Surviving Digital Darwinism

Thanks to everyone for your very kind words about my presentation at OEB Midsummit today. It was a labor of love and I really appreciate how many of you took time out to share how you appreciated the narrative approach. Thanks also to Gary Zamchick who is my visual partner in crime on projects such as this.

For those who want the WHOLE Story….I will post later today

Learning Technology Address

I just got word that my talk at Learning Technologies 17 is now up. A number of you had asked me to post to my blog once it was up….so here it is. Don’t miss Steve’s great intro where he delves into the world of technology. I come in around the 24 minute mark with my riff on how we need to avoid falling into the routinizaiton trap with these new techologies.

I told a story in five chunks:

  1. To learn how to navigate the permanent white water created by the VUCA Vortex….
  2. ….we must address the scary problems that have painted us into a formal classroom learning corner….
  3. by overcoming our own limiting learning and development orthodoxies….
  4. …to recognize how technology is rapidly changing the nature of learning on multiple different dimensions….
  5. ….that can enable new design rules to build a deliberately developmental learning system.

For those of you who want to follow along with the slides, they are here:


Reconceiving Change: From Solving Problems to Navigating Polarities

This is the third installment chronicling the insights that emerged from our work to develop our Leading from the Center Model.

Our third insight was that “Leaders are no longer faced with solving simple problems instead they must learn to navigate complex polarities.” Change is no longer something static that can be managed by unfreezing, reconfiguring and refreezing, instead change resides within the business ecosysetm and throws off unanticipated tradeoffs and tensions that must be attended to in an agile and thoughtful way. Learning to navigate the polarties thrown off by change is one of the most important things a leader must learn….which will require UNLEARNING the mindset that every challenge is a problem that can be solved through linear and sequential deductive logic.

What do you think….are you living and working  in a “Find-it-out” world where every problem you encounter is definable and has been solved in the past or are you increasingly operating in a “Figure-it-out” context where the issues you encounter are ones that are without precedent and require real-time sensemaking and ongoing attention? I know my world is laregely the latter!

Can Your Organization Avoid the VUCA Vortex

This is the second installment chronocling the insights that emerged from our work to develop our Leading from the Center Model.

Our second insight was that “Organizations are increasingly succeptible to the strengthening pull of the VUCA Vortex.” In fact, over the past 16 years, over 50% of the Fortune 500 have been pulled into the vortex and no longer exist. The new rule in this era of Digital Darwinism, it appears, is adapt or DIE!

What do you think? Is your organization immune to the VUCA vortex? If not, what are you doing to make sure it does not go the way of the dinosaur?

The Leadership Challenge: Developing Agility in Perpetuity

For the past six months, our Strategic Leadership Solutions team at DukeCE has been working tirelessly to distill our 16 years of collective experience working with over 250,000 leaders around the world to answer the question: How must leadership evolve to create organizations that are more responsive, resilient and agile?

Our journey of inquiry was aptly described by our team as being “herky jerky” and many of the unconventional insights that emerged from our collaborative sensemaking created a path that led us to our Leading from the Center Model.

At various stages of our journey we captured brief and unscripted video snippets of our new insights. We affectionately dubbed these “Scribbles from the Basement.”

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing these insights in chronological order so that you can share in our journey.

Our first insight was that “Leadership’s primary challenge is to understand how to develop agility in perpetuity.”  Take a look and let me know what you think. Is this the MOST important challenge for leadership today?

My New Home: Duke Corporate Education

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I taught my last Culture, Civilization and Leadership class for Fuqua’s CCMBA Program in St. Petersburg, Russia last week.

While the “Gestalt” of recognizing that I would no longer be a part of this incredible program was bitter for me, the sweet counterpoint is that I am now in a position to fully engage in my new role as Executive Director at Duke Corporate Education.

Since April I have been playing a dual role between getting situated at Duke CE while rounding out my responsibilities at Fuqua. During that time I have come to appreciate what a truly special place Duke CE is. The unique constellation of capabilities that have been created and the incredible talent that the leadership team has convened is second-to-none in the industry …. It is no surprise to me  that Duke CE was recently recognized as the number 1 provider of Custom Executive Education for the tenth year in a row.

I am truly honored to become a part of the Duke CE team and look forward to the opportunities that lay ahead as we define the next generation of leadership development strategies, architectures and interventions to prepare the next generation of leaders of consequence!