Meet your Program Director
Ben Bryant directs the IMD CEO Learning Center. He holds the Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Chair for Responsible Leadership. He currently directs IMD’s Executive MBA leadership stream.
Ben Bryant is passionate about helping managers break down the barriers created by functional silos and national boundaries and manage conflict and tension. His research also focuses on reflection skills, the “mindfulness” of leaders in complex organizations and the ability of leaders to learn from experience and context.
It’s no secret that transformation is a critical factor for organizational survival today. But when we hear or think “transformation”, do we think it’s organizations that need to transform, or people? And if we think its people who need to transform, do we think it’s other people, or do we look inward?
In our working lives we encounter complexity, ambiguity, volatility and uncertainty on a daily basis. Our natural response is to attempt to bring structure, order, comfort and clarity to these situations. This is particularly true in leadership positions when others are counting on us. But these reflexes could be doing us a disservice.
In the early stages of their careers, people often try to learn from the experience of others because they lack experience themselves. As their responsibilities increase, most senior executives realize that case studies about the achievements of others lack relevance to their own context and that their own experience is not only unique but also one of the richest sources of learning.
Leaders aspire to create challenging discussions that can move their organizations forward. But does the corporate culture allow them to challenge their teams without descending into personal attacks? The willingness to challenge is often undermined by an already existing absence of trust marked by politeness and defensive behaviour. So how can senior managers create teams that feel trusting enough to enable challenge?