The Blog: John Varney

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About John Varney

John Varney is coach, consultant and facilitator to senior managers and management teams. In 1990 he founded of Centre for Management Creativity and runs High Trenhouse management centre in the Yorkshire Dales. His work embraces inter-company collaboration, strategy innovation, teamwork, authentic leadership, thinking methodology and creativity, through team and personal coaching. It involves developing attitudes, beliefs and ideas, changing relationships and behaviours in order to define and achieve organisational goals.

The End of HR – the Future of HR?

HR used to be called Personnel – The name changed to reflect a more rounded function, which blended training and development with the admin role. It is clear enough that the function deals with the legal and admin aspects of employees as well as training and development. But what we don’t usually see is that HR and employees are operating within a complex system and thus, all their activities are subservient to that system. When the system is intentionally distorted by the law and by whatever becomes normal behaviour, then we get a function that is no longer looking after the best long-term interests of employees but is actually engaged in exploiting those employees to realise such concepts as “sustainable growth” – a discredited whimsey of a sub-set of our economic system and maybe an oxymoron.

Article by 29 January 2023

After the Pandemic

The struggle for survival. The 5 years following coronavirus lockdown will be characterised by struggles between powerful forces. “Could the ... View Article

Article by 22 April 2020

Consumerism at work

Consumerism is at work all around us. We find ourselves aiding and abetting what has become a scourge of our times, from the moment we wake until we go back to sleep (and even then, we set things up so our consumption can continue unabated).

Article by 10 March 2020

Through a glass darkly

We all have the challenge of matching what we know (in our heads) with the reality of the world (outside our heads).  We begin to tackle this task as soon as we are born and it should never stop. We get to an approximation that is generally borne out by colleagues and media. Unfortunately gaps can open up and we can struggle to maintain our touch. For instance, a senior police officer was surprised to realise that the attitude of the commissioner showed up in the behaviour of front line officers. Similarly, managers often struggle to see that the quality of their thinking is reflected in the quality of their organisation’s service delivery.

Article by 8 November 2018

Make work a medium for learning

People not involved in teaching, facilitation and HR may be forgiven if they lose sight of the difference between learning and “learning about”. Given the buzz of modern media, people learn about many things without ever experiencing them deeply. It is easy to know more and more about less and less until we might expect to know everything about nothing. All buzz and no substance.

Article by 11 June 2018

Binary Vision – Bringing a different perspective

I like to read two books concurrently.  I choose two unrelated books and find myself discovering connections – or rather the contrasting contents stimulate new ideas. So in a sense I get the content of each book and a third content which my mind discovers or produces from the relationships and dissonance between the two narratives.

Article by 18 April 2018