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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.

The way we do things

Number 1 of 4. Have you noticed the extent to which people, especially those in the media, talk about leaders as if they would solve all our problems, if only we would let them. Unfortunately, very few of … Continue reading


Pattern Thinking

By observation of what goes on in the world we make sense by creating corresponding patterns in our mind. Referring to this patterning of knowledge we decide how to act, thereby projecting the patterns in our mind out onto the world. Can we get better at such processes and would doing so make our actions more beneficial and more effective?
This short article raises such questions and suggests possible answers, provoking us to think differently about the patterns behind events. By becoming more aware of the patterns underlying our behaviours we can get better at what we do. Continue reading


The Midas Touch

We all have it but we don’t notice it. It steals what we value. Like King Midas we discover that everything we delight in becomes, through excess of our attention, no more than another commodity. We are all … Continue reading


Thinking and Perceiving

As facilitators and change agents we are constantly expending cognitive, emotional and vital energies to inform and guide other people in their creative work. It is necessary to pause, relax, reflect and regenerate – as they say, to … Continue reading

Deeper Learning Integrates Theory and Practice

Kurt Lewin said “there is nothing as practical as a good theory”. It must be clear to anyone that action is more effective if people know what they are doing, on top of which, no action is ever … Continue reading


Spirit of Wholeness

Resilience is an internal quality that enables an entity to survive and even to benefit from stress and change. It is an emergent quality of teamwork. By emergent we mean that the system as a whole has characteristics … Continue reading


What do we mean by Space for Co-creation?

Co-creative space is where people can come into relationship to make something new together. This is especially valuable when you are seriously challenged – a new team sorting out its vision, the executive developing a new sense of … Continue reading

Creative Space

by John Varney, founder of High Trenhouse – Centre for Management Creativity I am preparing a presentation on “Space for Co-thinking” for the business department of the Jagiellonian University of Krakow. Reflecting on how creative work has evolved … Continue reading

When someone meets themself

I used to think that it was great when people staying at High Trenhouse took the opportunity to go out and encounter raw nature. Then I discovered that what sometimes happened was not that they encountered nature, so … Continue reading

Nature smiles on us

Nature smiles on us if only we can be in tune. After all we are naturally part of nature. These days we, as a society, have alienated ourselves, largely because of our fragmentary way of thinking, that causes … Continue reading

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