Our mission is to bring a life-centred, values-based perspective to organisation and change by partnering with leaders and change agents who want to redirect the purpose of their work and transform the culture of their organisation.

Our deeper purpose in the world is to change the story that shapes society and create a world in which work works, for all of life.

Our values are Clarity, Fairness, Openness and Respect for mutual needs

culturework

organisation renewal
...with attitude

Getting Personal

David Youell

Paula's story

David’s story

I started my working life in London, with what turned out to be a sixteen year adventure in the oil and motor industries. My employer, the then market-leading oil brand, Castrol, was an outrageously successful company driven by a compelling vision and firmly-held family values. It was a vibrant place to join the world of work and many of the lessons I learned then, still guide me today.

Having transferred back to Ireland however, an ill-fated take-over by an unimaginative partner with no vision and primitive bottom-line values, quickly sucked the life out of the eighty-year success run, and signalled to me that it was time to move on. It was a painful experience - though a valuable lesson - and finding it impossible to give myself to an entity that had lost its soul, I traded the trappings of corporate life for the freedom and insecurity of the road less travelled.

I transitioned into the broadcast media, writing and producing for radio and television before taking another unsignposted turning, into the movie industry, and eventually discovering this new path criss-crossing my past, into a company producing communication media for business set up with Paula twenty-two years ago this year.

My odyssey has taken me into a great variety of industries and cultures: Oil and automotive. Film production and sound recording. Aircraft maintenance, aviation and electricity. Pharmaceuticals, computers and telecoms. Broadcast radio and television. Education, entertainment, catering and religious life. Manufacturing, services, retail. And I’ve been lucky to experience the world of work from many perspectives: Administrator. Company representative. Area Manager. Trainer. Employer and employee. Consultant and group facilitator.

Along the way we have given our time generously to support not-for-profit and community initiatives. Some years ago, we established Junior Achievement Ireland, the highly successful not-for-profit partnership between the world of education and the world of business, so I appreciate the challenges and great potential that lies in creating partnerships across conventional boundaries.

Along the way, a restless creative gene has kept me on the right side of sanity allowing my alter ego the space (never enough) to be occasional writer, producer, musician, performer, composer, designer, gardener and dreamer of Big Dreams.

Harmony and rhythm

This reservoir of experience is an important resource in my work today. I can see the world through many lenses but I think the musician in me is probably the experiential well I draw from most - especially today as we work with culture change in organisations.

Music frames my perspective on much of life and work. It taught me about rhythm and harmony and relationship and improvisation, and the critical importance of holding a bold vision of how things should be. Comparing this inner ‘performance’ with reality is the reason musicians practise, and it’s the essence of all the creative arts - you hear or see the finished form first, and work towards it. Playing music with others taught me again and again that when a common vision and genuinely shared values are at work, and relationships are freely and unselfishly committed to the common good, the result can be truly powerful.

Nature is another personal life guide for me. I feel part of the rich tapestry of life in all its exquisite manifestations, and an innate consciousness of the wider picture constantly reminds me how out of sync our relationship is with the natural world, and how that’s all connected with the social fragmentation we see all around. I’m doing what I can, and encouraging others to do what they can to restore the balance before it’s too late.

Fifteen years ago I ditched the tv and ended a lifetime habit of buying the mainstream sponsored newspapers so I could discover for myself what’s really going on in our world, and I’ve been astonished, alarmed and frustrated, and drawn in to the task of our time. Once you understand the systemic nature of our dilemmas you can never go back to being comfortably tuned-out, or in denial. The problem’s not ‘out there’. No, it’s ‘in here’ - in us, and we have to do something about it.

Vision and leadership

I’m big on vision, and visionary leadership. Without vision there can be no understanding of what we’re individually trying to achieve, and without visionary leadership there can be no shared understanding of who we are or what we’re collectively trying to become.

Such leadership is desperately needed today - in business, in government, in our institutions and in society generally, but by and large leadership positions are occupied by people with a manager mindset. They’re doing their best I know, but when I think of leaders I think of people like Martin Luther King or Mohandas Gandhi, who had both vision and the ability to gather followers and ultimately transform their world.

Apart from the obvious need to face up to the mounting global dilemmas, people everywhere are demanding better from the institutions that serve them. There’s a hunger for something more than we’ve created and that surely represents a colossal opportunity for anyone prepared to get out there, stand for something more than just being the biggest or the cheapest act in town, and lead courageously.

At the end of the day, all change is personal, and I believe deep down that it is the inner world of those who lead us at this time that will determine our level of success in navigating the cultural transition that lies immediately ahead. Referring to how philosophy affects history Abraham Maslow said that when the philosophy of man changes, everything changes and we urgently need to think about how we can change the mindset and consciousness, and the values at work at leadership level, everywhere.

For many years, writers and thinkers such as Maslow, Scott Peck, Robert Greenleaf, Elizabeth Sahtouris, Paul Hawken, David Korten, Meg Wheatley and many others have profoundly influenced the person I am today. When I encountered Richard Barrett’s cultural transformation methodology about ten years ago, I knew I’d discovered an important piece of the jigsaw that seemed to connect it all together and I went to study with him and earn my CTT ‘driver’s licence’.

My journey continues. I hope and expect to continue to meet wonderful people with the gift of foresight and the courage and commitment to make that difficult shift - from being part of the problem to being part of the solution, and part of the transformation that’s needed in the world we leave to future generations.

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