Transformational Consulting

New futures need new approaches

Transformational Consulting

Leaders who have the capacity to respond to the emergent challenges of the future will realise leveraged results. By utilising approaches that provide more sophisticated and quantum solutions to the forces at play, outcomes are greatly enhanced.

In the 30 years I’ve been working with leaders and organisations to face the future, there are some things that have changed beyond imagination, and some things that have stayed the same. Regardless of the size or complexity of the transformation that organisations face, it always has to start on the inside for it to be successful. That’s what keeps transformational work extraordinarily satisfying.

I’ve worked with hundreds of leaders and organisations across Australia and globally to develop their creativity, knowledge and wisdom to address the challenges and uncertainties of the marketplace, in order to achieve organisational objectives.

My work with senior leaders helps them to sit with paradox, be open to multiple perspectives, anticipate unintended consequences, and make decisions that are more elegant and healthier for the whole system both commercially and culturally.
Drawing on diverse experiences and a broad spectrum of integrated approaches, I work with senior executives to enable healthy, vibrant and energetic people to deliver the organisation’s strategy and outcomes, whilst attending to its emergent future.

My work has seen me consult to and advise leaders internationally and within Australia in many of the top 100 companies, federal and state organisations, including AMP, APRA, BNP Paribas, CBA, the Dept of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Coca Cola Amatil, KPMG, NAB, Natixis, NSW Department of Human Services, Microsoft, PWC, QBE, Suncorp, VF Corporation and Woolworths.

I invite you to connect with me and explore the possibilities to realise the outcomes you are seeking.

“Sarah has an extraordinary balance of commercial awareness and profound personal transformation skills. She helped us review our current structure in a way that would have taken months and months of analysis in a very practical process. She does not use any bells or whistles, not a word is wasted and she sees through people and structures straight to the most fundamental need for change. We were very lucky to have Sarah’s expertise and insight and would happily recommend her to any organisation seeking real change and growth.”


Increasing Board Effectiveness

Increasing Board Effectiveness

A lot of people think of transformation in the tangible sense – they think of the outside aspect, the things that you can see. But everything you can see is a product of what’s on the inside. I explain what transformation means for individuals and organisations, and how it starts by changing what’s on the inside.

Culture Transformation

Culture transformation is an inside-outside job.

There needs to be a conscious decision to change habits that reshape the culture – to leverage its potential it needs to be done moment to moment.

Lots of people understand culture transformation intellectually, yet living it individually and collectively is a whole other ball game. True cultural transformation is a larger process that requires a multi-level, multi-dimensional shift to embed a new culture into the organisation. And it starts with the leaders as role models. It’s not easy, but cultural transformation is one of the most potent points of leverage and opportunity for most organisations.

Some elements of culture are conscious, but the vast majority of culture is unconscious or semi-conscious; we are unaware of the subtle nuances, inferences and interactions that create culture moment by moment. To be able to shift something that sits largely outside the awareness of the people within the organisation requires a rigorous approach and commitment from the senior people in the organisation. I’m a skilled facilitator in raising awareness of how ingrained old patterns are, and how to embrace new ways of operating that support the culture that’s necessary to respond to current challenges and opportunities.

Boards often have little awareness of how significant their impact is in terms of culture. They can be unaware of how they influence culture through their interaction with the CEO and senior leaders. With that awareness the board can provide leverage to enable the culture. They are a potent element in the system.

In my article ‘How can leaders change an organisation from within?’ I share insights on how leaders can shape their businesses for success.

Strategic Alignment

One of the biggest challenges in organisations is getting alignment through the whole system. Complex systems and complex initiatives create the need for people to bring rich thinking and perspectives to realise results. This puts the spotlight on distributed leadership and collaboration. These skills do not always come naturally and require a strong sense of self and sophistication.

This is where my deep inquiry into issues, needs and desired outcomes becomes a valuable asset in ensuring that the organisational objectives are met. Creating alignment between the individual and the collective to serve the organisation’s purpose is where the true potency of strategic alignment lies.

Authentic Dialogue

Authentic dialogue is a style of engagement that requires deep honesty and the willingness of each participant to explore their motivations and take full responsibility for their contribution in every interaction. Business outcomes are enhanced in organisations where leaders are prepared to have and initiate courageous conversations.

Authentic dialogue is not without risk. Each party is given the choice to participate with authenticity, openness and vulnerability. It removes the transactional nature of conversations and paves the way for a truly creative and collaborative approach to addressing whatever needs attention.

The outcomes of authentic dialogue can be profound as both parties discover truths about themselves and about each other. A new, shared perspective is discovered in the process, allowing new insights and new resolutions to be possible.

Moving the orientation from ‘It’s all about me’ to “It’s all about we’, I share my perspective on creating environments that foster innovation, openness, generosity of spirit and creativity.

“Culture transformation is one of the most potent points of leverage and opportunity for most organisations. It is also one of the most difficult pieces to address as it asks the organisation to shift its identity; to move from where the culture is now and to let go of the familiar, including the patterns, habits and stories that are no longer relevant and with awareness embed new ones.”


Team Collaboration

Team Collaboration

Board CEO Dynamics

A highly productive and collaborative relationship between the board and the CEO is crucial to the success of an organisation.

In private and listed companies alike, pressure for results is constant and management of the Board/CEO relationship is critical for both parties to ensure they are receiving timely and accurate information and appropriate support.

I’m highly skilled in working with Boards, Chairs and CEOs. My unique approach is sensitive yet pragmatic. It promotes robust dialogue, whilst preserving harmony and respect, leverages tension creatively and creates new effective models of communication and engagement. It enhances the performance of both the Board and the CEO, realising true value of this partnership.

In a time where the role of the Board is under increased scrutiny from shareholders and regulators alike, I’m a valuable resource in corporate boardrooms. As a trusted advisor to government agencies and large private and listed companies, I work with both the collective and the individuals developing board leadership, especially in the areas that influence organisational culture to leverage their value and contribution.

“I have seen many directors say, ‘Wow. She’s pretty impressive’. I have confidence that if I recommend Sarah to go into a particularly difficult situation, the work she will do will be very high quality.”


Complex Issues Resolution

Complex issues emerge within all industries, with potential for substantial commercial and social costs. Yet complex issues also provide developmental opportunities for the people within the organisation, as well as business opportunities for growth and purpose.

Leaders benefit from someone with systemic eyes alongside them as they grapple with understanding and resolving complexity, and as they face the even more complex future that’s rushing towards us.

“Resolving complex, intractable issues requires break-through thinking. Facing harsh truths with courage, character, and curiosity leads to commercial upsides for both the short and long term.” Sarah Cornally

I work alongside leaders as they walk through the fire of navigating complex and seemingly intractable issues. Often described as being ‘an iron fist in a velvet glove’, I’m known for challenging leaders with profound break-through thinking, while bringing compassion and humanity combined with a resolute focus on commercial realities. I work with executives to enable them to be comfortable with ambiguity, to develop broader and deeper perspectives that open up otherwise unrealised possibilities, and to courageously step into wise leadership.

My capacity to deal with complexity and focus on the key people and commercial issues has enabled me to act as a trusted board and executive advisor in numerous situations.

“Sarah’s value is optimised best when there’s a significant issue that needs dealing with, and the people around that are willing to commit to the resolution of that problem. Those really tough, really sticky, really complex issues, most often for those to be resolved well, it requires absolute confidentiality. There are numerous people with high profiles, egos, aspirations, that are at risk. I’ve witnessed Sarah work in those spaces and work incredibly well.”


Executive Coaching

Break-through thinking is needed when leaders are facing challenge, disruption and complexity. I work alongside executives and leadership teams to help them transform their thinking, which allows them to fulfil their purpose and organisational potential.

When coaching clients, Sarah is interested in:

  • The context of their situation
  • The challenges they are facing
  • The purpose for the coaching
  • What they have tried so far
  • What is limiting them in their leadership effectiveness?
  • The outcome(s) they are seeking from the coaching experience – business, team, personal or career outcomes
  • What is missing now, and if it were present would make them a far more effective leader?

Case Study 

A client was promoted to a premium role; a gateway to fast-track their career progression. While this leader had strong potential, feedback from peers and the team identified an ‘undermining quality’ to their leadership, that could be career limiting. Working together our goal was to ‘nail that’ – to really come to grips with and wrestle with what was creating that undermining effect. After phase one of the coaching assignment was completed the client commented:

“You always gave me new insights that meant I could appreciate the situation and get immediate feedback on how best to address what was not working well for me. And at each stage, just when I thought I’d got all the answers I needed, you’d propel me that little bit further and I’d find there was even more I could leverage in improving the quality of my leadership”.

After the client was promoted, he re-engaged me for phase 2, which was to assist him with his transition process into the CEO role to keep the momentum created by the prior CEO and advance the business into its next strategic challenge.

Clients say:

“You force me to slow down and think about the things that I need to think about and understand, and then I’m able to act on things differently, because I know the impact of the way I behave.”

“You’ve made me face the reality I was avoiding – and now that I’ve faced it, I have a realsitic perspective of how to deal with it – sometimes I may not like what I have to deal with, but I can deal with it effectively. It’s getting easier.”

“Before coaching I found some aspects of being a leader highly time intensive and frustrating. After working with Sarah, I now understand what she meant by leadership leverage. I now experience less stress and actually enjoy the challenges of being a leader because I am better equipped. I can step back and see things with greater perspective and therefore act more wisely. I am using the people I lead better and they are also developing.”

To engage Sarah Cornally for executive coaching, please contact her EA on email or telephone 02 9801 0659 to arrange a meeting.

“Sarah’s capacity to align an individual’s values and capabilities with the objectives of an organisation is incredibly powerful. You get the compound effect of many people in that business aligned in the same way – it would have to be a significant competitive advantage that would be hard to match. I can only relate to any experience you’ve had in your life where you feel like the veil has been lifted, and you go ‘Wow! I was living in that paradigm, for that long?!’ That’s what it’s like to work with Sarah. She’s a constant reference point of what authentic leadership looks like.”


When Conflict Resolution is not the Answer

When Conflict Resolution is not the Answer