Meet the founder

I am Dr Paul Lawrence, founder and MD of Leading Systemically. I have worked as a coach and consultant in the field of leadership, coaching and change for more than 20 years across all industries, government and not-for-profit.

My journey

I spent my early career working for a big global multinational that doubled in size over a ten-year period. Change was the norm, and I learned through experience how to navigate complexity. Through that journey I became more self-aware and attuned to how change in organisations really works.

I established my own business 16 years ago, designing and delivering leadership programs and coaching. I also led an ongoing research agenda exploring how change really works and how leaders and coaches can best navigate change.

My six books chart how my understanding of change has evolved. In 2015 Kogan Page published Leading Change, the results of a 18 month study during which I interviewed 50 leaders round the world, half of them CEOs. I learned about the importance of dialogue, and about the leader’s capacity to navigate power and politics. In 2019 Routledge published two books. In The Tao of Dialogue my co-authors and I related a short story, bringing to life the essentials of dialogue as they apply to individuals and teams. In Coaching in Three Dimensions we challenged existing wisdoms as to how coaches should think and behave if they are to be of value in a complex world. In 2021 Routledge published Coaching Systemically – Five Ways of Thinking About Systems challenging popular assertions around what it means to think systemically.

In August 2023 Routledge published The Wise Leader, written in partnership with Dr Suzi Skinner. The Wise Leader translates all of these ideas into the leadership domain, also sourcing insights into the nature of wisdom and integrating Dr Skinner’s PhD findings into the ways in which confident leaders reflect differently to other leaders.

The Team Leader Instruction Manual (TLIM) is a different kind of book, a practical manual with bolt-on resources aimed at leaders seeking to help their teams become more effective.

I founded Leading Systemically in 2021 to bring these insights into organisations in a way that is accessible and practical, using ways of working that enable change at the organisational and team levels as well as at the individual level.

What else?

I do what I do because I want to see organisations succeed. Successful organisations comprise happy successful employees. Successful organisations contribute to successful and benevolent societies. We need to think differently if we are to overcome the kinds of challenges with which so many of us struggle. That includes global phenomena such as climate change and COVID and all of the challenges leaders face every day at a more local level.  My role is to offer leaders the opportunity to think and act differently, and to make sense for themselves as to how they can be most useful. On a more personal level – I have four (semi) grown-up children, two cats, a little house in Pyrmont, and I love getting out and about, and cooking. I also write fiction and have written three gory historical crime novels.

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