Engagement & Leadership

Had a superb visit with Dick and Emily Axelrod this weekend. We got to hang out, as well as host a brilliant one day seminar with them in our home city of Dundee.

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The group of clients and friends that gathered to explore ‘Engagement is the New Change Management’ and ‘Leading with an Engagement Edge’ had a very interesting and stimulating day @ Figure 8 Venues.

The diversity and willingness of the group to engage lead to a very stimulating day – where we explored core concepts of engagement, change (‘old’ change management as well as the ‘new’ change management), and leadership.
Just to give a short ‘flavour’ of the day, I’ll share some of what we explored.

Old Change Management

Dick spoke about the ‘Old Change Management’. The leaders decide the change, appoint a group or groups to plan and implement the change. If you get a consultant on board and you involve some staff, this is the ‘gold standard’ of change management. It’s still alive and well in organisational life! Dick showed how it’s actually very mechanistic, can significantly reduce engagement, with knock on consequences. This short video summarises the Old Change Management.

The New Change Management


We also looked at the ‘New Change Management’ and from my illustration you can see the emphasis is on something organic. We worked through these core principles and Dick and Emily showed how simple things can have a significant impact: like getting people to share what’s important to them at work and why. These ‘care conversations’ are all part of the
The video below summarises the key models and impact of the ‘New Change Management.’


We also learned how meetings are often such a missed engagement opportunity & how we can run more ‘engaging’ meetings using a simple model – the meeting canoe.

All of this is in Dick’s latest book Terms of Engagement (which I illustrated) and you can get a copy by clicking the link.

The Leadership Diamond

In the afternoon, we got the opportunity to look at ‘Leadership with an Engagement Edge,’ in particular doing a deeper exploration of our friend Peter Koestenbaum’s ‘Leadership Diamond.’


We learned through this inspirational and mind expanding material, about the importance of paying attention to all points of the Diamond, and how the diamond is a ‘lens’ to look at the individual as well as the system.

One person said on the day that… ‘It was great to get world class speakers here in Dundee – bring it on!’

Thanks to Dick and Emily & everyone who made it a significant day of learning which we can apply to our work immediately!

Now… off to have some care conversations and ride a few meeting canoes…

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8 comments… add one

  • Timon

    Thank you very much for sharing this..will come in useful in my course 🙂

  • You’re welcome Timon – good to hear from you!
    What you doing?

  • Elizabeth P

    So very interesting Joe! Powerful…

    Is Peter Koestenbaum from California originally? If that’s the Peter Koesetembaum I know of, his work was very impacting in my mother’s life when she did seminars/classes with him in the late 70’s /early 80’s after the death of my father. I’ve heard so much about him.

  • Gilbert

    Very interesting, particularly the diamond allegory. Need to know more to counter those steeped in management speak who will say, “but that’s what we already do!”

  • Thanks for making this information available Joe. It was a great day and left me with lots to think about. Well done for bringing such high calibre people as Dick and Emily to Dundee!

  • Timon Scheven

    Doing a module called ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ as part of my post grad in International Development.

  • Hi Timon,
    great, did you find this stuff helpful?
    how’s it going? (the diploma and life I mean!)

  • Elizabeth,
    just came across your comment – sorry for delay in replying.
    yes, this is the same Peter Koestenbaum. He is a special human being and it is a privilege to know and work with him.

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