Richard is a thought leader who looks at organisational life through the lens of irony and absurdity. In this discussion with Simon, he shares his thoughts on the need to support those ironists who bring something special and vitally important to organisational life. He shares his research that revealed 4 types of ironist, the Apollonion ironist who sits like a God looking down, commenting from a distance, the Sarcastic ironist, who retreats to the sidelines to poke fun at the absurd enthusiasms of others, the Trickster ironist who intervenes with humour, wit and thought to make things happen and to reveal and bridge gaps, and the Wise ironist who pulls the strings from the background and predicts what will happen. These ironists and liminal thinkers can be either a force for dysfunction or for development. Richard believes it is our task to find these organisational people, and make the space to guide their work towards well-being and development. Enjoy the listen!
Richard’s work focuses on the dimensions of high performance during long-term organisational transformations, in which volatility, uncertainty complexity and ambiguity are inherent to the business environment. Described as “full of daring and imagination” and “touchstone for the future of management and organisation”, his research examines ways in which plural and diverse ideas emerge in individuals, teams and cultures; how criticality and creativity are communicated to more powerful others; and how you can develop the capacity for this across an organisation.