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  • Writer's pictureNick Petrie

Lessons in Vertical Leadership Development

I am pleased to announce the release of my latest whitepaper Lessons in Vertical Development.

We are living in unprecedented times. There is a global pandemic, unstable economies, stay at home orders, virtual workplaces, and an unknown future. We used to say that the world was VUCA, and that was before the pandemic showed up.

Many leaders are feeling overloaded by the relentless volume and complexity of their work. Meanwhile, their organizations are challenged both to survive the pandemic and chart a sustainable path to growth on the other side of it.

In this environment, companies are desperate for leaders who are agile, resilient, adaptable, and comfortable with uncertainty. But how do you develop people like this?

In this paper, I share an approach focused on helping leaders deal with the unprecedented complexity of our time. It is called Vertical Leadership Development and is based on research that shows that adults evolve through predictable stages of mindset development. At each new stage, leaders develop new capacities to deal with complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty.

Researchers who have studied these stages have found that leaders at later stages do well in complex environments. They effectively deal with conflict, handle people’s resistance to change, and are more successful in leading organizational transformations.

In the last 10 years, I, along with my partners in leading global companies, have been learning how to develop leaders for the complex world we now face. In my latest whitepaper, I explain what vertical development is and why it matters. Then, I share six lessons on how to introduce this approach to leaders in organizations:

  1. Give Leaders a Map, Location, and a Guide

  2. Learn Why Vertical Development Matters

  3. Don’t Teach Leaders, Let Them Stumble Over the Truth

  4. Focus More on Range than Stage of Development

  5. Beware the Culture Bungee

  6. Create the Three Conditions of Vertical Growth

Stay tuned because in the next paper Carl Sanders-Edwards, Jan Rybeck, and I will show you how to design vertical leadership programs including example designs from leading companies.

But first, take a look, download the whitepaper Lessons in Vertical Development and jump into the lessons.


To speak to Nick about bringing vertical leadership development into your organization send a LinkedIn message or email


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