Colin Williams


Colin Williams is Adjunct Director of Open Programmes at Ashridge. He also works as a programme director with customised executive development clients. His work focuses on leadership development, organisational change and multi-cultural working.  He has been involved in a number of major research projects and publishes extensively.  

Colin began his career in the hotel industry with spells in Germany and the Middle East before spending eight years in France in a variety of management positions. With over ten years’ international experience managing operations in the service sector, Colin completed an MBA at Cass Business School, City University London.

He works in English and French across Europe, North America and a number of Asian countries with multi-national companies and public sector organisations. Current and recent client work involves Daimler, Vorwerk, Volkswagen, Electrolux and the British Civil Service.

Colin Williams


Is Leadership Changing

Williams, C., Reitz, M., & Higgins, J. (2013). Is Leadership Changing? 360 - The  Ashridge Journal, 35-36

Living Leadership Part 2

Binney, G., Wilke, G., and Williams, C. (2009) Living Leadership: A practical guide for ordinary heroes, 2nd Edition, London: Pearson Financial Times

It’s All Me, Me, Me

Binney, G., Wilke, G. & Williams, C. (2005) It’s All Me, Me, Me, Quality World, April

Leaders in Transition: Managing Four Key Tensions

Williams, C., Binney, G. & Wilke, G. (2004) Leaders in Transition: Managing Four Key Tensions, European Business Forum, January

We Don’t Need Another Hero

Williams, C., Binney, G. & Wilke, G. (2004) We Don’t Need Another Hero, Edge, Institute of Management magazine, February

Connect Call

The importance of team work in newly appointed leaders is advocated. It is suggested that leaders in transition need to examine their own needs if they are to be effective.

Binney, G., Wilke, G. & Williams, C. (2004) Connect Call, People Management, 29 January

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Living Leadership - A Practical Guide for Ordinary Heroes

Built on a unique four-year experiment working alongside real leaders in real businesses, 'Living Leadership' explodes the myth of the charismatic, transformational leader, to show that real progress comes from the dramatically ordinary stuff of leadership. From building relationships, not starting revolutions; by working with the grain of your organisation, not against it; and in knowing your limitations as much as pushing every boundary. The authors have followed business leaders (chief executives or business unit heads) in leading European companies for four years. They discovered the challenges they really faced, how they really spent their time and how they really made an impact. Day by day. They saw these leaders holding key discussions with their teams, formulating strategies, plans and visions, observing their behaviours, ambitions and frustrations. What emerged was a powerful set of principles and proven advice for managers everywhere who want to develop their leadership skills. 'Living Leadership' will help you to discover within yourself the means to make real connections with people and make things happen in the real world.

Binney, G., Wilke, G. & Williams, C. (2004) Living Leadership - A Practical Guide for Ordinary Heroes, Financial Times, Prentice Hall

Leaders in Transition: The Dramas of Ordinary Heroes

An international four year research study backed by Ashridge and Groupe HEC in France explodes many of the myths that surround modern management thinking about what makes new leaders successful. Using an innovative “fly on the wall” research method, a research team lived alongside leaders - and the people around them – in a range of organisations across Europe, for periods of up to two years. The researchers’ discoveries will be of keen interest to leaders and their colleagues as well as for those who recruit and develop new leaders.

Binney, G., Williams, C. & Wilke, G. (2003) Leaders In Transition: The Dramas of Ordinary Heroes, Ashridge Report

Creating Europeans

Williams, C. Forthomme, P. & Volpi, C. (1997) Creating Europeans, Directions - The Ashridge Journal

Achieving Creative Advantage

Williams, C. & Knight, A. (1996) Achieving Creative Advantage, Directions - The Ashridge Journal

Leaning Into The Future - Changing The Way People Change Organisations

Binney G. & Williams, C. (1996) Leaning Into The Future - Changing The Way People Change Organisations, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London

Making Quality Work - Lessons from Europe’s Leading Companies

Binney G. & Williams, C. (1992) Making Quality Work - Lessons from Europe’s Leading Companies, the result of a pan European study of the application of Quality Management principles, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit