The resources below provide a sense of the scope that our work delivers, the depth of our thinking and research, and our commitment to learning more about the deft touch required for The Cultivation of Profound Change to nurture flourishing futures.
Please feel free to download and share with others while maintaining the integrity of the copyright and source of the intellectual property. We hope these resources are as helpful to your private study as they have been to ours.
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Learn about cultural transformation in more depthView Case studies
Case study: City of Marion (676.56 KB)
Case study: HomeStart Finance (694.47 KB)
BluePrint: increasing engagement and liberating values for sustainability
Following the success of Leadership for Success we were approached by our client to consider how we might use the same principles in a program designed for anyone in the organisation to continue to support the client’s focus on evolving a ‘constructive’ culture and enable their people to make their greatest contribution to the organisation and its vision. BluePrint was born…
Leadership for Success
A case study of the development of Leadership for Success that answered the question: “What would a leadership development program for our middle managers look like if it were to support our focus on our cultural transformation efforts and assist us deliver our vision of community sustainability?”
Download a range of articles, books and occasional papersView Publications
Complete list of publications
A complete list of Josie’s peer reviewed papers book chapters and academic conference presentations is provided.
Learning to see systems (174.90 KB)
Sometimes, we all get too close to the trees to see the forest. This short article employs perceptual positions from NLP to help gain a view of the broader system as play in organisational challenges that we all face.
Flourishing at the edge of chaos: leading purposeful change and loving it (176.84 KB)
Abstract: In this conceptual paper, we support the proposition that, if we are to apply the lessons learnt from our
engagement with complex natural systems to our practice of leadership and leading organisational
change, a true paradigm shift is required. It is more than embracing the natural and social worlds in
addition to the economic realities –solutions such as the triple bottom line already offer this. The required
profound shift places the principles that underpin sustainability, in its broadest sense, at the centre of
organisational life. Within this systems perspective, we examine the nature and dynamic of the
paradigmatic shift, positioning vision and leadership at the heart of a transition designed to liberate and
maximise the contribution which our undiminished humanity can make within organisations. We propose
that the shift will be marked by joy and fulfilment and a new level of organisational effectiveness.
On this basis, we identify and explore fundamental principles that can inform the work of those exercising
their leadership for organisational change. These are at odds with more traditional and mythical (and
enduring) notions of leaders as ‘heroes’.
Systemic coaching: a shift in organisational coaching practices (1.13 MB)
Exploring changes in organisational coaching practices, Josie McLean PCC discusses the organisation as a ‘system’ and the benefits of a dynamic-based coaching approach.
Changing Lives (593.27 KB)
Sam Wells and Josie McLean’s research helps organisations to shift culturally and to improve employee engagement and productivity, and the capacity to exercise leadership in complex environments.
One Way Forward to Beat the Newtonian Habit with a Complexity Perspective on Organisational Change (external link)
Abstract: We face a global crisis of un-sustainability—we need to change trajectory, but have so far displayed a collective inability to do so. This article suggests that one reason for this is our entrenched approach to change, which has inappropriately applied mechanistic Newtonian assumptions to “living” systems. Applying what has been learned about the behaviour of complex adaptive systems, we develop a pragmatic model for students of sustainability, who want to facilitate profound organizational and community change towards sustainability on the ground. Our model, “one way forward”, does not purport to be the only way but one possibility, grounded in a different understanding of the nature and dynamic of change as seen through the lens of complexity. In this way, it challenges more conventional change management practices. One way forward is a model facilitating evolutionary change in a social ecology—one possible expression of a “culture of community self-design” as expressed by Banathy. Its theoretical foundations and its practical application (it is designed for practice) both have their source in a systemic view and in the principles that reflect the paradigm of complexity. Four central components of this new model—envisioning, core messages (values), indicators of progress, and experimentation—are explored in more detail.
Josie McLean – Coaching at Work Annual Conference (external link)
Keynote: Leader as gardener: a systemic leadership perspective to inform coaching
Video and audio
Watch and listen to Josie McLean and those who have inspired The PartnershipView Video and audio
Vanguard Conversations – Courage (external link)
The Leadership Diet Podcast with Padraig OSullivan
How living systems can help leaders navigate uncertain times with Dr. Josie McLean
Josie Mclean specialises in helping leaders and organisations learn how to navigate complexity by taking lessons from the world around us, ie. living systems. Her recent book, Big Little Shifts,
The Emergency Phase (of a crisis)
This video by Dr Ronald Heifetz distinguishes two basic elements of a ‘crisis’. These elements are the emergency phase and the longer term adaptive phase. The video was filmed in 2011 after the global financial crisis, but draws on his experiences of working with thousands of leaders. At this time, he also published an article titled “Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis” in HBR that is very helpful.
Sir Kenneth Robinson: human flourishing
Sir Kenneth Robinson is an expert in tranforming education from a mechanistic model to something more human centered. Thsi short video provides a very quick overview of a paradigm shift and way of engaging people that we employ in our work.
Peter Senge: Navigating webs of interdependence
Whether you are part of a family, organizational team or business in a supply chain, systems thinking is a valuable approach to understanding the complexity of today’s world. Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline, Senior lecturer at MIT and Founder of the Society for Organizational Learning shares his perspectives on leadership and systems thinking with IBM. Senge focuses on the problems that are most difficult to solve and the mental models today’s leaders need in order to build a smarter planet. Leaders today need to be able to be prepared reassess their strategies, work across multiple groups to find solutions and have the vision to work through high leverage solutions over time. Working smarter means working in ways that are collective and are based on collective intelligence across cities and supply chains to produce social, ecological and economic well being.
Dana Meadows: Sustainable systems
Danella Meadows, one of the co-authors of the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth, provides a succinct and heart centered introduction to understanding complex systems and how we might transform them. “no one wants the outcomes we are generating together, so what is wrong with the system?”
Josie McLean: Sustainability as an adaptive challenge
Excerpt from keynote presentation for TAFE SA on organisational sustainability. Describes sustainability in terms of Heifetz’s ‘adaptive challenge’. Since this presentation in 2010, our language has shifted form sustainability to flourishing… it’s so much more than just sustaining ourselves!
Peter Senge: Systems thinking for a better world
“we have innate systems intelligence, that is who we are, we are a loving systems intelligence species” by Peter Senge
Marty Linsky: Adaptive leadership – leading change
Marty Linsky is a Professor at Havard School of Government where he works with Ron Heifetz, the creator of the adaptive leadership framework. This is a brilliant desciption of what adaptive leadership is all about.