Executives are typically highly specialised in an industry, and consequently many have a set mental model of how they understand their industry. In highly dynamic markets this behaviour can blind executives to the developments that will end up causing disruption. Ensuring that executives get their perception challenged is one way to improve their awareness and nudge them to let go of rationales build on past experiences that are no longer applicable.

Theory U

Theory U is a method used to enable leadership to let go of the past in order to connect with and learn from emerging future possibilities. Theory U stands out from existing learning methodologies which rely on learning from the past. Most real leadership challenges today need leaders to adopt new behaviours such as working out loud and to reconfigure their decision system in order to capitalise on emerging business opportunities. Theory U provides leaders with a framework to analyse their own mental model by reviewing their own way of thinking and redirecting it towards new behaviours and assumptions.

Executive Briefing Challenge

Executive Briefing Challenge is a technique used to improve executives and leaders’ awareness about potentially disruptive developments in their industry. In a single session or multiple sessions, executives and leaders get together with external entrepreneurs and technologists, who will challenge the executives and leaders’ mental models and legacy assumptions and perhaps expose them to new ideas and developments.

Exchange Meetings

Exchange meetings aim to create a safe space for employees to voice their opinions and provide feedback to managers. The technique originates from HSBC, where it was used to make sure that managers are exposed to issues and develop a more open culture.

Reverse Mentoring

Reverse mentoring can be a very useful technique for updating senior leaders on the behaviours and skills taken for granted by younger, more junior employees. It has been used by a number of large organisations to help older, senior leaders learn about social media and new technology, whilst giving junior staff the learning experience of working alongside more experienced people.