• Are you managing or leading?
    Have courage to lead.

30 Years of Developing People, Teams & Organizations

In late 1983 John Baker and Glenn McCullough launched a small consulting firm called Productive Communications.
Twenty seven years later and now called shift consulting, the firm has established a reputation for its innovative and highly integrative approach to developing people, teams and organizations. You can count on us to:
  • Reveal the leverage for accelerating performance improvement
  • Create co-ordinated action in and across teams and multi-stakeholder groups
  • Develop the capacity of the team and organization to creatively fulfill its core purpose and unique value contribution
With our operational focus, we can help you translate strategy into practice, ideas into reality and intention into performance. We embrace a vision of “responsible freedom” in which people, teams and organizations are freely and enthusiastically taking responsibility for the whole of which they are uniquely an autonomous part. This philosophy shapes our approach to developing people, teams and organizations.
  • Our Vision

    Responsibly Free & Freely Responsible
    We envision a world in which work is embraced as a developmental and conversational medium; unleashing the full potential of all and serving as a source of connection, innovation, accomplishment, contribution and personal fulfillment.
    People, teams and organizations are freely assuming responsibility for the whole of which they are uniquely and integrally an autonomous part.

    Together, we are responsibly free and freely responsible, in our work and in our lives. Together, we are changing the meaning of work.

  • John Baker

    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.

    Employing a communications based methodology, he illuminates the untapped power of conversation to reveal connection, inspire possibilities, coordinate action, honour and fulfill promises to generate meaningful accomplishment.

    John has helped his clients confront the changing social, economic and environmental realities facing us all. For nearly thirty years, John has been guiding developmental conversations in which people are thinking together to address questions that matter, revealing insights and generating compelling, practical responses that fulfill the integrity of the whole.

    Click to download John's resumé.

  • Kudos

    What our clients say...

    John has done a variety of organizational development consulting for my organization. Some of this work I have observed as the client and some I have experienced as a participant. In addition I have been associated with John in work done for a community organization, Leadership Vancouver.

    John’s particular talent from my perspective is his ability to get participants in his sessions to drill down to find the fundamental basis for their actions or desired state. This helps groups to sort out what is really important to them and thereby helps form a basis on which to build shared goals and on which to build an organization to achieve those goals.

    I have found that John’s style has universal appeal but is particularly effective with mid and senior level managers. John's store of interesting and varied life experiences add credibility and serve him well in illustrating points along the way.

    A very worthwhile skill that John exhibits is his ability to shift direction if necessary during his sessions to adapt to the needs and responses of each particular group of participants.

    Peter Judd
    Assistant City Engineer – Streets, City of Vancouver

    The late 90’s were turbulent times for both managers and employees in the forest industry. John Baker helped our sawmill to not only survive but to also actively thrive through the turbulence. John forced us to ask ourselves some very difficult questions. He helped us to develop creative solutions to our problems. John taught us about the reality of change, both personal and corporate, and then inspired us to develop methods and structures that gave us the tools to take advantage of the ongoing changes within our industry.

    All of our employees were involved in these processes. The union actively supported and participated in creating solutions to our many challenges. Our efficiencies improved, our profits increased, and our safety performance set new records for success.

    John is an inspirational dynamic facilitator. He effectively mixes learning, questioning, critiquing and humour, while assisting the team in achieving its goals.

    John McLeod
    ER Manager, Alberni Pacific Division, MacMillan Bloedel

    In my capacity as Manager of Human Resources and Vice President of Human Resources in both a small and large organization I have had the privilege of working with John in making significant achievements in shifting the culture of the organizations to a healthier and more productive place.  John works well with both management and employees in developing a more effective “conversation” within an organization. 

    My first experience was working with John as the external consultant on an initiative to move our typical hierarchical organization to a more inclusive and innovative work environment.  This strategic partnership had significant impact and John’s passion and skills were instrumental in the success of this initiative.  Besides the organizational impact, the personal and professional development I underwent working with John proved invaluable in my later career.

    Subsequently John worked with me as the external consultant in an initiative to improve union/management relations using safety as a common denominator.  John again demonstrated his passion and skill in developing a healthier and more productive “conversation” around safety, with ultimately a spill over into other union/management relations.

    If you are looking to challenge your organization to move to a more effective place then John has the skills, passion and honesty to add value and assist you on your journey.

    Derek Johnston
    HR Manager BC Assessment &, VP BC Ferry Corp., Victoria, BC

    John has delivered some major results for my team. We had one of our three crews laid off for 8 months due to economic issues. Bringing this crew back on was good news but we had heard how toxic some of the employees had become as part of the lay off. We scheduled John's Change and Communication workshop for three days with these employees before they went back to work and we experienced a major positive change in attitude. Employees had the ability to communicate better and to understand that there is more going on than at the surface level. It was nothing less than a breakthrough.

    Jason Kearns
    Unit Manager, Chemainus Sawmill, Weyerhaeuser Co. Ltd.

    I have had the pleasure of working with John Baker on several occasions now.  Originally he facilitated a community workshop that created the vision and mandate for Centennial Theatre.  We brought him back to North Vancouver to facilitate sessions for our Cultural Plan.  John asks the right questions in the planning stages so that we get the most from the facilitated session.  I value John’s ability to hear all perspectives and to keep the workshop flowing smoothly.  He also has a very realistic approach and focuses on what is possible.  Arts people aren’t always the easiest to work with and John has shown his abilities in facilitating groups with very diverse opinions.  I would bring John back again for future sessions and would recommend him to others.

    Margo Gram
    Cultural Services Coordinator, Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver

    At the end of the decade it was apparent that a huge shift in the way we manage safety would be required to get us out and away from a history of injuries, human suffering, and climbing WCB costs.  We started a safety initiative that would see a shift to eliminate recordable injuries in the BC Solid Wood Group.

    John Baker led a group of 17 union and management safety leaders and facilitated a process that was the foundation of the cultural change in safety for MB’s BC Solid Wood Group.

    John’s relentless energy to help this group discover for themselves what needed to be done never faltered.   John’s facilitating ability to work this group through all of their challenges and never allow any obstacle to stop them was the key.

    Terry Baker
    Safety Manager, Weyerhaeuser Co. Ltd.

    Over the past decade and more, John Baker has done an outstanding job of helping our company shed some old ways of thinking and build strong teams that place a high value on the best that everyone has to offer.  I have hired many consultants and facilitators over the years, but none who could be counted on so reliably to disrupt conventional thinking and stimulate people to think freshly about what they are out to accomplish and how they could work together more effectively to accomplish it.  John's enthusiasm, insight and perspective brings a breath of fresh air!

    Lorne Armstrong
    Director, Employee Relations, MacMillan Bloedel/Weyerhaeuser

    John Baker brings a wealth of experience, insight and understanding to his projects.  I am especially impressed by his genuine desire to connect at the deepest levels with the real issues.  John has a fine sense of humor, a generous measure of humility and obvious compassion, qualities that make him an outstanding asset in any situation.

    Trevor Oram
    Board Chair, Community Savings Credit Union
    Past President, BC Ferry & Marine Workers’ Union

    And comments from our workshops

    "John, you've done it again; thank you for bringing us together in a caring, understanding manner. Your creative, inspiring approach is so refreshing."

    "Thank you for another fun, inspiring and profound retreat. You bring awesome life and communication skills into a new light."