Chris Nichols

BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, DMS, FCMI, FRSA

Chris Nichols is a member of faculty at Ashridge, where he is co-director of the Ashridge Masters in Sustainability and Responsibility programme and deputy director of The Leadership Experience. Chris specialises in creative approaches to strategic leadership. His consulting work focuses on boardroom facilitation and top team coaching, and on large scale collaborative engagement within and across organisations to create sustainable strategic action.

His personal research interests lie in the area where strategy and leadership and creativity meet. He is a co-founder of www.groundedcreativity.com and www.artfulorganisation.org, both of which are initiatives to help people see organisational issues in new ways and thereby develop innovative solutions and leadership approaches.

Chris has worked in in the UK and internationally in a wide range of industries including pharmaceuticals and health, engineering and construction, professional services, banking and finance, energy and utilities and telecoms.

Chris is also an Ashridge accredited coach.

Chris Nichols

Publications

Enjoying the craft of artful knowing in leadership and organisation development

Nichols, C. (2015) 'Enjoying the craft of artful knowing in leadership and organisation development'. In Hind, P. (Ed) Management Development that Works, Libri Publishing Ltd.

The Three Lenses: The craft of leading complexity

Nicholls, C. (2014) 'The Three Lenses: The craft of leading complexity', 360 - The Ashridge Journal

Engage - the secret to strategy sucess

Hardman, P. & Nichols, C. (2012) Engage - the secret to strategy success, Business Matters, 28 September

Engage - the secret to strategy success

'Engagement' is the new buzzword: employee engagement, community engagement, stakeholder engagement. But what does engagement mean in relation to strategy, and is it more than just a fad and fashion? Is there really something important here? Hardman, P. & Nichols, C. (2011) Engage - the secret to strategy success, HR Magazine Most Influential, September, www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk.
http://www.hrmostinfluential.co.uk/research/engage--the-secret-to-strategy-success

Hardman, P. & Nichols, C. (2011) Engage - the secret to strategy success, HR Magazine Most Influential, September

Engagement: What it's all about

'Engagement' is the new Buzzword: employee engagement, community engagement, stakeholder engagement. But what does engagement mean in relation to strategy, and is it more than just a fad and fashion? Is there really something important here?

Hardman, P. & Nichols, C. (2011) Engagement: What it's all about, in Whitehead, J. (ed.) , What you need to know about strategy, Capstone, Chapter 8, April ISBN978 0 857 08101 8

How To Look Deeper

Nichols, C. (2010) How To Look Deeper, Converse, Issue 7, pp. 37 - 39

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Keynote speaker

Nichols, C. (2010) Keynote speaker, Corporate Governance, Innovation, Social and Environmental Responsibility Conference, University of Lisbon, September

Standing Gently: How might organisations and Earth be at peace?

Nichols, C. (2010) Standing Gently: How might organisations and Earth be at peace?, Ecopsychology Conference, Poster presentation, Psychosynthesis and Education Trust, London

Fit for Purpose: Remaking our sense of 'Strategy in Business'

Nichols, C. (2010) Fit for Purpose: Remaking our sense of 'Strategy in Business', Thoughts on Sustainability - Principles into Practice, pp. 51 - 58

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Stepping lightly into strategic collaboration

In this article, Philippa Hardman and Chris Nichols, co-leaders of the Ashridge Consulting Strategy Engagement Practice, talk about how they supported the leadership of global healthcare charity The Cochrane Collaboration, to engage over two thousand people in a conversation about choices for the future of the organisation.

Hardman, P. & Nichols, C. (2009) Stepping lightly into strategic collaboration, Converse, Issue 6, pp. 31 - 33, April

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An award-winning partnership

The overall learning process for Lovells' population of Senior Associate lawyers has been acclaimed for its innovation and impact by participants and observers alike. It won The Lawyer HR Award 2009 for Innovation in Talent Management, and was finalist in two others: the 2008 Managing Partners Forum awards, where it received second place for innovation; and the Financial Times Innovative Lawyer awards 2008, where it was highly commended by the judges.

Nichols, C. & Jones, A. (2009) An award-winning partnership, Converse, Issue 6, pp. 20 - 22, April

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Surviving turbulence: the creative brilliance of crowds

In harsh economic times, according to business mythology, senior leaders need to know the right path; to show the steady hand of experience. They need to get back to basics. Nothing, in our view, could be further from the truth. The urge to run for the seclusion of the boardroom is dangerous. Something far more demanding is called for. In our experience, fully engaged participation offers the most potent way to build on the collective intelligence and insight of all your staff whilst at the same time securing the ownership you need to allow difficult decisions to be made and implemented effectively.

Nichols, C. & Hardman, P. (2009) Surviving turbulence: the creative brilliance of crowds, Converse, Issue 6, pp. 12 - 13, April

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Forget 'buy-in' - try engaged participation

In this article, based on 20 years of consulting in over 40 countries, Chris Nichols argues that to be successful, organisations need less buying-in to top down strategy and more genuine strategic participation in day to day activities. This has implications for the development of widely held strategic capability in our teams. Learning the strategy toolkit is not enough.

Nichols, C. (2008) Forget 'buy-in' - try engaged participation, 360° The Ashridge Journal, Spring, pp. 35 - 38

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Starting a Participative Strategic Conversation at Markel International

Markel International is the UK-based franchise of Markel Corporation, a global insurer headquartered in Virginia. Following two years of tight post-acquisition commercial progress, the management team wanted to engage as far as possible the imagination and strategic capabilities of all 400 members of the UK firm in the next stage of the shaping of their shared future. Ashridge Consulting started to work with Markel International to support an organisation-wide strategic conversation. This is still work in progress, but we would like to tell the story of the thinking and preparation that went into embarking on this large scale conversation - and share some of our mutual learning from that process.

Nichols, C. & Mookherjee, D. (2007) Starting a Participative Strategic Conversation at Markel International, Converse, Issue 5, pp,.14 - 17

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Strategy as relationship: the four sided triangle

Chris Nichols looks at some of the terms in which strategy is usually discussed, and finds the consequences disturbing. What happens if we just look at strategyas relationships, stripping out the usual imagery? Could the answer change both the focus and practice of strategy?

Nichols, C. (2006) Strategy as relationship: The four sided triangle, 360° The Ashridge Journal, Autumn, pp. 38 - 42

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Facilitating Good Strategic Conversations

In this article, Chris draws on his strategic facilitation experience to offer a few - hopefully practical - pointers.

Nicholls, C. (2006) Facilitating good Strategic Conversations, Converse, pp.16 - 18, April

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Six Shadows

Too many organisations find unleashing their creative forces difficult. Chris Nichols and Chris West run Ashridge’s Innovation and Intrapreneurship workshops.They believe that companies really can learn better ways to generate ideas that go on to work in practice.

Nichols, C. & West, C. (2004) Six Shadows, Innovations, pp 46-52.

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Honest Leadership: The Death of Myth Making

In uncertain times, honest self-awareness and purposeful leadership matter more than ever. Chris Nichols and Julie Gray explain the Ashridge approach to helping senior leaders become the very best they can be.

Nichols, C. & Gray, J. (2003) Honest Leadership: The Death of Myth Making, Innovations, pp 10-12.

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Strategy - A Matter of Trust

Nichols, C. (2002) Strategy - A Matter of Trust, Communique, Summer, P. 2

Don't Worry - It's Just Your Business

In an uncertain world risk has never been more prevalent nor so misunderstood. Chris Nichols negotiates a route through the mire of theory and indifference in search of a realistic contemporary approach to risk management.

Nichols, C. (2001) Don't Worry - It's Just Your Business, Directions - The Ashridge Journal, pp. 4 - 10, Winter

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