Seeking a small cohort of people to co-learn the RedQuadrant Way tool shed

As they say about all my favourite apps, this post is now being Sunsetted — please refer to the updated invitation at https://medium.com/@antlerboy/an-invitation-to-the-redquadrant-way-tool-shed-8dba81a51c11

Over more than twenty years of public service transformation, 15 as a consultant, and ten years of running my own network consultancy, I have developed a rich multi-methodology approach which is highly applicable cross-sector for anyone who wants to transform organisations and their results.

This been shared in several iterations over time, from ‘seven ways to save and improve’ ( https://the-lmj.com/2012/01/start-from-the-basis/) to the 24-module blended learning programme ‘Leading Transformation’ (https://www.publicservicetransformation.org/leading-transformation/) — but is in a continual process of improvement and development.

At a recent organisational development conference with really experienced international consultants, I discovered that there was real interest in this body of knowledge — and so, now, I’m seeking a small group of people from all around the world who would like to co-learn ‘the RedQuadrant Way’.

The concept is to test and partially develop the learning with multiple engaged perspectives, with people who want to learn (and will use) a multi-methodology approach to organisational and systems change, will stick with it over an extended period of time, can enrich it with aspects of their practice, but who are primarily focused on learning and commenting on the approaches, methods, models, and practices already there.

This will include regular Zoom sessions, email mentoring and co-learning (with me and the group), access to the existing 24-module blended learning ‘mini MBA’-like materials, debrief and engagement etc — I envisage over an extended period of time, maybe a year. It can all be done remotely, and I’ll work with the first people to engage to develop what the contracting can be — how to make it work in financial and time terms etc. Let me be clear — there will be a cost involved.

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The RedQuadrant Way tool shed in real life…

Read on if you’d like to hear a bit more about the main content, influences, and why I have the nerve to propose to teach others.

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 relate primarily to the material through the work I’m doing with clients — through practice — and through diagrams and summaries, powerpoint slides that I treat as a form of zettelkasten (https://www.google.com/search?q=zettelkasten). I’ll help you to get into a dialogue with your tool-shed — if I was a schtickier marketeer, I might develop and market ‘Zettelkasten Practice’. 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 infinite variety of client needs, with a focus on what can get through to rela 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 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:

  • Meta-contextuality
  • 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,
  • 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?

That’s a question I’m busy asking myself. I don’t claim to be special (see my ‘quadrants of thinking threats’ for the attempt to steer between simplification and exclusivity, ‘power to’ and ‘power over’). What I do have is a real passion for both 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.

Contact me if you’re interested in participating — benjamin.taylor@redquadrant.com

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