Executive Master in Change - Learnings Module #3

Updated: Jul 29

A few weeks back, I returned from INSEAD with many questions. After the Leadership Dynamics - Module 3 of the Executive Master in Change, my learnings differed significantly from previous modules. This time, the theory was backstage, and experiential insights took center stage.

Experiential insights are powerful, complex, and non-linear. Below is a mix of such insights:

  1. Transitions in organizations or careers appear as a space where nothing seems to happen for a while. At least not in the measurable ways we were used to before the transition. But in these transitions, many things happen and come our way. The challenge is to look beyond the initial perception.

  2. What we can’t see about ourselves is very obvious to others. Inviting trusted others into our reflection exercise accelerates our learning and growth.

  3. As we play our roles in organisations, we bring our entire history into play.

  4. We can’t develop leaders unless we understand what leadership is.

  5. Collectives need direction, protection, order, and purpose. Leadership takes care of these needs. And so, we create roles for leaders.

  6. Leadership is about the system, not the leader.

  7. Leaders exist in the minds of collectives even when there is no direct relationship between the leader and the people. A leader’s impact depends on this image in people’s minds.

  8. There is a clear correlation between the culture of a country and organisation and the image of a good leader.

  9. Leadership for technical challenges and adaptive challenges is very different in terms of skills and approach. In adaptive challenges, we need to overcome individual and organisational immunity to change, where existing beliefs and commitments create such an immunity. Technical solutions can’t overcome such beliefs and commitments.

  10. When we want to create too much change, we set ourselves up to fail.

The good news is that in a world of constant change, we become more equipped to lead change, either in ourselves, others or organisations.


The insight that makes me reflect the most is #7. What did you take away from this list?