An invitation to the RedQuadrant tool shed

Originally published on Medium: Feb 28 · 5 min read

Over more than twenty years of public service transformation, 15 as a consultant, and ten years of running RedQuadrant as a network consultancy, I have developed a rich multi-methodology approach which is highly applicable cross-sector for anyone who wants to transform organisations and their results.

This been shared in several iterations over time, from ‘seven ways to save and improve’ to the 24-module blended learning programme ‘Leading Transformation’ — and is in a continual process of improvement and development.

The offer

I’m offering small group cohorts the opportunity to join together and share in multiple learning mechanisms, over a period of time, to become more effective at what they do by having access to a larger and more integrated tool shed and peer and coaching support. This is for change-makers, consultants, facilitators, ‘systems changers’ all over the world.

The offer, for £395/month, includes:

  • Small facilitated co-coaching cohorts / circles of four to six people, mixed internationally, by sector, and by propensity, with Managing partner Benjamin Taylor by Zoom, twice a month — 90 minutes each
  • Access to the ‘tool shed’ on Google Drive and Trello — the large unruly list of diagrams/slides of all the current models, multimethodology but integrated (see below) — a goal is to develop your sensemaking around all the approaches/methods/tools/perspectives, with support
  • Access to the RedQuadrant Leading Transformation programme (two modules a month — see below)
  • Direct mentoring and support ‘on pull’ — ‘shadow consulting’ to support consultancy engagements and approaches
  • Contribute your own methods, case studies, learning (as we develop this idea)
  • Community of practice support with cohort and coach (mailing lists, discussion fora, WhatsApp etc depending on group preferences)

To be part of the RedQuadrant tool shed or hear more about it, email me —

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The tool shed in physical form at RedQuadrant HQ

Additional information:

The Leading Transformation programme is a blended learning course about delivering transformational change — — this is a based 24-module ‘mini MBA’.

The requirement to participate is the two 90-minute zoom calls a month and to look into two of the Leading Transformation modules as much as you would like to each month. We aim for everyone to look through two modules each month. Each module contains a roughly one-hour slide lecture, also downloadable as audio, pdf, transcripts, plus there are additional documents and materials and links to follow up further if interested.

The motto of the tool shed is no exams, no homework! — you study at your own pace, the purpose is to apply the learning in your context, and pull on support from me and your cohort.

Why ‘tool shed’?

The RedQuadrant way is a mix of curated content, things inspired by other ideas, and original work. We call it a tool shed because, though generally the concept of ‘tools’ is not an attractive one (bringing to mind the famous hammer-owner who sees the world as primarily nail-based), the point is to be able to select the right approach, method, model or practice to advance the work in the context at any given time. I’ll help you to get into a dialogue with your tool-shed! The idea is not to have a bunch of independent tools or a formula for application, but to have requisite variety in your practice to meet the near-infinite variety of client needs, with a focus on what can cut through to real transformation

This is, therefore, explicitly a meta-contextual approach: a better response to neat-and-complete, conceptually closed consulting models, and one that explicitly sees the multiple dimensions of variation in the client/consultant situation — different locuses of work, different motivators of change. At a basic level, one example of this is that there are lots of amazing leadership consultants — and lots of amazing operational consultants. But few who can bridge and work across the huge divide between what is seen as ‘leadership’ and what is seen as ‘operations’. There are many other examples of where we seek to bridge divides, connect different concepts and ‘worlds’, and use multiple frames, approaches, and perspectives. The RedQuadrant ‘five worlds’ model, which encourages thinking about the different ‘worlds’ of customer / citizen, service, management / leadership, and the world of learning and change — and the communications and connections between them — is one example.

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The RedQuadrant Five Worlds model

Key influences and sources to be found in the tool shed

  • Meta-contextuality
  • The Viable Systems Model
  • Barry Oshry’s Organic Systems Framework
  • Systems leadership theory (along the lines of Jacques and Macdonald et al)
  • Systems, cybernetics, and complexity in general
  • OD, interpersonal, team methods, self-as-instrument, and personal and adult development
  • Outside-in, customer centred, process-as-system approaches (from Deming, Joiner, lean, etc)
  • Iterative service design (agile with mostly a small ‘a’)
  • ‘Flawful consulting’ and strengths-based and community-led approaches (after Peter Block)

Who am I to lead this work?

That’s a question I’m busy asking myself. I don’t claim to be special (see my ‘quadrants of thinking threats’ at for the attempt to steer between simplification and exclusivity, ‘power to’ and ‘power over’). What I do have is a real passion for both consultancy and the thinking approaches behind it, massive enthusiasm for sharing, and many years’ of experience of trying to make this really, really hard thing work. And I’m keen to share — to develop a way this can be communicated and branded effectively across the world, to create a sustainable income source based on doing what I’m passionate about, and a learning community which adds value to all participants and to the world.

You can see a little more about me at and curated systems thinking materials at