Development Programs

In the realm of adaptive challenges, challenges for which there are no known answers and where there are conflicting or ambiguous expectations from a multitude of stakeholders, leaders need a synthesis of sophisticated skills and competencies. Building or enhancing these capacities starts with a deep understanding of the material a leader has to work with, namely, him or herself, and extends to using themselves effectively in multiple contexts.

Leaders work in different domains, from the inside out

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For more information about design and facilitation of leadership development programs, contact  Nancy Winship →

More about Building Capacity for Complexity

"The dangers of exercising leadership derive from the nature of the problems for which leadership is necessary… To lead is to live dangerously because when leadership counts, when you lead people through difficult change, you challenge what people hold dear -- their daily habits, tools, loyalties, and ways of thinking -- with nothing more to offer perhaps than a possibility."

Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky, Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading

The essential leadership practices of communicating an inspiring vision, empowering others, aggressively pursuing innovation, and leading by example are the price of entry into organizational leadership – these practices are critical but not sufficient.

Nancy Winship Consulting programs provide a framework and advanced tools for executives who need more in order to lead potentially disruptive initiatives in environments that have high and sustained levels of complexity, ambiguity, uncertainty, and unpredictability. 

Custom-designed programs

Programs integrate classroom learning events,  coaching, and application focused on executives’ real and current business challenges. The programs draw heavily on the interactive engagement of the participants. Small groups of executives use structured processes to help each other identify and understand the complexities of their business challenges, and learn from one another through actions and experiments.

Program content includes:

Adaptive v. Technical Change: the distinctions between Adaptive and Technical challenges and why a more sophisticated form of leadership is required when leading businesses under conditions of complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity.

The Self as Subject: inquiry into one's unique leadership story, and assessment of leadership strengths and areas for growth.

Immunity to Change: the work of Harvard professor Robert Kegan on how we construct reality and the inherent limitations of established ways of thinking; offers a pathway into dealing more effectively with critical behavior change.

Managing Politics and System Mapping: identify the sources and uses of power, and the interests and agendas of stakeholders and constituents with the goal of seeking outcomes that produce win-win results. 

The Productive Energy in Conflict: skills to engage the positive energy that lies in conflict and that often remains underutilized as long as conflict remains unproductively hidden or avoided.

Polarity Management: a structured and readily applied process for managing organizational dilemmas, moving from inadequate “either-or” solutions to “yes-and” approaches to intractable problems.

Enlarging the Scale of Influence: skills to increase the scope of influence around adaptive challenges from the individual to the business unit and beyond to the organization and larger environment.

Using Authority Effectively in the Face of Adaptive Challenges: understand the constraints and resources of authority and find appropriate and powerful ways to use authority effectively in the territory of adaptive leadership.

Plan for Experiments: develop hypotheses and plan experiments to learn about the nature of the changes required in one's self and in the system.

Mindfulness: develop practices for staying balanced, proactive, and strategic in disturbing times.