Forthcoming Courses

Thinking Systemically

A 2-day workshop to explore underlying human dynamics in organisations, and their impact on organisational behaviour.

Wednesday 16 – Thursday 17 January 2008
9.30 am – 4.30 pm

The Gillis Centre, Whitehouse Loan, Edinburgh

Organisations, like people, are complex bodies with an active inner life. When inner and outer are aligned, the organisation, like an individual, works and lives well, able to adapt and deal effectively with whatever comes along. Often, however, a gap appears: organisations may experience a recurring problem for years; or find that an ostensibly perfectly good change is greeted with reluctance, resentment or opposition. In these circumstances, managers, leaders and organisational developers may well find themselves at a loss to know what to do.

It can be a surprise, and a relief, to recognise how the behaviours and patterns you meet at a surface level in your organisation – whether with individuals or teams, or inbuilt into the organisation’s codes of operating – are driven by powerful feelings, experiences and desires lurking well below the conscious level. The very nature of an organisation’s work, the people who use its services, government, regulators and the public at large all affect organisations deeply. Many perplexing or seemingly intractable problems can be seen in a wholly new way once these dynamics are fully recognised, offering a real possibility of energy and change.

Thinking Systemically will help you to explore consciously some of the unconscious influences on and in your organisation. Over the two days, we will create space for you to bring alive your unconscious knowledge of your organisation, find new ways of understanding the meaning of what goes on, and evaluate differently actions that could be taken.

We will give particular attention to the way your organisation’s primary task or client group impacts on you and your staff; thus helping you rethink what management and organisational practice can best take account of this.

The workshop will cater for about 10-14 participants. It will comprise a mixture of small group work exploring particular themes; teaching and discussion. It will also offer some participants the chance to explore a particular issue they face in their organisation, using the resource of the whole group as a system in itself.

Applicants should indicate in their booking form whether they wish to present an issue in the whole group.

Who is the workshop for?

It is for a wide range of key people in organisations – leaders, managers, organisational developers, specialist staff and consultants – who wish to widen their understanding of what is influencing their organisation, or ones they work with, and be able to make more fully informed decisions.

The Venue

The Gillis Centre forms part of a teaching and retreat centre about a mile south west of the heart of Edinburgh. Set in attractive grounds and recently refurbished, it offers good quality, reasonably priced accommodation, and a welcoming atmosphere. There is plenty parking available, as well as direct bus routes from the City Centre.


Voluntary Organisations: £360

Public/private sector organisations: £450

Costs include lunch, teas and coffees.

Reductions: If two or more people book from the same organisation, there will be a £25 reduction per person.

Overnight residential accommodation is available at the Gillis Centre starting from £35. Please contact the Centre direct, on 0131 623 8933, email:

Administrative enquiries and bookings should be sent FAO:

Anne Douglas, 16/3 Craigmount Hill, Edinburgh EH4 8HW