Glossary of Terms

360º Appraisal or feedback:

360-degree feedback is sometimes referred to as multi-rater appraisals, multi-source feedback or 360-degree profiling. It enables a person to receive feedback from a number of people around them: their staff (direct reports), their peers and those above them in hierarchy. Usually this is developmental feedback relating to behaviours, skills and competences.

Feedback can include ratings against questions or statements and can also include comments and suggestions. The purpose of the feedback is usually to help an individual determine areas they need to develop. In some organisations it is also used to determine annual salary increases as part of the performance appraisal process. The question of whether 360-degree feedback should be used to determine salary is the cause of much debate.

4E Model of Leadership:

Envision, Enable, Empower and Energise. Leadership has the same requirements, the world over and through time. A good leader must have a unique vision, make strategic choices, find the right tools and people to do the job and design and enable the organisation to make it happen.

Action Learning:

Action Learning involves a group of people (called an Action Learning Set) who work together and learn from each other and their projects. They meet regularly, working on real-life projects. Most importantly, they explicitly examine how they are learning and share the lessons each learns from doing the projects.

Appreciative Inquiry:

Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to organisational analysis and learning that is uniquely intended for discovering, understanding, and encouraging organisational change. The art of appreciation is the art of discovering and valuing those factors that give life to an organisation or group. The process involves interviewing and storytelling to draw the best of the past to set the stage for effective visualisation of what might be.

  • First we discover and value those factors that give life to an organisation or community;
  • Second, we envision what might be. Dream together based upon those life-giving factors;
  • Third, we engage in dialogue to help the individual appreciation become collective appreciation and design how we might achieve that dream;
  • Finally, we construct the future through innovation and action and commit to deliver those parts of the dream that we want to make real.

Appreciative Planning and Action, sometimes used instead of Appreciative Inquiry, see above.

Assessment Centres:

The term does not refer to a physical place, it describes an approach. This approach consists of exercises designed to assess personal characteristics. The individuals being assessed then have the results fed back to them. Originally this was in the context of a simple yes/no selection decision. This type of assessment centre was used to make a choice during recruitment and to test for competence.

There is a developmental aspect of assessment centres. They can be used to identify areas where development is desirable. Assessment centres involve the participants completing a range of exercises and role-plays that simulate the activities carried out in the target job. Various combinations of these exercises and other assessment methods like psychometric testing and interviews are used to assess particular competencies in individuals. The theory behind this is that if one wishes to predict future job performance then the best way of doing this is to get the individual to carry out a set of tasks which accurately sample those required in the job and are as similar to them as possible.

The fact that a set of exercises is used demonstrates one crucial characteristic of an assessment centre - it is behaviour that is being observed and measured. This represents a significant departure from many traditional selection approaches which rely on the observer or selector attempting to infer personal characteristics from behaviour based upon subjective judgement and usually precious little evidence.


a continuous, systematic process for evaluating products, services, and work processes of organisations that are recognised as representing the best practices for the purpose of organisational improvement.

Business Process Re-engineering (BPR):

Improving business processes is paramount for businesses to stay competitive in today's marketplace. Many companies began business process improvement with a continuous improvement model. This model attempts to understand and measure the current process, and make incremental performance improvements accordingly.

You begin by documenting what you do today, establish some way to measure the process based on what your customers want (see Metrics, below), do the process, measure the results, and then identify improvement opportunities based on the data you collected. You then implement process improvements, and measure the performance of the new process. Over time this loop repeats over and over again, and is called continuous process improvement. You might also hear it called business process improvement, functional process improvement, etc.

This method for improving business processes is effective for obtaining gradual, incremental improvement. However, over the last 10 years several factors have accelerated the need to improve business processes beyond this incremental change. New information and communication technology, the opening of world markets and increased free trade are rapidly bringing new capabilities to businesses, thereby raising the competitive bar and the need to improve business processes dramatically.

As a result, companies have sought out methods for faster business process improvement. They want breakthrough performance changes, not just incremental changes, and they want it now. Because the rate of change has increased for everyone, few businesses can afford a slow change process. One approach for rapid change and dramatic improvement that has emerged is Business Process Reengineering (BPR).

BPR relies on a different school of thought than continuous process improvement. In the extreme, reengineering assumes the current process is irrelevant - it doesn't work so one must start over. Such a clean slate perspective enables the designers of business processes to disassociate themselves from today's process, and focus on a new process.


Continuing Professional Development is a planned activity that is personal and professional. It concerns things you learn both inside and outside of work, either formally or informally. You record what you have learned demonstrating how you learned, evidence that you have reflected on the experience and that you have thought about where you go next. It can enhance your CV, ensure professional recognition, showcase your achievements and ensure greater job satisfaction.


In a recent Chartered Management Institute survey, 93% of those surveyed thought that coaching should be available to every employee, regardless of seniority. 80% of executives believe that they would benefit from more coaching at work. If you feel that you've lost focus in your life, try coaching.

Coaching takes a holistic approach, looking at your whole present life situation. It is a powerful alliance between yourself and your coach. Counselling and psychotherapy look to the past, while coaching looks to the future. Coaching assumes that the individual is healthy and resourceful and has their own answers. The coach is able to ask the questions that help their clients to find the best paths for themselves. A coach helps individuals find the life and work they want. A coach helps them to be the best they can be and to move towards balance and fulfilment in life. Coaching is not advice giving or therapy, nor whip wielding or cheerleading. The purpose of coaching is not to get you running ever faster on the hamster wheel of life, but to help you find your way out of that wheel and onto the path of your life's purpose.

Executive Coaching:

Coaching applied in businesses and organisations. As with coaching, it helps each client to identify what he or she wants from life and helps them to find the strategies and tactics to achieve them.

Facilitator/Facilitation: A facilitator is someone who helps a team or group of people to achieve their objectives and overcome obstacles and difficulties. It is not someone who is part of the group, and therefore frees up a chairman or team leader to participate in the working of the group. The facilitator is there to ensure that the group work is successful. A facilitator can provide the following for a group:

  • Focus, when the group loses its way
  • Making sure that everyone gets heard and participates
  • Regulating the order in the group
  • Dealing with problems in the group
  • Timekeeping
  • Providing feedback as to the process that is taking place
  • A facilitator must be neutral to the discussion.


There are many definitions of leadership - everyone seems to have their own. Our definition of Leadership is simple:

  • Doing the right things, always in service of others;
  • Taking responsibility and initiative;
  • Developing others to lead
  • Being self aware in order to manage one's self.

Life Coaching:

Life coaching is a special relationship between a professionally trained coach and a client. It deals with all areas of a person's life because issues in any one area can affect all the others. It is just another name for coaching, but applied to anyone, anywhere (as opposed to Executive Coaching, which is coaching in the workplace).


Mentoring has its origins in the concept of apprenticeship, when an older, more experienced person in the same job or business area passed on their knowledge of how a task is done and how to behave in the commercial world to a younger less experienced person.


Metrics is about measurement, and we know that what gets measured, gets done. We can manage and do something about those things that we can measure. We can measure things that are tangible, like percentage of waste, but we can also measure more intangible things, like customer satisfaction - what percentage of our customers are satisfied and how. We specialise in being able to design metrics for any system.

Multi-cultural or intercultural:

This concerns working across different cultures and languages. We have experience working not only across national cultures, but also between western and eastern cultures, between different organisation cultures (e.g. such as occurs during a merger situation) and between different functional cultures within an organisation (e.g. between engineering - Research and Development - and accounting).

Organisational Audit:

An organisational audit looks at the current state of your organisation and its culture. From an organisational audit you can diagnose any organisational problems and then evaluate them and decide what you want to change and use it as a starting point to measure that change. It can also be used to provide a benchmark (see benchmarking above).

Organisational Change:

Organisational Change (as opposed to Transformation) is an incremental improvement on existing organisational capabilities. This may be all you need. An organisational audit will make clear whether you need incremental change or transformational change.

OD or Organisational Development:

Work around how an organisation functions. It usually starts with an organisational audit to diagnose where the organisation culture actually is. This is compared with where the organisation wants to be, and steps are initiated to get there. This includes looking at the organisation structure, succession planning, staff development and so on.

Organisational Transformation:

Organisational Transformation is a one-time, discontinuous shift in an organisation's financial performance, industry benchmarks (cycle time, quality, transaction costs) and organisational climate.

Process Map/Process Mapping:

Process mapping is a way to visualise and document your functional activities and core processes. A process map defines a series of steps or events that take place over a specified period of time, which result in a defined activity or a task. A process always starts with a triggering event and flows to an end point. This trigger can be internal or external. It could be a customer placing an order or the decision to hire a new employee. Between the triggering event and the end point are a series of inputs and outputs, with a defined sequence and defined functional responsibilities. More often than not, these responsibilities are cross-functional in nature, meaning they cross the boundaries between departments or entities (sales, marketing, systems, customer service, customers, etc.).

Scenario Planning:

Scenario planning uses critical uncertainties and future trends to develop possible and plausible futures. An organisation can then test its strategy against the different futures to see how robust it is and whether it stands up to different futures. As Pierre Wack, one of the originators of Scenario Planning said,

'..Story telling is the best way to weave together analysis of the predetermined with imagination about the uncertain. Stories are the way to make the link between planning and dreaming.'

  • It creates a new shared vocabulary based on the names for the futures (as with 'Headless McChicken' and 'Secret Service')
  • It expands peoples' mental models and leads to better thinking about the future
  • It leads to a better interpretation of information about the world - people will look for - and recognise - the patterns uncovered by the future scenarios that have been developed
  • The different futures provide a 'wind tunnel' for decision making; it helps an organisation's decision making to be more robust


Solution Focused practice has its roots in the therapeutic approach devised by Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer at BFTC Milwaukee. The approach aims to discover "what works" in a given situation, simply and practically. The focus on solutions (not problems), the future (not the past) and on what's going well (rather than what's gone wrong) leads to a positive and pragmatic way to work with organisations and individuals. It is related to Appreciative Inquiry (above), but it initially approaches change from an individual rather than group focus.

Systems Thinking:

Traditional analysis focuses on the separating of individual pieces of what is being studied. Systems thinking focuses on how the thing being studied interacts with the other constituents of the system - a set of elements that interact to produce behaviour - of which it is a part. It works by expanding its view to take into account larger and larger numbers of interactions as an issue is being studied. The character of systems thinking makes it extremely effective on the most difficult types of problems to solve, those involving complex issues, those that depend a great deal on past interactions or the actions of others and those stemming from ineffective co-ordination among those involved.

Values in Leadership:

We believe that leadership is guided by a clear set of values and principals. Without alignment between a person's values and beliefs and what they are doing, they will not be able to lead.

Whole-System Change:

Organisational change using systems thinking (see above). The theory behind Whole-Systems Change is that changing any one part of a system will impact the other parts of the system and therefore the impact to other parts of a system must be taken into account. It is an extremely effective way to work towards organisational change.

Work Flow:

The automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one 'resource' (human or machine) to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules.