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Leaders of change have a tough job—MIT Sloan makes it easier

"Like a good play or restaurant, this course left me wanting more." That was the sentiment from Brad Evans, Nuclear Operations Division Manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, when asked about his thoughts on the MIT Sloan program, Leading Change in Complex Organizations. His fellow participants agree. Leaders of change have a tough job, but MIT Sloan makes it easier to navigate by providing frameworks and encouraging executives to look at situations through multiple lenses.

Effective change leadership is an evergreen struggle for many organizations, so it's no surprise that the MIT Sloan program, which runs once a year in mid-May, continues to be popular with executives around the world. The 2016 program attracted 46 participants from 14 different countries spanning North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Deanna Lomas

Some might say leadership and change go hand in hand. Deanna Lomas, Director of Supply Chain at Telstra in Melbourne, Australia, would take that statement a bit further and quip, "Leadership is change … change of oneself, others, and systems to achieve what may seem impossible. This program teaches you the key tools to start the journey."

Participants in the program are introduced to MIT's approach to leadership, the 4 Capabilities Leadership Model that was created here at MIT Sloan. They learn about the power of networks, both inside and outside of their organizations, how to organize for innovation, and effective methods for managerial decision making. True to MIT's motto of "Mens et Manus," which is Latin for "Mind and Hand," the program also offers opportunities for participants to test their new knowledge through case studies and hands-on simulations that put the learning into practice.

Leading Change in Complex Organizations 2016

Of course, there is no one set formula or method, but the six faculty members who teach in the program, complemented by the rich experiences of the worldly executive participants, can provide many new ideas and frameworks to help navigate the complexities of leadership and change. The opportunity to learn from one another, share cultural perspectives, and exchange stories of both successes and failures is key to Leading Change in Complex Organizations.

At the end of the 2016 program, Stephen Kowal, Division Chief for Education Policy and Planning at the U.S. Agency for International Development, said, "This week has been a good mix of theory, research, and practical application. I have a few new approaches to test, some questions to ask, and perspectives to consider."

If you have questions about the program, or would like to have a conversation to assess if the program is the right fit for you, please contact the Program Director, Colleen Berger at

Featured above: Participant Deanna Lomas; Leading Change in Complex Organizations class of 2016


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