In today's interconnected world, organizations seldom act in isolation to achieve their goals and visions. Strong global, regional and local currents—such as development of new technologies, awareness of environmental problems, shifts in political regimes, and the rise and fall of competitors and allies—form the landscape in which organizations strive for success. In addition to being able to build and sustain teams and organizations, leaders need a way of understanding and intervening in the larger systems and currents that shape the landscape. At times you may find you can amplify the effectiveness of your organization by thinking of your work as part of a movement and forming alliances with others with similar goals. Other times you may need to actively respond to, negotiate with or resist the movements around you. Regardless, identifying and acting on leverage points within systems comprised of many actors and stakeholders is a key capacity for leaders seeking impact.
This course will introduce you to leadership through the lens of complex systems thinking as it applies to societal systems. You'll learn to frame and reframe the challenges you face and the strategic directions available to you. Through hands-on activities you'll develop a range of relevant skills—systems mapping, polarity analysis, large group convening and conflict engagement—and learn to apply them to your own professional context.