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Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Pavie, France

Keith is fascinated by people, organizations, leaders, and the worlds around them. He is challenged by how much we will need to change to live well with nine to eleven billion other people clustered together on a small planet, and how those changes will stretch our planetary systems and all of our capabilities as leaders. He also feels excited and privileged, while also sometimes daunted, to be facing this agenda with such delightful and committed collaborators and clients.

Keith weaves his rich mixture of experience as a leader, and his deep curiosity and research findings, into his leadership development practice working around the world. He leads, studies leadership, and works to enable leaders. These three facets of his work are mutually supportive. He works with senior teams on strategies and organizational development, in the corporate sector, in government, and in not-for-profit organizations. He designs and delivers leadership development programs and coaches senior leaders.

Keith is the co-author, with Jennifer Garvey Berger, of Simple Habits for Complex Times, Stanford Business books, 2015.

He served for fifteen years as a senior leader in New Zealand’s Department of Conservation in a range of roles, culminating in five years as the General Manager Conservation Policy, along with responsibilities for strategy, organizational development, human resources, and public awareness. He led the Department’s responses to the Cave Creek tragedy, including leading the complete restructuring of the Department in 1996 and 1997.

Keith has a long history with the aid and development agency Oxfam, first as a board member and chair in New Zealand and Australia and then from 2007-13 as the Chair of the global board of trustees of Oxfam International, the confederation of eighteen national Oxfam from around the world. This work deepened his rich experience of complex management and governance tasks.

Leadership development was the focus of the PhD Keith completed in 2008 at the Australian National University. Keith explored the capability for complexity required of senior leaders and how this might be enabled, with a particular focus on environmental managers operating in complexity.

Keith is a New Zealander who, until recently, lived for decades by the sea in a New Zealand vilage.  He now resides in a community of friends and colleagues in Southwest France.  When he is at home, Keith can be found walking in the French countryside, burrowing into piles of books, following his quirky curiosities, and enjoying the joi de vivre.

In my five years as a senior manager with the department the strategic sessions Keith facilitated were the only times where we truly worked strategically as a leadership team and looked deeply into the future and how we might better organise ourselves.

Senior Departmental Manager, NZ Government