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Q&A: An Interview with Michael Fox

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Michael Fox1. Describe your personality.

I am a fairly calm person and am interested in the world around me (in organizations, politics, the arts) as well as what is happening on the inside for me. I enjoy being with people and working on projects with others, particularly if I think that the project is inherently worthwhile. In recent years I have been one of the tutors for the Living Philosophy course that Integral Institute Australasia runs and I have enjoyed teaching and sharing with others about living more in the moment and letting go of the endless chatter that so easily fills my mind and that of others.

2. What are your strengths as a Consultant?

In recent years I have spent much of my work as a consultant undertaking surveys with quite a variety of organisations. My strengths as a consultant in this arena include being able to structure surveys so that they meet the needs of the specific organization and to work with my organisational contacts to ensure that the process goes smoothly. I particularly enjoy working with management groups in helping them to understand the feedback that they are receiving from their employees and to find creative ways of responding to the issues that the survey results raise. I find that I can often facilitate productive discussions on sensitive issues without people taking offense.

3. What’s your most memorable workshop you’ve conducted and why?

One of the workshops that I facilitated this year sticks in my mind because of the way in which the group of managers and coordinators grappled with the organisational survey data that I presented to them and really came to see some of the issues in a good deal of depth. Not only did they come to understand what was going on in the organisation but they also saw clearly some of the connections between these issues. When it came to generating appropriate action plans, their level of understanding of the organisational culture that flowed from the process made it relatively easy for them to be focused and creative in responding to the issues that they were trying to address.

4. Where do you see Integral Development in 5 years time?

I see Integral Development in a really exciting space in five years time. Not only will it have further developed its technologies and instruments that it uses in leadership and organizational development but its group of consultants, coaches and staff will have grown in number and capacity to support one another in being integral human beings who provide exceptional service and support to individuals and organizations. It will also have taken further major steps to operate in a sustainable way and to facilitate this movement in other organizations within Australia and overseas.

5. What are your thoughts on Leadership for the future?

In my view leadership for the future has to tackle issues which are complex and long-term in a world which is often fixated on short-term results. The sort of leadership that can take people where they are but help them see that we are all in this together and that we all need to contribute in ways appropriate to us in addressing the big issues of our day is going to be essential if we are going to overcome the inertia and cynicism that often surrounds these matters.

6. If you could invite 5 people to dinner, who would they be?

Having recently read Dreams from my Father I would find it fascinating to have Barack and Michelle Obama to dinner. I would also invite Geraldine Doogue and Phillip Adams as they both demonstrate interesting perspectives on life and a very broad awareness of what is happening around the world. I would invite my wife, Anne, to share in this experience too.

7. Who is Leader that inspires you and why?

Ray Anderson, the Chairperson of the carpet company, Interface Flor, is a leader who inspires me. I first came upon Ray when I was teaching a unit in Organisational Structure and Design for the Business School at UWA. What struck me about him and his story was the way in which he went through a conversion experience in relation to the unsustainability of his own business and then set about pursuing a 25 year goal to climb Mount Sustainability. In the process he has brought his own staff with him on that journey and inspired many other leaders and organizations to take similar steps and to fashion a whole new industrial revolution.

8. If you were stranded on a desert island, what book and 2 items would you like with you?

At the moment, I would like to have Otto Scharmer’s book, Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges and I would also like to have my iphone loaded up with some good music, videos and podcasts along with a solar charger so that I could keep using it.

Michael Fox

Michael brings to the consultant role a blend of experience in the corporate, not-for-profit and consultancy arenas. His corporate experience leads him to be attuned to the importance of strategy with its operational, commercial, and cultural dimensions, while his not-for-profit experience makes him very aware of the community service dimension of organisations.

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