In my first week as Executive-in-Residence at IMD I observed and commented on executive education programs. One was led by Dan Denison whose focus includes organizational culture, leadership and the impact they have on performance and effectiveness, and Tom Malnight whose focus includes global strategy, evolutionary organizational change, internal growth and renewal. They guided participating executives through exercises designed to help them effectively tackle a changing and uncertain future. Another group of executives interacted with James Henderson whose focus includes helping companies achieve and sustain their competitive advantage, through a comparable exercise in developing strategies under times of uncertainty. And in my first gathering of faculty and senior staff with IMD president Dominique Turpin we as an internal team explored many of the same issues.
I was gratified to see that much of what was presented and analyzed affirms the work I’ve done as a consultant for close to four decades. I am excited about developing modules and/or contributing to existing programs at IMD. While engaging in these forward-looking strategy sessions, given the proximity to Sept 11 and its world-wide media coverage, I couldn’t help but simultaneously reflect back. Without diminishing the profound significance 9/11 holds for so many, I wondered why we seem to have such total amnesia about other horrors in our recent collective history. Why do we not have comparable days of remembrance to capture the hearts and imagination of people world-wide to care about the 800,000 killed in the Rwandan genocide just over a decade ago or the spillover of ethnic violence to the Congo?
We don’t even have to go far back: why are we not more compassionately involved with a 9/11-like sense of simpatico with the millions who right at this moment are suffering from the devastating floods in Pakistan or still barely recovering from the aftermath of the 2009 earthquake in Haiti? I look at individuals and organizations – from all sectors, public and private, for- and not-for-profit – thinking primarily about their immediacy, whether it be the challenges or opportunities or both that face them right now. And I’m thinking that with a broader spectrum of vision that encompassed forward- and back-looking views, they’d all be more successful in planning and executing each of their goals.
As always, I welcome your comments on this short reflection. Please provide links to (a) papers or articles you’ve written on these topics; (b) your blogs and/or (c) websites whether on these issues or others; and (d) anything else you think we’d find interesting.