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Provokation as Leadership: A Roadmap for Adaptation and Change 

Dean Williams
President, Thinking Heads Global

“This is a timely written book given the appalling lack of leadership in the world today. Maxime and Michael present powerful principles and concepts that address the realities of helping groups, institutions, and complex systems make progress on their toughest challenges. The art of provocation is a vital leadership skill to get attention and stir people to action.”

Juan Carlos Eichholz
Professor, Universidad Adolfo Ibanez, Chile and Principal at CLA Consulting

"Exercising leadership is always risky because it involves taking people out of their comfort zone. That is provocation, and all of us who have tried it carry wounds that remind ourselves of it. However, we seek to do so because we believe that this generates progress, to individuals, organizations or society. Maxime Fern and Michael Johnstone remind us in this splendid book that leading means provoking, and that it is necessary to be brave to do so. They also give us a set of very valuable and well thought out tools –supported by many examples from which to be inspired – to know how to provoke effectively and not to be damaged in the attempt."

Ed O’Malley
President and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center.

"People experience provocation all the time, especially lately. Rapid technology advances, a global pandemic, evolving understandings about inclusion, high geopolitical tensions, all have many feelings provoked. Provocation as Leadership claims “provocation” as a tool for the greater good and gives examples of how the conscious use of effective provocation can unlock successful change efforts in our families, organizations, and communities. We don’t need less provocation in our world. We need better provocation. This book guides the way."

Laura Tingle
Chief Political Correspondent for the ABC's 7.30 Report and author of Follow the Leader-Democracy and the Rise of the Strongman


"Being superficially provocative in this age of the autocrat has often come to be seen as leadership. But this book reveals that using provocation in real leadership requires intelligence, cunning and, perhaps, most importantly, the ability to think outside the square, in persuading people that change that is uncomfortable for them is a good idea. This book gives a roadmap to using provocation as a tool of both leadership and change: recognising its boundaries, its risks, and the instruments at hand."

Laura Berlind

Executive Director, Adaptive Leadership Network

"Leadership is a messy, complicated, and sometimes deeply uncomfortable activity for those who dare to attempt it. It requires the courage and capacity to disrupt the status quo by productively “provoking” both people and systems to create the conditions needed for progress. In Provocation as Leadership, Michael Johnstone and Maxime Fern have delivered a practitioner’s dream: a comprehensive field guide to purposeful provocation. Using detailed case studies and relatable stories from their decades of teaching and training, they animate the theory, provide tools to tackle the practice, and offer an honest assessment of the risks and rewards of this approach. While we know our world’s most wicked challenges lack easy answers, this book will surely sharpen the mind, steady the hands, and embolden the heart of any intrepid changemaker who seeks to tackle them."


Buy your copy today!

You can purchase directly through our publishers both in Australia and internationally. For a full list of stockists click here.

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