Susan Goldsworthy

Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Communications and Organizational Change

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Susan Goldsworthy is an affiliate Professor of Leadership. Communications and Organizational Change. As a former Olympic finalist, award-winning writer, executive coach, and speaker with more than 20 years of corporate experience with large multinationals, Susan Goldsworthy brings knowledge from the fields of sport, business and neuroscience to her leadership development work. She focuses on how leadership needs to change in an increasingly uncertain world, working with people and companies to turn knowledge into behavior to create the conditions for healthy high performance.

Goldsworthy believes that our current way of working and living is unsustainable – not only for ourselves, but for other species that share our planet – so the need for change with new narratives is critical. This includes a change in the style and type of leadership of organizations. No one person has all the answers, so the model of ‘power over’ needs to be replaced by one of ‘power with’ to cultivate conditions where people can flourish and co-create solutions to the challenges organizations face. This means uniting and working across departments, industries, cultures, and age groups, with a focus on inclusivity and diversity.

Goldsworthy has worked at senior management level in both publicly and privately owned companies in Japan, America and Europe, and has extensive experience in leading global communications, culture, brand management and diversity programs. She has also run her own successful business in leadership development, executive coaching and change communications for more than a decade. She is therefore able to offer expert guidance to individuals, teams, and companies on how organizations can develop clear, consistent, and credible narratives and instil a culture of sustainable high performance.

The idea that it is lonely at the top is a myth. It doesn’t have to be. We need to move from an outdated leadership model of ‘power over’ to one of ‘power with’ where, in an increasingly uncertain world, people co-create the conditions for others to thrive.

Notably, she has a long list of postgraduate qualifications and was one of the first people in the world to be awarded an Executive Masters in the Neuroscience of Leadership. Meanwhile, her doctoral research with Hult Ashridge International Business School explored how leaders have a responsibility to co-create conditions for hope and agency in the current world context. As a highly qualified C-suite executive coach, she is also trained in the use of a number of psychometric assessment tools.

Before embarking on her studies, Goldsworthy had a successful international swimming career during which she was an Olympic finalist, medal winner at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games and British record holder for five years.

She is co-author of three award-winning books. The recently released Where the Wild Things Were is a story for all ages about leadership, responsibility, hope and biodiversity loss, and won an Axiom Business Book Awards Bronze Medal in 2020. Meanwhile, Care to Dare: Unleashing Astonishing Potential through Secure Base Leadership, written with Duncan Coombe and George Kohlrieser in 2012, and Choosing Change: How Leaders and Organizations Drive Results One Person at a Time, co-authored with Walter McFarland in 2013, were both named among Soundview’s best business books of the year and won Axiom Business Book Award Silver Medals.

Goldsworthy works with a number of multinational clients across a wide range of industries. Her work with aviation technology group SITA won gold in the Excellence in Executive Education category of the 2021 Chief Learning Officer Learning in Practice Awards. The category is specifically for executive education providers delivering targeted programs for specific clients. Goldsworthy and her team were honored for their work on the SITA 5.0 Leadership Journey, an IMD custom program for the company’s top 200 executives.

In addition, she is Associate Director of IMD’s CLEAR (Cultivating leadership Energy through Awareness and Reflection) senior leadership program and Co-Director of the new IMD Executive Coaching Certificate.

She is a fellow of the Institute of Data & Marketing, a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and the International Coaching Federation.

Selected publications
Can we have two golds?
At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the men’s high jump proved to be an exhausting contest. After two and three quarter hours, there was still no winner. Olympic high jumpers Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar an...
Published 1 December 2021
Recovery: The forgotten aspect of high performance
Given the pandemic, everyone feels exhausted and stressed. Recovery is vital.​
Published 1 March 2021
Case Study
Jan van Hasenbroek (A): A “red-pencil” leader at a crossroads
Jan Van Hasenbroek, an entrepreneur founder and managing partner of IG&H consulting firm, is in trouble. He is known in his company as the “red pencil” manager for his micromanagement of consultant...
Published 25 June 2020
Where the wild things were
What did we do once we knew? This book is written for both children and adults to entertain and educate. Join storytime as Grandma recounts her adventures withan alphabet of wild animals to her gra...
Published 1 October 2019
Choosing change: How leaders and organizations drive results one person at a time
What's your best opportunity for succeeding in business? If there's one certainty in business today, it's this: Change is coming your way. You have no choice in the matter. The choice you do have i...
Published 20 December 2013
Care to dare: Unleashing astonishing potential through secure base leadership
Have you ever been led by someone who cared for you like family, and dared you to achieve more than you ever thought possible for yourself, your organization, and even society? Award-winning author...
Published 4 September 2012
Academic publications
Choosing change: How leaders and organizations drive results one person at a time
What's your best opportunity for succeeding in business? If there's one certainty in business today, it's this: Change is coming your way. You have no choice in the matter. The choice you do have i...
Published 20 December 2013
Insight for Executives
Sita and IMD: Accelerating leadership transformation to drive culture change
In 2019, SITA – the world’s leading specialist in air transport communication and information technology – was looking to accelerate its transformation and culture change. CEO Barbara Dalibard had...
Published 1 March 2021
Where the Wild Things Were