Next-Generation Leadership Development

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Broad trends like digital acceleration and globalization have speeded up the pace of business, and increased the need for business leaders at all organizational levels to deal with complexity and change. As a result, many companies face leadership development gaps – they lack the digital leaders needed in today’s VUCA world, struggle to help Millennials develop management skills, and grapple with ineffective and outdated methods of leadership development. Closing these gaps requires a new approach to leadership development that can effectively build competencies for the digital age while meeting the needs of the modern learner. In this paper, we outline a combination of proven best practices and new modern online learning technology that can address both the development needs of individuals and the strategic needs of businesses.


Journal Article

Leadership for the Sustainability Transition

by William Throop and Matt Mayberry

Business and Society Review 122:2 221-250 (2017)


Society is looking to business to help solve our most complex environmental and social challenges as we transition to a more sustainable economic model. However, without a fundamental shift in the dominant virtues that have influenced business decision making for the past 150 years to a new set of dominant virtues that better fit today’s environment, it will be more natural for companies to resist the necessary changes than to find the opportunities within them. We use the term “virtues” quite broadly to describe dispositions to think, feel and act in skillful ways that promote the aims of a practice. Addressing this deeper level of cultural change is essential to cultivating new instinctive behavior in business decision making. In this article, we describe five clusters of virtues that facilitate effective response to the transition challenges—adaptive, collaborative, frugality, humility, and systems virtues. To illustrate the application of these virtues, we present a detailed case study of Green Mountain Power, a Vermont electric utility that has embraced the shift to renewable energy and smart-grid technology, and is creating an innovative business model that is disrupting the industry. After distilling key findings from the case, we outline an approach to leadership development that can help accelerate the infusion of transitional virtues across an organization.

Notes from the Practice Field:

Learning from Tension: Avoid Easy Answers to Promote Innovation


Matt Mayberry,  April 25, 2017

One defining trait of exemplary leaders, according to Roger Martin, is the ability to tolerate complexity and ambiguity, and hold two opposing ideas in mind at once. This internal tension helps avoid simplistic either/or choices and promotes creativity that can transform business models – and entire organizations. Here are a few thoughts on cultivating this skill in your organization’s management team, based on our experience using business simulations to help leaders develop integrative thinking.

Notes from the Practice Field:

A Near-Failure Brings a Lesson in Leadership


Matt Mayberry,  April 6, 2017

It’s pretty unusual for top-level executives to admit that they got something wrong, let alone do it with openness and humor. But that’s exactly what happened during the inaugural session of one of our immersive “practice field” business simulations, and it gave me an important lesson in leadership.