Mobile: +61 417 249 343
Don is a specialist in leadership development and organisational transformation whose focus is on building collective and individual capacity for enabling change with tough (knotty, thorny) issues. He has been an independent consulting practice since1989.
Don’s work is centred in leadership as a practice grounded in conversation and experimentation. His vision in his work is to enable organisations, groups and individuals to increase their capabilities in clarifying and achieving their goals. He approaches his work with a deeply grounded understanding of the dynamics of change and transformation and has high-level skills in helping his clients gain new insights into the challenges they face and in devising and applying strategies for making headway. Don has consulting experience with a wide range of organisations in sectors including public, healthcare, education and business in Australia, as well as with organisations in the US, New Zealand and Singapore.
He is the author of In the Leadership Mode and of articles including one with Dr. Ellen Langer, the renowned Harvard mindfulness researcher. Don’s writings and materials have been used in leadership and related courses and programs in US universities including Penn State, Virginia Tech, the University of Massachusetts and Indiana Wesleyan. Don’s latest article, in the International Journal of Public Leadership in 2016, is “Reimagining leadership –and its relationship with management –for the public sector”.
A workshop on applying Don’s OBREAU Tripod structure for empowering conversations that matter was awarded “Outstanding Educator Workshop” at the 2016 conference of the Association of Leadership Educators in Sacramento, California. (The workshop was presented by a US colleague of Don’s.)‘OBREAU’ represents the first two letters of the three pivotal words, Observation, Reasonableness (allowing that others are reasonable, at least in this instance and in their terms), and Authenticity.
Don co-presented a highly successful workshop on the OBREAU Tripod at the 2018 World Conference on Quality and Improvement (WCQI) in Seattle. A further Tripod session on the Tripod will be among the presentations at WCQI 2019.
Don has an M Comm (Hons) degree from the University of NSW in Organisational Behaviour and has taught part-time at that university. He is a member of the International Leadership Association(ILA)and has presented at several ILA conferences. He is also a member of the American Society for Quality.
- Assisting senior teams to more effectively work through challenging issues and improve their collective and individual leadership practice in the process
- Helping groups assess and reflect on their progress in achieving key strategic goals and then identify priorities for further action
- Assisting groups to better align what actually happens in the workplace with declared values (e.g. on “innovation” or “empowerment”)
- Leadership and management development programs for senior and middle managers
- 360-degree feedback. Don partners with specialist Sydney 360 provider, Leaderskill, to assist managers in gaining insights into their strengths and areas for development, and to turn these insights into action
- Individual coaching with executives and managers, to strengthen their capability in exercising leadership for change and improvement
- Skills building programs, particularly to build participants’ capabilities in conversing for change on tough issues
- Learning sets. Helping executives and professionals learn productively from each other and develop their leadership capabilities in small group settings
- Action learning programs, assisting managers and others to develop their proficiency in leadership while working through actual strategic and workplace issues.
- Facilitation, including large-group workshops, stakeholder dialogue, strategic planning, conflict resolution and related processes.
Prior to establishing his consulting practice, Don was Community Affairs Manager for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. As Principal Community Affairs Officer –a statutory role under the ABC Act –between 1984 and 1989, Don was responsible for, among other things, investigating and determining complaints alleging errors of fact or invasions of privacy in ABC programs. His earlier career was as a health services planner in the NSW Health system.
Partial client list
- Ambulance Service NSW
- Association of Independent Schools, NSW
- Association of Tertiary Education Managers
- Audit Office, NSW
- Australian College of Healthcare Executives
- Australian International School, Singapore
- Burnside (non-profit)
- City West Development Corporation
- Commonwealth Bank
- CPA Australia
- Education and Children’s Services, SA Dept.of
- Flinders University
- Gadens Lawyers
- Health education and Training Institute, NSW
- Health Link (New Zealand)
- Industrial Relations, Commonwealth Dept.of
- IPAC Securities
- Juvenile Justice, NSW Dept.of
- Kincoppal Rose Bay School
- Legal Aid NSW
- Mid North Coast Local Health District (NSW)
- Ministry of Health NSW
- MTU-Detroit Diesel
- National Transmission Agency
- Northern Sydney Local Health District
- NSW Health Pathology
- Penn State University, College of Agricultural Sciences
- Roads & Traffic Authority, NSW
- Sky Channel
- South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service
- Spastic Centre of NSW
- State Emergency Service, NSW
- Sun Microsystems
- Superannuation Administration Authority, NSW
- Sustainable Energy Authority, Vic
- TAFE, NSW, Sydney Institute
- Thomson IP Management Services (US –part of Thomson Reuters)
- Treasury and Finance, Tasmanian Dept.of
- Treasury, NSW
- University of Sydney
- University of Technology, Sydney
- Veterans Affairs, Commonwealth Dept.of.
Publications and recent conference presentations
- In the Leadership Mode, Trafford, Canada 2008, 244 pages; Foreword by Dr. Iva Wilson, Retired President, Philips Display Components, First President, Society for Organizational Learning.
- “Rethinking Leadership for the Public Sector”, Australian Journal of Public Administration, September 2002. (This article was cited by the Journal as its top-rated “highlight” in its promotional materials between 2003 and 2005.)
- “Reappraising Leadership—and its Relationship with Management—from a Learning Perspective”, presentation to International Leadership Association Conference, Los Angeles, November 2008
- “Tools for Learning-based Leadership Intervention”, presentation to International Leadership Association Conference, Los Angeles, November 2008 (with Dr. Iva Wilson and Dr. JoAnne O’Brien-Levin)
- “Making Sense of the Hidden Side of Change”, presentation to 17thInternational Conference on Learning, Hong Kong, July 2010.
- “Making Sense of Multiple Perspectives: Using the Reflection Matrix Tool” Workshop at International Leadership Association Conference, Boston, 2010 (with Dr. Ann Dodd, Penn State U and Phil Henderson, Thomson IP Management Services)
- “A question of purpose: leadership, shared meaning, and change with contentious problems”, Interactive roundtable presentation and discussion, International Leadership Association Conference, London, UK, 26 -29 October 2011.
- “Mindfulness and Leadership: Opening up to Possibilities” with Prof Ellen Langer, Harvard U, Integral Leadership Review, Oct. 2011.https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/25277895/17612687.pdf?sequence=1
- “Mindful OD Practice and the Obreau Tripod: Beyond Positive-Problem Polarities” OD Practitioner(journal of the OD Network, US), Jan. 2014.http://www.newfutures.com.au/images/odp-v46no1-dunoon.pdf
- “Empowering shared leadership and conversation with the OBREAU Tripod”.Non-attending presenter with Dr. Eric Kaufman, Virginia Tech. International Leadership Association conference, Barcelona, October 2015. http://www.slideshare.net/erickkaufman/empowering-shared-leadership-and-conversation-with-the-obreau-tripod
- “Facilitating Dialogue with the OBREAU Tripod”, Presentation to Australian Facilitators’ NetworkConference, Ballina, NSW, November 2015. (A similar presentation was given to the AFN 2017 conference.)
- “Reimagining leadership –and its relationship with management –for the public sector”, International Journal of Public Leadership, 2016.Vol. 12 Issue: 2, pp.94-111, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-11-2015-0027.