ABC interview about 21st Century Collaborative Leadership

by ABC

Me To We Collaborative Enquiry Was Created Out of

Business & Human Necessity

Stephen and Ian both saw that organisations worked in a way that didn’t make sense.  Why do they need to be hostile, inhuman places?  Stephen had been contemplating an alternative since 1986; what he called a soulful workplace.  Ian felt the same, a place where people could be their best and develop themselves.

They believed there was an alternative to the dog-eat-dog competitive way most people live in organisational life.

So they implemented a collaborative process.  It worked incredibly well, beyond expectations.  People engaged deeply and they watched it change people’s lives.

It very quickly became obvious that this was the most effective and efficient system – a motivated, engaged person is always more productive!

Achieving Your End Goals Through Collaborative Enquiry

People thought collaboration was often a soft touch.

This book provides substance to ongoing collaborative practice, which not only makes economic sense, but is also far more human and engaging than the traditional model.

It makes sense at all levels for people and organisations, and removes waste and politics from the system.  It is guided by principles and values in which everyone has had a say in creating.  It is a winner on all fronts.

After reading this book and implementing the ideas, you feel that this is how the world should work.

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From Me To We: design and build collaborative workplaces

Our Latest Release: Me To We: design and build collaborative workplaces

John Mulcahy Chairman Mirvac

“This book demonstrates that long term win-win collaboration approaches work.  Principals and contractors don’t have to end up in conflict or litigation. I would recommend these ideas be adopted by companies eager to improve productivity.”

John Mulcahy, Chairman, Mirvac

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Our Story – From Me To We


Something To Think About

From the home of Me To We & Collaborative Enquiry

EQ – Emotional Intelligence

The climate or culture in the workplace is integral to an organisation’s performance… By Stephen Hanman, Collaborative Companion I completed my Hay Group Emotional and Social Competency Inventory [ESCI] accreditation in 2012.  Hay research indicates that the link between ESCI and organisational performance is that emotional competency enables flexibility in leadership style, and that this is a 70 percent determinant of organisational climate/culture.  The climate is responsible for 30 percent of organisational performance. Since this accreditation I have conducted about 40 ESCI interventions. As part of these interventions I also completed an Advanced Diploma of Management [ADM]– Emotional Intelligence [EQ].  This ADM is work based, development driven and major project focused. It is a learning by doing methodology. As part of the major project I focused on the development of EQ with a client over a twelve month period. The client’s level of EQ increased significantly over the allotted time! There was clear development in the understanding of personal and professional boundaries and they were much more equipped to manage their stress. As a result, the client observed that he became less angry on a weekly basis, and that his personal relationships were even starting to benefit from this improved state of EQ. The use of this EQ tool has also enabled the development of a number of high performance teams. In one example the improvement of EQ has enhanced the emotional self awareness of a group of 20 participants by conducting a range of activities focused on knowing oneself, knowing the other and building connected relationships that deliver better outcomes. This enables everyone to feel motivated and engaged. Hay Group research found a strong correlation... read more

Changes In Leadership Styles – Step 3: Pumped-Up Tires

Step Three – Pumped-Up Tires By Stephen Hanman – Collaborative Companion The Collaborative Wheel (see Step Two – Implementing the Wheel) is now moving forward, with the manager leading from a place of direction, pointing the team in the right direction, but not having to provide all the drive to keep the wheel rolling. The one-to-one connections (see Step One – Connecting the Spokes) are developing strongly, and with every example of collaborative action the morale of the team grows. Each time their collaborative endeavours are a success, it pumps their Collaborative Wheel’s tyres a little more, allowing them to roll faster and faster. This group of colleagues is now becoming a High Performance Team, working more efficiently, meeting and beating deadlines, and enjoying themselves whilst doing it. The manager now moves into the final stage of the Collaborative Leadership Style. The manager now encourages a dynamic and shared leadership style, leaving the center of the circle open for the expert in the field to step into and share their knowledge. The manager is now creating a system of leadership where expertise outranks rank. The manager moves in and out of the center of the circle, stepping out into the circle with everyone and facilitating the expert taking the step into the center when his or her expertise is required. This requires a lot of trust from the manager, allowing themselves to become a part of their team and remaining confident that the communication throughout the team is strong enough to keep their team moving in the right direction. Occasionally, the team may get off course, and it is... read more

The Search For A Better Way

Finances & A Tough Decision

The Staff, The Contractors, The Response, and a Promise

 Collaboration, High Performance Teams, and a Confronting Problem

We Can Do The Right Thing, Be Human And Deliver On The Strategic Aims Of The Organisation

Ian George from Me To We

Ian George

Non-Executive Director, Business Owner, Executive Companion, Keynote Speaker

There is no doubt Ian’s career has been a success!

As a founding director of CGA Bryson Group, Ian used his expertise in corporate business, team building and  industry negotiation. He developed strategic alliances that took one small project management practice and turned it into a multi-million dollar boutique company, specialising in funds management and property development.

Ian earned a reputation for being tough but honest, employing best practice and collaborative principles in projects and relationships.  Key among these is the management of  projects on a collaborative basis engaging all stakeholders in common outcomes.

Ian now divides his time consulting to major corporations, and as a highly sought after speaker, presenting his thought provoking presentations to some of the biggest names in business throughout Australia.

Stephen Hanman

Executive Companion, Board Member, Keynote Speaker & Facilitator

With past and present clients that include Dyson, DuluxGroup, Univ of NSW, Unilever, 3M, Toyota, Kodak, and BP, Stephens’ success and achievements are well known throughout  Australia, New Zealand, Europe and USA.

Having held a range of directorship roles including child, youth and family services, Benchmarking Success and Henderson Consultants, he is currently Chairman of the Board at Dyson Group of Companies.

Stephen is an organisational developer and leadership companion.  As part of the global network of MIRA Companions for Development, Stephen coaches a number of CEO’s  focusing on “Delivering and Defining Strategic Aims and Your Development Needs Together Continuously.”

The first non-academic to win the International Journal of Logistics Management Best Paper Award, Stephen’s collaborative learning saw  the development of a leading model to define world class supply chain management.

Stephens unique ontological approach is in high demand, from Australia through Europe and USA, advising and coaching leading CEO’s  and organisations.

Stephen Hanman - Me To We

Keynote Speaking and Workshops

Do You Need A Keynote Speaker At An Event Or Workshop For Your Staff Or Organisation?

Stephen and Ian are highly sought after keynote speakers. Their unique style of keynotes have entertained audiences all around the world. From behind the scenes antics of running a multi million dollar empire to starting a revolution of human collaboration, the collaboration companions will entertain, educate and make your seminar, dinner or conference one to remember.

Get In Touch With Us Today!

Consulting Services

Do you need anything to get started on this collaborative journey? Just ask. We are flexible.

You determine how we can assist you.

It could be:

  • To develop the method with you
  • To assist you in the first step
  • To educate the team about the collaborative enquiry method
  • To coach and mentor your team throughout the process, or
  • To provide our Collaborative Enquiry WorkBook so you can guide yourself with our support if you need it.

Collaborative Enquiry is a way of being in organisation life. It balances the relationship and consultation process with the information exchanged, in a structure that deploys the right resources to deliver the best sustainable outcomes.

Most importantly, at the end of the process everyone is engaged and motivated to deepen the collaborative enquiry. It creates an upward spiral where people and the organisation can be at their best!


Cultural Training – Changing Your Corporate Culture Through Education

Companies around the world are implementing our Me To We collaborative approach to business and human management.  We offer 2 levels of training, that build knowledge, set the foundation for implementing and actively fostering and managing your collaborative work environment.

Foundation & Practitioner


Foundation is a Getting Started pack and is a short sharp intervention over a couple of day and includes;

Strategic Collaborative Enquiry Review – why, what where and when.

Red Blue Simulation – identify adversarial behaviour. A sobering moment where you consider what is needed to make collaborative enquiry a reality.

How Collaborative Do You Want To Be?

  1. Establish your position on the continuum between adversarial / competitive to unconstrained collaboration.
  2. Clearly articulate how much more collaborative you want to be. Make a statement about that type of workplace so it is clear when you arrive at your aim.
  3. Understand your existing workplace culture.
 Assess where adversarial (blue) behaviour is prevalent and identify the drivers of this behaviour. Does the root of this behaviour live in the strategic intent, or is it in the deployment of the strategic intent as identified in the organisational structure, processes and resource deployment. Perhaps the root lies with the people and their knowledge, attitudes or skills. Is it about power and trust?
  4. Determine the culture that will nurture the type of collaboration you want. Build an awareness of collaborative (red) behaviours in contrast to adversarial (blue) behaviours.
  5. Identify the gap between today and the desired future picture. Imagine the bridges that need to be built.
  6. Build the bridges in the organisational system to reach your desired collaboration type.
  7. One bridge is a strategic intent that aligns with the collaborative system desired. This incorporates vision, aims, and values and behaviours.
 Embrace a method of ‘collaborative enquiry’ as the way of being. This form of enquiry begins by building connected relationships that enable sharing of the necessary information with those who need to know, in a process and structure that keeps everyone involved, informed, committed and responsible for the outcomes.
  8. Other bridges will include at least the following:

  9. Have interest in the other, beyond like or dislike. This interest leads us to ask questions rather than blaming in the first instance. Why do you have that view? Can I learn something here? Understand the context. How could that make sense
to them?
  10. Withhold judgements; don’t go into reaction as a first step. Be able to walk in the other’s shoes.

  11. Build the required relationship connection/warmth.
  12. Connected, strong relationships enable review, dialogue and pushing the boundaries. A strong relationship is based on people meeting each other, ego to ego.
  13. There is trust that we are able to fight fair and work through our differences with respect for the other. This skill enables and delivers healthy interfaces across the work areas.

  14. Pursue honesty, accountability and a commitments culture. Making a promise

and keeping it builds certainty in the collaborative system and develops care for each other
and the system.

Create continuous, structured reviews and feed forward.
 This enables the people to learn and the organisational system to develop. Take time to have the required conversations.


Incorporates everything in our foundation course and then:

Coaching and mentoring through the process until it is embedded in your organisation.

This includes education and training on issues like:

  • Beginners and advanced collaboration
  • Making and managing commitments
  • The policies, values and behaviours of this collaborative project
  • Porcupinity, fighting fair and healthy conflict resolution 136
  • Principled negotiation
  • Management style, with a focus on management by support
  • Process flow thinking compared to hierarchical master-servant thinking
  • Continuous improvement as a philosophy and a practice.


Our Clients

A Selection Of International Clients Ian & Stephen Are Helping To Collaborate


What Our Clients Are Saying

We are changing the way humans interact to achieve corporate goals.

Stephen assisted us to resolve an interface issue between Corporate Services and Operations. This involved building consciousness around this interface to ensure healthy relationships were developed and maintained. Stephen’s work included a strategic relationship audit, executive coaching and values setting. The services Stephen offered enabled us to maintain healthy relationships and continue our successful values based organisational growth.



Chris Malin

CEO, Link Recruitment

The services Stephen offers have enabled us to stay at the top of our game for an extended period; including numerous industry awards. Stephen has provided a range of services including; executive coaching for our high potential employees, supply chain development assistance including collaboration with a third party provider, team building, collective intelligence strategic planning process, benchmarking, and development and facilitation of an operational excellence peer group.


Neale Rodgerson

National Logistics and Supply Chain Manager, Dulux Group

This book demonstrates that long term win-win collaboration approaches work.  Principals and contractors don’t have to end up in conflict or litigation. I would recommend these ideas be adopted by companies eager to improve productivity.


John Mulcahy

Chairman, Mirvac

I have worked with Stephen over the past 4 years in the pursuit of good to great. The focus has been creating a values based organisation that thrives on involving our people. The health of internal relationships has been reviewed and interface conversations implemented to ensure relationships are healthy and always developing across the business.  Stephen handed over these interface conversations to Dyson’s and they are now part of our annual review, feedback and improvement processes.   We have a strong sense of being a unified team focused on being a leader in our field. Healthy relationships and strong feedback systems have enabled a more efficient and effective outcome; silo thinking has been transformed into whole of business thinking.”  Stephen also chairs our board meetings, facilitates strategic planning, provides executive coaching and has worked with us in resolving difficult people issues via a conflict resolution process.



Lance Deacon

Managing Director, Dyson Group of Companies

First, Stephen reviewed the company’s structure and the roles of key staff. This culminated in him designing a new structure that not only addressed our current problems, but also provided a succession plan.

Second, he observed the relationships within our company and provided advice and assistance in achieving a movement from strained relationships to a healthier environment. In a family company this is a particularly difficult process, and Stephen should be particularly commended for the way he handled this

Third, he was a sounding board for ideas, both on an individual basis and during group workshops which he organised. Fourth, in order to clarify the strategic aims of our company and to re-place staff within the new structure in a way that afforded all parties maximum dignity and respect for their individual skill-sets, Stephen Hanman facilitated discussion amongst various groups that enabled all parties to put issues on the table in a healthy and respectful way and to take ownership of decisions that were eventually made.

Matthew Rocke

CEO, Rocke Brothers Transport

Stephen worked with Penrite, for an 18 month period. His engagement began with a supply chain benchmarking project. Following that he provided ongoing executive coaching to deliver improved customer and supply chain service while reducing the cost base. The coaching included development of strategic and one page plans and the establishment of a KPI performance system.

He also conducted change management activities with the senior management team for the implementation of a Sales and Operations Planning process.
Stephen also facilitated a strategic planning process that bought the board and management together to set the future direction. He was able to deliver on his objectives as he is competent in working in challenging situations, staying focused and naming issues as required.

Brendan Bourke

CEO, Penrite Oils


Join The Revolution, Put The Human Back Into Human Resources


Since the release of our book ‘From Me To We’, we have been continuously presenting the ideas and fundamentals of our projects across the world.  Our next presentation is on 11 October 2017 at Victoria University – it is a Project Management Masterclass under the topic Disruptive technologies should be simple!

We presented at an international conference held in Portugal, focusing on how organisations can develop a collaborative mindset. We detailed the 9-step ‘How To’ process of building a collaborative workplace, which is also outlined in our book.
Other presentations have included RMIT University in Melbourne, as well the inaugural Annual Monash Leadership Forum. With other presentations underway, get in contact to find out where we will be presenting next!

Just the Essentials

We have recently been working on an abridged version of our book ‘From Me To We’!
This condensed abstract is a quick look at the case study that proved and excelled at the implementation of the theory behind collaborative workplaces.

Watch this space for more details once the version has been completed!

Development Workshops

As a result of our presentations around the concept of healthy, functional collaborative workplaces we have been approach by a number of people who are interested in learning more about how to implement these values into their everyday workplace environment.

With this in mind, we have decided to plan and run workshops that will focus on a practical implementation of the theories and ideas that were so successful for us. If you’d like to be part of these workshops then please don’t hesitate to get in touch and work out when the next workshop is taking place!

Me To We – Join The Revolution In Human Inspiration

Hot off the Qualification press is a new offer from Collaborative Enquiry. As part of our organisational development consulting business we are publicly opening for the first time the Advanced Diploma of Collaborative Management and the Diploma of Collaborative Management as a Work Based, Development Driven, Major Project Coaching Program.

This qualification is relevant for individuals engaged in senior and general management. Both qualifications are delivered in the workplace, and the participants learn through doing. You will simultaneously work and receive the qualification through the coaching process. Participants need to spend about 3 hours per week involved in the units for both qualifications. If your role is applying the practical skills of both these qualifications then it is a perfect fit.

Read more below…


These courses aim to develop or demonstrate the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to work collaboratively in a management position. To recognise what people do in the workplace and to develop or identify, assess & validate collaborative management competencies.

This process is a coaching commission that enables the organisation to achieve its strategic intent (aims and values) collaboratively as defined by an energising workplace culture in contrast to an enervating one.

The document linked below provides a sense of the advanced diploma and diploma collaborative program. It is our experience that managers are responsible for predominantly thinking and taking action.

Often the human being is forgotten in the organisational pursuit of achieving its aims. People are too busy to take stock and look at the organisational system and consider the most strategic asset of all: its People.

Melbourne University

We spoke to a global group of Masters of Supply Chain Management students at Melbourne University. The following is a evaluation of our presentation from the ‘Prof’ himself.

“The approach that is outlined in the ‘From Me to We’ philosophy and methods is compelling for a number of reasons. First, it humanises the workplace. I have worked and consulted in many workplaces in which, as Ian George says, people only bring and give a part of themselves to work, and sometimes it is a quite small part. The big change and improvement that ‘Me to We’ achieved in Ian’s building company was of ensuring that positive relationships, at the personal level, existed. When that state is achieved, people work constructively together to solve problems. People attack issues instead of each other. People get on with improving processes and outcomes instead of blaming other people. And as Ian has demonstrated, this is not just done because it is ‘nice’ and a human thing to do, but because it leads to significantly higher performance outcomes. Performance gains occur within the organisation, and also across the supply network!”

– Professor Danny Samson
Department of Management & Marketing, University of Melbourne


Vulnerable & Win


10 KEY FACTORS To Being Human And Achieving Great Things That You’ll NEVER Read Anywhere Else!

How to be vulnerable and win at everything.

Is it possible to live a life where you are ‘vulnerable’ yet achieve great things? Have you ever wondered why some of the people who lead high performance teams are so successful?

Is it true that the most successful person is the Alpha-male who could be characterised as a person who is highly competitive, who tries to dominate people, situations and their life course. Perhaps also one who  never forgives, never explains and never apologises, the (consumer lead) ‘HE-MAN’. Are these also the traits that will take you to the highest levels in your career or in personal relationships in a sustainable way where you will find real happiness and fulfillment at the end of your life journey?

If the status quo is the A-Type (The so-called ‘successful’ man we seem to hear about in the media) then I would like to introduce you to a new man; iMan, the even more successful man!  A man in-touch with himself. No Ralph, not a man touching himself, a man in-touch with himself!

  1. iMan has a strong sense of ego. He is, however, not an egotist. He knows who he is by understanding himself; his own frailness and the frailness of his fellow human beings.
  2. iMan doesn’t ever give up his inner self to emasculation by others but rather has a very strong sense of self (ego or I-AM), but he is a man who recognises his own strengths and acknowledges his weaknesses (He develops strategies to overcome his weaknesses over time).
  3. iMan is also able to recognise the strengths and weaknesses in others and does not prey on these to become the winner, but can recognise these to help build strong friends, staff and communities.
  4. iMan understands that others have pain in their lives, as does he and this informs the way he sees the world.  He has compassion.
  5. iMan develops skills in deep listening and uses this to better understand others. He also listens to his own inner voice; the voice of his conscience informs his decision making.
  6. iMan also has feelings and is not afraid to show these and listen to others who wish to express their feelings.
  7. iMan is true to himself and develops insights to be able see the other, their strengths and weaknesses; a man who knows when to compete and when to collaborate.
  8. iMan has empathy for others & understands what great relationships can do for his life.
  9. iMan is a man who is able to be vulnerable, to be authentic. He has moral integrity. He is an ethical individual.

iMan is a human being of the 21st Century



  1. Every time you meet another person today, before you say hello, recall that they are human beings and have problems just like you.
  2. Ask just one person today how they are going (perhaps in their job), listen to the response and question them, if the opportunity arises, to learn something personal about their life.
  3. Go home tonight and talk to a friend or your life partner for 10 minutes.  Chat to each other about how the day went and listen to their response carefully – really listen.  Listen with the intention to understand, not with the intention to reply.  Remember their role in your life, and acknowledge why you’re thankful for having this person in your life.


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