One of the downsides of working freelance is the potential isolation from other professionals. Maintaining ongoing personal development is always a challenge and my response has been to develop informal working relationships with people who I trust to challenge my thinking and present alternative perspectives. I can call upon their wisdom and wise counsel in particular situations but more generally rely on their respective networks for my “cerebral workouts” to keep my thinking fresh and my ideas challenged.

Keith Rice

Keith Rice Keith Rice is a remarkable teacher, scholar and thinker to whom I owe a big debt of graduate for introducing me to NLP (Neuro Lingustic Programming) and in particular, Spiral Dynamics; probably the single most useful model about how people think and behave that I’ve used in my work. Keith’s passion is for the behavioural sciences in all matters to do with human thought and behaviour. His ambition is to create a unified, cohesive and practical approach to the behavioural sciences – he calls it ‘Integrated SocioPsychology’. His book “Knowing Me, Knowing You” (Trafford 2006) sums up this approach and I regularly refer to it when coming up against a brick wall in terms of understanding why an individual or group is behaving in a particular way and the approach I need to take to make progress. Keith is an organisational consultant in his own right and delivers a range of workshops from Conflict Management to Communication Skills to Sustainable Relationships. (His workshops are fun, with music, exercises, games and case studies to help embed the learning!) He also teaches (part-time) A-Level Sociology and Psychology and even manages to fit in a small amount of counselling and therapy for individuals and couples.

Peter Fryer

Peter Fryer My professional relationship with Peter stems back to my time as Chief Officer for Hull CVS in the early 1990s when Peter was the Chief Executive for the Humberside Training and Enterprise Council (TEC). Keen to get a voluntary sector perspective in the TEC’s policy making processes, Peter invited me to become a member of the TEC Council and I became fascinated by what was for me a whole new slant on management thinking with strange new terminology like “Fuzzy Logic” and “Fractals”. This was my first introduction to Complexity Theory which challenged (and continues to do so) my conventional management training and indeed, the whole concept of management. When the TECs were axed in 2001 to be replaced by the Learning and Skills Councils, Peter established Trojan Mice, which undertakes general consultancy including senior level development, coaching and mentoring; economic development, economic and business research and evaluation; CD-Rom development; recruitment and selection; and general management development. He worked with the London School of Economics (LSE) for several years, initially as a member of a project which looked at the relationship between complex adaptive systems and organisational form. Although retired, Peter retains an interest in complexity theory and continues to be an important mentor.

Mark Friedman

Mark FriedmanMark Friedman is a remarkably gifted thinker and innovator who has an amazing ability to unpick the most complex situations and bring clarity out of confusion. He is the founder and director of the Fiscal Policy Studies Institute (FPSI) based in Santé Fe, New Mexico in the United States and is responsible for conceiving and developing the Results Based Accountability™ framework, known in the UK as Outcome Based Accountability™ (OBA). I first heard Mark speak about OBA in 2002 and was immediately inspired by the pure common sense of his approach and the brilliance of his delivery. As a neighbourhood renewal practitioner, I used OBA extensively and with Mark’s encouragement and tutoring have adapted and Anglicised his materials to establish a practice for OBA training and consultancy in the UK.

In addition to Mark’s formal training, I have also enjoyed the benefit of his advice and support and the privilege of working alongside him in the UK, Ireland and South Africa. We have maintained a close friendship and working relationship over the years and I remain indebted to him for his inspiration and wise counsel.

Before founding FPSI in 1996, Mark served as a senior associate at the Centre for the Study of Social Policy in Washington, D.C. for four years, where his work focused on providing technical assistance to states, counties, cities, school districts, and communities working to reform their child and family service systems. Before that, he served 19 years in the Maryland Department of Human Resources, including six years as the department’s chief financial officer. During this time, Mark played a key role in social services program and fiscal policy, including responsibility for financing one of the country’s first family preservation programs and implementing several major revenue initiatives.

“Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”
John Wooden


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