is not healthy, and the outcomes are negatively impacting people and the business, they can be halted by understanding the systemic principles that are at play.

Understanding Complex Issues with a Systemic Lens

March 2019

Complex issues are characterised by non-linear dynamic relationships. It’s typically not possible to predict cause and effect, because the movement of one aspect influences multiple other aspects simultaneously and has an organic effect, like a living system. On the other hand, a complicated issue is typically characterised by several possibilities in terms of cause and effect. It requires someone with specialised expertise to be able to understand and diagnose the cause and effect relationships and advise about how to influence the issue. It is somewhat predictable with specialised knowledge. Working with complex issues requires a more experimental adaptive approach; being able to observe the system, the dynamics effects and learn and adapt as it evolves.

Systemic Levels of Conscience 

February 2019

What are the systemic levels of conscience, and how to do they play out in an organisational setting? Their impact can be profound. Levels of conscience can be in harmony or dissonance. When we experience significant events, it can throw us into turbulence, which arises with clashing levels of conscience. When we understand how to work with these different levels, we can create flow and vitality instead.

Unlocking Systemic Intelligence

February 2019

If you think about the world in which we live today, which is full of pace, complexity and ambiguity, there are many unknowns. How do we move forward when there are so many unknowns? How can we start to map and model possibilities? The power of systemic intelligence is that it reveals things that we can't see. It also allows us to test ideas to see how they would impact the system that we're operating in, or that we're wanting to influence.

The accepted wisdom says that those ultimately accountable for major failures in their organisations should resign. While it makes sense at one level, is it wise? By exiting executives - instead of having them clean up their mess - are we missing the opportunity to learn, and change the behaviour of corporate Australia? We need a different approach to leadership and accountability.

How the dynamics between individuals can get in the way of a transformation effort

June 2017

It all came down to one individual. One person obstructing the change. One person undermining the business restructure. One person responsible for wasting a year’s effort and expense to turn the business around.

Or did it? Could it really be that one executive – tried and tested over a decade in senior leadership – was the reason why the business transformation wasn’t succeeding?

On the surface, that’s exactly how it appeared. I had been asked to review the situation where a culture transformation had stalled due to a challenging dynamic between two senior executives.

September 2016

Inappropriate remarks happen often in the workplace. Politically incorrect comments can be especially volatile – there is often an instant social backlash if inappropriate remarks are made about race, gender, homophobia, or other crucial topics. In this article, Sarah Cornally shows how to address the unconscious bias that often lies behind such unwanted remarks. She shares how she has assisted organisations to respond effectively to these challenges, working carefully with all people involved to create deeper understanding and respect.

March 2016

Effective leadership requires the skills for having courageous conversations. Being able to speak courageously develops trust and fairness, two critical ingredients for engagement. Leaders who commit to this in themselves and their teams have a clear advantage.

A courageous conversation is a conversation where you take the risk of being completely open and honest, with the intention of creating a better outcome for everyone involved.

August 2015

Sometimes people who behave in a task focused, goal oriented way can find themselves accused of being a bully. This might happen if they are unaware of the effects of their behaviour on others. Equally, sometimes people perceive that they are being bullied when the so-called bully is simply holding them accountable for expected results. Managing this tension requires elegant skill. 

February 2015

A bully has a hold when you believe you can only comply with the bully’s wishes, whether it is verbal taunting, intimidation or physical threats. Your challenge is to expand your range of choices.


December 2014

You have been grappling with a challenging business issue. You feel the weight of responsibility for finding the solution. So many people depend upon you. You have put a lot of time and energy into working out what needs to bedone. You have talked to people to make sure you have considered everyone's view. It is now clear in your mind, so you begin implementing the solution. Surely everyone will get on board and things will start to improve as the solution unfolds and everyone benefits.

October 2014

Have you ever observed someone’s actions as they are trying hard to achieve a result? It is clear to you what they need to be successful, but they can’t see it. Try as you might to enlighten them, they just don’t get it. It is as if they can’t admit something to themselves and the struggle continues.

On the other hand, there are situations where suddenly the penny drops as they open up and understand something anew. They recognise a distinction in the situation that they had missed which enables them to take effective action and realise the results they are seeking.

August 2014

Arguably the most important job for any board is selecting the CEO.  The CEO is the visible leader of the organisation. The board entrusts the care of the enterprise to the CEO and everything the CEO does has a major impact on the board, the marketplace and the people employed. The board’s ability to make the tough decisions when necessary, and then select well, will ultimately determine the image, performance and health of the organisation. 

1. Know yourself

Consider every experience an opportunity to gain insights about yourself and your leadership.

2. Know the purpose of your leadership

Are you pursuing a passion to achieve something that meets a need, something that matters deeply to you and the others on your team?

Our lives are full of beginnings and endings. Appreciating this, many cultures pay very close attention to beginnings and endings in the form of rituals. If we look into these rituals we find the essence of them is to start and finish well. In business we can experience the effects of poor beginnings and poor endings without realising what has contributed to the difficulties we encounter. When we get it right it provides benefits that can go unnoticed so it is understandable that we might not realise how important good beginnings and endings are.

You are here: Home Thoughts Blog

Would you like to receive systemic intelligence insights and information on my events?