Skip to content


It’s about the ‘collective us’

As I reflect on what it takes to work collaboratively, it’s very clear that mindset is fundamental. My guiding principles of ‘generosity’ and ‘humility’ (forgive the irony of mentioning the latter in a blog post) have brought me to a place where I can confidently say my work is not about me, it’s about the ‘collective us’… The ‘collective us’ is the way I describe connected, collaborating individuals and the… Read More »It’s about the ‘collective us’

In the line of duty?

Sunny Amsterdam provides a great backdrop for People In Aid’s humanitarian HR conference and it is an absolute honour to have BBC Radio 4’s foreign correspondent Mike Thomson as a keynote and to have spent a little time in his company. His tenacity, courage and selfless commitment to get the story out is inspiring. Like journalists and their ‘story’, aid workers are often driven by that same desire to reach… Read More »In the line of duty?

Inspired by TEDx

Last week I got to participate in the first TEDxExeter event. TEDx events are a global phenomenon with literally thousands of events happening each year and folk like me use TED talks as a staple in leadership development and to inspire thinkers. So clearly I’m a TED fan, and as soon as I learned there was going to be a TEDx event in Exeter (thanks @tobite) I was in the… Read More »Inspired by TEDx

Leaders of the future?

In New York for a couple of days, again, and today was spent in the company of great thinkers. Every time I get to think aloud with Lynda Grattan I come away inspired and buzzing with ideas and energy. I really must renew my endeavours to create proper time and space for my writing. Today was looking at the kind of leaders we require now and into the future… Inductive… Read More »Leaders of the future?

Living at the porous edge…

Today was a very stimulating day in the company of great thinkers – the Future of Work consortium is certainly at the front end of futures thinking. I ended the day thinking about boundary spanning leadership and was reflecting on the inspiring work being done by colleagues at the Center for Creative Leadership – Christ Ernst and Steadman Harrison. Often times I find myself further out than even the ‘edge… Read More »Living at the porous edge…

Collaboration: the means to an end, or ?

Is collaboration a means to an end, or a legitimate end in itself? I guess that depends on context, on the desired end (or outcome), and the importance of meaningful work and our fundamental, human, relational existence… Just thinking…

Trust on credit?

With Lynda Gratton’s Future of Work research consortium today exploring complex collaboration and it sounds as though my thinking on trust – my concepts of ‘trust on credit’, ‘vicarious trust’, and ‘earning your trust stripes’ – thinking which has been ‘marinading in my mind’ for the last year or so, could be finding its legs. Maybe it’s time to dust off the PhD / DBA plans? I look forward to… Read More »Trust on credit?

Bring on 2012!

So a new year arrives, and like many others, I find myself staring into the ‘fog’ and ‘storms’ ahead, searching for the path my journey will take me on… When it comes to challenge and change, I’m so much better at helping others prepare for it and face it! But when it’s my turn, the eagerness evaporates. This year promises to be a very big one, almost certainly characterised by… Read More »Bring on 2012!

‘Humanitarian intuition’?

Reflecting on some work I’ve had the privilege of doing with a major consortium (, namely to establish a core behavioural framework for humanitarian agencies, I’ve been thinking a lot about competencies and how our understanding of competencies is evolving / maturing. Common consensus has moved us beyond Schein’s ‘Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes’ (1989) to an emphasis on the ‘behaviours required for effective performance’ (CIPD 2009). The meltdown in the banking… Read More »‘Humanitarian intuition’?

Cold turkey…

It’s been a while since my last post – family duties have been fun but consuming. And as for work: growth and impact are exciting, but after a while, the “humanitarian endeavour” gets, well, to be tiring. And so, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of two like-minded friends who understand my second predicament and are soon to discover the joy of the first, I found myself, with family in tow,… Read More »Cold turkey…

Ben Emmens