About Richard Seel
I am principal of New Paradigm Consulting and have experience as an organisation consultant across a wide range of sectors, both commercial and not-for-profit. Organisations I have worked with include The Post Office, Suffolk County Council, Dublin City Council, BP/Mobil, Shell, Addenbrookes Hospital, Nuffield Health Care, Littlewoods, Siemens Business Services, Higher Education Academy, London South Bank University, BBC, Broadway (Housing Services Agency), Metropolitan Housing Trust, Watford Primary Care Group, Tearfund, Thamesreach, and Marriage Care.
Before becoming an independent consultant I spent my working life in the BBC. Much of this was as a programme maker; the last ten years were spent in management and internal consultancy. I find that all of this is useful in my current work, especially much that I learned about editing films for television!
In 1999 I achieved distinction in the MSc in Organisation Consulting from Ashridge. My early studies were in physics and maths and I have subsequently been interested in a wide range of fields from computing to anthropology. For many years I was a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and an Associate of the Institute of Management.
I am an ordained minister in the Church of England and have also been a freelance writer and magazine editor and appeared on television and radio frequently. I've written on a range of subjects, from parenting to counselling and from computing to organisation development. Examples can be found at Articles etc.
My approach to work
My approach to consulting has been profoundly affected by a number of influences. My Christian faith offers a number of unique insights into organisations and change: the importance of empowering leadership, the need to value each individual and the crucial effect of the quality of relationships in organisations. All of this has led me to understand the importance of taking an organic approach to organisational change and development.
I am excited by the potential offered by complexity theory, opening the possibility of new ways of engaging with organisations. It becomes clearer why we cannot 'force' change; why large-scale change programmes are so often doomed to failure, and why the only way to create lasting change is to create opportunities to have new conversations and change the relationships in the system. This cannot be done by management directive but only by genuine collaboration and inquiry.
Focusing on structures, processes and procedures is very valuable but will not, in itself, lead to real change. That requires more subtle interventions. I try to work with a client organisation, offering both challenge and support. My aim is to be similar enough to be listened to, different enough to be heard.
I do not bring pre-defined models or tools - indeed, these belong to the mechanical approach to organisations, not the organic. Instead I try to tailor approaches to individual situations. It is true that some approaches seem more appropriate than others; for instance, I am currently experimenting with an approach which I call emergent inquiry. Nevertheless I try never to impose an approach but rather to let it emerge from the interactions I have with a client organisation. This may be frustrating for the client who wants 'answers' and certainty but I believe that it will serve their needs better in the long term.
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ach but rather to let it emerge from the interactions I have with a client organisation. This may be frustrating for the client who wants 'answers' and certainty but I believe that it will serve their needs better in the long term.