Transformation in the Time of Pandemic
March 27, 2020
One of the critical ideas to grasp when seeking to change systems is the need to be able to work within and across multiples of different contexts at the same time. This is quite challenging for most of us who have lived in a world where Read More
What the heck is going on?
March 27, 2020
So we need to work together. We will recover from this, but we will immediately face new uncertainties: decarbonising our economies over the next decade is a herculean task compared to this current crisis. Read More
Networks: A Continued Exploration of the Paretian World
November 21, 2019
Just because we’ve only broadly started gaining an understanding of networks, their structures and their dynamics, it doesn’t mean they have not been at play for a very long time (at least 3.8 billion years, to be specific).Read More
Distributions: Understanding the Gaussian and Paretian Worlds
November 21, 2019
So what are the different types of distributions that exist? As it turns out, there are lots—but to avoid making your head explode from cognitive overload*—let us break it down into two key types: Gaussian and Paretian distributions.Read More
12 Themes for 2019
February 12, 2019
And so if “architecture is essentially the designing of the spaces we live and breathe in”, what organisational transformation for an increasingly uncertain and complex world needs to be doing right now is designing the spaces in Read More
Understanding Organisational Landscapes
November 23, 2018
And so it goes if you are working on organisational transformation. You must get off the tour-bus and be prepared to explore and deeply understand your landscape, and most importantly, give yourself the time that is needed.Read More
Eastern and Western Philosophies: It’s Different Strokes for Different Folks
November 10, 2018
Some time ago, this looking at organisational transformation from different perspectives led me to draw this conclusion about the typical western approach to change: transformationRead More
Mistaking names for knowledge
April 10, 2018
If our collective desire is to avoid unwarranted confidence and bravado, reckless action and unintended negative consequences, and instead influence the evolution of organisations—remembering that they are human complex Read More
Pay attention. It’s OK to be outraged!
December 1, 2017
Unfortunately, because the complicated approach has been the dominant influence in the building of organisations, the management industry has been able to reinforce and propagate itselfRead More
History Inevitably Runs Deep
August 17, 2017
Most organisational transformation efforts that I see today tend to be based on a similarly-flawed logic. The organisation wants to instantaneously look likeRead More
The way things were, the way things are, and the way things… will be?
May 24, 2017
We have seen that over the past two centuries, the forces controlling enterprise and the world of work have changed from market to managerial and the domain type from complex to complicated. But what I think we are now only beginning to see are the limitations Read More
On the Death of an Alpinist
May 3, 2017
Over the past decade or so it seems to have become an all-too-familiar occurrence: to awake to an April or May morning to the news overnight of death in the Himalayas, and more often than not, on Everest. Read More
A Contrarian’s Guide to Organisational Transformation
April 10, 2017
Innovation and agility has became the must-do mantra of nearly every organisation today. And yet, despite the mantra’s popularity, it seems that very few folk talking about innovation and agility actually understand what they are sayingRead More
My Summer of Dis/Content
March 21, 2017
In my mind it kinda feels like it’s the first day back at school after the holidays and everyone’s catching up on what everyone else did over the break… but of course that’s just me—given it’s now mid-MarchRead More
It’s Time to Give 2016 The Finger…
December 22, 2016
It’s been full of tumult and unexpected events on a global scale. A whole heap of stuff has gone down that very few folk saw coming.When an onslaught of unexpectedness happens we experience what is known as cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance occurs when our brains struggle to interpret new information that does not correlate with or confirm our existing knowledge or beliefs.Read More
This Is The Most Important Thing I’ve Ever Written
September 30, 2016
So… here’s the truth. Things have been keeping me awake at night of late. Things that, no matter how hard I try, as I lay in my bed, twisting and turning under the sheets, I cannot reconcile in mind. Things that have me really, really, worried.Read More
On why you might consider employing a Chief Context Officer
September 12, 2016
Most of the time, when businesses fail to understand the changing nature of the world, the juicy stuff happens behind close doors*, and you rarely actually get to see the proponents actually play out the drama on the big screen, captured in beautiful yet tragic and haunting vision, as happens in this documentary.Read More
Why our fear of death is (metaphorically speaking) killing us!
August 1, 2016
So it’s not really that surprising that we’re just a little bit consumed by fear at the moment.During times of massive uncertainty, when we don’t know what’s gonna happen next, our initial response is to become fearful. Humans, after all, don’t trust what they don’t know.Read More
What the f@ck is going on?!?
July 12, 2016
Have you found yourself of late asking this question?To yourself, your friends, or perhaps anyone who just happens to be in your remote vicinity?I know I have.Because seriously, it seems that things are getting just a little bit out of whack. Or at least more out of whack than normal.Read More
Technology Alone is Not the Solution
June 20, 2016
We understand that things need to change, and we understand that we need to become more responsive to the rapidly-changing landscape, but we’re not so sure where to start. It often leads to grand statements about dramatic transformation initiatives and new company visions to become more agile and innovative.Read More
Three books that I really think you should read.
June 6, 2016
I love reading and my appetite for books which both challenge and compliment my thinking could perhaps be described at times as voracious.Read More
Beware the insidious and invisible threat of… Goalodicy!!!
May 23, 2016
It’s that time of year again where for a brief period of time (in between the end of the northern hemisphere winter in April and the start of the Asian monsoon in late May) short windows of stable weather occur at extreme altitude, enabling mountaineers to climb to the summits of the Himalaya’s highest mountains, including, of course, Mount Everest.Read More
The interesting parallel between organisations and… sugar?!?
April 27, 2016
We take our businesses and organisations and their linear, hierarchical structures and goal and outcome-orientated approach to the world of work as a given, because just like the dietary guidelines, it’s all we’ve ever known.Read More
An increasingly uncertain and complex world: The parallels between business and mountaineering?
March 29, 2016
You’ve no doubt seen it before, at a business conference or perhaps a leadership offsite. The ‘motivational’ speaker who has climbed a mountain or two and thinks that their success is relevant to yours. In fact, that speaker might have even been me. Read More
The Year of the Alpinist*
February 3, 2016
It’s been an interesting start to the year, especially if you’re living down here in Australia. Record heat waves, lots of devastating bushfires, significant market volatility and considerable business uncertainty.Read More
2016: The Year of Agility and Innovation?
December 22, 2015
OK so the above title might sound a bit lame, but as the new year approaches, please prepare yourself for a massive verbal onslaught* of all things agile and innovative. I reckon these two words (and their derivations agility and innovation) will be the corporate buzzwords of 2016.Read More
Our dialogue around Disruption, Innovation and Agility: what do we actually mean?
December 9, 2015
So, one of the main problems with writing a book about the rapid pace of change and the inherent problems that this velocity creates for people and organisations is that, well, things change!Read More
November 3, 2015
Our organisations have a strong history of being led by Alphas. The main reason for this? It’s because traditional, hierarchical organisations have always relied on a dominant figure at the top. The linear and hierarchical nature of the structure requires this. And so the Alpha is somewhat ubiquitous. According to a Harvard Business Review article entitled ‘Coaching the Alpha’, about 70 per cent of all senior executives are Alphas!Read More
A Movie About Heavy and Slow
October 12, 2015
Some of you may have had the chance to check out the Everest movie playing in cinemas at the moment.For the most part, it’s a pretty realistic rendering of what it’s like up there. Sure, there were a few scenes which were a bit overly-dramatised and unrealistic but otherwise they pretty much nailed it, from both the “is it really that full-on?” and the “does it really look like that?” perspectives.Read More
Are you playing a finite game, or an infinite one?
September 25, 2015
The rules of a finite game cannot change, whereas the rules of an infinite game must change. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, whereas the infinite game is played for the purpose of continuing the play.Read More
Playing with Alpine Style
September 11, 2015
The changing landscape and our changing responses to it are becoming more and more evident. Everywhere you look you can see it. It’s kind of exciting and kind of scary in equal measure.Read More
We’re in a Transition Phase
August 17, 2015
Know that the transition will not be finite. It’s going to be ongoing. It’s not going to be a process with a definitive end date. Just like when you decide to start an exercise program to get fit, if you’re actually serious about it you know that in theory it is a commitment for life, not just the next few months. What’s the point in going through all that pain and getting fit only to lose it a few months later?Read More
Are you “so over change right now”?
August 4, 2015
I’ve presented two concepts which I think might be of benefit in this VUCA world. Firstly, the Explorer’s Mindset here, and secondly the Alpine Style Approach here and here. There’s a whole bunch of tools in addition to these that can be used to contend with VUCA, and I’ll unpack these in the future, but right now I want to take a step back for a moment, and address what I think are important contextual and associated problems which I may have failed to previously adequately address. Ooops!Read More
Expedition | Alpine Spectrum
July 28, 2015
There’s lots of talk at the moment identifying agility as the remedy to disruption and disintermediation in this VUCA Century, but you’d be excused if you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what agility looks or feels like in a personal, business or organisational sense. That’s ok, not many can.Read More
The Difference Between Expedition Style and Alpine Style for the VUCA Century
July 8, 2015
Whilst the last thing you would do when going Expedition Style is to give in to the elements, it’s actually the first thing you do when going Alpine Style.Read More
What will your approach in VUCA be?
June 26, 2015
Accepting that there is no alternative means preparing yourself for a bit of discomfort: we need to get comfortable getting uncomfortable.Read More
June 19, 2015
If you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, if you’re curious about your surrounding environment and how it is evolving, and if you’re open to changing the way you’re doing what you’re doing if the conditions necessitate, you’ve got the right mindset in place.Read More
Storm Clouds on the Horizon
June 5, 2015
Over the past five years or so I’ve been working with a bunch of different organisations, helping them develop and skill-up their leaders and teams to do their work better and safer in challenging and evolving workplace landscapes.Read More
How do you measure the impact of a man?
January 14, 2015
One of the great things about having some time away from work over the Christmas break is of course the opportunity to catch up on a year’s worth of reading! And so it was with some surprise that I discovered in the October 2014 edition of the Harvard Business Review that the contemporary leadership thinker Warren Bennis had passed away earlier in the year. Much of Warren’s writing formed the basis of my initial interest in leaders and teams many years ago.Read More
Oh good lord, a newsletter about… team building.
November 25, 2014
Whilst at the individual level we can focus on personal skill development and self-awareness, and at the organisational level we can focus on identifying and achieving the organisation’s meta-level purpose and cultivating an appropriate culture, it is at the team level where the light and fast approach really comes into its own, at least in the sense of getting stuff done.Read More
A Few Words on Ama Dablam
November 5, 2014
If you’ve ever walked in to Everest Base Camp, you can’t miss her. Standing like a sentinel above the Sherpa village of Pangboche, Ama Dablam is one of the most recognisable mountains on Earth. With fluted, soaring ridges and near-vertical and seemingly impossibly snow-clad faces, she offers no easy way to the top. Every cliché and superlative has already been used to describe her, and so I shall say no more other than to describe her as a truly beautiful mountain.Read More
In loving memory of a dear friend Ankaji Sherpa 1978-2014
September 16, 2014
Ankaji Sherpa was a colleague beyond compare, a much-loved father of six, and to many people, a very dear friend. He lost his life on Everest on Friday alongside 15 other Sherpa friends in a serac collapse below Camp 1. Epitomising the renowned Sherpa character traits of tirelessness, humility, and tenderness, Ankaji was killed doing what he did best: being in the service of others.Read More
What is wrong with Everest?
September 11, 2014
A recent interview on ABC news, describing some of the problems with the commercialisation of Mount Everest today.Read More
How do you want to be remembered?
March 26, 2014Read More
November 8, 2013
Two weeks ago I got a very last minute call up to speak at the TEDx Perth event. Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading”, TEDx events are designed to give communities, organisations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through a TED-like experience at the local level.Read More
Makalu Base Camp Trek Nepal, Himalayas
November 5, 2013
Are you looking for a challenging adventure for 2014? In April 2014 I’ll be leading a trek in to Makalu Base Camp. Makalu is the 5th highest mountain in the world, and despite being only 20km to the east of Everest, is completely off the beaten track.Read More
Vale Namygal Sherpa
October 31, 2013
It is with great sadness that I write of the passing of my friend Namygal Sherpa. Although Namygal’s passing occurred in May of 2013 I only learned of it recently. Namygal was guiding a client down from the summit of Mount Everest, when at 8,300m he suffered a heart failure and died. It was Namygal’s 10th time on the summit of Everest.Read More