Top Team Facilitation

Most of my work is based around John Adair’s superbly simple and effective model on Action Centred Leadership; balancing the effort equally over time between “achieving the task”, “building the team” and “developing the individual”. I have used Adair’s model to “attack a Hurricane” mid-Atlantic, to take on the challenge of the High Arctic, to effectively transform the boardroom and wider culture of many an organisation and in setting my own life’s purpose.

Leaders tend to focus so much on the task, outcomes and objectives that they forget about investing in the team and the individual. Achieving the “task” will be much easier with a strong cohesive “team” of developed, aware and committed “individuals.” long term leadership is about striking a balance. It’s like “sharpening your axe before you start to chop down a tree”!

When working with “Top Teams” we use Adair’s model to aid design and delivery; there is no point trying to solve organisational issues if there is still dysfunction within the team and the individuals are not truly committed. We need to start with understanding  “True Self” of the individuals within the “Top Team”, then align to create the “Collective Brilliance” that we apply to tackle the big issues and the major strategic decisions.

Anyone can force compliance, but that is hugely inefficient and ineffective. Sustainable high performance and strong personal & organisational resilience comes through gaining commitment. That is the aim of all “Top Team Facilitation”


True Self

Self worth

Our values, energies and “ego” are set in the first 4 years and refined for the next 4. From 8 we realise we are being judged and no longer respond true to ourselves. So we drift away from our “true self” absorbed within dominant cultures. We struggle to fulfil “Self-Worth” and find ourselves in “inner conflict” impacting our ability to relate with others. We need to create a “Conscious Compromise” through “Self Awareness” for effective relationships and leadership to develop. All the CLA interactions work to that end through use of powerful metaphor and experience.

Aligning Personal Purpose & Values

Personal Values

If you can map your “Purpose” and/or “Standards” within or through an organisation’s Purpose and Standards, you will be able to emotionally commit to that organisation”. If you know you are “outside” you will, at best, comply, and, if you are not aware of either yourself or the organisation, then compliance is the only outcome. To gain “Organisational Commitment”, the organisation must be able to articulate itself “emotionally” through “purpose” and “values”, and each individual must be given the opportunity to map their “true self” into those.

But I am too busy!


A disempowered or disengaged team will be “compliant” and will need more and more management effort and supervision; you will become increasingly busy standing still! An “early investment” to gain “commitment” gives a healthy “return” in effort, initiative and productivity. Leadership is having the “courage” to prioritise this time to gain commitment. Break away from just working hard; work smart! Have the courage to “Stop before you start”. Prioritise the time to gain commitment.

Understandable, Memorable & Useable – the “UMU” Principle

We always ask to be measured on being Understandable, Memorable & Useable – UMU
Understandable: No management speak, no psychobabble! Everything we do at the CLA is designed to be understandable first.
Memorable: We learn through creating links and through stories – there is good reason why we use parables and fables. Ancient wisdoms were always passed on to new generations through “story telling”. Telling people what they should or should not do tends to lead to “compliance”. Share and inspire through an authentic story and we start to gain “commitment”.
Useable: We must be able to apply the learnings on a daily basis. It is all about creating those life changing “Aha” moments as people self discover the links and applications of the theory and the story. Each CLA programme is designed to deliver a higly pragmatic understanding that can be applied on day 1, day 101, 201 and on.



Manley Talks Ltd


Tel: +44 (0) 7958 654 776