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4D Leadership

4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development

Twenty years ago the accumulation of skills, knowledge and experience (‘horizontal development’) was sufficient for business success. Today, it’s not. 4D Leadership – Competitive Advantage Through Vertical Leadership Development, offers a new approach of ‘vertical development’.

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About the Author

Dr Alan Watkins


Alan is recognised as an international expert on leadership and human performance. He has a broad mix of commercial, academic, scientific and technological abilities.

Posts by Alan:

Politics, Profits and Paradox

Well what a week in Westminster. Not so much a partridge in a pear tree more like four kingdoms un-united, three parties fighting, two divisive views and a premiership gone pear-shaped.

The Christmas spirit of peace and good will to all people is hard to find, let alone the three wise men. We are witnessing a toxic polarisation and some very deep divisions within parties, between parties, between generations and within the nation itself, not to mention the split between the UK and our neighbours in Europe. People are trying to force their views on each other with little understanding that such a move can only make things worse. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that politics is broken, possibly irretrievably. It has descended into a very ugly power battle and politicians seem unable to come up with any wise answers to the mess that they themselves have created.

Posted on: 23 Jul 2018 in Blog & Blog & Personal development & CEO & Business owner


Why Wellbeing Initiatives Fail … And What You Can Do About It

Organisational spend on wellbeing continues to rise, but despite pouring more cash into the issue and a massive increase in the profile of mental health in particular, the problem if anything appears to be worse. For example, according to a CIPD study, the number of people who experience anxiety, stress and depression at work has risen from a quarter to a third over the past five years. So, despite the dream combination of greater awareness and more spend we are going backwards. Recently, Complete Coherence convened a roundtable of 30 corporations to explore the problem and start to provide some answers …

Posted on: 23 Jul 2018 in Blog & Blog & Personal development & CEO & Business owner

AI Anxiety

The robots are coming – AI anxiety: Why you’re not alone and what you can do about it

It’s no wonder people feel anxious. Faced with predictions that 20-50 percent of all jobs will disappear as a result of developments in artificial intelligence (AI) over the next 10-30 years, we would all be forgiven for being concerned about the future. When once we might have yearned for the days when we could be released from the drudgery of work, we are now scared by it. And it’s not just low-skilled jobs that could be affected, AI applications are already threatening to usurp professions like doctors, lawyers, bankers etc.

The headlines might be doom-laden, but I am much more optimistic, and here’s why …

Posted on: 19 Apr 2018 in Blog & Blog & Personal development & CEO & Business owner


News: Crowdocracy gets House of Lords’ attention

In a remarkable debate on 19th January 2017 in the House of Lords, Lord Stone of Blackheath, brought the benefits of Crowdocracy to the attention of our political leaders.

Posted on: 23 Mar 2017 in News & events

transforming lives

Blog: Transforming lives

We know many people who have found great benefits in our completely coherent approach. We see this most directly in our client work, but sometimes we hear from someone we’ve never even met.

Posted on: 06 Mar 2017 in Blog & Personal development

The future of development is vertical

Blog: The future of development is vertical

Achieving emotional mastery is the biggest game-changer in your ability as a leader and the only thing likely to protect or enable your success is vertical development. Dr Alan Watkins explains the facets of vertical development.

Posted on: 29 Dec 2016 in Blog

media balanced or baloney

Blog: The media – balanced or baloney?

Faced with a complicated news story to present, many media producers seek out so-called experts to explain to us, ill-informed listeners or viewers, what is really going on. But are they really moving us towards the answers we desperately need?

Posted on: 05 Oct 2016 in CEO & Business owner

The trouble with experts

Blog: The trouble with experts

As the world gets more confusing and complicated, who do we turn to for answers? We tend to trust an expert, but real wisdom is driven by diversity.

Posted on: 07 Sep 2016 in Blog & CEO & Business owner

For more on crowdocracy and a new future for politics, read our book Crowdocracy – The End of Politics.

Brexit is a rejection of politics

At least in theory a referendum is supposed to be a true example of democracy – a chance for the voice of the people to be heard. Unfortunately, a referendum in our current political structure becomes an opportunity for mob rule. When David Cameron triumphantly took office, with an unexpected electoral mandate, who would have …Read more

Posted on: 26 Jun 2016 in Blog

European ‘wickedness’ needs us to be wise not dumb

European ‘wickedness’ needs us to be wise not dumb

    Walking into work on Friday morning I saw people punching the air in triumphal excitement, while others sobbed. Depending on which way you voted, Brexit is either great news or terrible news. The truth is far more complex.  The scale and complexity of this issue is so huge that no one can really …Read more

Posted on: 26 Jun 2016 in News and events & Blog

doing less

Why doing less can help you achieve more

Stepping back and even stepping up to take a higher perspective can help executives see that a singular focus on ‘doing’ ignores two other really important dimensions.

Posted on: 16 Mar 2016 in Blog & CEO & HRD & Business owner & Gen-Y

Why the last question a CEO is ever asked could be the most important

Why the last question a CEO is ever asked could be the most important – how do you feel?

Read or watch any interview with a CEO and it will be all about performance of the business, profitability, growth, future plans, etc.

Posted on: 19 Nov 2015 in News and events & CEO

The recipe for a happy life

The recipe for a happy life

What’s your recipe for a happy life? If you’re like most people it will be something like … if I have enough money, I’ll be able to do want I want and then I’ll be happy.

Posted on: 19 Nov 2015 in News and events & Personal development & CEO

Negotiation success is all about accessing another dimension of leadership

Negotiation success is all about accessing another dimension of leadership

Negotiation skills workshops have to be one of the most popular training courses in recent corporate history. Executives sign up hoping to acquire all sorts of skills and manoeuvres to get a great deal.

Posted on: 19 Nov 2015 in News and events & Personal development & CEO & Business owner

Are you overwhelmed by the competing priorities of your job

Are you overwhelmed by the competing priorities of your job? The answer could lie in the fourth dimension

We know that we live in a world of rapid change. No sooner is one market established, than a new entrant comes in to disrupt the short-lived status quo and it’s making CEOs nervous and overwhelming many leaders.

Posted on: 19 Nov 2015 in News and events & CEO

4D Featureed Image

Do you love your job, but hate the people you work with? You might be a one-dimensional leader

few years ago a colleague and I conducted some research where we spoke to 200 CEOS about what they’re paying attention to.

Posted on: 17 Nov 2015 in CEO

4D Featureed Image

Why do we need another leadership book?

Having just written a leadership book I was delighted by this pretty provocative question that a colleague put to me recently. “There are so many leadership books around already, why add another to the list by writing 4D Leadership?” she asked.   Paradoxically my answer was “Because there are so many leadership books around.” Let …Read more

Posted on: 10 Nov 2015 in News and events

Wicked and wise quote

Some problems are ‘well wicked’ … what can we do?

Many of the problems we face in the world today are beyond complicated. It makes finding a solution a real challenge.

Posted on: 28 Oct 2015 in News and events


GB Paralympic Shooting Team

Watch a day in the life of Complete Coherence preparing the GB Paralympic shooting team for Rio 2016

Posted on: 09 Oct 2015 in News and events & Sporting case studies & Sport

Jeremy Vine

Dr Alan Watkins on BBC 2 radio – Bus standoff

On Wednesday 7th of October Dr Alan Watkins was invited into the BBC 2 radio studios. The topic of this interview was between two drivers blocking off a road and neither would give way to one another.

Posted on: 09 Oct 2015 in News and events

Become a highly emotional and socially intelligent leader

Become a highly emotional and socially intelligent leader

We’ve explored the misunderstanding that you can take emotions out of business and indeed, explained how emotions are actually essential to decision-making.

Posted on: 22 Jun 2015 in News and events

Decision making relies on emotion

Decision making relies on emotion

In an earlier blog, I explored the misunderstanding that you can take emotions out of business. I now want to explain just how essential emotions are to decision-making.

Posted on: 22 Jun 2015 in News and events

Is business rational or emotional

Is business rational or emotional?

As misunderstandings go one of the most consistent and profound misunderstanding is the one about emotions.

Posted on: 22 Jun 2015 in News and events

Changeboard conference

Changeboard conference- Tech driven human development

Dr Alan Watkins gave the first public demonstration of the new Complete Coherence app – Universe of Emotions – at the Changeboard Future Talent Conference 2015.

Posted on: 20 May 2015 in News and events & Blog & HRD


Event: Dr Alan Watkins at TEDx Oxford

Dr Alan Watkins talked about the importance of coherence and emotional literacy at last weekend’s TEDx event in Oxford (January 2015).

Posted on: 19 Jan 2015 in News and events & News & events

Blue Ocean illumination

Christmas … make it a time of goodwill and appreciation

As we trim the tree, pimp the presents and truss the turkey, Christmas carols remind us of the need for ‘good will toward men’ – acknowledging of course that men really means people…

Posted on: 14 Dec 2014 in Personal development

Momentum wide

Momentum – lap of the gods or in your own hands?

Momentum is a bit of a buzzword of the moment. Commentators and coaches talked of almost nothing else at the recent European Ryder Cup victory. The phenomenon of momentum not only appears in golf but in many other sports – teams are said to have hit a ‘rich vein of form’, they ‘get on a …Read more

Posted on: 02 Nov 2014 in Sport

Biological basis of flow

The biological basis of flow

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first drew our attention to the idea of a flow state in the early 90s and since then the concept has caught on. Most people have observed sports teams in a state of flow. A state in which a team suddenly achieves a level of brilliance and fluidity that is noticeably different from …Read more

Posted on: 12 Oct 2014 in Personal development

Buckaroo management

Buckaroo management

Does this scene sound familiar? You’ve got a number of projects running at the same time. As soon as someone comes up with another idea, you add another project to your list. You’re just adding more and more to your workload. You decide you need a project manager to manage all these projects. All the …Read more

Posted on: 27 Aug 2014 in Business owner

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

This is an old adage but is it really true? Well yes and no. On the yes side for example, in every doctors’ surgery all over the UK, parents will be comforting their babies after a routine vaccination. It’s a momentary upset for a potential lifetime of protection. In a baby’s body, a small amount …Read more

Posted on: 24 Aug 2014 in Sport

Mismeasurement of talent

The Mismeasurement of Talent

Recently reading Stephen Jay Gould’s masterful tome, The Mismeasure of Man, I was struck by how often people who measure aspects of personality or human functioning, can get it so completely wrong. Such mismeasurement can have devastating consequences, as Gould chronicles. His book brilliantly details how, when the fundamental assumption about what is being measured …Read more

Posted on: 20 Aug 2014 in HRD & Core Story

Unleashing the potential of teams

Unleashing the potential of teams

I’ve been asked a few times about a quote on the cover of my book. Warwick Brady, the COO at easyJet, is quoted on how working with me has sped up the development of his team’s performance – cutting the team building process from five or six years down to just six months. This blog …Read more

Posted on: 17 Aug 2014 in CEO & Core Story

Tears of a clown

The tears of a clown

The sad passing of Robin Williams reminds us of the paradox that is true of far too many comedians; those that make us happy are often the saddest of all. For me, this paradox hints at a deeper issue with the way we see mental health. In fact, the problem isn’t ‘mental’ at all. In …Read more

Posted on: 14 Aug 2014 in Personal development

Stop playing catch up and start getting ahead

Stop playing catch up and start getting ahead

Most people would recognise the ever-increasing pace of work. We need to bring products to market more quickly, make decisions faster, make sense of much more information, and cut through increasing complexity. We’re running faster and faster, but struggling to catch up with the pace of change. So, how do you cope? The traditional view …Read more

Posted on: 13 Aug 2014 in CEO

Landing great ideas on demand

How to land great ideas every day

You’re sat at your desk and the pressure is on. Market conditions are tough but your boss and the business needs an idea, an innovation that will help you stay ahead of the competition. You’ve been racking your brains for almost two hours and absolutely nothing new is occurring to you. Then you have a …Read more

Posted on: 20 Jul 2014 in CEO

When it all comes down to one minute

When it all comes down to one minute of perfect performance… 

In the fast changing modern business and sporting worlds, the margins between success and failure are often very small. The difference between Gold and no medal at all in the 5,000m at the Olympics in 2012 was just 1.33 seconds. Years and years of training, you’ve been running around the track for more than 13 …Read more

Posted on: 13 Jul 2014 in Sport

Narcissistic boss

Narcissistic Boss – Immune to Change?

There was a compelling piece in the FT recently by Naomi Shragai detailing the challenges of dealing with a narcissistic CEO or boss. Most senior executives are all too familiar with the charismatic, colourful charmer who is aggressive, controlling, status conscious, self-obsessed and volatile. However, their passion, ambition and intensity serve them well and many …Read more

Posted on: 06 Jul 2014 in Business owner

Insularity predictor of failure

Insularity a predictor of failure?

Prior to the London 2012 Olympics I had the great good fortune of being invited to work with the GB Rowing squad. They were attempting to beat their best ever result in the Beijing games of six medals. Rowing was my sport and London my home Olympics so as a request for help it doesn’t …Read more

Posted on: 04 Jul 2014 in CEO

Blog- Avoiding the christmas lobotomy copy 1007x671

Avoiding the Christmas Lobotomy

What on earth made you think your wife wanted that? Christmas can be a time of terror and panic for many men. I hate to stereotype, but it appears that few male executives have either the time or the inclination for Christmas shopping. Many don’t have any real insight into what their wife really wants …Read more

Posted on: 04 Jul 2014 in Personal development


How to take your first step towards coherence

I was chatting to someone the other day who had read my book. They were being very complementary, but then she asked me: where do I start? If I want to change my life for the better, what’s the first step? I thought I’d share with you my answer. There is a tendency to think …Read more

Posted on: 29 Jun 2014 in Business owner


The fog is clearing and the clock is ticking

Every few weeks there is a media flurry over the issue of climate change. Is the planet really heating up and are we to blame? The way these stories are reported it is often, for the average citizen who is not an expert in these complicated matters, hard to know what the truth is. But …Read more

Posted on: 15 Jun 2014 in Personal development

Ken Wilber and Dr Alan Watkins

An Inspirational Encounter

Recently, I had the great good fortune to meet a truly exceptional person. In fact, it’s a man who has provided much of the inspiration for the work I do with business leaders. Ken Wilber. Working with true greats is a privilege and an inspiration. It’s happened to me a few times in my life. …Read more

Posted on: 01 Jun 2014 in Personal development

Pardew kiss

Coaching the coaches to avoid the Pardew ‘kiss’

As Alan Pardew awaits the date of his personal hearing to discuss the FA misconduct charge for his apparent ‘Glasgow kiss’ on Hull City’s David Meyler, I wonder why we’re still talking about punishment rather than prevention. We hear very little debate about some of the underlying pressures and causes of behaviour such as Pardew’s, …Read more

Posted on: 01 Mar 2014 in Sport