I offer workshops, training and coaching
They’re about recovering vision

We live in a pessimistic era

I help organisations, agencies, teams and individuals recover a sense of optimism and vision in their work, by focusing on ways to make it more human. Through a variety of formats, from awaydays to webinars, I help to introduce new perspectives, knowledge and skills. These are focused on creating more satisfying outcomes for audiences, clients and ourselves. They fall under seven themes:

Rebuilding trust

In 2015 the Edelman Trust Barometer noted that there had been ‘a global decline in trust over the last year, and the number of countries with trusted institutions has fallen to an all-time low among the informed public’. In the wake of scandals that have affected every sector, trust in organisations, leaders and media has been shaken.

The collapse of trust has such dire consequences that restoring it must be an urgent priority. However many organisations don’t know how to go about it. I draw on the science of trust to help you build trusted brands.

Why integrity matters

The great twentieth-century psychologist Carl Rogers believed we have only one basic motive: the desire to ‘self-actualise’. By this he meant the wish to realise our potential and achieve the highest level of ‘human-beingness’ we can. But this requires integrity: how we act, and what we say, has to reflect who we really are.

Modern branding has increasingly dissociated image from reality, even replacing it with a fantasy image. However, inauthentic communications make for unsatisfying and unsustainable relationships. I explain the basis of congruent branding, and show how to create engaging brands whose image reflects reality.

Across a crowded room

All our forms of communication are rooted in the evolutionary past. As Professor Robin Dunbar has argued, language itself likely developed from primate grooming behaviours. So while marketing uses complex theoretical models, its methods are basically simple. We are doing what human beings have always done when flirting.

I will take you through what has been discovered about the science of love and betrayal, showing how this knowledge applies to many of our modern communication activities, and how it can help us humanise as well as enhance what we do.

Beyond cultural boundaries

There are significant differences in the ways people communicate around the world, and globalisation has done little to bring us together in this respect. Most of these differences reflect unconscious cultural norms. So if a brand is to successfully span cultures, it needs to anticipate these differences.

In this programme I explore the principal ways cultures differ in their approach to communication. We will also look at how to accommodate different approaches while preserving the coherence of the brand.

New ways of seeing

We try to define brands – to fix them as a set of static principles – and then ask people to give them life. But, as organisations change, this causes their brands to lurch forward in a series of jolts, from one redefinition to another. What, though, if we looked at brands not as finished thinking but as an evolving intent?

This is the most disruptive of the programmes I offer, because how we see changes everything. Using insights from the natural world, the cognitive sciences and phenomenology, I encourage participants to discover new, dynamic ways of seeing. This has profound implications for how we build brands.

Lessons from the New Politics

In the last few months new forms of political discourse have emerged, overturning much we thought we knew about communication. They speak to those who are disillusioned with institutions, searching for glimmers of integrity and anxious for change. And they have important lessons for those of us engaged in branding.

In this programme I look at how the New Politics works, what makes it different from previous forms of political and other communication, and what we can learn from it. We’ll explore what audiences are looking for, and why messages and messengers resonates with them.

Out of the shadows

We find contradictions uncomfortable and instinctively try to resolve them. But, like the poles of a battery, they provide the energy system of an organisation. The contradictory demands of shareholders and customers, management and labour, quality and price, etc. constantly push organisations to find new compromises.

If we can find the contradictions of an organisation, we have the key to its vitality. And the greatest contradiction is between what it values and what it shuns – what becomes part of its ‘shadow’. However the shadow often contains its greatest strengths, inverted and seen as negatives. I’ll show you how to work with them.

“I searched for words to describe how human beings would have to feel about themselves in order to live optimally, to feel at home in their own skins and represent themselves accurately to others. I thought of the Yequana people, and arrived at the words worthy and welcome. People need to feel worthy and welcome, not bent out of shape, angry, or apologetic about their existence.”

Jean Liedloff

Focused on outcomes

Unsure what this kind of intervention could do for your business? All the programmes I offer are focused on practical, realistic, achievable outcomes. They will increase the value and distinctiveness of your offer, improve productivity, increase client satisfaction and make your people happier, too. But don’t take my word for it! Let me come in to do a taster session for you and your colleagues, without any obligation, so that you can get a sense of what I do and what you’ll get from it.

Get in touch

If you would be interested in finding out more about the programmes I offer, drop me a line. I’m based in East Dulwich, in South East London, so I can easily come to meet you in the Greater London area.

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© 2018 James Souttar