Katharina Lange

Affiliate Professor of Leadership

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Katharina Lange is Affiliate Professor of Leadership. She specializes in teaching executives globally about leading self, leading teams, and leading organizations, and in building resilience at the individual, team, and organizational level as well as leading customer-centric organizations. She has a strong track record of designing and directing innovative executive education programs for virtual, face-to-face, and blended learning.

She directs IMD’s custom programs for Mondelez, BAE Systems and E&Y, and co-directs IMD’s signature program Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP) as well as its Leading Customer-Centric Strategies (LCCS) program, which takes a fresh approach to customer centricity, integrating strategic, digital, and leadership angles.

Leaders connect when they speak from the heart. Their language is accessible, relatable; it is simple, not simplistic. This requires great courage.

Lange’s teaching on self-leadership focuses on creating better awareness of a leader’s bright and dark sides. In her sessions, executives discover the key values that motivate and inspire them. Just as importantly, they discuss how to integrate their weaknesses with courage and humility into their (professional) lives and learn to speak from the heart.

Her work on leading teams focuses on psychodynamics, analyzing subconscious and conscious drivers, and building resilience, particularly in relation to boards.

Lange’s PhD in pharmacology adds the empirical lens of a natural scientist to her profile and she appreciates insights provided by data and assessments. She has certifications in all major assessment instruments and makes particular use of IMD’s innovative 5s2 model. This model assesses leaders’ ability to redesign their present business model for higher performance while simultaneously adapting and preparing the organization for a successful future. These “dual transformations” require ambidextrous leadership in five behavioral dimensions: leading strategy, execution, stakeholders, people, and self.

Lange has held leadership positions herself, and what she teaches in class has been tested in reality. This ensures the real impact of her sessions. Before joining IMD in 2019, she led the Office of Executive Development at Singapore Management University (SMU). This role gave her valuable insights into leading cross-cultural teams. Previously, she was Program Director and Head of Life Science Industries and Head of Open Enrolment Programs at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin. Before embarking on her academic career, she worked for 10 years in senior roles with Arthur Andersen and Deloitte Consulting.

She also serves on the Board of UNICON, the global consortium for university-based executive education. She currently co-chairs its research committee, having previously headed its membership and benchmarking committee.

Selected publications
Case Study
Business on the move (B) (Video case)
Case B, a video case, reveals the identity of the company and its two protagonists. Via an interview technique, students learn about the starting situation and the reasoning behind the transformati...
Published 8 June 2022
Article
Why talent management is crucial in transforming business models
Renewables trailblazer Orsted and tobacco giant Philip Morris have transformed their business models – fueled partly by HR best practice. Companies seeking to reap the benefits of building a sustai...
Published 2 June 2021
Article
Fuse soft skills and digital for customer centricity on steroids
Technology alone cannot unlock all the answers for understanding customers. Companies must blend soft skills such as empathy, humility and audacity with digital innovation to achieve true customer ...
Published 13 May 2021
Case Study
Zuellig Pharma (A): A case for transformation
Case (A) describes the situation facing John Davison after joining the company in December 2014 as the new CEO. A failing ERP implementation had led to serious operational issues in Singapore (its ...
Published 1 December 2020
Article
Agility and resilience: the essential qualities of leadership in the digital age
Transforming an organisation is never an easy task, especially when competitive pressure becomes merciless. There always seems to be a faster, better, bolder, brighter business model emerging in th...
Published 26 November 2019
Article
Leadership capabilities: Transforming your organisation for the digital age
How can established companies transform their existing selves so that they not only survive but also thrive in the digital age? Established businesses have a lot of advantages that start-ups don’t—...
Published 25 November 2019
Insight for Executives
Books to inspire, inform and entertain 
Article
Books to inspire, inform and entertain 
From dealing with burnout and bullsh*t to the joys of friendship and climbing mountains, IMD professors offer a varied choice of summer reading material.
Published 16 June 2022
Article
Nicholas Christakis
Yale's Nicholas Christakis discusses his latest book with IMD Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Katharina Lange. Once named amongst Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, Nicholas Christakis...
Published 24 March 2022
Article
Wie Teams krisenfest werden
From extreme situations we learn which mechanisms can throw teams off track - and which factors make teams more resistant to stress. Under normal circumstances, recklessness or despondency can at b...
Published 24 June 2021
Article
Why talent management is crucial in transforming business models
Renewables trailblazer Orsted and tobacco giant Philip Morris have transformed their business models – fueled partly by HR best practice. Companies seeking to reap the benefits of building a sustai...
Published 2 June 2021
Article
Fuse soft skills and digital for customer centricity on steroids
Technology alone cannot unlock all the answers for understanding customers. Companies must blend soft skills such as empathy, humility and audacity with digital innovation to achieve true customer ...
Published 13 May 2021
Building resilience into your organization
Video
Building resilience into your organization
Resilient Mindset Mini-Series
Published 23 June 2020
Stuck – unstuck: using adversity to advance your career
Video
Stuck – unstuck: using adversity to advance your career
Stuck - unstuck: using adversity to advance your career webinar by Katharina Lange
Published 22 May 2020
The resilient mindset: a practical guide for leaders
Video
The resilient mindset: a practical guide for leaders
How teams and managers can harness the adversity of the current crisis to build resilience.
Published 4 May 2020
Leading your firm through the crisis more resiliently
Video
Leading your firm through the crisis more resiliently
Resilient Mindset Mini-Series
Published 7 April 2020
Article
Agility and resilience: the essential qualities of leadership in the digital age
Transforming an organisation is never an easy task, especially when competitive pressure becomes merciless. There always seems to be a faster, better, bolder, brighter business model emerging in th...
Published 26 November 2019
Article
Leadership capabilities: Transforming your organisation for the digital age
How can established companies transform their existing selves so that they not only survive but also thrive in the digital age? Established businesses have a lot of advantages that start-ups don’t—...
Published 25 November 2019