IMD OWP Lausanne 2023 - Post-Event-Report


Building resilience from failure to recovery: George Kohlrieser and Sameh Abadir

55 Revolutionizing innovation with AI: unlocking the power of creative problem-solving: Cyril Bouquet 57 The future shape of the digital business: Didier Bonnet 59 Dear AI, how will you reshape society? (P.S. Please be nice to me!): Michael Yaziji

80 Enacting social change: Insights from social entrepreneurship: Sophie Bacq 82 My OWP – Day 4 Pierre Leroux 83 Keynote: Marion Chaygneaud Dupuy


32 The key to successful empowerment: Jennifer Jordan and Michael Wade 34 Positive practice: Overcoming the negativity bias: John Weeks 36 The outer and inner journeys of the leader: Albrecht Enders and Michael Watkins

03 Foreword 05 Showcasing AI-powered education at OWP 08 Participant reflections 09 Keynote: Arturo Bris 14 My OWP – Day 1 Shinya Yamamoto 16 Keynote: Dominic Alldis

87 Strategy

Leading wisely: How to put tech to good use: Patrick Reinmoeller and Kazuo Ichijo AI unplugged: Applying AI tools for business benefit: Goutam Challagalla


88 Navigating geopolitics: David Bach 90 What are customers for?: Frédéric Dalsace 93 Customer-driven growth with AI: Stefan Michel 95 Agile strategy, agile strategizing: Stephane JG Girod 98 Growing profitably in today’s landscape: Niccolò Pisani 101 Navigate your family enterprise into the future: Peter Vogel 102 My OWP – Day 5 Fabian Gandolphe 103 Keynote: Andréa M Maechler 91 The future of competitive strategy: Mohan Subramaniam

Future of work: How to lead your team in a hybrid world: Robert Hooijberg Decoding the greatness of high-performance teams in the age of uncertainty: Zhike Lei and Winter Nie



65 My OWP – Day 3 Sophie C Muleya 66 Keynote: Richard Baldwin


20 Leadership

43 My OWP – Day 2 Isabella Sorace 44 Keynote: Mate Rimac

70 Sustainability and supply chain

Tools and technologies to boost workplace well-being: Alyson Meister Solvable – A simple solution to complex problems: Arnaud Chevallier and Albrecht Enders


Leading into the new world of mandatory sustainability reporting: Florian Hoos


48 AI and technology


73 Digital lean: Process mining Carlos Cordon

25 How do you talk to your enemy at work?: Francisco Szekely 27 Neurodiversity at work: Heather Cairns-Lee and Nancy Doyle

49 AI for business impact: Amit Joshi and Öykü Işık 52

Talking the walk: How to frame your sustainability journey: Julia Binder and Heather Cairns-Lee


Dual digital and sustainability transformation: Can it be done?: Michael Wade and Julia Binder

78 Why now? Entering a new business paradigm: Knut Haanaes


Dear Alumni of the OWP Lausanne 2023 program

With more than 450 executives representing over 40 nationalities and 18 industries, this edition of OWP offered a unique opportunity to share experiences and peer insights from a truly global array of frontline perspectives. The program also featured cutting-edge expertise from more than 50 of our faculty members, determined to help you interpret and navigate a world that is in constant flux. It was an intense week for sure, but hopefully also an inspiring and invigorating journey for you. Our purpose at IMD is to challenge what is and inspire what could be to develop leaders who transform organizations and contribute to society. We hope that you have since returned to work brimming with fresh ideas, including a few that you will hopefully translate into meaningful action and real impact.


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“Neurons that fire together wire together, and the more frequently and repeatedly they fire together, the stronger the wiring becomes.”

Throughout the week, we encouraged you to take notes during and between sessions, to help enhance your learning, and create the possibility to review these notes later on. This process obviously does not have to end with your leaving our campus a few days ago. If you haven’t yet done so, do try to create time slots in your agenda to regularly review your notes and this report. We often repeated during the week that neurons that fire together wire together, and the more frequently and repeatedly they fire together, the stronger the wiring becomes. This is important because “stronger wiring” leads to better recall, stronger internalization, and hence more impact for you and your organization. This post-event report is intended to help you wire those neurons together and increase your return on investment from OWP. It contains short summaries of the different sessions from the week, with clear action points to reflect on, and recommended readings for further deep dives. We very much hope you will take some time to go through as many as possible of these articles, including the handful that we generated with the help of our own ChatGPT tool, as part of your post-OWP learning regime.

For now, we thank you again for being with us for this exciting OWP Lausanne 2023 week, and we wish you continued success and all the very best.

Till we meet again.

Didier Bonnet, Professor of Strategy and Digital Transformation

Jean-François Manzoni, President of IMD


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OWP participants in Lausanne were given exclusive access to OWP+GPT, a game changing innovation that harnesses the potential of generative AI to disrupt and enhance the world of executive education. The tool is able to analyze and make sense of hours of classroom sessions, and adds further depth to the topics covered with the addition of a corpus of IMD information, such as research, articles, podcasts, and webinars. Through a mobile web app, the tool – powered by OpenAI’s GPT-4 – allows participants to engage with the session and ask questions by filtering what was discussed in the session, alongside the relevant corpus information. At OWP, approximately 40 hours of sessions were integrated into the tool and, throughout the week, more than 700 queries were processed in no fewer than 23 different languages. Participants were also given access to a plugin connected to OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 and invited to share their key takeaways in the format of text-to-image prompts. “I’d never used ChatGPT until I came to IMD,” said Schauna Chauhan, CEO of Parle Agro. “I can’t draw, I can’t paint. I put in those words and suddenly there was a painting expressing what I felt.” The OWP experiment is just a glimpse at what IMD has in sight when it comes to leveraging AI to increase the impact of the learning process.

Showcasing AI-powered education at OWP At OWP, IMD rolled out a state of-the-art ChatGPT4 application to place faculty expertise in the hands of participants long after their week in Lausanne.


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Education at scale “What I’m excited about is personalized education at scale: enabling people to continue to learn way beyond the time they may have spent with us in a physical or virtual classroom,” said David Bach, Professor of Strategy and Political Economy and Dean of Innovation and Programs. “It’s almost like you could walk to the professor in the front of the room and ask a question about the session, except that the whole thing happens three days later, and you might not even be in the same place anymore.” The massification of AI technology promises to bring about such a degree of transformation that the effects for institutions like IMD are bound to be felt way beyond the enhancement of existing offerings: brand new opportunities are all but certain to arise. “If there’s a field that is and has always been prime for disruption – revolution, even – that’s education,” said IMD’s Chief Learning Innovation Officer, Sarah Toms, contemplating how the wave of new AI capabilities is going to push that disruption even further: “What we’re going to see now is hyper personalization coming to life: more interactivity, less of the passive learning modes, and the learners’ ability to engage not only in courses and degrees for a certain period of time, but to go into life-long growth.”


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Faculty teaching


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Participant reflections

Explore the gallery

The future of green and smart cities

Sailing against uncertainty

Teaming through emotional connection

Take action, maybe even tattoo it



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Arturo Bris We’re entering a zero-sum economy. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Keynote

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OWP 2023 OWP 2023

The sooner we accept the realities of our fragmented world and start tackling the real issues, the better we can work towards a sustainable future.

In business you hear a lot about “the win-win”, and in everyday conversation too – especially when there is a lot at stake, and even more so when people don’t want to face up to an uncomfortable reality. In discussions about economics, as well, it can be tempting to turn a blind eye to the hard facts. Well, if that’s what you like – stop reading right now. Honestly, go switch the TV on and put your feet up. There’s nothing for you here. But if you want to know what’s actually going on in the global economy right now, I’ll tell you. Sit down first if you don’t handle bad news well. Deep breath. Ready? We are entering a zero-sum economy. It is happening now. Companies and countries alike want to be profitable and to grow and expand and to lead prosperity for people. That is not possible. There will be hard choices to make. There will be winners – but it’s not who you think. And for every winner, there will be a loser.


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Participant reflection

So far, so good, you might be thinking – especially if you live in Denmark, Ireland, or Switzerland – the countries that topped this year’s IMD World Competitiveness Ranking. Ah, but here comes the twist. Those countries that look like winners now could be the losers of tomorrow. And today’s losers might just be on their way to a big winning streak. Denmark, Ireland, and Switzerland have been named the top three among 64 economies measured for their global competitiveness in the 2023 IMD World Competitiveness Ranking, published by the World Competitiveness Center So, how did we get here? Three things happened at the same time: inflation, technology, and geopolitical fragmentation. Let’s take each of these in turn. Unpopular fact #1 You will be dealing either with inflation or recession. You can lower inflation and go into recession or avoid recession but have high inflation. This is a global phenomenon – whether your inflation is demand-driven, like in the US, or supply-driven, like in Europe and Southeast Asia. The US has avoided recession so far, but Germany is already in recession; before long that will spread to its major trade partners, including France and Switzerland.

If you look at total factor productivity, which takes into account labor and capital, we are now – crisis after crisis later – at the same level as in 1977. What does that mean? It means that when you translate productivity into salaries, and then you translate salaries into prosperity and competitiveness, we are as well off globally as we were 40 years ago. This is not good news, because it means that we have lost a generation. The world that we are giving to our grandchildren is similar to the world our grandparents left to us. Our salaries are lower, and our children will be worse off than we are. Unpopular fact #2 Technology is not making the world a better place. We constantly strive for digital transformation without recognizing this. Sure, we might be having fun on social media or driving faster in an electric vehicle without noise, but overall, the impact of tech is not so positive. At the individual company level, it is obvious that we should become more digital – but we ignore the fact that tech has negative indirect consequences. At the global level, we are going to have to cope with millions more people in low-salary, low-productivity jobs. In Switzerland, one of the most technologically advanced economies in the world, salaries have declined significantly over the past 15 years.

Tech is also exacerbating some of the social problems that already existed, making our economies less sustainable. Look at the digital disparities – not just between developed and developing countries, but within countries – between men and women, and between rich and poor. This is made even worse by “greedflation”: as inflation increases, corporate profits increase. The most productive sectors in an economy tend to be large companies, but the ones that create most of the employment tend to be small and medium ones – and because they cannot increase productivity as fast, they pay lower salaries. And so, the gap between rich and poor gets bigger. Unpopular fact #3 The carbon crisis is costly. We can’t reduce our carbon footprint and enjoy the same level of prosperity we’re used to. When you read that economic growth no longer requires rising emissions – do not believe it. We should work to reduce emissions and we must accept that this will be costly for the economy. Germany chose growth and it required consuming more coal. It has been estimated that a ban on all new coal, gas, and oil in Australia would trigger a loss of 3.6% of that country’s workforce.

More than just a burger


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Unpopular fact #4 Geopolitics is fueling a return to protectionism. Economists like myself were trained in Competitive Advantage Theory, which holds that when two countries produce too much, they can sell goods and services to each other and both win. But that does not apply anymore. What we’re already starting to see, and what will only increase over the next few months, is a return to each country looking after itself – a reverse globalization which I think of as fragmentation. We’re seeing the return to protectionism already. Brazil, India, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia have increased their barriers to trade massively to protect their economies. The war in Ukraine has divided the world in a strange way as well, with countries that didn’t belong to the traditional blocs deciding who to back. So, we’ve seen Turkey and India, for example, making trade agreements with the US. Losing winners and winning losers Now here comes the really interesting part. When you take all of the above into account and view the latest World Competitiveness

Ranking – which ranks on economic performance, government, business efficiency, and infrastructure – through a different lens, the countries at the top look worrisome. And it’s the countries at the bottom that look promising. The world is increasingly divided between protectionist and open-trade economies The “losers” – Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, Nigeria, India – are winning. They are the countries of the future. The “winners” – the UK, Germany, Japan, Switzerland – have had their day. Those economies that have had it so good for so long are undoubtedly facing decline. The good news is that others are on the rise. Africa is having its time. Nigeria is booming, both in business development and people. It will be interesting to see what the ranking looks like five or 10 years from now. But economists never make predictions, so I’ll conclude with something that’s plain to see right now: the world needs an international economic system that works for our wage earners, for our industries, for our climate, for our national security, and that works for the poorest and most vulnerable. This is the challenge – and we must confront it courageously, with our eyes open.


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40% Europe

16% Middle East and Africa 34% Asia Pacific and China 10% Americas

51 nationalities


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My OWP – Day 1

AShrtinuyroa BYarims amoto

Founder and CEO, HR Fabula Co

Following that, I attended “The Ethics and Sustainability of Digital Technologies” which opened my eyes to how seemingly unrelated topics like #sustainability and #digitalization are interconnected. Digital technologies aim to improve organizational performance and sustainability programs aim to improve the planet – but, as professors Michael Wade and Julia Binder pointed out, each can negatively impact the other’s goal. Professor Wade shared how his research has found only a few companies which have successfully integrated digital and sustainability strategies effectively. As leaders, we need to make a judgment call on the right thing to do while managing our stakeholders – which is certainly easier said than done. The case study we worked on during the session reinforced this, bringing to light how different stakeholders may have diverse interests and values, which can lead to ethical issues and risks if these conflicts are not managed. Ultimately, it is not technology, but how people manage and approach these aspects that matter. A strong #leadership team

This week marks my fourth time at #OWP and the second time I’ve joined it here in Lausanne. Why do I keep coming back? Well, it’s great for sharing knowledge, connecting with new people, and gaining different perspectives. This time around there are 450 leaders from more than 40 countries, and I have already had the privilege to work with people from all around the world. Richard Baldwin’s keynote this morning reaffirmed for me how, even as #globalization continues to shrink our borders, globalization itself is transforming. As tech, especially #AI, changes our business practices, working methods, and the relationships between people and organizations, recognizing the evolving globalization landscape and consciously repositioning ourselves within it could result in a constantly renewed self. It truly excites me to think that I could be involved in this new era of third-stage globalization.

Watch the highlights

with a broad perspective on how these aspects intersect will be essential for future business success. Finally, Professor Shlomo Ben-Hur’s session on “Adapting Your Impact in a Changing World” prompted me to reflect on my own leadership style. Amongst the three key leadership factors – trust, clarity, and momentum – I tend to lean on trust to build a safe space for my team. This has definitely given me food for thought on how I can refine and evolve my leadership style in the future. I’m excited to see what learnings and inspiration the rest of the week brings!

OWP 2023 – 5 key takeaways from Day 1


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Jean-François Manzoni, President of IMD and co-director of the program, introduced Day 1’s closing session directly from the main stage — except that he was actually standing in IMD’s in-house hologram studio, from where his 3-D image was projected to the audience.


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Arturo Bris Musical secrets for truly spectacular performance Keynote Dominic Alldis​

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How can you give individual players in your team greater autonomy to achieve your company’s goals?

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be a professional musician playing the piano, violin, double bass, or drums in a band? Or maybe conducting an orchestra, exerting your influence over 100 or more musical experts using silent hand gestures, helping to transform what would otherwise be an ordinary performance into something extraordinary? Or imagine what it would be like to play in a symphony orchestra, surrounded by so much energy, excitement, talent, and expertise. What if your work could feel like that? In business, you interact, collaborate, and engage with each other around a common purpose which is to deliver exceptional performances for your colleagues, clients, and customers. On the one hand, you need to maintain corporate reliability and strategic alignment. On the other, you need to foster creativity and innovation, which means giving your people greater autonomy and accountability. These can often seem like two conflicting imperatives, yet you need to find a way to do both if you want your business to thrive. In my work with organizations, I help leaders think about how they communicate and inspire others through the lens of music. One way is to have them explore two very different musical forms: a classical string quartet and a jazz band. These two contrasting cultures provide a valuable metaphor for effective communication in the workplace. Through exploring the similarities and differences between the two

approaches, they start to think about their own challenges in new ways. Lessons from classical and jazz music Let’s first consider the classical approach. When we think of a string quartet (two violins, a viola, and a cello), we think of technical precision, intense listening, and musical excellence. Their aim is to realize a composer’s intentions through careful preparation, leading to a superlative performance. What makes the process so interesting is that even though the notes on the page have been fixed by the composer, there are still so many ways of interpreting them – when to play faster or slower, what to emphasize, which instrument should lead while the others support. The same is true with an orchestra, where the same symphony can sound completely different when played by a different orchestra and conductor. How do things work differently in a jazz quartet? A jazz performance typically involves a small group of musicians improvising around a theme with clearly defined boundaries and constraints. Their aim is to produce something new and original. Here you have four individuals engaged in a spontaneous musical conversation, building on each other’s ideas, embracing experimentation and risk-taking to engender a rich flow of creative ideas. The


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Four ways to fine-tune team performance

music may sound more turbulent and less certain than what you hear with the classical quartet, but it is also exciting and full of creative possibilities. Some of you might find the lack of certainty unsettling. No one knows what’s going to happen next but embracing uncertainty can also be an exciting journey. We may not know where we’re going, but we know where we’re coming from. Finally, how might these two cultures learn from each other? How can they co-exist, collaborate, and synergize to enhance one another’s performance? In the business context, where you are looking to balance creativity with discipline, what structures are needed to make this possible? Fine performances can only be achieved through careful preparation. In musical terms, this is called rehearsal. Firstly, you need to practice at home to build the confidence, virtuosity, and agility needed to perform a variety of tasks. Then in rehearsal you can experiment with different ways of interpreting the music. Likewise, in business, you need to prepare and let ideas evolve. You need to respect each other’s opinions, discuss new ideas and take turns implementing different approaches. As a leader, you also need to cultivate an environment where you can make a comment about someone else’s performance and for it to be welcomed and taken constructively. Commit to this creative process and make the process fun!

In your business, then, think about how much creative freedom is appropriate to a given situation. For example, if you’ve ever listened to free jazz, you’ll know that when there is no structure, predetermined theme, key, or rhythm, the result can be very chaotic, but it can also be sublime, unique, and exceed everyone’s expectations. It’s thrilling to hear the expert musicians merely responding spontaneously to what they hear, which also takes great skill, discipline, and experience. Again, it’s all about listening and being curious, present, and patient. As we know, sometimes the best ideas take a while to emerge. Finally, think about momentum in music and business. Jazz musicians like to get things going with a clear beat or ‘groove’ – it helps get the creative juices flowing. They then start to experiment and build on each other’s ideas to produce outstanding results. So how can you benefit from both team cultures? What would happen if you brought a little more rigor and discipline into your improvisational model or a little more experimentation and spontaneity into your highly structured organization? Listen, experiment, and mix it up to keep it fresh. That way you stand a better chance of delighting your audience and getting the applause you deserve. A standing ovation rather than deafening silence!

Here are four principles, drawn directly from my experience in the musical world:

1 3 4 2

Tune in with each other. When listening to a classical quartet it is immediately obvious when the instruments aren’t harmonically aligned. The music sounds discordant and impairs the quality of the performance.

Establish a common pulse. If four people each play at their own tempo the music will sound chaotic. You need to internalize a common pulse for effective communication and a coherent performance.

Remember that less can be more. If you’re part of a team, no matter how talented you are, playing louder and faster does not make for better music. Sometimes playing less and supporting others can produce a more satisfying result.

Effective music-making at the highest level requires listening, sensitivity, curiosity, patience, and awareness of each other’s needs.


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Leadership AI and technology Sustainability and supply chain Strategy


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Article Alyson Meister

Tools and technologies to boost workplace well-being

We must prioritize individual and organizational well-being.


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The importance of placemaking One aspect to consider as we seek to improve workplace well-being is

Recommended reading

placemaking. How do our surroundings shape well-being? How can we utilize the art and science of placemaking to boost our well-being? How can we improve our mental health and engagement by shaping our office, our workplace, and our spaces? What role does our work environment play in mental health and productivity? By integrating insights from neuroscience, psychology, sociology, architecture, and organizational practice, we can develop strategies to make micro-changes that can have an important impact on stress and health at work. Within this, leaders play a crucial part in improving well-being through role-modeling and developing the right kind of culture in their organizations: leaders shape the system both consciously and unconsciously.

How to recover from work stress, according to science By Alyson Meister, Bonnie Hayden Cheng, Nele Dael, and Franciska Krings How Athletes are Shifting the Narrative around Mental Health at Work By Alyson Meister, Bonnie Hayden Cheng, Nele Dael, and Franciska Krings Leading well-being: Breathe in the A.I.R. By Alyson Meister and Dominik Breitinger How your physical surroundings shape your work life By Brianna Barker Caza, Alyson Meister, and Blake E. Ashforth

Closely trailing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is a global mental health crisis. Declining mental health in the form of increased chronic stress, anxiety, exhaustion, depression, and burnout have infiltrated our minds, our homes, and our places of work. Despite increasing flexibility and stellar levels of productivity in organizations, workplace stress and burnout are skyrocketing, and workplace well-being levels are at an all-time low. To develop and maintain sustainable

productivity, and retain a healthy and thriving workforce, we urgently need better strategies to create and maintain resilience and well-being at the individual and organizational levels. Crucial first steps on this journey are to understand the foundations of workplace well-being, conduct a well-being audit of ourselves and our organizations, and then to introduce strategies for managing your own well-being, supporting the well-being of others, and creating thriving cultures.


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Arturo Bris Q&A Arnaud Chevallier and Albrecht Enders

What is your hot topic? How to make better decisions under uncertainty.

Key points 1

The two biggest traps that executives report are framing the challenge poorly and not engaging stakeholders appropriately. Getting to an excellent answer requires an iterative process and, therefore, skilful allocation of limited resources (e.g., time). Executives are best served by adopting a probabilistic worldview. Dealing effectively with uncertainty starts with acknowledging that they need to take calculated risks.

Why does it matter now? Many executives report that uncertainty is higher now than it has ever been,, and there’s no sign that this is going to change soon. What is your solution? The role of the leader is to provide direction to the organization and energy to the people. Based on interviews and our work with dozens of executives, we have developed a process for improved decision-making. Take the example of strategic decisions. Strategy and leadership are not disconnected. Leaders don’t make decisions in a vacuum - they need to find innovative solutions that resonate with their people. Doing so, they need to engage stakeholders judiciously. For some, they might need to engage more than might feel comfortable—a process that will give them insights and support. But for others, they might need to engage less. By following a three-step process — frame the challenge, explore solutions, decide — leaders can enable themselves to arrive at better solutions.

3 2

Solvable – A simple solution to complex problems

Recommended reading

Become a better problem solver by telling better stories By Arnaud Chevallier, Albrecht Enders, and Jean-Louis Barsoux Solvable – A simple solution to complex problems

Frame the challenge, explore solutions, decide.

By Arnaud Chevallier and Albrecht Enders


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“You learn about global problems and also you learn the solutions – from other participants as well as from the professors.”

Brian Kei, Professor of Practice (FinTech), Hong Kong Polytechnic University


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Article Francisco Szekely

How do you talk to your enemy at work?

You can turn perceived foes into allies.


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Exercise: Achieving results through crucial confrontations

Action points 1

Identify your emotions when you deal with someone at work who is hostile to you, and you perceive as an enemy. Ask yourself: “Why is this person hostile to me?” Is it because they are not motivated to collaborate with me and the organization or because they don’t have the tools and resources to contribute positively? Embrace conflict and crucial confrontations as an opportunity to strengthen your relationships at work by converting your perceived enemy into an ally.

Write a one-page statement about a crucial, upcoming confrontation challenge that you might be facing at work. We define a crucial confrontation as a discussion between two or more people where: your views are vastly different, and the other/others opposes/ oppose who you are, what you think, and what you do. In this discussion the stakes are high, opinions are incompatible, and the emotions run extraordinarily strong. What makes these conversations crucial - and not only frustrating and frightening - is that the results can have a significant impact on the quality of your life and your organization. Conducting the kind of conversation that can build bridges involves identifying and managing the deep emotions – such as anger, fear, and hate – that prevent you from talking positively with foes and taking steps to forgive, reconnect, and build a healthy relationship. It is important to recognize that it is possible to learn to talk to people you consider as hostile – or as enemies – by managing your emotions. Perceived enemies can be converted into your allies. By addressing crucial confrontations organizations become more engaged and productive.

3 2

Which leadership skills do you need to effectively address those who you perceive as your enemy at work? Leaders often find themselves in challenging situations when they experience strong disagreements with their superiors, peers, and subordinates, or with clients, competitors, activists, or regulators. Once the leader labels someone as an enemy, their interactions with them become extremely inefficient and frequently destructive.

Many organizations become dysfunctional because executives don’t know how to address differences and negative interactions between peers, customers, and organizational stakeholders. Sometimes we consider work enemies as “worse” than others because they have impacted us so negatively, and often for such a long time, that we feel deeply hurt. Our experience of interacting with them feels particularly distressing and disturbing. Is it possible to talk to such hurtful enemies? How can you efficiently conduct conversations with perceived enemies at work and transform them into allies?

Recommended reading

The ideal team player: How to recognize and cultivate the three essential virtues By Patrick Lencioni It’s all your fault at work: Managing narcissists and other high-conflict people By Bill Eddy and L. Georgi DiStefano


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Arturo Bris Neurodiversity at work Article Heather Cairns-Lee and Nancy Doyle


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We need to address all sources of diversity – including ways in which people think differently.

Diversity and inclusion are recognized as critical to creating a fairer society and increased innovation in organizations. However, much of the attention in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts focus on gender, race, and LGBTQ+. These elements are undoubtedly important, and it is gratifying to see increased understanding of the ways in which organizations can promote greater inclusion to people from under-represented groups. However, we must also turn our focus to the other types of diversity that are present in our workforces: for example, neurodiversity. Why neurodiversity matters Neurodiversity recognizes and celebrates natural variation in human neurological

traits and abilities. Yet it is an area that is still too little understood or seldom discussed. In order to create truly inclusive environments in society and organizations, understanding the way in which people are neurologically different is important. The acknowledgment that neurological differences are due to natural variation rather than deficiency represents a shift in the ways that society understands these differences. They are an integral part of human diversity and contribute to the richness of society. Core to our understanding of neurodiversity and how we can create inclusive environments for people who think differently is the use of language.


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Reflection points

workplaces. Their skills in numeracy, literacy, fine motor skills, concentration, and emotional expression are more varied than the typical population. In these areas, their profiles are more ‘spikey’, meaning they have greater skills in some areas such as creativity, and need support in other areas such as, organization and time management. Understanding the differences between neurodivergent and neurotypical people can lead to greater awareness of natural variations in how people think and process information. What adjustments can we make? In order to support neurodiverse people, organizations can look at areas such as schedule flexibility, assistive technology, and executive coaching, as well as guidance for managers on how to seek and provide effective feedback to neurodivergent team members. These kinds of adjustments can help to attract and retain neurodivergent talent, alongside paying closer attention to the fit between individual, role, and environment to create more inclusive systems.


What do you understand by the term neurodiversity? What kinds of language can we use to discuss it? What are the strengths and abilities of neurodivergent team members? How can your organization address the stigma traditionally attached to neurodiversity? Neurodivergence describes natural variation in the human population in core skills. It describes natural difference, not deficit. Up to 20% of the population are neurodiverse and bring significant skills to work and society. How can you foster a culture of greater inclusion to support neurodiverse people to feel safe, included, and able to contribute in the best way?



The power of words Language matters as it creates prevailing narratives about what is valued and what is not valued in society. Having the right language helps to develop a more nuanced understanding and enables effective communication with diverse groups of people about the topic of neurodiversity. For example, do we see neurodiversity as a “deficit” or as a “difference” in ways that people see process, learn, and interact? Through questions

such as these, we can reflect on how we, as leaders, and our teams and organizations can make adjustments to create more inclusive environments at work and to harness more of the potential of the talent available in our workforces. Neurodivergence at work Society has treated neurodivergent people as disabled because they do not fit into standardized education, recruitment, or

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Neurodiversity is not a Pollyanna concept: Judy Singer says get realistic


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By Nancy Doyle

Article George Kohlrieser and Sameh Abadir

Building resilience from failure to recovery


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How to lead under high pressure in a crisis

Action points

1 3 4 2

Understand the role of human error in leadership as a major factor in failures in a crisis.

By understanding the role of human error in leadership failures and the opposite when leadership avoids human error, we can identify effective tools for executives to manage themselves and others during a crisis. And, if failure does happen, we can then understand how to be resilient and recover from that failure. Leaders face increasing pressure and the need to navigate crises has become more prevalent in today’s complex business environment. Organizations must be prepared for unexpected catastrophic scenarios, and leaders need to develop the skills and mindset to effectively lead during such times and to avoid human error. Understanding the impact of failure, learning from it, and building resilience is, therefore, critical for both personal and organizational success. Through a multi-disciplinary approach of examining real-life stories and experiences from experts in various fields such as hostage negotiation, military leadership, and organizational psychology, leaders can discover diverse perspectives and

practical strategies to handle high pressure situations that may be prone to failure through human error. Crucial to crisis management are elements such as emotional intelligence, effective communication, clear decision-making, creativity, and even breaking the rules when necessary, both in terms of individual and team performance. These different perspectives enable leaders to understand the impact of human error in failure and to understand the human factor to build resilience, develop high-performance leadership skills, improve decision-making in crises, manage emotions effectively, and enhance communication and conflict management abilities under pressure.

Recognize failure as a stepping stone to success and understand the emotional impact of failure at all levels of leadership.

Develop high-performance leadership skills, including effective communication, emotional bonding, and conflict management to navigate crises successfully.

Build resilience by managing emotions, making sound decisions under pressure, and learning from diverse perspectives and experiences.

Recommended reading

Resilient leadership: Navigating the pressures of modern working life By George Kohlrieser, Anouk Lavoie Orlick, Michelle Perrinjaquet, and Rosa Luisa Rossi

How to manage conflict: Six essentials

By George Kohlrieser

The hidden perils of unresolved grief

Hostage at the table: How leaders can overcome conflict, influence others, and raise performance

By Charles Dhanaraj and George Kohlrieser


OWP 2023

By George Kohlrieser

Article Jennifer Jordan and Michael Wade

The key to successful empowerment

When and how should you share power?


OWP 2023

Action points

Many organizations are talking about empowerment and implementing programs to drive it, but they often lack an understanding of the better and worse practices. At the same time, it is not always wise to share power. In what situations should leaders hold power or share power? When do you, as a leader, want to hold power versus share power? The balance between holding and sharing power should be thought about on a continuum. Leaders need to be conscious of the situational variables that indicate when the various levels of power sharing and holding are appropriate. So, what are some of the different models that leaders can deploy to make empowerment work? How can empowerment exist in practice? The case of ABN AMRO The example of the Dutch bank ABN AMRO provides several meaningful lessons on how leaders can strike the balance of empowerment within an organization. • Empowerment is fundamentally about trust. Do you trust people to do the right thing? If you do not, then empowerment will not work. • If you push the principle of empowerment to its natural conclusion, then you need vastly fewer middle managers.

• There is a significant difference between self-steering empowerment and self organizing empowerment. Organizations need to be clear about which model they follow. • Not everyone wants or is comfortable with empowerment. You need to provide clear guardrails and active coaching. • It is helpful to provide a very clear model of freedom within a frame – where teams or individuals can have autonomy and where they cannot. • Expect a lot of chaos during the shift to empowerment models. • Sometimes very bold action is needed to allow empowerment to work. For example, ABN AMRO forced all its middle, and many of its top, managers to reapply for their jobs. The variables to consider of when to empower When considering if and when to empower, Jordan and Wade found that these variables were most important to consider: • Opportunity for development of your people

• Expertise of your team

• Trust in your team and their trust in you

• Who is explicitly accountable

• Time pressure

Some of the resistors that keep people from accepting power-sharing If you see your teams resisting power sharing, these three reasons might be the problem: 1. A culture of blame. When there is a culture where people look to blame someone when something goes wrong, no one will want to accept power sharing. 2. The empowerment is too advanced. Maybe the person isn’t ready and you need to therefore “thicken the frame”. 3. Habit. The person has gotten used to others stepping in when they struggle (maybe their boss?) or others taking back the power after it was “given”.

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Develop a clear frame for power-sharing that everyone understands.

Establish an open culture of feedback and psychological safety.

Ensure there are adequate, defined touchpoints throughout the process.

Recommended reading

ABN AMRO: When culture drives transformation By Michael Wade and Lisa Simone Duke

• Complexity of the problem


OWP 2023

“We are more easily triggered by negative events, we dwell more on negative emotions, and we are more likely to see the negative aspects of a situation than the positive.”

Mate Rimac, CEO of Global Nomad John Weeks, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior


OWP 2023

Arturo Bris Q&A John Weeks

What is your hot topic? The negativity bias has broad implications for how we lead, how we motivate ourselves and others, how we give and receive feedback, the kind of role models we want to be, and how we make the right choices for our happiness. Why does this matter now? Recently, one of the most important findings in psychology for leaders is the negativity bias: the asymmetry in how we tend to respond to negative experiences and feelings versus positive ones. We are more easily triggered by negative events, we dwell more on negative emotions, and we are more likely to see the negative aspects of a situation than the positive. What is your solution? Understanding how the negativity bias operates, and the impacts that it has, is essential for thinking realistically and creating positive energy in our organizations and in our lives. Once we understand how the negativity bias works, we can see how to leverage it for positive ends and how to counteract it in ourselves and those we lead.

Action points

Positive practice: Overcoming the negativity bias

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Understand how the negativity bias operates.

Help yourself counteract this bias.

Help others to counteract the bias.

Recommended reading

Understanding the negativity bias can support improved well-being and leadership.

The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It.

By John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister


OWP 2023

Arturo Bris The outer and inner journeys of the leader Article Albrecht Enders and Michael Watkins


OWP 2023

Achieve sustained high performance through leadership duality

Effective leaders mobilize and direct the energy of people, teams, and organizations. The outer journey of the leader is all about engaging and energizing people while providing clear direction and driving accountability. The inner journey of the leader is all about setting ambitious aspirations for yourself while at the same time maintaining equanimity and resilience. In periods of turbulence and challenge, these leadership dualities become more critical than ever. In the outer journey, leaders need to engage their teams, provide clear direction, and drive accountability in the face of substantial uncertainty and ambiguity. To do this on a sustainable basis they must pursue their inner journey, setting bold goals (doing) and maintaining equanimity and resilience (being). Dynamic tension and agile tenacity The outer journey of the leader often involves managing the tension between opposing yet interconnected organizational dimensions. Various theoretical approaches,

like organizational ambidexterity, paradox theory, polarity management, and dualities, have been studied, but often in isolation, leading to fragmented understanding. The concept of “dynamic tension leadership” provides a unifying approach that synthesizes these perspectives. This model helps leaders effectively navigate organizational complexities and conflicting dimensions. The inner journey of the leader involves developing emotional equilibrium, the ability to mobilize focus, sustain one’s energy, and build endurance. One key concept is “agile tenacity”, which integrates adaptability, resilience, and grit, equipping leaders to navigate complex business environments. It underscores the necessity for leaders to seamlessly adapt to change (agility) and persist through challenges (tenacity). Adaptability enables leaders to adjust to changing circumstances and innovate solutions, resilience helps them cope with adversity and rebound from setbacks, and grit encourages a steadfast commitment to long-term goals, regardless of obstacles.

Recommended reading

Why do leaders do the dysfunctional things they do? By Michael Watkins and Wendy Behary

Agile tenacity: Cultivating adaptability, resilience, and grit for leadership

By Michael Watkins


OWP 2023

“I’ve met so many people here. Every little interaction that I’ve had has added value to my life because I’m seeing things from a different perspective.”

Sophia Chitambala, Business Assurance Manager – Risk (AVP), Absa Bank Zambia


OWP 2023


Arturo Bris Future of work: How to lead your team in a hybrid world Robert Hooijberg


OWP 2023

What is your solution? While it might be a bit of an over

Action points

simplification, the old off-site is the new on-site and the old on-site is the new off site. This insight means that companies and executives have to rethink their approach quite radically to ways of working and leadership. For leaders, there are four different leadership “modes” that need to be operated across in the hybrid era. Each mode requires certain competencies and mindsets: catalyst, conductor, champion, and coach. • As catalyst , sparking energy, you need to bring in diverse sets of talents and skills, build trust and welcome constructive conflict. • As conductor you must set a clear agenda and goals, make sure everyone is heard, and check on progress. • As champion your job is to promote your team’s accomplishments and make sure they get the resources they need. • As coach , you need to listen actively, pose challenging questions, and offer support without taking over.

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Get your team together and distill the key lessons from the last two years.

Translate these new lessons into better ways of working.

How can leaders create value, beyond expectations, through people, in this hybrid era?

What is your hot topic? How can organizations and executives establish which types of work are best done virtually and what kinds of work are best done in person? Once that has been established, it is possible to define the leadership competencies that are associated with each mode of working. Why does this matter now? The big challenge, now that the restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic seem to be relaxing, is to not automatically fall back into the old ways of working. Rather, this is the moment to take stock of what we have learned and ensure that we keep the best of the new practices.

Upgrade the leadership skills of your senior executives.

Recommended reading

The future of team leadership is modal By Robert Hooijberg and Michael Watkins When do we really need face-to-face interactions? By Robert Hooijberg and Michael Watkins


OWP 2023

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