Michael Hann: Change Maker

How do we navigate through the complex & polarising challenges in front of humanity?


Michael Hann

My work is about pioneering approaches to profound, system-wide change where high levels of complexity, ambiguity and problematic relationships are creating gridlocks for progressive strategy.

I design, facilitate, mentor and review major programs which are addressing highly complex challenges in very difficult multi-stakeholder contexts. These are programs where skilful dialogic facilitation is required among stakeholders who have diverse worldviews, competing interests and clashing ideologies. They often have very high levels of frustration, cynicism and politicking.

I am particularly keen to develop a generation of change makers who have higher capacities for navigating networks of stakeholders beyond destructive choices, divisive behaviours, short-term horizons, silo thinking, vicious competition and toxic rhetoric.

As former Director and leader of a specialist consulting team at Unilever, I designed the change strategy for major programs and facilitated dialogue among fragile and fractured multi-stakeholder groups.  These programs were highly regarded for reframing ‘the shared context’ and producing leap changes in the abilities of stakeholders to unlock stuck situations across the organisation and its wider network.

After Unilever, I joined the senior leadership team for the Change Management Practice at Accenture in Asia-Pacific, where I lead the scoping, business case development, design and facilitation of the change strategy on major projects, with direct accountability for budgets up to $50m.

At Monash University, I am the Founding Chair of the Global Studies Industry Advisory Board. I am also the Founding Chair of a 12 year old international project (The Talking Stick) that privately and sensitively fosters diplomacy and dialogue between influential activists, expert advisors and other stakeholders who are on the frontiers of change, but operating across divides on difficult issues.

I have mentored, facilitated and co-chaired Track II dialogues via roundtables, conferences and private forums with ministers, diplomats, CEOs & civic society leaders around G20 meetings, international trade, climate change, land/water use, biodiversity and other global issues in more than 25 countries.

My formal qualifications include a Masters Degree (Science) at the University of Sydney, a Bachelor Degree (Science) at the Australian National University and a Graduate Certificate of Change Management from the Australian Graduate School of Management. I have also completed Masterclass programs at the MIT U.Lab (Cambridge. MA.), the Presencing Institute (Cambridge MA.), the Authentic Leadership In Action (ALIA) Institute and with the Harvard Negotiation Program.

Along the way I have been deeply informed by the work of Otto Scharmer (MIT) on whole-systems change, Peter Senge (MIT) on systems thinking, Edgar Schein (MIT) on culture, Margaret Wheatley, William Isaacs (MIT) on transformative dialogue, David Kantor on group dynamics, Juanita Brown onthe art of hosting conversations for change, Robert Kegan (Harvard) on stages of adult development, Bill Torbert (Boston College), Nick Petrie (CCL), Henry Mintzberg, the work on Theories of Change and Systems Change at NPC, Thomas Berry, Joseph Campbell, David Abram, Paul Hawken, Richard Louv and the great lineage of history and nature writing.