Skip Navigation | Using this site

Articles and Thought Leadership

Leadership, learning and change are inter-related themes. They combine to provide the personal development that we all need as we mature towards wholeness as human beings. The principle author is John Varney, architect, mountaineer, founder at High Trenhouse and lead facilitator of Centre for Management Creativity. For  more than 50 years John has been involved with personal development. Additionally he has worked with management teams for the last 30 years, as well as coaching many people one to one. Therefore he is well placed to raise issues and questions in this domain.

John says that the thinking of architects, including design principles and systems thinking, has stood him in good stead. Much of his understanding of personal development is based on Gurdjieff’s teachings which John studied under J. G. Bennett. Furthermore the early days at High Trenhouse gave him practical learning with client groups. Later influences include Edward de Bono, Robert Fritz, Charlie Krone, Lou Tice, as well as Eli Goldratt.

In these articles and thought pieces John shares his experience and reflections. Further articles can be found at

Read these short pieces as a way to stimulate your own thinking. Don’t accept them as being in some way ‘the truth’. Argue with them, as well as reflect on them. Let them help you discover more of what is true for you.

Respond! Start a conversation. We would be glad to hear more of your comments.


After the Pandemic

The struggle for survival The 5 years following the coronavirus lockdown, the post pandemic period, will be characterised by struggles between powerful forces – a Clash of Titans. “Could the renewed shock of human vulnerability in the face … Continue reading

Life Cycles

Everything is connected Because everything is connected, its good to have more than one book on the go at any time. Reading two books and discovering connections between them can be rather revealing. In effect it sets up … Continue reading

mindfulness and wellness

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness and Wellness are becoming increasingly popular in society. Nowadays, many more people are interested in yoga, pilates, meditation, visualisation, etc for personal reasons. However, as these disciplines enter the mainstream, they are penetrating into the world of … Continue reading

Get off-site to think

Change is in the air! A new year and a new government with new initiatives!

Make the most of the opportunities for a fresh start. This is the time to get off-site to think, in order to approach this uncertain future with confidence. For this, High Trenhouse provides the ideal environment – comfortable, … Continue reading


Leadership as Meaning-Making – The Hero’s Journey

Leadership as Meaning-Making is the title of an article I wrote a decade ago, that Emerald posted on It seems to get a lot of hits. Who doesn’t want their life and work to be meaningful? Many … Continue reading


Workplace Trends

John Varney was invited by Logovisual to run a “Future Trends Wall” at the Workplace Trends conference in London. The conference attracted an international audience of around 200 people who enjoyed a series of expert presentations of the … Continue reading


Aligning strategy, vision and purpose

Strategy, vision and purpose are not new inventions. Once upon a time people were in charge of their own work. Although it was mostly manual toil, people could take pride in their labour which brought satisfaction. With industrialisation labour … Continue reading

A Deeper Kind of Leadership

Number 4 of 4. We should note that although algorithms and robots threaten to make us all redundant, they have no leadership skills and cannot form teams. They can displace us in linear systems but not in organic … Continue reading


Teamwork and Leadership

Number 3 of 4. In addition to those confusions about leadership being the preserve of a few we also have confusions about teamwork. In our ordinary language we would suppose that the leadership team is a team of … Continue reading

Mechanism or organism?

Number 2 of 4. Writing in Resurgence magazine, Herbert Gerardet, co-founder of the World Future Council, points out that mechanical systems tend to be linear whereas natural systems are cyclic. Transfer this principle to organisations and we can … Continue reading

Covid-19 - please see the blog for the latest update