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Peter Dickens

Oct 23, 1953 – Oct 18, 2016

Peter Dickens was an internationally known speaker, teacher, author, facilitator, strategist and a founding partner of The Iris Group. For over 30 years, he provided organizational development consulting and leadership development to a broad range of organizations in the private, public and social sectors. During the last few years of his life, Peter maintained his optimism and and passion for his work in spite of his health challenges related to late -effects from his cancer treatment in 2005. He passed away surrounded by family on October 18th, 2016.

As a principal at The Iris Group, Peter brought to his role a breadth of experience working with organizations in the area of strategic leadership development, where he helped organizations aligned people at every level behind the common mission, vision and values. He also drew from years of private sector consulting experience, and this included clients in healthcare, telecommunications, tourism and technology.

One of Peter’s major successes was to foster a distinct culture across Trillium Health Centre, arguably Canada’s most successful hospital merger. While serving as its Vice President: Organizational Development, he led a participatory process that shaped the organization’s vision, values and purpose. He also created a leadership development strategy that engaged all stakeholders and encouraged both accountability and innovation. His role in forging a new organizational culture contributed to Trillium being named one of Canada’s “Top 100 Employers” by McLean’s Magazine four years in a row.

In addition to his consulting activities, Peter taught at Tyndale University College, Tyndale Seminary, Trinity Western University, Royal Roads University, and the Schulich School of Business . He was also the Executive Director of the Open Learning Centre and Director of the Leadership Centre at Tyndale University College & Seminary.

When asked what he would regret had his cancer treatment been unsuccessful, he responded, “that I never finished my education”. At the age of 54, Peter returned to academia. He completed his PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University in Ohio with a focus in strategic change in complex, adaptive systems. He then went on to develop an organizational survey that measures factors of resilience that set the stage for change readiness.

Whether as a facilitator, senior leader or coach, Peter brought a consultative approach to everything he did. He led and taught with an authentic, easy-going and enthusiastic style that inspired confidence and collaboration in students and organizational team members alike. A champion of complexity theory and servant leadership, he passionately sought to prepare present and future generations of leaders to thrive in the uncertainty and instability of the 21st century.

There are a number of peer-reviewed journal articles that Peter authored that can be found in the Resource section of this website.  Also, In May 2015, Peter co-authored a book with Dr. Gary Nelson called Leading in Disorienting Times: Navigating Church & Organizational Change