Standing out by standing up

GameShift is in the Financial Times ranking of the UK’s leading management consultants for the third year in a row. Our 2020 listing recognises us with a Silver for our work in People and Performance, and – for the first time – our work on Strategy (Bronze). We feel very privileged to be on the ranking. We are a very small, niche, organisation.  We specialise in working on the human and relational aspects of organisational life in deeply participative ways. 

Our aim is to support individuals, teams and organisations to become game shifters: bold, wise leaders of positive change.  We do this by helping people to see the world differently, in ways that spark new conversations and fresh action by bringing. together the worlds of organisational consulting, group process psychology and a rich range of artful ways of working, including visual art, story work, embodied wisdom and music.

To have this combination of activities recognised in the FT feels very hopeful to us, and it gives us great hope for the future of organisational life. Only a few years ago this combination of work was so radical that even the business school where Philippa Hardman and I were directors wouldn’t back it with investment. Sometimes you can see the value that others can’t, and you have to put your energy and money where your heart is – in essence, that is the story of GameShift.

We’ve spent a lot of that time creating new ideas and developing experiments in the way we work with organisations – and we have been blessed to find clients willing to work at this edge with us. With them we have been part of seeing some tremendous learning and some pleasing outcomes.

  • We’ve had our Danish health service project – The Alchemist Process, an exploration in systems transformation – listed as finalist for “Best Leadership Development Programme” in the Training Journal Awards 2019.
  • We’ve had our work featured in a chapter in the Chief Strategy Officer Playbook, released at the Global Drucker Forum as part of the excellent Brightline initiative.
  • Our Partner and Research fellow John Higgins has published much terrific work on speaking truth to power, alongside our friend Dr Megan Reitz who does such excellent and necessary work in the world. John always has a new research project in hand. His next publication will be research into the stories of women in leadership in the hospitality sector, which will be published later in Spring 2020.
  • We’ve published as series of films on our vimeo channel – all offered freely as a sharing of ideas to invite collaboration. Our latest is the current series on working with purpose, based on the experience and wisdom of Will Gardner.
  • Philippa Hardman and I have co-authored a book all about how you can shift the game of organisations, using stories from some of the GameShifters we’ve worked with, real life people working to bring about positive change in organisations and society.  It’s currently at the publishers (hopefully on the final round of edits!).
  • My own short stories – all of which are based on issues in organisational or social transformation – have been published in two collections, and I have a new book of stories underway.

All of these outcomes become possible only because of the combination of talents who’ve come together to join in in our collaboration.

Every one of our Partners in outstanding in their own right. All of them run their own companies and none of them rely on GameShift to pay their salary. We come together as GameShift to create the work that none of us could create alone: it is a genuine act of participation at its very core.

Every client engagement we undertake comes about because one or other of our Partners sees a way that doing the work together brings something of value to life that means the world is a better place because we came together to do it. Our aim is that every piece of work makes a difference by creating and supporting the conditions for flourishing – at the individual level, in a team, across an organisation, and through that we help these organisations to play their part in working wisely to support the living processes that make life possible on the earth.

We are a tiny firm, and we play a small part. We try to stand up fearlessly and generously for better work. Everything we do is an act of co-creation – an act of imagination and exploring. In a world that sometimes heads towards packaging and risk aversion our offer sometimes seems edgy and difficult to understand. But by standing up for this way of working, we seem to invite enough curiosity that the right people find their way to our door.

We’re happy to have had some recognition for what we do, and we are always keen to meet friends and allies who want to help us do more – as clients and as co-creators. We are eternally grateful to all of those bold enough to have joined in making this possible.

To flourishing: for people, for planet, for all beings.

The world needs more of it.

By Chris Nichols, Co-founder of GameShift


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