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pas dans le vide

“Pas dans le Vide” or “Step into the Void” is a glass box 2842m above Chamonix, up the Aiguille de Midi Cable Car.

The experience is sensational. I entered the box on a freezing day in January and I am still thinking about it today, sitting in an office above Euston Station.

What surprised me most about it is that I could not step forward into the void after the first initial step. Logically I knew it was safe but something made me to turn around to face where I had come from. From this position I could only move slowly backwards into the void. I felt a war going on in my body between logic and a much deeper body sense that wanted me to get out of there. Quickly.

In our daily lives we prize logic but this experience was a graphic demonstration for me that there are other forces that can be even stronger in guiding our actions.

Hilary – 24th June 2014


This week has been one of two experiments, in Oxford and London, and a reminder of a third in Copenhagen last year (pictured).

Oxford Said Business School hosted the Praxis Forum Awareness Experiment. All the participants got to contribute by leading their own experimental adventure. We tried contact improvisation, vocalised meditation, music therapy and a variety of things it was difficult to put names to. On Wednesday a number of us also tried another exercise – conducting a choir at Musica Beata. This was a bit like stepping off a cliff into a void; but in front of an audience.

I took away many lessons. The biggest one is just how much we can learn in business from the arts – if only we look.

In particular I learnt how 1 minute of conducting a choir could give an immediate insight into my leadership style, how musical groups already hold answers to our key questions about collaboration and some really practical insights into where mindfulness can really lead us.

Hilary – 5th July 2014


“To make strength productive is the unique purpose of an organisation”
– Peter Drucker

When we assemble a team in sport, say a for a rugby match, we are pretty good at playing to our strengths. In physical terms our strengths are usually obvious; they are easy to see and visible to appreciate.

Our individual non-physical strengths are often less obvious to us. We can also be more reluctant to play to them, even if we know what they are. We often focus on addressing our weaknesses instead. When we work with others its also easy to see what they do badly.

A specific research study has shown that by focussing on our weaknesses, performance can actually go down (by 27% in the study). Whereas concentrating on strengths led to a significant performance improvement (36% in the study).



“Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

Have you ever felt you weren’t getting the full story? In Kurosawa’s 1950 film, Rashomon, the characters tell of the murder of a Samurai. The power of Rashomon is that it contains four separate stories. All lead to the Samurai’s death but all are different.

Integrative thinking is the ability to get beyond different perspectives, your own or others, and see that there is no one truth. If we accept different perspectives merely as useful hypotheses then we should be able to navigate between them to see more solutions.

It’s a powerful way of seeing and helps explain the origins of much misunderstanding and conflict; from the post meeting de-brief to the conflicting views of team members.

Recommended book: “The Opposable Mind” – Roger Martin


This is a question that it is easy to understand if you watch William Ury’s insightful TED Talk. It’s the realisation that there is a “third side”, often found in community, that can help solve the conflict between the parties to any dispute.

The third side is the inspiration for the middle part of the “e” in consensum’s logo. We are neutral helpers who work with the two sides of the “e” in any type of conflict.

This is what we seek to do in consensum.  We are here to help you find your path.


Weak Core,  Strong Front            Strong Core,  Open Front

Strong Core is a method for improving your approach to negotiation – and very possibly your life.

When we negotiate we can act tough on the outside. This toughness can hide weakness inside.

Strong Core builds strength and openness – in the right places.

Contact Hilary for more details.

Group Parenthesis medium with photos

In June Hilary is co-hosting a Group “Parenthesis” in Spain with Rob Poynton. It’s a three day experimental event for a small group to consider the question of “What’s Next?”. This is ideal for anyone who is in career transition or who simply wants to think about doing other things. Hilary works with Rob who has hosted Parenthesis on a 1:1 basis in Spain for some years as a form of “Executive Decompression”. Hilary and Rob are now working together to develop Parenthesis as a way for individuals to step back from the day to day in order to consider their path. This is our first group event. We think the group will be quite a powerful way to explore our stories, develop our working identities and to craft an understanding of where our career journey is most fruitfully headed. It’s also taking place in an inspiring and beautiful location.


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