The tool shed
Over nearly twenty-four years of service transformation, 15 as a consultant, and twelve years of running RedQuadrant as a network consultancy, I have developed a rich multi-methodology approach which is highly applicable for anyone who wants to transform organisations and their results.
I’m offering small group cohorts the opportunity to join together and share in multiple learning mechanisms, over a period of time, to become more effective at what they do by having access to a larger and more integrated tool shed and peer and coaching support. This is for change-makers, consultants, facilitators, ‘systems changers’ all over the world.
The offer, for £395/month, includes:
- Small facilitated co-coaching cohorts / circles of four to six people, mixed internationally, by sector, and by propensity, with me, Benjamin Taylor, the Managing Partner of RedQuadrant, by Zoom, twice a month — 90 minutes each
- Access to the ‘tool shed’ on Google Drive and Trello — the large compilation of diagrams/slides of all the current models, multi-methodology but integrated (see below) — a goal is to develop your sensemaking around all the approaches/methods/tools/perspectives, with support
- Access to the RedQuadrant Leading Transformation programme (two modules a month — see below)
- Direct mentoring and support ‘on pull’ — ‘shadow consulting’ to support consultancy engagements and approaches
- Contribute your own methods, case studies, learning (as we develop this idea)
- Community of practice support with cohort and coach (mailing lists, discussion fora, WhatsApp etc depending on group preferences)
The tool shed runs for twelve months, after which some cohorts decide to continue, together, further.
If you want a simpler version, you can study the online Leading Transformation programme (the core content), with one engaging questions and answers webinar per quarter to dig deeper, for £295/month — see https://www.publicservicetransformation.org/leading-transformation/ for full information.
And if you would like more, you can receive additional mentoring or ‘shadow consulting’, one-to-one, alongside your participate in the tool shed.
To be part of the RedQuadrant tool shed or hear more about it, email me — firstname.lastname@example.org
What do participants say?
We’ve received so much great feedback that it’s hard to summarise
“As a seasoned professional I am always impressed by both the content of the tool shed, which is often challenging, and the sessions with the cohort, which can also be challenging but is always supportive and is a safe and honest place to voice dissent, air one’s views and never be made to feel stupid.”
David Rigby, MD of Smart Coaching & Training Ltd: Keynote Speaker, Behavioural Profiling, Executive Coach, Leadership, Presentation, Diversity, Communication Trainer, Spain and Dubai
The tool shed experience comes alive with the interactions and the sharing of insights and experiences of the participants together with Benjamin’s own knowledge of people, processes, and approaches from the entire canon of change management and organisational development. He skillfully connects and integrates what emerges as new learning — and made available for you. He is generous with his sharing of what he knows.
Michael Donnelly, large group facilitation expert, Northern Ireland
I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in the RedQuadrant Tool Shed cohort over the past year and it has been a phenomenal learning experience for me. I think it’s rare to come across someone with Benjamin’s breadth and depth of knowledge on organizational and systems change and I don’t believe there is a university or institutional programme out there that could match the quality of knowledge that Benjamin has offered. The spirit of conversation Benjamin was able to facilitate in our cohort was incredibly rich, and his openness to discuss, debate and learn alongside us made each session engaging and memorable. It has been a fabulous transformational learning experience for me.
Heather Lejeune, Advisory Portfolio Manager, Canada
“This program is rich in models and nourishing challenge. A great place to test your thinking.”
Beth MacDonald, Director, FutureConsiderations, Philippines
I ditched an MBA training for engineers last year, to take the RedQuadrant training instead, and I would definitely make the same choice again. Leading Transformation has multiplied my power to help leaders get a full and earnest “yes, let’s do this” from their people.
With Benjamin’s teachings, I have never been better positioned to negotiate functional, resource-based, outcome-based and other perspectives in organizations. This means a lot to me since that is something I struggled with since I saw the first horrible examples of market intelligence signals gone lost, early in my career.
The solid curriculum would have been enough to help me grow in the consultant role. In addition, I got the opportunity to sift through my experiences from the past 25 years together with system architects from Australian military, Philippine leader developers, British municipality leaders and Canadian process design experts.
Over the course of studies we have disagreed about a lot in the group. One thing we could easily agree on is that Benjamin is an amazing facilitator. If you have the opportunity to study with this action learner and people developer — take it!
Helena Gallbo, VD-stödet, Cybernetician and strategist, Sweden and Hild, Denmark
“The RedQuadrant tool shed resource and learning groups were a valuable way of exploring several aspects of my practice; firstly gaps in my knowledge, secondly new ways of approaching situations and their dynamics that I’d previously not encountered. Thirdly, and most importantly, it provided, in a discipline characterised by a significant dependence on tacit knowledge about tools and their application, a way to interact in a cohort of practitioners, as a facilitated learning set. This aspect of the learning was for me the most valuable, as it contextualised approaches in a number of different organisational scenarios, so what I discovered or explored was discussed, and critiqued, rather than the learning being passive and ‘classroom’.”
Tony Louki, UK Chair, Systems and Complexity in Organisation, the UK’s systems thinking practitioner professional body
Thank you for the great opportunity you provided me to interact with some of the best in the world. As always you inspire me everyday with your dedication and committment towards the greater good of the community. I truly enjoyed every minute of the cohort.
Every call with the cohort left with me a new wave of thinking and ideas in addition to giving me a new perspective on solving practical challenges.
The topics covered gave me ultimate access to decades of research that Benjamin has put together with utmost care
The cohort gave me access to global thought-leadership and realised how much effort has gone in building this community by Benjamin
Venkatesh Krishnamurthy, Agile Coach, LeSS trainer and Lean, systems thinking, and complexity science practitioner, Australia
The RedQuadrant tool shed is not only a rich trove of resources and information, but a generously compiled way of sharing good practice and real life experience.
There is such an incredible depth of insight in the modules that you could easily spend a year or more discovering new tools, perspectives and case studies. Each module has a easy to follow outline with all of the resources including powerpoints and presentations in the one place. This is complemented on a Trello board which not only shows completed work and tools, but future planning and ideas worth developing.
I’ve found my time well spent joining the cohort, it has been great getting to know an international cohort of people and learning from each other. I have also found the content of the tool shed incredibly useful in current projects where I needed ideas and guidance on what might work.
Sarah Glenister, Convenor, Australasian Change Days and Director, Change that matters.
The modular programme comprises 24 modules… addressing personal and professional development of leadership and management practice, providing a rigorous, thorough and comprehensive grounding in key academic ideas (theories, concepts, models and frameworks), broadly located within systems thinking perspectives. The focus is on application to students’ practice through a series of well-designed activities. I judge it to be at at least level seven in the European Qualifications Framework…
Prof Martin McNamara DSc, EdD, RN, FAAN, FFNMRCSI, Associate Dean for Global Engagement, Programme Director: MSc Leadership, Innovation and Management in Healthcare; MSc Health Professions Education, UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health Systems
The Leading Transformation programme is a blended learning course about delivering transformational change — https://www.publicservicetransformation.org/leading-transformation/ — this is a teachable.com-based 24-module ‘mini MBA’.
The requirement to participate is the two 90-minute zoom calls a month and to look into two of the Leading Transformation modules as much as you would like to each month. We aim for everyone to look through two modules each month. Each module contains a roughly one-hour slide lecture, also downloadable as audio, pdf, transcripts, plus there are additional documents and materials and links to follow up further if interested.
The motto of the tool shed is no exams, no homework! — you study at your own pace, the purpose is to apply the learning in your context, and pull on support from me and your cohort.
Why ‘tool shed’?
This been shared in several iterations over time, from ‘seven ways to save and improve’ to the 24-module blended learning programme ‘Leading Transformation’ — and is in a continual process of improvement and development. One of our wonderful clients hit on ‘tool shed’ as a metaphor for how we helped them to select and learn the tools, ideas and approaches they need.
The RedQuadrant way is a mix of curated content, things inspired by other ideas, and original work. We call it a tool shed because, though generally the concept of ‘tools’ is not an attractive one (bringing to mind the famous hammer-owner who sees the world as primarily nail-based), the point is to be able to select the right approach, method, model or practice to advance the work in the context at any given time. I’ll help you to get into a dialogue with your tool-shed! The idea is not to have a bunch of independent tools or a formula for application, but to have requisite variety in your practice to meet the near-infinite variety of client needs, with a focus on what can cut through to real transformation
This is, therefore, explicitly a meta-contextual approach: a better response to neat-and-complete, conceptually closed consulting models, and one that explicitly sees the multiple dimensions of variation in the client/consultant situation — different locuses of work, different motivators of change. At a basic level, one example of this is that there are lots of amazing leadership consultants — and lots of amazing operational consultants. But few who can bridge and work across the huge divide between what is seen as ‘leadership’ and what is seen as ‘operations’. There are many other examples of where we seek to bridge divides, connect different concepts and ‘worlds’, and use multiple frames, approaches, and perspectives. The RedQuadrant ‘five worlds’ model, which encourages thinking about the different ‘worlds’ of customer / citizen, service, management / leadership, and the world of learning and change — and the communications and connections between them — is one example.
Key influences and sources to be found in the tool shed
- The Viable Systems Model
- Barry Oshry’s Organic Systems Framework
- Systems leadership theory (along the lines of Jacques and Macdonald et al)
- Systems, cybernetics, and complexity in general
- OD, interpersonal, team methods, self-as-instrument, and personal and adult development
- Outside-in, customer centred, process-as-system approaches (from Deming, Joiner, lean, etc)
- Iterative service design (agile with mostly a small ‘a’)
- ‘Flawful consulting’ and strengths-based and community-led approaches (after Peter Block)
Who am I to lead this work?
Well, I don’t claim to be special (see my ‘quadrants of thinking threats’ at https://www.dropbox.com/s/1ritpobdoexr5qy/four%20quadrants%20of%20thinking%20threats.pdf?dl=0 for the attempt to steer between simplification and exclusivity, ‘power to’ and ‘power over’).
What I do have is a real passion for consultancy and the thinking approaches behind it, massive enthusiasm for sharing, and many years’ of experience of trying to make this really, really hard thing work. And I’m keen to share — to develop a way this can be communicated and branded effectively across the world, to create a sustainable income source based on doing what I’m passionate about, and a learning community which adds value to all participants and to the world.