Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson


I’m a director within the Leadership Consulting team here at NSCG.

What experience and expertise do you bring to your role?

I have worked as an Occupational Psychologist for the last 12 years and as the Director & Senior Consultant at my previous consultancy and product business since 2018. Throughout my career, I have developed an extensive portfolio of client work, consulting with organisations from around the world, in support of their people strategy initiatives. My experience and expertise ranges from executive coaching and leadership development to the assessment and acceleration of senior and emerging talent. The key to consultancy is to listen carefully to the varied and diverse issues that clients face and to put yourself in their shoes. You are then in position to design and adapt solutions that will deliver the best possible, tangible and long-term outcomes on their behalf.

What do you enjoy outside of work? Any hobbies?

I really enjoy cooking and I’m usually found in the kitchen every evening attempting (and often failing) to master a new technique, cuisine or ingredient. We have a small dog who takes us out and about for some fresh air each day (except when it’s raining, when he will flatly refuse to leave the house…) I am a big sports fan – particularly cricket, rugby union and golf. And I am also a proud, genuine Geordie and therefore an authentic, long-suffering Newcastle United fan. They’ve been part of my life as far back as I can remember. Nothing in life is black & white, apart from my football team…

How do you prefer to start your day?

Black coffee, some fresh air and time with my dog.

What’s your top three podcasts/books?

I enjoy a mix of podcasts, covering history and politics to comedy and sports. Origin Story, Stuff You Should Know and Wisden Cricket Weekly are probably the most regular audio companions whilst I am travelling or on solo dog walks.

As for books, again it’s a mix. I tend to read non-fiction from similar categories that I would go to for podcasts. On Form by Mike Brearley provides some brilliant insights and reflections on what it means to be ‘in the zone’ when performing (and it was a great follow up book to his first – The Art of Captaincy). Cultural DNA – The Psychology of Globalization¬¬ ¬by Gurnek Bains is both a fascinating read and a very helpful resource for consultants in my field. And finally, something completely different; Jenny Saville – a book of prints of works by my favourite artist of the same name. Her art is very challenging but utterly awesome to confront. I would strongly recommend a visit to any exhibition of her work.


What’s the best advice you were ever given?

Three pieces of advice come to mind:


  1. Be absolutely clear about where the/your boundaries are. When we solve problems, just like jigsaw puzzles, locating the corners and edges first always allows us to explore and build the emerging picture.
  2. Never assume anything… The human brain is lazy and will always look for shortcuts. Intuition is your friend, but assumption is fraught with danger.
  3. Avoid getting into ‘drama triangles’ whenever and wherever you can. Take a moment to look up drama triangles and heed the advice to avoid them. It will change your life!