Relevance of the Tavistock model of consulting in the context of a crisis: Webinar two

Event overview

Relevance of the Tavistock model in the context of a crisis

Tavistock CentenaryAs part of the 100 years of the Tavistock and Portman festival, organisational consultant Francesca Cardona will lead a panel discussion who will address the current crises. She and the panel will make connections with other societal and organisational crises and discuss the relevance of the Tavistock approach in these contexts. With Vega Roberts, Ajit Menon and Gwen Hanrahan.  

Ajit will present the first part of the talk. Emotions are an important component of organisational data for consultants. Furthermore, consultants' own feelings in relation to the organisational challenge they face provides them with rich information about what could be going on in the organisational system. Through the story of a Wealth and Investments firm through the financial crisis of 2008, Ajit examines what could have been missed in the consultation by not engaging with the idea of feelings as data and focussing entirely on task. Ajit will then reflect on his consulting work in today’s current pandemic environment and how the notion of self and instrument is even more pertinent in a crisis context that encompasses everyone.

Gwen will consider what constitutes a crisis in organisational life, and what happens to social defence systems when a crisis hits, whether a real or collectively imagined one. She will share an example where an imagined crisis seems to grip the client organisation, a privately owned, highly successful capital insurance firm. Its social defences become amplified, less adaptive and potentially counter productive to its capacity to imagine itself coming through intact. Gwen will reflect on the relevance of a Tavistock informed approach in providing a thinking space in the work – both in her own mind and jointly with the client – from which one might hope to reclaim purposeful action, revive organisationally and therefore develop.


Ajit Menon is a business psychologist and consultant and coach with many years of experience consulting to organisations of all sizes and complexities. He is the co-founder of Blacklight Advisory Ltd, a specialist consultancy that provides organisational consultancy to a diverse range of financial services clients all over the world. He specialises in organisational culture and works with leaders to create an environment to support businesses to thrive and adapt to their changing contexts. He has consulted to a range of organisations from banks, media, insurance, private equity to criminal justice and government. Ajit has also been visiting faculty on organisational development and consultancy at the London School of Economics and the Tavistock and Portman trust.

Gwen Hanrahan is a consultant in leadership and organisational development and associate at Tavistock Consulting. Her experience spans Europe and North America and industries such as aerospace, life science, energy and financial services. She is also faculty on the Tavistock Clinic’s Masters in Consulting & Leading in Organisations and staffs on Group Relations Conferences in the UK and abroad.

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For 100 years, the Tavistock and Portman has proudly been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing. From attachment theory and infant observation, to applying psychoanalytic and systemic approaches in varied settings, our ideas have led to changes in care, education, how organisations work and beyond.

Our Centenary Festival will celebrate our history and explore contemporary issues in relation to identity, relationships and society. It will consider how we continue to draw on our heritage to provide valuable responses to contemporary and future problems from the perspective of equality and inclusion.

“For decades, the Tavistock’s work has helped shape how we see ourselves, as persons and as a society. Much thinking that has entered the mainstream emerged from its challenging, interdisciplinary research and practice”

Dame Hilary Mantel, Booker Prize winner

5 October 2020 13:00 to 14:15