Albrecht Enders is Professor of Strategy and Innovation. His work focuses on strategic decision making. Through his teaching, consulting, and writing, he helps companies make important strategic choices, and provides guidance on how to ensure that decision making is effective, and pitfalls are avoided.
He says leaders often fall into the trap of separating decision making from engaging with their stakeholders, only communicating, and seeking to bring stakeholders on board once they have made key strategic choices. Instead, they need to involve key stakeholders throughout the decision-making process, as this can often lead to better choices and create a sense of fair process for the people they lead.
The job of the leader is twofold: provide direction where to go and engage the people so that they want to come along.
Enders is the co-author with Arnaud Chevallier of Solvable: A Simple Solution to Complex Problems, which proposes a simple three-step process for the strategic thinking needed for complex problem solving: frame, explore, decide. They argue that it is important to avoid jumping to solutions and to work through each step of this process instead.
Framing consists of clearly specifying what the problem is and what it is not. Exploring involves an analysis of the full breadth of potential solutions, including innovative responses beyond those that are immediately obvious. And deciding then entails choosing the best available solution after weighing up all of the trade-offs involved.
In addition, Enders has been actively involved in Pathbuilder programs in which a diverse group of employees act as a sort of “shadow cabinet” and present top teams with new ideas for organizational transformation. This approach has been deployed at companies like Stora Enso and has led to impactful solutions, such as Stora Enso’s Eco School concept.
Enders has worked with a range of clients from different industries, including ABB, Agathon, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, EHL, Siemens, Douglas Holding, Honda, ICBC, Novartis, MTR HongKong, Roland Berger, Safran, Skanska, Telenor, Thyssen Krupp, TUI, Vodafone and VTT.
He is also Co-Director of IMD’s Transition to Business Leadership (TBL) open program, served as IMD Dean of Programs and Innovation until 2020 and previously directed the Advanced Strategic Management program, precursor to the current Advanced Management Program (AMP).
His research has appeared in leading academic journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review and Research Policy and practitioner-oriented outlets including Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, and the Financial Times.
He has also authored numerous case studies on companies such as Nestlé, Tesco, Nordea, XING and SonyBMG, and his research and case writing have been recognized by awards from the Business Policy and Strategy division of the Academy of Management, the Society for Information Management, European Foundation for Management Development and European Case Clearing House.
He is a board member of Swiss precision tool company Agathon and a founding member of the executive committee of the Enterprise for Society (E4S) sustainability initiative launched by IMD, the University of Lausanne, HEC Lausanne and EPFL.
Before joining IMD in 2009, Enders spent three years as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group where he worked on projects relating to strategy development, reorganization and efficiency improvement in the financial services, energy, and industrial goods sectors.
Leverage analogical thinking to approach unfamiliar problems
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