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About us

1. Where did the name 10,000 HOURS come from?

The name 10,000 hours comes from the work of K. Anders Ericsson. He wrote the academic paper that Malcolm Gladwell later popularised in his book Outliers. Ericsson’s study found those at the top of their game, masters of their craft, have no less than ten thousand hours of deliberate practice. The most important part of the insight is the deliberate practice being done. We use deliberate practice in all our work.

2. Who are your people?

Our team is slowly and carefully curated from the executive education industry. They all have deep experience in their craft and remain students of what they do. You can read more in our About section.

3. Why do your clients choose 10,000 Hours?

We measure and maintain facilitator capability in three ways:
(i) Experience in front of a room.  Facilitation is a craft, and there is no substitute for the deliberate practice of spending thousands of hours in rooms working with people.  Each of our facilitators has 20 years or more in front of groups of people like yours – this is why they are a safe pair of hands.

(ii) Commerciality.  Every time we walk into a room – whether for an executive leadership team offsite or for a sales training workshop – that room is embedded in an external commercial context.  Understanding that context and bringing it into the room makes the workshop session more relevant, engaging and transferrable.
(iii) Ongoing development.  Facilitators must continually be working at improving their understanding of their craft.  Our ongoing professional development regime is described in detail in the next question.

4. What professional development do your facilitators undergo?

Like any other esteemed profession, we believe our field of organisational facilitation and executive education has continuing education requirements. To that end we undertake group supervision, attend our own study groups and group interest groups. We present papers at academic conferences on complexity and group psychotherapy. We read widely and prepare cases for peer review modelled on medical practice. We subject ourselves and each other to regular critical review and feedback by peers and external specialists.

5. Where are you based?

Our offices are in Sydney on the water's edge of the Barangaroo precinct.

6. What do you do?

We do three things:
(i) We facilitate group workshops to productive outcomes.  This includes helping you optimise your team’s performance.
(ii) We train executives and their teams in the professional skills they need.

(iii) We provide content and facilitation for large-room conference-style events.

We do all these things in both live rooms, online, and in mixtures of both.

7. Who have you worked with?

Since 1997 our team has been working with executives from leading national and multi-national firms, not for profits, and public sector. We work across all industries and bring that breadth of experience to each unique client project. See our clients page for some examples of our clients.

8. Can I speak to someone with whom you have worked?

We are happy to connect you with some of our clients who can share their experience of working with us. Please get in touch on the Contact page.

What we do

9. Do you do sales training?

Yes. We teach sales professionals and managers how to ensure they survive the increased automation in selling. We help salespeople raise their fitness and capacity to help their clients think and solve their challenges. We work with any of the sales frameworks: Challenger, Sandler, SPIN, Richardson, Mahan Khalsa, Miller Heiman, TAS, MEDDIC or anything else. The capable sales professional must have a framework, but not let the framework have them.

10. Do you do leadership training?

Yes. We have a refreshing and challenging perspective on leadership development.  We have a master’s level understanding of the “dominant discourse” on leadership. However, we bring elements of complexity science, organisational psychology and sociology, critical management theorists, group dynamics, evolutionary and biological science, and studies of skill acquisition to our leadership.  Our ideas are rigorously academically researched and supported, and our skill is in the practical application of those ideas to your local context.

11. Do you do presentation skills?

Yes. In fact we are rare in that field as we teach what we practice. Plenty of presentation skills trainers never present anything apart from that workshop. We bring our learning from our decades of being at the front of the room to your presentations. We work practically and in an applied way. We won't ask you to bark like a dog or scream to build your confidence. We will listen to your context, establish your baseline of capability, judge your threshold for learning and push you safely and productively to greater heights of audience engagement, influence and power.

12. Do you teach people to facilitate like you?

Yes. Only after 20 years of practicing the craft of facilitation did we feel we were ready to share what we know about it. We have a program that draws on that experience and a rich library that goes well beyond what is typically thought about when teaching facilitation.

13. Do you do resilience training?

Yes. We teach beyond the simple premise of growth mindset or grit. We draw from biology and group dynamics to teach practices and routines for individuals and teams that show how to do the things resilient people do.

14. Do you teach conflict resolution?

Yes. We teach groups how to conflict in a productive way. Conflict is generative and necessary for new ideas to surface and novel progress to be made.

15. Do you do executive coaching?

Yes we do executive coaching by request. We are not a firm of executive coaches. Such is the calibre of our facilitation team that frequently due to the alliance we establish with our client, they often want to continue their work with us in a one-on-one capacity.

16. My team/leadership team is not working well or is broken. Can you help?

Yes! What you need are professionals who can help you diagnose what is not working with your team and then go about helping the team fix it in real time, with the team.  We don’t provide you with a report or a team charter and then wash our hands and say “good luck!”, instead we roll up our sleeves and help your team get better at working together.  What’s more, we will teach your team to regulate itself in the future, so there is permanent capability transfer.

17. Can you help us with our strategy offsite?

Yes! Having someone external facilitate your strategy or planning day means you don’t need to use internal resources to manage the day: all your players are “on the pitch” rather than having one or more worrying about “refereeing the game”.  When you choose one of our facilitators you get 20 years of experience managing your group, but you also get the benefit of the thousands of other strategy offsites we’ve worked in previously.

18. We want to do some team building at our offsite, do you do that?

Yes! In 1999 our team were pioneers in bringing this genre of experience into the corporate market. At 10,000 Hours we have a suite of unique and proprietary simulations we have built and tested on groups from 6 to 500 people. We would be delighted to tailor these experiences around your themes, messages, and local context.

Our philosophical approach

19. What do you mean by "dominant management discourse"?

The dominant management discourse is the argument you are most likely to find in most writings on leadership and management in organisations. It builds on "Great Man Theory" and can be summarised as the idea that a single exceptional individual can predict and control an organisation to a desired future state. Thus you will find the literature on leadership to be dominated by either pictures of who to be (eg “be a blue leader”, or “be like Elon Musk”) or 5-7 step recipes for what to do as a leader.  This dominant discourse underprivileges (or sometimes ignores completely) contextual nuance, and over privileges the leader’s ability to control situations.  

20. Why does complexity underpin your approach?

We’ve deliberately chosen a theoretical perspective that caters for uncertainty and its sources, for low control situations, for nonlinear dynamics, for emergent group behaviour.  We see all these things in the way people behave in organisations, but the dominant discourse doesn’t cater for them sufficiently.  The complexity sciences are a beautiful description for how people behave in groups, and we can make their implications practical and useful.

21. Are you experts in complexity sciences?

One of our co-founders is near completion of his PhD in the application of complexity theory to leadership team dynamics. All of our work is underpinned by the principles set out by the complexity scholars. We draw from the entire field, from hard quantitative sociodynamics, through the modelling of the scholars from the Santa Fe institute, to those with a more narrative application of complexity. We reference and draw from Phil Anderson, Robert Axelrod, Per Bak, Yaneer Bar-Yam, Paul Cilliers, Kath Eisenhardt, Jim Hazy, Dirk Helbing, Edward Lorenz, Nikolas Luhmann, Russ Marion, Bruce McKelvey, Donella Meadows, John Miller, Chris Mowles, John Nash, Martin Nowak, Scott Page, Ilya Prigogine, Dave Snowden, Ralph Stacey, and Mary Uhl-Bien amongst others.

22. Is the Uncertainty Landscape the same as Cynefin by Dave Snowden?

No. The Uncertainty Landscape builds on the (2003) work of Cynthia Kurtz and Dave Snowden’s Cynefin framework.  Our Uncertainty Landscape organises the domains that Kurtz and Snowden reference by uncertainty and talks to team states in a way that Cynefin does not.

23. Is the Uncertainty Landscape the same as the Ralph Stacey matrix?

No. The Uncertainty Landscape builds on the (1996) work of Ralph Stacey. Stacey removed the matrix from the 3rd edition of his textbook on strategic management and organisational dynamics because he was frustrated that leaders saw it is an imperative to remove uncertainty from their environment.  We’ve built on his framework, incorporating uncertainty into the landscape on both axes and reorganising the domains.

24. Are you psychologists?

No. We are dedicated scholar-practitioners. We draw on a wide body of academic literature to inform our work and continue our professional development. We learn from the fields of complexity sciences, skill acquisition and expertise, psychology, sociology, group dynamics, critical management as well as the thinkers and writers from the dominant management discourse.

Working with us

25. How do you deliver your sessions?

We deliver online virtual sessions (both synchronous and asynchronous) and in-person live events. We are frequently delivering some combination of the two.

26. Do you deliver worldwide?

Yes. We have delivered projects on all continents except Antarctica - and we'd love to go there too. We are prepared to travel to suit your project needs.

27. How quickly can you deliver something?

Our diaries are booked solidly and we also pride ourselves on being responsive. We took a client call at 5:30pm one afternoon, did a U-turn in the traffic and were in their office planning their global conference twenty minutes later for delivery the following week. If heaven and earth are moveable we will move them for your short term need.

28. Do you do public programs or open programs?

At this stage we do not offer public or open programs. We continue to look at it for the future.

29. Hey – aren’t you the ex-Phuel guys?

Yes… and no.  Marcus was one of the original founders of Phuel and left when all the founders left. You may have worked with both Chris and Alastair as senior facilitators at Phuel.  We left there years ago to build a firm founded on scholarship and deliberate practice which is 10,000 Hours.  Our team also has experience with RogenSi, Speakers International, Oxygen Learning, MCI, Quadtree and PwC (amongst others) in its collective past.

Learn more about us
What We DoOur Expertise