Fiona Gifford is Director of The Performance Collective and founder of Human Spaces™ “Human Spaces are organisations designed to be fit to deliver the organisation’s purpose through the realisation of human potential and talent.”

Lessons from a Three Legged Stool

Lessons from a Three Legged Stool


I made a three-legged stool. I have never made anything from wood before and had pretty low expectations of the results that I could achieve. However, my stool is sturdy, functional and, if I say so myself, rather beautiful. More importantly, I had the time of my life doing it. I had a complete sense of flow state and timelessness in the process. In one day I split out a log, made tenons and mortices, shaped a seat and sculpted the legs on a shaving horse.

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Our partners James Bowen and Brian MacNeice have published  Powerhouse. This book uncovers the performance secrets of some of the world’s most impressive institutions. Documenting James' and Brian's first-hand study of 12 diverse global exemplars, Powerhouse provides a provocative insight into how top organizations consistently lead their fields.

Looking across these different, seemingly contrasting institutions, Powerhouse goes further - identifying common components of their models for winning, and providing a valuable, practical framework for any organization to achieve enduring high performance.

The book tells the stories of organisations such as The Grameen Bank, The Mayo Clinic, Tata Group and Medecin Sans Frontier. It's a great leadership read whether you sit down and read it cover to cover, or  dive in and out for inspiration.

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End Homelessness in Scotland in Five Years? Why not?

sleep in the park banner

We are delighted support the ambitious purpose of Social Bite to eradicate homelessness in Scotland in 5 years. On 9th December we will be sleeping out in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh with 9000 other supporters. The aim is to raise £4M in total and we have set ourselves a target contribution of £5000.

If you would like to help us please visit our fundraising page.

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Three Brain-Friendly Approaches to Feedback

“Can I give you some feedback?”

What’s your reaction to hearing that question? It probably depends on who the person is and the circumstances, but most people will say they feel nervous, anxious or a sense of dread. This happens because our brains are hardwired to keep us safe and any perceived threat activates our “fight/flight” response.

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When Leadership Matters Most

haemoneticsWhen great leaders hit rough times they dig deeper, search for creative solutions and inspire the people around them to achieve great things. They also take time to pause and reflect, to pay attention to what is happening in, and around the organisation. They plan for every eventuality and only after careful consideration and preparation do they act.

Most important of all, they stay True. Here is one leader’s story of leadership when it mattered the most.

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Learning the Brain–Friendly Way

Our organisations have the potential to be fields of continual learning. Learning that is crucial if they are to thrive and grow. Learning is essential to enable organisations to;

  • Change at pace
  • Innovate; create new products, services, methods and delivery models
  • Manage the complexity of relationships; matrix structures, partnerships and collaboration, multi-cultural and virtual teams, remote and flexible working
  • Motivate and engage our people

Learning happens within people; we do not make it happen, but we can create a learning-conducive environment.

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