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 much more self-aware and attuned to how change in organisations really work. I established my own business 15 years ago, spending most of my time coaching and designing/delivering leadership programs. Over that period I have led an ongoing research agenda exploring how change really works and how leaders and coaches can best navigate change.

By reading my four books, you can trace how my understanding of change has evolved. In 2015 I 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 I 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 I published Coaching Systemically – Five Ways of Thinking About Systems which challenged popular assertions around what it means to think systemically.

I am currently writing a fifth book, to be published in 2022, which translates those ideas into the leadership domain, and which considers more broadly what it takes to be a successful leader in a world of constant change and complexity. In 2021 I founded Leading Systemically to bring those insights to 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. I believe that the more of us find within ourselves the capacity to listen deeply and voice our own views honestly and respectfully, the better place the world will be. We also need to think differently if we are to overcome the kinds of challenges with which so many of us struggle, including at the global level phenomena such as climate change and COVID. I see my role as offering leaders the opportunity to think and behave 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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