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Leadership as Meaning-Making

Online eventsWe all experience other worlds beyond the physical “reality” – the metaphysical, mysterious and mythical. The hero’s cyclic journey is the archetypical transformational voyage into the unknown, from which a person can emerge, much wiser and more mature.

Series leaders – John Varney, Christine Sausse & David Bishop

Dates A series of three 1½-hour interactive sessions 12 April, 12 May and 16 June 2021

Cost  Donation £10 to £100 per session (inc. VAT). Some free places are available on request if you are suffering hardship

Book your place here.


The Hero’s Journey

Online eventsA development series of online interactions is based on the book, Leadership as Meaning-Making – Take the Hero’s Journey to Transformation. We will explore the cyclic patterns of creativity and growth, that enable us to be effective in life and work, relating these to the enneagram and the enneagram to the hero’s journey (the developmental path we each explore in our quest for meaningful living). These archetypal patterns will guide our search for leadership as a phenomenon of relationship that bestows meaning on all we attend to.

Who it’s for People with a role to play in their organisation or in their community to help build a more wholesome society in a post-covid world. We will explore themes addressed in the book with deeper enquiry and interactive learning, in small groups and with one-to-one support.


  • Learn to learn with others
  • increase capability and awareness
  • gain personal maturity
  • acquire valuable tools and techniques

Series leader Designed and run by John Varney, author of Leadership as Meaning-Making, founder of High Trenhouse, Centre for Management Creativity & Mike Chitty of Realise Development

Dates A series of six 3-hour interactions on third Thursday each month.

The current series is now closed to new applicants. Register now if you are interested in a future programme

Cost  Donation £10 to £100 per session (inc. VAT). Some free places are available on request if you are suffering hardship


Logovisual Thinking

Online eventsThis developmental series will focus on acquiring the skills of visually supported systemic thinking processes (Logovisual Thinking – LVT).

Logovisual Thinking is a well proven methodology for engaging people (from 1 to 100) in collaborative higher-level creative thinking. Although there are special tools, it can be done with Sticky Notes.

We will make use of content from ‘Leadership as Meaning-Making’ as well as ‘The Guide to Making Sense’ and ‘Guide to Visual Thinking’.

Who it’s for For group leaders, managers, designers and anyone needing to enhance thinking – especially collaborative thinking and co-creation to address complex and emerging challenges in order to discover novel outcomes.


  • Learn to think holistically
  • learn to run effective co-creative exploratory thinking sessions
  • Be competent and confident in bringing people into relationship to collaborate and co-create

Series leader Designed and run by John Varney, developer of LVT, co-author of Making Meaning and the Guide to Making Sense, founder of High Trenhouse, Centre for Management Creativity

Dates Thursday 27 May 2021 and monthly thereafter. Time 14.00 -17.00pm UK time

Cost Donation £10 to £100 per session (inc. VAT). Some free places are available on request if you are suffering hardship

Book your place here.



JoiOnline eventsn a monthly dialogue group to participate in shared exploration and collaborative learning. Dialogue (in the spirit of David Bohm) is an interaction with self-selected people in a way that allows new thinking to emerge. Each group will follow its own self-directed enquiry.

Who it’s for Anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge and understanding in a quest for emergent wisdom.


  • Learn to listen
  • Learn to enquire
  • Learn to appreciate others’ perspectives
  • Tune into what you don’t know

Series leader These are self-directed groups moderated by John Varney, author of Leadership as Meaning-Making and founder of Centre for Management Creativity

Dates Monthly, every second Thursday Time 14.30 – 16.30 UK time. To join a group send your request.

Cost Participation is free of charge, subject to space being available.


Past events with video links


Online events

Leadership as Meaning-Making – Take the Hero’s Journey to Transformation is written by John Varney, founder and facilitator/coach/consultant of High Trenhouse Centre for Management Creativity,

with a foreword by Dr Meredith Belbin. This book is not only for facilitators, change agents and consultants but is for anyone seeking more meaning in life. Published by Routledge, the book explores the metaphorical relationship between the hero’s journey through unknown worlds (after Joseph Campbell) and the evolutionary principle by which people mature as human beings. In the dance between them, people share in the flow of meaning-making leadership. Read the review and Order your copy

The international on-line book launch featured John in conversation with notable guest speakers Watch the video




The interconnections between facilitation and leadership with John Varney

In connection with John’s new book Leadership as Meaning-Making, John is interviewed by Myriam Hadnes. This interview is one in a long series of podcasts Myriam has produced and is excellent source material for anyone whose work is with people. Myriam has an engaging style of questioning that penetrates into the subject under enquiry.

Leadership is not about leaders

An interview with Mac Bogert President of AzaL Learning. John and Mac both support Margaret Wheatley’s idea that “Power in organizations is the capacity generated by relationships.” Leadership does not exist within leaders, it exists between everyone involved. After spending time working  as an architect and mountaineer (seriously!), John and his wife moved to North Yorkshire for a temporary stay in the country. He’s still there. He has had a peripatetic career, finally publishing “Leadership as Meaning-Making” to capture his years of learning.   Join us for a conversation about the future of self-organizing leadership, teams, and communities.


Let’s build a more wholesome society!

As, around the globe, humanity learns to live with the pandemic, we who are involved in working with groups have an opportunity to make sure we do not revert to “business as usual”.  Why would we want to return to a state of affairs that favoured the rich at the expense of the vast majority; that caused untold suffering around the globe due to climate change and ultimately threatened all life on earth? So what small steps might we be able to take that help build an alternative economy and a more wholesome society?

If you missed the first series of on-line events, you can watch the videos by clicking the links below.

15 July 2020 Julia Felton Building Trust in Uncertain Times watch the video
22 July 2020 Mike Chitty Smashing Leadership Paradigms watch the video
29 July 2020 David Evans Values Based Culture watch the video
5 August 2020 Juliette Lee Making Wise Choices in Uncertain Times watch the video
12 August 2020 Sarah Nicholson Passion and the power of vision watch the video
19 August 2020 John Varney Leadership and The Hero’s Journey watch the video
26 August 2020 Nick Winterbotham Buoyancy, Resilience and Wellbeing watch the video
2 September 2020 Duncan Fraser Aligning Self, Other, World watch the video


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