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90% of Development is Letting Go of Old Things

Changing behaviors and developing is about letting go of the old so that the new can come in. Having watched 1,000’s of leaders come through leadership programs I have become convinced that what most people need is not to learn something new, but to let go of those mindsets that are old (and outdated). We develop ideas about the way the world works in our formative years and end up stuck with them in adulthood. These ideas tie us to a way of behaving and they tie us to a level of development. We Read more […]

Why Can’t You Change?

When cardiac patients are told that if they do not change their behaviors – eat less, exercise more – they will die, only 1 out of 7 people makes any changes. How is it possible that people would rather die than change their habits? In leadership programs when we give leaders a flipchart and ask them to write down the attributes and behaviors of a great leader they have seen, most groups can summarize the last 30 years of research in about 10 minutes. When we ask these highly motivated Read more […]

Why (a lot of) Training Doesn’t Work

  I recently had an interesting conversation with a friend about why many leadership trainings don’t work. My friend runs a successful leadership development business, but like many people who are good in this field, he started in an area completely distinct from ‘training’ and brought what he learned with him. He in fact began his career working for Toyota and was heavily influenced by their Toyota Production System (T.P.S.) Our conversation began because we both have a (morbid) fascination Read more […]

How Organizations Screw Their Best People

      Descriptions of their ‘best people’: “He was a bad people manager. . . . A manipulator of people. He started creating a poor climate in the office, making the work life not productive. After several warnings, he was fired.” and “He is a great strategic thinker and he has high ethical standards, but he lashes out at people, he can’t build trusting relationships. He is very smart, but he achieves superiority through demeaning others. He is abusive, Read more […]

Why Groups Fight Each Other

One of my favorite ever professors was Harvard psychologist Richard Hackman, who spent a lifetime looking at group dynamics and social forces. One of his lectures that I remember most vividly was about how conflicts between groups erupt (think: teams, departments and nations). He said that after studying the research and carrying much of it out himself, he believed that four factors were nearly always present. 1 – Clearly Identifiable Groups – Lines are drawn so that people know who Read more […]

Future Trends in Leadership Development – C.C.L. Whitepaper

Halfway through my expensive Harvard program last year, I realized that I was wasting my time. I was getting a lot of new info, but was not turning it into anything useful or memorable. I had a feeling that if I did not convert my time into something concrete and practical, I was going to end up with a fancy piece of cardboard and little else. So I made, what was in hindsight, one of the best decisions of my career – to turn my degree into a project. The big question I had on my mind was, ‘What Read more […]

Someone Has Already Solved Your Biggest Problem

I once worked with a promising young lawyer named Ben. Ben had rapidly ascended up the partner track in his firm, but had stalled just short of actually making partner. Ben’s problem was that he was not good at bringing in new clients and it turns out, that this is exactly what you need to get good at in order to make partner. Most successful partners in Ben’s firm had created detailed business plans for how they would bring in new clients. Unfortunately despite his best efforts, Ben could Read more […]

The How of Behavior Change

Why it matters When I interview many participants who have been through leadership programs, they tell me that while they find it interesting learning ‘what’ they need to get better at, what they really want to learn is ‘how’ to get better at those things when they get back to work. They want to know, ‘what do we and the research say about how to change behaviors?’ The challenge of the traditional approach One danger for traditional leadership development programs is that they Read more […]

How Can You Grow Faster?

Disclaimer – though I am 6 ft 6, this is not a post about height. Instead it is about that rare occasion when someone asks you a question and it completely flips your thinking. It happened to me this week when a professor in a small class I was taking asked – why is it that we divide people into ‘children’ and ‘grown ups’? What do those two terms really mean? The implication he suggested, was that we believe that children are growing, growing, growing, until they finish growing and are Read more […]

What you can learn from Drug Smugglers and Terrorists – A brilliant book

What a crazy and brilliant idea Michael Kenney had. Kenney, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, wanted to understand why Columbian Drug smugglers and terrorist organizations (like Al Qaeda) have proved next to impossible to eliminate. So he spent the last decade studying and interviewing them and came up with some surprising answers. He then put everything he learned into a brilliant book. I have just finished writing a book summary on it for a research conference. It is a brilliant illustration Read more […]


Resilience for 120 Oil and Gas Leaders

Leaders and staff are constantly telling me that they have too much work to do and that they find it difficult to switch off at the weekends and evenings. People are running themselves into the ground. The greater problem is that the condition...

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How to Double Learning Transfer in 30 mins per Month

Do you have a sense that your organization is spending a lot of money on training without it producing behavior change back at work? For most organizations it isn't and there is a simple reason. There is very little support and reinforcement f...

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Project – The Future of Leadership Development

I am looking for partners who are interested in creating a new generation of tools to develop leaders. Specifically I want to partner with internal HR folk who are trying out innovative methods for developing busy leaders. I am looking for pe...

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Webinar – Future Trends in Leadership Development

A cool part of this job is that I get many interesting speaking requests from organizations around the world. The trouble for me with a young family has always been the travel. The sponsor often counters that we could do it virtually but I have a...

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Hi, I'm Nick Petrie from the Center for Creative Leadership. I've spent the last ten years studying the most important future trends in leadership development. This website is a dedicated resource library to share the big, new important ideas in leadership development as well as the latest methods to apply those ideas. I hope you find it valuable.