The future of leadership development

I share Petra Kuenkel’s experience that a high percentage of my trainees and coachees find better opportunities after going through a transformational process. But the ones who stay, equally brave by the way!, set to work transforming their relationship with the work they’ve chosen. That does challenge them and the culture. They were generally already somewhat alienated from it, already asking different questions, observing problems bosses didn’t want to acknowledge. But with a changed perspective, new strategies, they were able to negotiate better. Sometimes I think it’s more about consciousness and relationships than about “fit” with the culture — a company that doesn’t embrace diversity in terms of innovators and outliers and the flexible authentic leaders I call Shapeshifters is a company that loses ground in the market, gradually or suddenly. So the people who decide to stay, despite the challenges, can be really transformational for their colleagues and their chosen field.

The Future of Leadership is Collective

About ten years ago I ran a sought-after international leadership development program for multinational companies together with Bill Isaacs ( What struck me years later was the impact of the program that was thoroughly based on a dialogic approach – about half of the participants left their companies!

Although there are many factors that push people to leave their jobs, it made me think – did we wake up an old longing? Did we contribute to them asking themselves different questions that led to different actions? Did the program alienate them from the dominant culture of their company?

These unanswered questions have accompanied me since. Indeed – a high quality dialogic approach pushes people to rephrase their questions and helps them enter unknown territory within and without. It initiates a process of unfolding towards greater awareness of one’s true responsibility in the world.

So what are my conclusions…

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