Social Good Six Interview 43- Ian Lawson

Social Good Six Interview 43- Ian Lawson


Ian Lawson is the Director of Leadership Works Ltd, an organisation he set up in July 2010 to continue his work in leadership development after 26 years at The Work Foundation. As an educational charity The Work Foundation (previously The Industrial Society) worked across all sectors of the world of work to research and share best practice in how organizations can provide fulfilling work and achieve their purpose.  At TWF Ian was appointed to lead the flagship “Runge Effective Leadership Programme” and developed variations of this to bring accessibility to the charitable sector as well as to be the core Met Police Leadership programme for 7 years. He is one of the UKs most experienced designer and deliverer of residential Leadership programmes having led and been involved in well over 100 attended by over 6000 participants.


Ian`s philosophy is underpinned by the principle that “an ounce of action is worth a ton of theory” and his focus is therefore on how to share best practice and to identify and inspire people to change behaviours and put practical actions into place. He puts great emphasis on leading change and creating more innovative ways of operating and behaving. Agreeing and reviewing appropriate clear outcomes with his clients which will provide value for the investment of time and money are core to his approach. Over his career clients have spanned organisations from all sectors. Recent and current organizations with whom he has worked include: Unilever, IpsosMORI, London Business School, Royal National College for the Blind, McMillan Cancer, Suffolk Housing Society, Surrey Police, Met Police, Friends Life, The Home Office, The National Federation of Builders , Considerate Constructors Scheme, Shepherds Bush Housing, Suffolk Housing, Colne Housing, Prospect, ISS, South Hook Gas and the United Nations in Gaza. He is an associate of The Directory of Social Change, a guest lecturer at Cass Business School and Principal Consultant at their Centre for Charity Effectiveness. And an Associate at The Work Foundation, The Development Partnership, The Institute for Employment Studies and is a fellow of the Centre for Progressive Leadership.


He has written 4 books about Leadership and aspects of management which have sold 40,000 copies, co-ordinated a Times supplement for “Leadership Week” in 2000 and has been interviewed on BBC Breakfast, The Today Programme, Radio 5 Live and several local radio stations. International media interviews have taken place with South Korean TV, Geneva, Volgograd and South African radio networks and the BBC World Service. He is on the editorial board of The International Journal for Leadership in Public Services and is Chairman of the advisory board of the Army Recruitment and Training Division Staff Leadership School. His interests include Military History, current affairs, classical music and cricket. He is a member of Amnesty International.



1- In no more than three sentences, please explain what you do 

I work as a leadership coach which involves executive coaching, designing and running programmes, facilitating workshops and delivering key note sessions. My clients include all sectors of the world of work from charities to the public sector to the United Nations and every level from Chief Executives and Trustees to students and front line staff. My approach is one of pragmatism in the belief that this is most likely to help people make an impact and improve the standard of leadership in our society.


2- Who inspires you? 

I am inspired by people at all levels who have a passion for what they do and are driven primarily by helping deliver for their beneficiaries, customers, communities or patients. In other words people who work in whatever situation they find themselves and make a difference rather than always look to others to provide the “answer”


3- What is the biggest change you want to see in the world? 

For people to sort out their differences by conversation, understanding, generosity of spirit and compromise.


4- What would you like to be remembered for?

I would like to be remembered for making a difference and creating opportunities and the confidence for people to realise their potential. I would also like to be remembered as a good Dad and fondly by my friends, wife and relatives.


5- What is the most interesting new idea you’ve come across in the past year? 

I am not so much into new ideas as trying to get us to implement some of the existing ones. I am not convinced any of the ideas I have come across are new.


6- Finally, how can people engage with your work if they’d like to learn more/help?

People can offer to act as mentors, speakers or provide opportunities for me to have conversations with them or colleagues about leadership. (LinkedIn profile here)


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