Jon Chapman 

Cranfield School of Management

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The Praxis Centre

The Praxis Centre at Cranfield School of Management

Jon Chapman 

Visiting Fellow



High Performance Leadership
Praxis Customised Programmes
What are you an expert in?
The use of history and myth as metaphors for personal and organisational development.
The use of body-mind psychotherapy techniques in personal and management development.
What is it you are currently thinking about/care about in the world of work?
The development of trust between organisations, their staff, and other stakeholders.
The need for bridges between personal integrity, values and organisational vision. The challenge for individuals to build sufficient personal resilience within themselves to cope with stressful organisational life, without abandoning sensitivity and empathy.
Our current preoccupation with turning the past into a `tourist trail` (or ignoring it altogether), rather than seeing it as a critical resource for building a narrative about ourselves, our organisations and society.
The remarkable developments in neuroscience that are confirming body-mind psychology as an integral part of human development, and their relationship to consciousness, perception, memory, and the pivotal role of emotional-imaginal intelligence in building our understanding of how the world and each other work.
What would you like to see change in organisations?
I would like to see organisations work harder to develop a greater sense of collective values and integrity to match the unique privileges they enjoy as `corporate entities`; for them to understand the importance and value of developing a corporate `soul`.
What is special about Praxis?
Praxis is made special by the remarkable people who run it and constitute its virtual faculty, and by innovative approaches to management development (body-mind psychology, mythology) that are unique to business schools in Europe .
Its capacity to link in to `other worlds` (the arts and the military), and build bridges between those worlds and the business world), enables it to develop special programmes that are powerful and engaging.
Why does the programme you teach at Praxis matter in business?
High Performance Leadership addresses a vital issue for modern organisations: how to create resilient, yet flexible, leaders in a world of exponentially increasing complexity and connectivity.
This requires an ability to access the full range of human intelligences - emotional, physical, spiritual, imaginal, social and intellectual. It requires an understanding of the power of narrative and the imagination, and the capacity to tolerate uncertainty and `not knowing` in order to let creativity and authenticity flourish.
Resilience and flexibility require a robust and conscious inner life as well as external knowledge and skills - high performance leadership develops this capacity for inner exploration and perspective, without which external activities are hollow and lack integrity and meaning.
How would you describe your teaching style?
I believe in an integrated approach to learning, utilising a range of methods to build and maintain interest.
I enjoy using lively examples from history and literature, usually via film, to focus attention on key learning points and build on classroom presentations. I like to encourage discussion and debate as the session progresses, using small groups to reflect on and develop ideas for discussion in plenary.
I believe that the use of experiential techniques such as witnessing (`active listening`, or ` validating`), and visualisation, are important learning techniques in the `soft skills` area.
I strongly believe that one of the most important and effective roles for a facilitator is to hold a space where participants feel able to learn from each other, rather than expecting simply to learn from my presentations. The participants are the greatest learning resource in any group.
Education and Qualifications
MA (Cantab), Cambridge University, 1977
MBA, Cranfield School of Management, 1990
Certification to Pesso-Boyden System Psychomotor Therapy, 2004
Work Experience
ICC Information Group,
1978-1981 Marketing industrial market research.
Hay Management Consultants, 1981-1986 Business Analyst and Consultant for an
international human resources management consultancy. I provided organisational and business development consulting to a wide range of industrial and commercial sectors, internationally and in the UK.
Witton Chemical Co Ltd, 1986-2001 Commercial director, then chief executive, with full profit responsibility, for growing a small chemical manufacturing business from 23 staff/?1million turnover, to 83 staff/?7.5 million turnover, between 1987-2002. This included: disaster recovery - a major fire took out the main plant for six months; key account development - developed business with a major pharmaceutical company as key stage processor for the, then, world`s largest and fastest growing pharmaceutical product.
Chemical Industries Association, 2002-2003 Interim position as director of responsible care. Developed and managed a team of 13 policy staff; developed programmes in environmental, health and safety management for the UK chemical industry. Lobbied NGOs, regulators and government departments. My main areas of interest were promoting co-operative approaches to regulatory affairs; developing a proactive issue-based organisation structure and changing industry attitudes towards NGOs.
I started work with Praxis as Visiting Tutor in 1997.
Military history.
Painting watercolours.
Tennis; hill-walking and watching my sons play rugby.


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