• Clarity is Power in 4IR
    (the Fourth Industrial Revolution)

  • > Grey Matter Thinking newsletter

    Leadership is never greater than the quality of thinking

    Think about it

    How you approach leadership strategy, understanding complexity, problem-solving and designing solutions is first thought and then action.

    Your Grey Matter, therefore, becomes a vital tool to continually refine to produce high-quality thinking and actions. > Thinking newsletter fills your Grey Matter to do just that.

    What's Inside

    It's a resource. You will be introduced to a vast reservoir of practice-based thinking that integrates the best of three worlds - first principle science, academic rigour and real-world commercial application.


    First Principle thinking. Pseudoscience, textbook MBA models and armchair philosophy have diminishing returns in 4IR. *We guide you by focusing on frameworks, models and skill set necessary for effective next-generation leadership. Focused intention. We raise your awareness about approaches to understand complexity, solving difficult problems, and designing/ implementing solutions. When you're confused think of this as your 'Prof.' who's giving you ‘bottom line' clarity.

    Clarity is power in 4IR. We raise your awareness about approaches to understand complexity, solving difficult problems, and designing/implementing solutions. When you're confused think of this as your 'Prof.' who's giving you ‘bottom line' clarity.


    Respect for context. Our readers are from every corner of the globe, like China, Europe, Middle East, UK, South Africa, USA and Russia. In addition from across all sectors - finance, automotive, sport, FINTECH, tourism, government, health care, etc. All this might seem confusing, which is why our basic starting point is the detail of socio-cultural 'DNA'.


    Functional. Practice-based, versatile and applicable. Simply add context, stir and apply.

    *Based on extensive research (World Economic Forum - 'Future of Work 2019', University College London/Freeformers, - The Future Workforce Model and Isos Mori Generations Social Research Institute).


    We prepare and shift leadership mindset

    to solve difficult problems

    in industry & business 4.0




  • Purpose

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4.0)

    Each of the three industrial revolutions has caused different demands on management and leadership. We are now entering a fourth industrial revolution where business leaders need skills to match the environment. What worked before will need to be different from what’s coming in the age of ‘Digital’, ‘Complexity’ and ‘Problematic’.

    Business leaders in the first three industrial revolutions relied on physical instinct, tactical knowledge and technological innovation to solve problems. In the fourth industrial revolution accelerated change and complexity mean a leader will also have to rely on adaptive and cognitive abilities I.e. ‘Digital Mindset’.

    These abilities are not well recognized yet in organisations or leadership but will make the difference between effectiveness, success and failure.

  • Leadership 4.0

    Activate and Develop Capacity/Capability
    to Solve Difficult Problems

    Being an effective leader is now a life-long process and continual personal development is crucial.

    The *World Economic Forum describes the Fourth Industrial Revolution as the 'perfect storm', resulting in significant change, transformation, disruption and impact. By 2020 (and beyond) every industry and sector will require new and

    improved leadership skill sets:

    1. Active learning and learning strategies
    2. Creativity, originality and initiative 
    3. Critical thinking and innovation
    4. Leadership and social influence 
    5. Emotional Intelligence
    6. Judgement and decision making
    7. Reasoning, complex problem solving and ideation: 
    8. Cognitive flexibility
    9. People management

    *World Economic Forum - The Future of Jobs Report (2018)

    To learn these skills requires continual practice and rich interaction solving real problems. Leaders who come to us are highly skilled, accomplished and recognised in their role/sector. Typically they are looking for premium services to build capacity and improve capability at critical points in leadership execution and journey. We offer premium services focused on delivering results, which benefits include:

    • Ability to clearly understand complex situations and develop sustainable strategies.
    • Making and taking the right decisions to implement and deliver critical agendas.
    • Developing/activating and leverage capacities/capabilities to effectively lead in a 'digital world'.
    • Becoming an 'adaptive' bottom line problem solver.  
    • Transforming self, teams and others. 
    • Increasing the significant value of role as a leader (financial, performance, skill, development and visibility).

    Report 2018

    Skills 2022

  • Industry & Business 4.0

    We partner with private and public sector clients to design transformational learning experiences that prepare and shift leadership mindset to make complexity clear and solve difficult problems.  
    Our extensive background working in global markets gives unique insights
    to critical issues, leaders face on multiple levels.

  • Leadership 4.0 Capacity/Capability Building

  • Endorsements

    MD (Next Generation Talent Forum)

    John was able to take a complex subject and deliver a creative and interactive session which received some of the best feedback yet. I look forward to working within the future.

    HR Director (FTSE 100 Financial Services)

    We worked with John to introduce performance coaching within the organisation. His experience, enthusiasm and ability to transfer his coaching skills to my team have supported us in developing coaching skills throughout the leadership population. The result has been a confident training team to embed coaching and wider use of coaching as part of everyday operational management.

    CEO/Founder (Executive Development Sector)

    John inspires leaders to be the best they can be. He recently did a four-hour presentation as our speaker on how leader-manager-coach approach enhances role and business performance.
    The learning was profound and his execution outstanding, it had humour and authority. I feel very happy to recommend him as a speaker, a coach and facilitator.

    Sales Director (MD Development and Education)

    John uses his unique ability vast experience to define his approach and help top-level leadership and management to hone their skills. Having someone like him to clarify both business and personal objectives, something that it is easy to lose sight of in the hustle and bustle of daily work, leads to greater focus and better, more satisfying, results.

    Talent Director (FTSE 100 Global Broadcast/Telecom Sector)​

    One of the reasons that John is successful is because he is an outstanding performance coach, providing challenge and support in an appropriate measure to help his leaders' stretch, consider new perspectives and develop. He has excellent facilitation skills where he easily relates to core coaching philosophies to broad and varied audiences. Selecting to work with John in any capacity will definitely enhance the end product.

    CEO (SME Performance/Development Sector)

    We are very fortunate when we met John who shares our passion and values. He has a track record in coaching people to high standards of capability and performance. For us an extremely fortunate chance encounter.

    Talent Director (UK Charity Sector)

    Supporters like John are one of the reasons I love my job. His coaching skills are excellent, which, as well as making him a great role model for the participants, it's always an interesting conversation with one or two "transformational questions" that really get me thinking.


  • Transformational Learning Experiences

    Dynamic tailored, practice based and and blended learning formats for next-generation leaders.

    Executive Development/Education - Professional CPD - Business Transformation


    Tailored Books

    Executive Summaries

    Leader Briefing-Roundtables


    COVID 19 Recovery & Reboot Package

  • Approach and Framework

    We use comprehensive, functional methodologies that can be applied cross-culturally, industry and geography. Solutions are carefully selected and designed in context to align human, technological and organisational components

    in one clear direction.

    I. Holistic (Diagnostic and Assessment)

    We first look at the leader in context - to better understand the problems they face - role, sector and industry. We do this by conducting diagnostics/assessments to analyse ‘reality/current state’. This helps us see the gaps, problems, blind spots, problems, white spaces, that have an impact on effective leadership. This process allows us to recommendations, advise, develop and design appropriate capacity/capability solutions.

    II. Theory Informed/Practice Lead

    We practice ethnography and take the latest research in human sciences that informs leadership practice and how it impacts in the real world. Our careful selection criteria require research to build on existing evidence/methodology, be widely applicable and relevant to shaping the future. Subject areas include; social sciences, business, economics, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, psychology, social science, anthropology, human behaviour and adult development.

    III. Practice Lead Methodology

    01. First Principles is the act of boiling a process down to the fundamental parts and building on the natural foundation 'truth'. Applying this type of thinking rigorously emphasises the scientific understanding of humans, problems, complexity and leadership in their evolutionary context.

    02. 'Best in Class'
    The highest current performance level in the industry, used as a standard or benchmark to be equalled or exceeded.


    03 Evidence-Based
    The best available practitioner expertise, research, assessment, and diagnosis. Evidence-based methodologies are aligned with resources in a manner that is compatible with an organisation’s characteristics, state, needs, values, preferences and context.

    IV. Design and Delivery Principles

    Blended Learning/'70-20-10'. Combining traditional and innovative ways professionals effectively learn and develop - highly focused on practice in the role, organisational and sector context.

    V. Real World Integration/Implementation

    Our methodology and solutions have been fully integrated commercially applied for over five decades on a global scale in the most complex and volatile socio-cultural-economic conditions.

    • Geopolitical: South African Democratic Transition and Israel/Palestine Peace Process.
    • Sport: South African Springbok Rugby, USA Olympic Track & Field, American Professional Football (NFL) and American Youth Soccer Academy. 
    • Business: Southwest Airlines. Whole Foods, QIWI Plc (Russia), YPO, Thompson Group (Reuters/ Learning), CFR Risk Management & Insurance Services, Henco Global, Gava Capital, Criotec, Nutec Group and FRISA.

  • Managing Partner

    Professor of Management Practice and leadership expert integrating science and academic/theory with real-world application to solve difficult problems and achieve results. John has extensive experience in diverse global corporate, economic, linguistic and cultural contexts.

    John Grisby FHEA CMBE CMgrMI MA

    John’s heritage in human performance and development is from 25 years' experience of a multi-disciplined background/roles, which include competitive sport, organisational and leadership performance consultancy, public sector, entrepreneurship and academia. He has lived and worked in Europe, US, Africa, South America and the Middle East and is trilingual speaking English, Spanish and Italian.

    Executive Coaching in Performance
    Senior Practitioner

    HE Fellow

    Company Lifecycle
    Certified and Endorsed

    Certified Management
    & Business Educator

    Chartered Member
    (CMgr MCMI)

    Safe Harbour Statement


    I've learned almost everything about leadership development/performance and business transformation/change from multiple and diverse sources.

    1. Firstly, my dual role as a Professor and private sector practitioner working cross-sector and globally. I’m familiar with academic rigour, research, methodology and theory and how to apply in the real world.
    2. Secondly, Myles Downey, author of the best-selling book Effective Coaching and pioneer in an evidence-based methodology and commercial application for executive coaching in performance (individuals/teams/organisations).
    3. Thirdly, Dr Clare Graves and Dr Don Beck. Developers of the first principle, unified science 'double-helix' theory and commercial application, core to the approach to human mindset-thinking systems, structures, development and change. 
    4. Fourthly, Dr Ichak Adizes, founder of the Adizes Institute and developer of the 'best in class' Lifecycle methodology with commercial application and concepts, core to the approach to organisational change. 
    5. Fifthly, Dr Geert Hofstede Professor Emeritus of Organizational Anthropology and International Management at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, well known for his pioneering research on cross-cultural groups and organizations.
    6. Sixthly, I was introduced to all the human performance domains (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual), methodologies and approaches in early development as an amateur and semi-pro athlete in the USA.
    7. Lastly, from the many clients around the world who openly shared their experiences, their successes and their struggles.

    Corporate Leadership Strategy, Development and Performance
    His expertise in Executive Coaching for Performance was developed as a member of Faculty at The School of Coaching founded by Myles Downey a pioneer in executive and corporate performance coaching industry. As Faculty/Consultant/Coach he led Open Programmes and was responsible for consulting, designing and delivering In-Company leadership performance programmes in companies including; Sky, NFU Mutual, National Grid, British Gas, Freshfields, NHS East of England and Lloyds TSB.

    Middle Market Business

    John works with privately owned business and Private Equity portfolio companies using the Adizes Company Lifecycle Methodology in the areas of growth, scale and exit-transition. He is Founder of XPX London Chapter, part of XPX Global (USA) an association of professional advisors who work collaboratively to help owners build valuable businesses and assist them in preparing and executing a successful transition.

    Sports Leadership/Management Development and Performance

     John was a (US) state ranked athlete in three sports. Like most athletes in the USA, he was introduced to physical and mental performance approaches in early development. He learned/developed approaches like mental focus, mental toughness and the 'Inner Game'. He later
    co-delivered a project with Myles Downey to establish the 'Inner Game of Coaching' in the world of professional sports coaching (football,
    rugby and tennis).


    Competitive Sports Experience (USA)

    • Ranked Ski Racer (State)
    • Ranked State Tennis Play Doubles (State)
    • Semi-Professional Collegiate Triathlete
    • Competitive Ultra Endurance Runner
    • Happily 'retired' and uncompetitive in sports since 1992

    Professor of Practice Management (FHEA)
    John is a Professor of Practice Management at the University of Bedfordshire Business School. His works at faculty executive level with the Dean and Associate Dean to deliver the business school’s Employability and Enterprise and Practice-based strategy (UK/Europe/Middle East). His multi-faceted role combines advisory, consultancy, development, design, and deliver on a broad range of projects which include; Business School Impact System, Small Business Charter, Innovation Bridge, ICT Escalator, Innovation & Enterprise, Executive MBA UK/Oman (Part-Time), Executive Education and guest lectures.

    Published Articles

    • Chartered Management Institute Insights
    • Global Professional Tennis Coach Association
    • International Journal of Sport Science & Coaching
    • English Rugby Football Union Technical Coaching Journal
    • The Journal of London Football Coaches’ Association 
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