Discovery Event

Discovery Event

Discovery Event

February 15-16, 2018
IMD Campus, Lausanne
CLN members only
Candice Richardet-Briand
Dissonant Leadership

Leading under conditions of complexity, uncertainty, volatility and ambiguity has become the new normal. Rapid innovation, new technologies and highly competitive industry dynamics have left few people or businesses unaffected. Emotions such as confusion, anxiety, isolation, self-doubt and inner conflict have become more visible. Daniel Goleman and others have said that strong leadership is created through emotional intelligence and resonant leadership, but by focussing on resonance, we can all too easily avoid the dissonance that leads to insight, adaptation, renewal and learning.

This event is an opportunity to explore the deep personal challenges of leadership in today’s dynamic business context, and to explore and make sense of your capacity to read and respond to complex situations. We hope every person who attends this event will experience some discomfort or dissonance in the pursuit of learning, as well as create some dissonance for others. (And if that puts you off attending, then that’s precisely why you should attend).

Dissonance is a concept that comes originally from music – the idea being that a dissonant sound is uncomfortable, and should be rapidly resolved by a resonant sound. However, over the centuries human civilisation has become increasingly tolerant and welcoming of dissonance in music. Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Debussy, Count Basie, The Beatles, ACDC, Pink Floyd, Sid Vicious all created dissonance in their time, and yet over time, their dissonance became normalised.

How do we as leaders deal with our daily feelings of dissonance? In this Discovery Event, Professor Ben Bryant will explore the relevance of this concept for executive leadership in our turbulent world. Leadership when things overwhelm us, or when they don’t make sense. When our usual desire for resonance and control is maladaptive. Based on humanistic concepts, the event will draw upon the case studies and findings of Professor Bryant’s new research into CEO learning and the development of leaders and executives more generally. It will also create the opportunity to experience and reflect on your own dissonant experiences.


Dissonant experience as the principal source of learning agility. Participants will explore their own different sources of dissonance experience, including unexpected outcomes, antagonists, life shaping events, and unfamiliar contexts
Typical executive learning disabilities, such as accumulated success, excessive conviction, fear of vulnerability, and cognitive limitations; how they develop within you (without you knowing) and how you moderate them
The concept of “negative capability” - that is, the ability to stay with dissonance, to sustain curiosity and suspend judgement. As children we were able to use our negative capability to learn and grow. Executive roles do not enable negative capability unless we know how to nurture it
How the accumulation of dissonant experience throughout life shapes our identity, beliefs and values as a leader
The relevance of dissonant leadership for change – the importance of creating cycles of resonance and dissonance for others, and ourselves

Target audience...

Executives (including very senior executives) who are interested in challenging themselves and exploring new leadership horizons
HR and L&D professionals who support the learning and development of others and who would like to challenge their own assumptions about learning and development
Leaders who are in significant career transitions and would like take time to step back for a day and a half to reflect and take stock



Professor Ben Bryant
IMD Professor of Leadership and Organization

» Read vita


Thursday, February 15, 2018, from 17:00 to Friday, February 16, 2018 16:00 (including dinner and networking lunch)


IMD Campus
Ch. de Bellerive 23
1001 Lausanne, Switzerland

» Campus map


*The event is free of charge. Travel and accommodation are at participants’ own expense.

Contact Us

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Candice Richardet-Briand

Phone: +41 21 618 06 49

Email: [email protected]