One of the hardest questions we are asked about trans:form:ed is “Who should attend?” The short answer is this:
trans:form:ed is for senior leaders who are expected to lead teams and organizations in times of ambiguity, unpredictability and constant change. Our goal is to set the conditions for the emergence of specific qualities and behaviors which are expected of these leaders.
However, we find that some people naturally want to compare us to familiar programs, such as executive development courses or international business visits. And this is when it gets difficult, because we find ourselves describing ‘what it is not’ rather than ‘what it is.’ We came up with the diagram below to answer this question, which has proven extremely helpful in these conversations:
In our humble opinion, most executive education and business development events, such as trade missions, focus on doing more of what is already being done today. Some of these activities may feel innovative because they involve incorporating ‘best practices’ into the organization, but in reality they are often about catching up with other players in our industry rather than truly coming up with something new. Although these are worthy of pursuit — and there will be no shortage of best practices at trans:form:ed — this is not where we see the real value that the program will create for participants.
Leaders today are not only expected to be comfortable in ambiguous, uncertain and unpredictable competitive environments. They are expected to inspire the people in and around their organizations, and take them along for a ride through the path of ambiguity. These are hardly skills that can be taught in the safety of a traditional classroom. Yet, schools continue adding classrooms and putting their efforts towards bringing students into their campuses. With trans:form:ed, we are taking participants out of classrooms to places where change is evident, exposing them to change-makers who are rolling up their sleeves and leading in extreme circumstances, despite the uncertainty (and in some cases, risks) they must face. We will be meeting face-to-face with people whose circumstances are so extreme, they should make our organizations’ challenges look like child’s play.
To get the most value from our program, we want participants to come with an open mind. Rather than look for examples in their own industry that they can copy and paste back in their organizations, we will rely on their ability to ‘abstract’ learning from the different places we visit, and find the pearls of insight that will make these experiences uniquely meaningful to them and their organizations.
Ultimately, our goal is to give participants confidence to thrive in uncertainty and bring others along for the ride. This is a tall order, but also one we believe is worth exploring with outside-the-box learning experiences like the one we are creating.
So, you should definitely not attend trans:form:ed if your goals are limited to:
Validating what you are already doing and learning easily transferrable methods, processes or best practices.
Networking only with players in your own vertical or industry.
Absorbing content from experts without contributing back to your cohort.
Do your leadership goals align with the goals of trans:form:ed? Then drop us a note. Or better yet: join us in Bogota next February!