• John Baker
    As founding partner of shift consulting, John has a proven history of helping to align individual efforts with organizational systems to increase both personal fulfillment and organizational performance.

30 Years of Developing People Teams & Organizations

In our times work is often seen only as a source of livelihood or at worst, a necessary evil sandwiched between weekends, while possibilities for work as a source of fulfillment are quietly dismissed.
At shift consulting, we have a successful track record of helping individuals, teams and organizations shift to an orientation in which work can be embraced as a developmental medium. This new paradigm is capable of unleashing the full potential of all, while serving as a source of connection, accomplishment, contribution and personal fulfillment.
  • The Basics

    From experience and conscious intention a few fundamental premises and recurring themes are apparent that inform and guide our work with clients.

    All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they get.

    Your organization's results are the visible bottom line of all the conscious and unconscious design choices that have been exercised. To change the results you must change the design. We assist you in developing a greater range of choices in designing your organization for continuous learning and development.

    All organizational units are simultaneously wholes and parts.

    Individuals, work groups, departments, divisions and organizations are whole/parts or holons. We are never one or the other, we are both. The dynamic tension of fulfilling our responsibilities as wholes and parts is fundamental to our existence.  

    We are prisoners of structures of which we are unaware.

    It is not the structures we can see which imprison us but the structures we can’t see. Unearthing these structures requires a different way of thinking about your organization. Isolated problem solving has been the predominant tool in North American business for decades. But in complex systems comprised of nested holons, cause and effect are more dynamic; often far removed in time and place. Systems thinking reveals the interconnectedness of structures blocking personal, group, and organizational performance. As you develop a more systemic and holistic understanding of your organization you reveal issues which had been previously invisible.

    The fundamental learning unit of the modern organization is the team.

    In today's business environment major decisions are seldom made or carried out by a single individual. They are either made in a group, or translated into group action. Individual learning, no matter how wonderful it is or how great it makes us feel, is often irrelevant to organizational development. Individuals are forever learning and yet there is seldom any organizational learning. When teams learn, they can become a model for learning throughout the organization. When teams learn the organization learns.

    To understand whole systems is to understand ourselves.

    All systems, as large or as complex as they may be, follow relatively few “rules”. As you master the systemic behaviour of your team and your organization, you gain insight into the systemic behaviour of your life. Think of nested tables - what we learn from the individual can be applied to the organization and what we learn about the organization can be applied to the individual.

    The medium for development, accomplishment and change is communication.

    Work unfolds as a series of "conversations," some more structured than others over time. When a conversation is missing or remains unfulfilled, organizational performance suffers.

    Development and change, whether it be social, organizational or personal, is fueled by the passion of inspiration and sobered by the truth of reality. A healthy dose of both is critical for true development to occur.