ABOUT ME

ACTUALITY

 

/aktjΩ’aliti,-t∫Ω-
noun
the state of existing in reality / existing conditions or facts / the quality of state of being actual / actual conditions or facts

Actuality is about realising and identifying the truth (the actual situation) before beliefs and interpretations get in the way. 

Aristotle understood actuality to be motion, change or activity that is driven by a purpose. He did not see things as matter in motion only, but also proposed that things have their own aims or purpose. For me, this is about doing work that is strongly driven by purpose.

SHANNON ROYDEN-

TURNER

 

STRATEGIC THINKING PARTNER

LEAD BOLDLY COACH

My mission has been to figure out as much as possible about how life works. What drives us, what makes people and life thrive, how do we make the decisions and how do we lead transformative action. This has driven me to  work across an enormously broad range of projects. I am constantly looking for the common principles that apply across a range of situations. I know that the more I can understand the overarching principles that are common to all things, the more I  can get to the essence of what makes us grow and thrive.

DEVELOPING A SYSTEMS UNDERSTANDING:

I’VE EXPLORED AS MANY ANGLES AS POSSIBLE, AND CONTINUE TO DO SO.

Systems Thinking

Leadership Development

Transformational Development

Human Behaviour

Values Frameworks 

Governance and Decision Making

Biomimicry & Urban Innovation

Collective Decision Making

Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Development

Conflict Resolution

Key Performance Indicators

Organisational Structures

Team Performance

Serious Gaming

Interdisciplinary Team Integration

Special Economic Zone Strategy

Blue Economy

Integrated Neighbourhood Development

Economic Stimulation in Townships through Urban Renewal

Informal Settlement Upgrades

Large scale Inner City Urban Renewal

Transit Oriented Development

Informal Trader Upgrades

Non-Motorised Transport Planning

Urban Resilience Framework

Urban Metabolism

 

Circular Economies

Community Development

Sustainable Development

Ecological or Green Infrastructure

Wetland Policy

River Regeneration

Biological Water Treatment

Bioremediation

Urban Water Management

Residential Architecture

Public Architecture

Housing Projects

Commercial Architecture

Public Transport Architecture

Urban Design 

Solid Waste

New City Development

Urban Strategy

Urban Policy

Urban Research

Transport and Land Use Planning

Public Space Design

Domestic Violence

Urban Management

Business Case Development for Water Innovation Hub

Game Farm Upgrade

Circular Economies

Community Development

Sustainable Development

Ecological or Green Infrastructure

Wetland Policy

River Regeneration

Biological Water Treatment

Bioremediation

Urban Water Management

Residential Architecture

Public Architecture

Housing Projects

Commercial Architecture

Public Transport Architecture

Urban Design 

Solid Waste

New City Development

Urban Strategy

Urban Policy

Urban Research

Transport and Land Use Planning

Public Space Design

Domestic Violence

Urban Management

Business Case Development for Water Innovation Hub

Game Farm Upgrade

GETTING COSY WITH THE UNKNOWN

Given the broad scope of projects that my career has taken me on, it is probably obvious that I have worked with just as many diverse clients. I love that I have the ability to engage equally with someone who lives in an informal home as someone who lives in a mansion on the hill or who runs a country. I know that every person has something to contribute to finding innovative and creative solutions to the many different challenges we face as humans figuring out how to find meaning in this sometimes crazy place we all call home. I have also learnt to become comfortable with the unknown because, in almost every one of these projects that I have taken on, I hadn’t had in-depth knowledge about the specifics of that area. But what I did know was that more is always possible and that the more I was able to get comfortable with not knowing, the more I was able to achieve breakthrough results that others were not able to get.

ACHIEVING BREAKTHROUGH RESULTS

In every project I work  on, I consistently commit to achieving breakthrough results. I’ve never really been comfortable with the way things are. I know  that more is possible in every part of life. This hasn’t always served me! It made school excruciatingly difficult. But school did teach me that changing  a system requires patience and awareness of how the system currently works, and this can only be learnt by being present with what is. 

Another thing that really played into my favour was that my Dad was adamant that I would not be a afraid. I was a really feminine and fearful little girl. Thankfully in the short 10 years that I had with him, he taught me how to access a vast reservoir of courage and bravery. 

One image that jumps into my mind is getting up at 5am and going to burn sugar cane with my Dad. We loved it but it was super scary. The flames were huge and the risks as big. I was about 5 years old the first time I was handed a big stick and sent to the front line of 10m high flames and told to chase cane rats as they came running out of the fire. Terrifying! I had no idea at the time that I was in training for what I would face later in projects I bravely took on. Any thinking person would just say no thanks. I definitely attribute my ability to think strategically in the midst of conflict and high stakes situations,  to what I learnt facing those huge leaping flames. I can’t say I ever caught a cane rat, thank goodness. The dogs were better at that than me. But it sure gave me the ability to work in tough conditions and stay committed to the outcomes. Quitting was just not an option with my Dad.

PAIN SUFFERING AND LONELINESS

At 10 my dad was killed very suddenly in a car accident. My mum and I were left alone on the farm and my world turned into complete chaos. At this young age, I was faced with a pretty overwhelming responsibility to figure out how to deal with all the chaos. Not surprisingly, it has been lifetimes work to figure this out. I have worked relentlessly to learn to use my trauma to grow myself and to reach my fullest potential. Of course this job is never done…but I’ve sure had a lot of insights along the way.

During the long years of pain, suffering and confusion that followed my Dads death, to avoid looking at my pain and the pain around me, I’d escape into my mind and create all kinds of alternate worlds that would bring back my joy, my freedom and my laughter. 

Seeing the world like this allowed me to visualise where I wanted to get and the steps I needed to take to get there. What I didn’t know at the time was that this was my training to think strategically. 

Studying and practising architecture gave me a whole new level of creativity and experience in how to bring an idea into physical reality. It allowed me to hone my skills in creative problem solving, which are such a gift in strategic work.  

I have learnt that to lead boldly is to learn to transform your pain and suffering into leadership. We each have a unique set of experiences that prepare us to do our most meaningful work. Some really painful and others joyful. But somehow it seems to be the ones that hurt that really teach us our gifts.  

ENDURANCE AND VULNERABILITY

Endurance and embracing vulnerability was another set of important skills I learnt early on, this time from my Mum. Aſter my Dad’s death she decided to take us hiking down the Wild Coast from one side to the other. At ten years old, my brothers were the youngest to ever have done it. I was only 12. It was way before slack packing so we had to carry everything we needed. Regardless of the weather, you had to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. There was no one to take your pack and there was no out. The only way through was forward and you had to just keep going.

This has been such a strength as I have worked my way through some frankly horrible moments in various projects that were filled with conflict and hardship. I knew the only way through was to keep moving forward one step at a time. I knew that no one could do it for me. 

I don’t think I really loved it much at the time, but today I spend all my time hiking in the mountains of the Cape or epic hiking adventures with friends. Spending time in nature has become something so fundamental to my being. In fact, learning from nature has become one of my specialisations. This field is known as biomimicry. 

KEEP BREATHING: INNOVATION TO OVERCOME CONFLICT

So the great thing about being brave and innovative is that you get called on to work on projects that have tried everything else, but nothing works. 

One such project was the 9000hc of new future development around the King Shaka International Airport. The largest part of the land was owned by one land owner, Tongaat Hullett and a small portion around the airport was owned by Dube Trade Port. The eThekwini Climate and Biodiversity Department had bravely put a stop to all development application for a 6 month period so that they could figure out what to do about green infrastructure within the larger 9000hc strategic area which are not considered in the smaller EIA applications. Needless to say Tongaat Hulett was fuming. 

The conflict was extreme, the stakes were high and the timeframes crazy. 6 months to unlock the deadlock between these three organisations. One of the biggest challenges was that the three organizations formed a partnership: so all three where our client. It was the classic conflict between development and environment, and they wanted to know if we could use biomimicry and innovation as a tool to think differently and find a way through.  

Without going into detail of how we solved it, we unlocked the deadlock with 1 day of the six months to go. It was the hardest work I’ve ever done. I realised then that I needed a much better understanding of human behaviour. This experience taught me that it is not our technical ability that stops us from achieving bold change, but rather our humanness and our ability to relate. I have since dedicated myself to the study of human behaviour and how to enable the kind of human potential that is needed for transformative action to be successful.   

A LOVE OF PEOPLE AND THEIR HUMANNESS

In my quest to understand humans I have continued expanding my systems understanding of how everything in the world is interconnected. I have been studying with a polymath who has been working for 40 years to build an integrated framework of understanding spanning all the ‘ology’s. Sociology, climatology, ect. This has given me a set of tools to fast track human development and a deep understanding of why we behave the way we do. It has provided me with a solid foundation for the skills we need to achieve transformation. 

It is my deepest honour to share this with you and to accelerate your own development in the same way that I have had the pleasure of doing. My mission to provide you with the unique knowledge, awareness and tools that have taken me a lifetime to master, in a way that supports your growth and accelerated leadership. 

My commitment is to Africa. I am African. It’s my home, my love and who I am. It has taught me everything I know. Particularly to be bold, and to be courageous. It has taught me to lead without fear. And it has taught me that my only limitations are the ones I create with my thoughts.  

Much love

Shannon