Culture change

Cutting the Gordian Knot: Organisational Psychotherapy and Conflict Resolution


💡 Imagine solving the enigmatic Gordian Knot of your company’s culture and conflicts, with the genius of Alexander the Great – that’s the power of combining organisational psychotherapy with conflict resolution techniques, and the results can be nothing short of incredible.

➡ Organisational psychotherapy, at its core, is like tackling the Gordian Knot for a company. It’s a path to delve deep into the collective minds of the organisation, bringing to light the underlying assumptions and beliefs that shape its culture. In this process, it’s inevitable that conflicts will emerge, as people disagree over definitions, assumptions and their impacts on the organisation. However, it’s precisely at this intersection that conflict resolution techniques can work their magic, cutting through these knotty conflicts and allowing for smoother communication and collaboration.

When you’re up to your ears in organisational psychotherapy, you’re bound to step on a few toes. After all, you’re peeling back layers of the proverbial onion, exposing sensitive issues and emotions. This is where conflict resolution comes in handy, helping to nip problems in the bud before they spiral out of control.

A key aspect of conflict resolution is keeping one’s ear to the ground, actively listening to different perspectives, and seeking common ground. This approach allows conflicting parties to air their grievances, fostering an environment where people feel heard and valued. It’s like killing two birds with one stone: folks get to voice their concerns while the company gains insights into areas of improvement.

Moreover, by employing a “give and take” mentality, organisations can establish a culture of compassion and collaboration. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are harmonious working relationships. By encouraging empathy and understanding, conflict resolution techniques contribute to a healthier, more productive workplace.

So, when organisational psychotherapy and conflict resolution techniques go hand in hand, they create a powerful synergy. Organisations benefit from the insights gained through organisational psychotherapy, while minimising the angst and stress that arise along the way. As the saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine,” and addressing conflicts early on can save companies from bigger issues down the line.

The next time you find yourself embroiled in the complexities of culture change, don’t forget to employ some tried and tested conflict resolution techniques – you’ll be glad you did!

And Now For Something Completely Different…

Have you thought about what lies beyond the Agile horizon? Well, it’s something completely different. Companies are now shifting focus towards systems thinking and addressing whole-organization issues. With the changing demographics of the workforce, it’s essential that companies adapt accordingly. It’s no longer about processes, but about embracing culture changes to truly thrive in this dynamic landscape. Companies need to foster a more joyful, inclusive, and collaborative environment that promotes engagement, innovation and adaptability. Exciting times ahead, right?


Software Development: It’s Not Even Slightly About Tech Skills and Coding Practices

💡 What’s the undervalued secret sauce of software success? You’re in for a wake-up call as we reveal the overlooked ingredients that make or break software success in the business world.

➡ Blimey, it’s no surprise that most execs – those few that are even slightly interested in software development – reckon it’s all about tech skills and coding practices. But I’ll tell you, there’s more to this picture than meets the eye. Sure, being a dab hand at coding is somewhat useful, but in the context of business operations, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

You see, the nitty-gritty of software development, especially in a business setting, also involves top-notch communication, teamwork, and adaptability.

And let’s not forget, building strong interpersonal relationships is a piece of cake for no one, but it’s a skill developers need to master to keep things from going pear-shaped.

A good understanding of the customer’s needs and the company’s goals is also crucial. After all, you can’t score a winner if you don’t know where the goalposts are. So, execs might choose to realise that there’s more to software development than just cranking code. And much more to hiring than the recruitment of code toads.

A successful software development team is the whole package. It’s not just about having a bunch of coding whizzes; it’s also about fostering a culture where everyone’s on the same page, working together as a community to bring work to fruition. Otherwise, businesses might find themselves up a creek without a paddle.

#NoSoftware: Prioritising Business Flow Over Premature Software Implementation

Also known as “Software Last Of All”.

Businesses are often tempted to jump into implementing software solutions to optimise their operations. However, the #NoSoftware movement advocates for deferring software implementation until the business flows have been settled. This approach emphasises the importance of understanding and streamlining business processes before introducing any software solutions.

The primary objective of the #NoSoftware movement is to ensure that businesses have clear and effective workflows in place before integrating software into their operations. By doing so, companies can avoid the common pitfalls of premature software adoption, such as wasted resources, misaligned priorities, overblown costs, delays, and the need for constant readjustments.

One of the core principles of #NoSoftware is to place human interaction and creativity at the center of business operations. This involves designing and implementing business processes that cater to the needs and strengths of the workforce and customers, fostering collaboration and innovation. Once a solid foundation has been laid, businesses can then consider (minimal) software solutions to enhance their operations.

By prioritising business flows over software, organisations are better equipped to identify and address inefficiencies and bottlenecks in their processes. This ultimately leads to more effective and resilient business operations.

Furthermore, the #NoSoftware movement encourages businesses to choose software solutions that complement and enhance their established workflows, rather than disrupting them. This not only helps companies avoid the risk of adopting software that fails to meet their needs but also ensures that technology serves as an enabler of growth, rather than an obstacle.

In summary, the #NoSoftware approach promotes the idea of refining business processes in vivo before incorporating software solutions. By prioritising business flows and human-centric approaches, organisations can create a robust foundation for growth and innovation, ultimately leading to more sustainable and successful outcomes.

The Divine Dance of Organisational Psychotherapy: A Secular Sacrament for the Modern World

💡 Immerse yourself in the world of organisational psychotherapy, a secular sacrament that transcends the mundane and delivers an enlightened approach to collective healing, transforming the very fabric of human potential within the workplace. Unveil the redemptive power that lies at the heart of this divine dance and witness the dawn of a new age of spiritual nourishment.

➡ In the great pantheon of human endeavors, one occasionally finds rare gems that manage to transmute the seemingly mundane into a transcendent experience. One such marvel, deserving of exaltation, is the field of organisational psychotherapy. Allow me to propose, dear reader, that it is not just a clinical intervention, but a veritable religious phenomenon in its own right.

The essence of organisational psychotherapy lies in its transformative power, akin to the most hallowed rituals of faith. It is the miracle of Lazarus, the parting of the Red Sea, the loaves and fishes all rolled into one secular sacrament. By delving into the deepest recesses of the collective psyche, it exorcises the demonic presence of dysfunction and brings forth the divine light of wisdom and compassion.

Much like the great theologians and mystics who sought communion with the divine, the practitioners of this holy craft embrace a certain asceticism. They are the humble vessels through which the ineffable spirit of enlightenment flows, casting out the specter of despair and bestowing the gift of renewed purpose. As they bear witness to the metamorphosis of dysfunctional corporations, they become true apostles of change.

In the hallowed halls of enterprise, the scriptures of organisational psychotherapy are as the Sermon on the Mount, the Bhagavad Gita, or the noble verses of the Quran. They provide a moral compass, a beacon of hope, and a map to the Promised Land. In a world plagued by sin and suffering, is it not miraculous that such salvation can be found within the very bastions of capitalism?

Let us then, raise our voices in jubilation and praise this divine intervention that lifts the veil of ignorance and liberates the spirit of collaboration. For organisational psychotherapy is not just a methodology, but a veritable gospel, bestowing upon the faithful the keys to the kingdom of prosperity and human flourishing.

Another Dark Aspect of Agile: The Erasure of Contributions

💡 The Agile community has some kudos for promoting collaboration and its revisionary approach to software development. But lurking beneath the surface lies a hidden crisis stalling progress: the deliberate dismissal of invaluable contributions from its very own members.

➡ While the Agile community has made some notable contributions to software development and project management, it’s important to acknowledge that it isn’t without its flaws. One issue that many people don’t discuss is the intentional act of hiding, erasing, and ignoring contributions made by current and former members. These issues contribute to the stultification of the whole field of software development, hindering its growth and improvement.

Addressing this issue requires understanding the community’s strong focus on collaboration and teamwork. The Agile Manifesto itself emphasises “individuals and interactions over processes and tools,” which, at its core, promotes the importance of people and their relationships. However, in practice, this mindset sometimes leads to an environment where individual contributions are overshadowed by the status quo. This can stifle the innovation and creativity needed for software development to evolve beyond the narrow confines of the Agile approach.

Moreover, a more sinister aspect of this erasure exists. Some prominent figures within the Agile community focus more on maintaining their status and reputation, rather than nurturing a healthy, progressive environment. This behavior leads to the intentional sidelining of members who have made significant contributions, especially if they challenge the status quo or introduce innovative ideas that could potentially outshine the work of established figures. This self-serving attitude has stagnated the Agile approach by suppressing diverse perspectives and fresh ideas.

The Agile community might choose to confront this issue, as it contradicts the very principles it represents. The community might choose to cultivate a more inclusive and transparent environment that recognises and uplifts the contributions of all its members, regardless of their background or standing.

As members of the software development community, we might choose to actively advocate for those whose contributions have been ignored, and support a culture of openness and genuine collaboration. By doing so, we can ensure that the software development community continues to evolve beyond the Agile approach, embraces diverse ideas, and continues to progress in a healthy, positive direction.

When Two Worlds Collide: Developers’ Hidden Fear of Psychology

💡Discover the unexpected reasons why software developers run a mile from embracing psychology and behavioural science, and how interdisciplinary collaboration could unlock the true potential of human-centered technology…

Developers and software people may be apprehensive towards psychology and behavioural science for several reasons. The two fields differ significantly, with software development and tech focusing on logic, structure, and deterministic outcomes, while psychology deals with complex, unpredictable human behaviour, which can be complex, unpredictable, and often emotionally driven.

Ethical concerns, such as manipulation and privacy, also contribute to this apprehension. Furthermore, software people generally lack the necessary interdisciplinary training to effectively apply psychological principles in their work.

Also, few are the organisations that have the application of psychology baked in to their culture.

Lastly, some software folks fear that the integration of psychology could lead to biased algorithms, which may perpetuate or exacerbate societal biases.

In total, these factors contribute to the reluctance of software people to embrace psychology and behavioral science in their field.


The Talent Mirage: How Systems Shape Our Success

Learn to see the world where our success isn’t dictated by innate talent, but by the powerful, often invisible forces around us. Discover how systems and culture play a crucial role in shaping our abilities and why the whole idea of talent is but a captivating illusion.

Let’s talk about the idea of talent and how it’s actually a total illusion. We often attribute a person’s ability, productivity, and success to their innate talent. But, in reality, around 95% of an individual’s accomplishments can be linked to the system in which they operate. Crazy, right?

Think about it this way: the way work works, the environment we’re in, and the support we receive all have a significant impact on an individual’s performance. The right context, resources, and opportunities can make all the difference in unlocking someone’s potential. So, when we see someone excelling, it’s not their raw talent at play, but the entire ecosystem around them. and especially the culture, that’s driving their contribution.

We may choose to recognise that the system plays a massive role in shaping folks’ abilities and contributions. When we do that, we can focus on creating more equitable systems that enable everyone, not just the “talented” few. After all, we’re all missing out on some incredible potential simply because we’re not nurturing it properly!


Transitioning Mindsets

Unlocking the true potential of organisations requires more than just developing individual leaders. It takes a deeper level of engagement and a transformative approach to shifting collective assumptions and beliefs. Discover the key differences between leadership development programs and organisational psychotherapy interventions, and which one is right for your organisation.

Leadership development programs and organisational psychotherapy interventions are two distinct approaches to improving the functioning and performance of organisations. While both aim to enhance organisational effectiveness, they differ in their focus and methods.

Leadership development programs are typically focused on developing the skills and capabilities of individuals within an organisation who are in leadership roles. The goal is to improve their ability to lead and manage teams, communicate effectively, make decisions, and navigate complex organisational dynamics. Leadership development programs can include training, coaching, mentoring, and other forms of development activities. These programs often emphasize the importance of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills.

Organisational psychotherapy, on the other hand, focuses on shifting the collective assumptions and beliefs that underlie an organisation’s culture and behaviours. These interventions typically involve a deeper level of engagement with the organisation, including the identification of underlying assumptions and beliefs, the exploration of underlying dynamics, and the creation of a shared sense of purpose. Organisational psychotherapy interventions can include a range of methods, such as group facilitation, dialogue, reflection, and other forms of participatory engagement.

While leadership development programs focus on developing the skills of individual leaders, organisational psychotherapy interventions aim to transform the organisation as a whole. Both approaches can be effective in improving organisational effectiveness, but they require different levels of engagement and investment.

Leadership development programs may be more suitable for organisations that have a well-defined leadership structure and a relatively stable culture, while organisational psychotherapy interventions may be more appropriate for organisations that are undergoing significant change or facing systemic issues.

In summary, while both leadership development programs and organisational psychotherapy aim to improve organisational effectiveness, they differ in their focus and methods. Leadership development programs are focused on developing the skills and capabilities of individual leaders (who may move on), while organisational psychotherapy is focused on shifting the collective assumptions and beliefs that underlie an organisation’s culture and behaviors. Both approaches can be effective, but require different levels of engagement.

Collaborative Knowledge Work and Management: A Mismatch Made In Hell

Hey there, have you ever heard of the phrase, “the best kept dark secret in the tech business”? It’s a term that’s been circulating around the industry for a while now and it’s all about how management is totally incompatible with collaborative knowledge work.

It may seem like a shocking statement, but when you really think about it, it makes sense. Traditional management styles are all about hierarchy, control, and rigid processes, while collaborative knowledge work thrives on autonomy, creativity, and flexibility. When you try to force these two worlds together, it inevitably leads to frustration, burnout, and failure.

The reality is that most managers in the tech industry are steeped in old-school management techniques that were developed for manufacturing and other industries with repetitive processes. These techniques simply don’t work in a knowledge-based environment where the work is complex, dynamic, and constantly evolving.

Traditional management needs rethinking and sidelined to suit the context of collaborative knowledge work. This means empowering employees, encouraging experimentation, and creating a culture of trust and transparency.

So, what do you think? Have you noticed any clashes between management and collaborative knowledge work in your own experiences?

Unleash Your Inner Maverick: Find the Courage to Think Different

Dare to think different,
Brave the road less traveled by,
Find success ahead.

n business, as in life, it takes a lot of courage to think different. It’s easy to fall into the trap of following the status quo, copying what others have done, and playing it safe. But true innovation and success come from challenging norms and defaults, and taking calculated risks.

Thinking different in business requires the courage to break free from conventional wisdom, challenge assumptions and beliefs, and push boundaries. It means being willing to try new things, even if they haven’t been done before, and being okay with risking the possibility of failure.

And with great risk comes great reward. Businesses that embrace innovative thinking are the ones that stand out from the crowd, attract loyal customers and employees, and ultimately succeed.

So if you want to make a name for yourself in the world of business, don’t be afraid to think different and take bold steps towards the future.

Lazy Thoughts Lead To Lazy Organisations

Let me be blunt here: jumping straight to the default organisational structure of managers, functions, and departments, along with a default Theory-X style culture, is a lazy and ineffective approach to organising your business. Sure, it’s the easy way out, and it’s what most businesses do, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way. In fact, this approach leads to inefficiencies, silos, disengagement and a lack of agility.

To build a truly effective and successful business, you might choose to take the time to consider all of your options and think different. Challenge the status quo and try new things.

The point is, don’t settle for the default just because it’s easy. Take the time to explore other options and find a structure and culture that will best support your business goals and objectives. It may require more effort upfront, but the long-term benefits will be worth it.

Culture Shock: The Surprising Key to Reinventing Your Business

Is your business facing disruption or challenges? Before you pivot your strategies, products, or services, consider this: the success of your reinvention efforts depend on your organisation’s culture. Culture is the collection of shared assumptions and beliefs that define an organisation, and it can make or break your ability to adapt and thrive in times of change. If you want to reinvent your business, start by examining your culture. Transforming your culture can enable your organisation to be more adaptable, creative, and resilient. So, are you ready to start your cultural transformation?

When businesses face challenges or disruptions, they often look to pivot their strategies, products, or services. However, a crucial factor is the organisation’s culture. The culture of a business can make or break the success of any reinvention effort.

Culture can affect everything from how employees interact with one another to how they approach problem-solving. In times of change, a healthy culture can enable an organisation to be more adaptable, creative, and resilient.

If a business needs to reinvent itself, it might choose to start by examining its culture. Leaders must assess whether the current culture is hindering or enabling the necessary changes. They may choose to identify areas that need improvement, such as communication, collaboration, or innovation.

To create a culture that supports reinvention, leaders must also be intentional about communicating the vision and values of the organisation. They may choose to lead by example, modeling desired behaviors, and recognising those who embrace the new culture.

In short, reinventing a business requires more than just a change in strategy. It requires a cultural transformation that empowers employees to adapt and thrive in the face of change.



The fear of employees ganging up on bosses is a common dread among business owners and leaders. According to a study conducted by the American Management Association, 53% of managers surveyed reported that they were afraid of their employees ganging up on them. The fear of insubordination, disloyalty, and rebellion can lead to a sense of paranoia among bosses, making them feel that they are under constant threat.

The terms “insubordination” and “superiors” suggest a hierarchical power dynamic in which employees are seen as subordinate (and inferior) to their bosses. The use of these terms can create a perception that employees are expected to blindly follow orders and never challenge the boss. However, in modern workplace culture, the relationship between bosses and employees is evolving. Employers are now expected to listen to their employees, value their opinions, and create an inclusive workplace culture where everyone’s voice is heard.

Business owners and leaders should be aware that the fear of employees ganging up on them can negatively impact workplace dynamics, create a toxic work environment, and stifle innovation. These folks may choose to create an open and transparent workplace culture where employees feel comfortable expressing their concerns without fear of retribution.

Communication and collaboration are key to fostering positive relationships between bosses and employees, building trust and creating a productive and successful work environment.

Bottom line: A positive culture is one where everyone’s needs are considered and actively attended to.


Fellowship As Protest

Relationship-building is an undervalued but vital tool in the arsenal of the modern-day employee. It is not enough to simply march in the streets or hold a sign aloft; building connections with like-minded individuals and fostering a sense of community is essential to creating lasting change. However, many businesses today actively work to undermine relationship-building in the workplace, promoting division and competition among employees at the expense of cooperation and collaboration.

This insidiousness can take many forms, from pitting employees against each other for promotions to encouraging a toxic work culture that values individual achievement over teamwork. But through active relationship-building, we protest against these destructive practices and create a workplace that values fellowship, cooperation and solidarity.

By forging connections with our fellow employees and working to create a sense of community, we challenge the dominant narrative of competition and individualism. This is not just a matter of improving our own working conditions; it is a powerful form of protest that strikes at the very heart of the capitalist system that pits workers against each other for the benefit of the few.

So let us not underestimate the power of fellowship as a form of protest. By standing together and fostering a sense of community in the workplace, we can create a better world for ourselves and for future generations.

“Have you heard of Bill Deming?”

At every opportunity I ask this question, and the answer is always overwhelmingly “No”.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming is a highly influential figure in the world of business, management and quality control, yet many people have never even heard of him.

This is a surprising fact given that his ideas and principles have helped to transform countless organisations around the globe.

Deming’s philosophy is centered on the idea of continuous improvement, where businesses are encouraged to constantly improve their products, services, and processes. His 14 points and System of Profound Knowledge have become a blueprint for achieving this goal, emphasising the importance of appreciation for a system, quality, and employee engagement.

Despite his impact, many people remain unaware of Deming and his contributions to modern business practices. This makes me sad, as his ideas provide a roadmap for businesses struggling to remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing world. By learning more about Deming and his principles, organisations gain valuable insights and strategies for success.


Deming’s 14 Points – The Proven Path to Excellence in Business

Deming’s 14 points is a management philosophy developed by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, which emphasises the importance of continuous improvement in the workplace. The 14 points provide a framework for improving the quality of products and services, reducing costs, and increasing productivity.

The 14 points include concepts such as creating constancy of purpose, adopting a new philosophy, breaking down barriers between departments, improving communication, eliminating numerical quotas, and promoting education and self-improvement among employees.

Deming demonstrated time and again that by implementing these points, organisations could not only improve their bottom line but also create a culture of excellence that would benefit both employees and customers.

Deming’s 14 points have been widely adopted by organisations around the world and have had a significant impact on modern management practices. They continue to be relevant today as businesses strive to remain competitive in an ever-changing global marketplace.


The Road Not Taken

Two paths diverged in the business wood,
And I, I took the one less understood,
For I chose Organisational Psychotherapy,
And that has made all the difference to me.

The path of spreadsheets and profit charts,
A well-trodden trail that broke our hearts,
But the path of therapy, less travelled by,
Has helped us find our why.

Through the power of dialogue and reflection,
We’ve transformed our work and our connection,
With our people and our teams,
We’ve brought about some wondrous dreams.

We’ve faced our fears and dared to change,
And through the discomfort, we’ve grown in range,
We’ve learnt to listen, and to truly see,
And that’s made us more agile, and more free.

So, here’s to Organisational Psychotherapy,
To the road less travelled, and the mystery,
For it has brought us to a better place,
And we’re grateful for the journey, and the grace.

Scrum Masters Are a Waste of Time and Money

I completely agree with the statement that Scrum Masters are a waste of time and money, and I don’t hesitate to say that we should get rid of them. While the Scrum approach can be somewhat effective when implemented correctly, the role of Scrum Masters often becomes redundant and futile when the culture of the organisation in which they operate is a blocker to progress.

Scrum Masters are supposed to facilitate the adoption of Scrum, invite the removal of impediments, and improve the overall effectiveness of the team. However, in most cases, the company culture and policies are too rigid to allow the Scrum Master to operate effectively. This results in the Scrum Master being unable to drive change, improve the team’s performance, or add any significant value.

Furthermore, the cost of hiring a Scrum Master can be exorbitant, and it is an unnecessary expense when a team can adopt the Scrum methodology on their own. Smart team members can learn the Scrum framework and apply it to their projects, without the need for a dedicated Scrum Master.

In conclusion, Scrum Masters are a waste of time and money if the culture or organisation in which they operate is not receptive to change (which is most organisations). Therefore, I strongly advocate for companies to evaluate their need for a Scrum Master based on their willingness to change their culture, and thus their ability to adopt and implement Scrum effectively, rather than blindly hiring one because it is the norm.

A Generic Conference Submission On Quintessence


Quintessence: A Radical Approach to Effective Software Development


In this session, we will explore Quintessence, an entirely new and radical approach to effective software development that eschews the whole idea of methodologies. We will discuss the challenges faced by organisations in improving their software development efforts, specifically the collective assumptions and beliefs that hinder progress. Through practical examples, we will demonstrate how Quintessence can help organisations address these challenges and achieve better outcomes, such as increased engagement, accelerated uptake of new ideas, methods and practices, increased productivity, reduced stress, etc.

Session Description In Full

Software development has been described as “the most complex endeavour known to Man”. Despite the prevalence of popular methodologies such as Agile and Lean, many organisations still struggle to improve their software development processes and achieve better outcomes. One of the main reasons for this is the collective assumptions and beliefs held by these organisations, which hinder progress and frustrate the effectiveness of traditional methodologies.

Quintessence offers a new approach to effective software development that goes beyond traditional methodologies. It emphasises a paradigm shift in the way we think about software development. Instead of focusing on processes and methodologies, Quintessence places emphasis on the social and cultural context of software development.

In this session, we will explore the challenges faced by organisations in improving their approach to software development and how Quintessence can help address these challenges. We will discuss how collective assumptions and beliefs impact software development, and how Quintessence offers a road map or guide book for overcoming these challenges. Through practical examples, we will demonstrate how Quintessence can help organisations achieve better outcomes and improve their organisational culture.

Join us for an insightful discussion on this paradigm shift in software development and the practical applications of Quintessence. Whether you are a software developer, manager, or executive, this session will provide valuable insights into improving software development in your organisation.

Session type

  • Talk


  • Paradigm shift in software development
  • Overcoming collective assumptions and beliefs
  • Practical applications of Quintessence
  • Systems Thinking
  • Psychology
  • Bigger picture
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