What Does it Mean to Develop Broadly-based Leadership in Your Organisation?

Here’s a proposition: for your organisation to exhibit dynamism in tough conditions, it’s vital to help your people at all levels and in all roles practise leadership. This goes to the quality of conversation. Hence my tagline, ‘Transforming Leadership and Conversation’.

First, the leadership component…

For over 25 years I’ve been a leadership developer, though my approach is different from the mainstream and, I believe, the stronger for it.

A starting point for me is that pretty much anyone can potentially exercise leadership – if only we understand leadership as a means of action, rather than as a formal role or title, or a set of personal characteristics.

As I describe it in an article in the March 2023 issue of Training and Development Magazine (Australia), the work of leadership is different from management action and technical work.

A key reason I focus on leadership as a form of work is that, while in most organisations there’s a lot of talk about leadership – often referring to formal leaders (“the leadership team”) – in practice, most of what happens is better described as management and technical work.

Impact Fellowship Summit

Don Dunoon presenting at the Impact Fellowships Summit, Washington D.C., 2019

Don Dunoon presenting at the Impact Fellowships Summit,
Washington D.C., 2019

And what’s the link with



The work of leadership happens essentially through conversation and experimentation – building shared understandings about challenging issues and preferred futures, and trying out things to enable movement in the desired direction.

But building shared understandings implies deeper conversations. Think of an issue as an iceberg: leadership action implies engaging in conversation that goes below the surface, into areas often left unspoken such as underlying assumptions and what really matters to people. This work can be risky and scary!

OBREAU as a key resource

We need a mechanism to propel leadership action by helping people converse at deeper levels and do so with greater safety, less risk.

My OBREAU conversation model (observation, reasonableness, authenticity) is designed to help groups and individuals do just that.

Now, while OBREAU is a powerful aid to leadership development, it also has many other uses. For example, an organisation might want to help managers have better performance and development conversations, or a team might need help in bringing their various perspectives to bear productively on a tough issue.

These are examples but, more broadly, my proposition is that virtually any work-related issue that’s not mainly technical can usefully be approached through a conversational lens – and using OBREAU.

Two websites

This site focuses on my work in leadership development, outlines leadership development services I provide – including courses and coaching services – and profiles my book, In the Leadership Mode and other resources.

My second site, https://betterworkconversations.com/, accents my work in developing conversational-related capabilities and is the (new) home of OBREAU. The site highlights conversation-based courses I offer, outlines the use of OBREAU as a tool to support dialogue, and hosts my Better Work Conversations blog.

If you’re at all curious to find out more, or discuss how I might help, please do get in touch. The contact forms on each site will come through to me. I hope to hear from you.

Cheers, Don Dunoon

Let’s Talk!

I work with clients and colleagues all over the world; and with web-conferencing technologies it’s easy to connect and stay in touch. So, no matter where you are, if you’re interested in discussing or applying any of the ideas or tools described on this site, or the services I offer, let’s talk.