The conversation about leaders and leadership is a dynamic one. As new global challenges arise, the business landscape continually shifts, and the tools available become more advanced, innovative leaders and different types of leadership models are necessary. The MLC blog series functions as a discussion platform for the MIT community to comment on shifting trends.


There Are No Heroes: Peter Senge on System Leadership

The world faces a host of systemic challenges beyond the reach of our existing institutions and their command-and-control hierarchies. Problems like climate change, ecosystem destruction, growing water scarcity, rising unemployment among younger generations, and embedded poverty and inequality. These serious issues require unprecedented collaboration – among different organizations, sectors and even countries. They also require […]

Don Sull on Simple Rules for a Complex World

A decade ago, while studying high-tech companies that thrived during the internet boom, Don Sull discovered something surprising: big, complex powerhouses like Intel and Cisco relied not on complicated frameworks to shape their high-level strategies, but on simple, specific rules of thumb. Fast forward to today, and complexity seems to be the norm – in […]

Rare Find: Is Alan Mulally a Complete Leader?

Today’s top executives are expected to be everything and do everything right. From dreaming up realistic solutions to impractically complex, shifting challenges, to having the charisma and presence to rally stakeholders around a vision for the future, leaders have an impossible task. And the pressure to be perfect can be as stressful as the job […]

The Purpose-Driven Enterprise – And Why Everyone Is Talking About It

The purpose-driven enterprise was one of the most popular CEO panels at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year and last, and seems to be the corporate equivalent of the search for the Holy Grail. Indeed, instilling a sense of purpose in our organizations is critical – especially in the still-lingering aftermath of the […]

How Crucibles Can Define Leaders

Eleanor Roosevelt was nicknamed “The First Lady of the World” thanks to her long-standing tenure in the White House fighting for human rights. Yet her legacy could have been much different if she succumbed to the tragedies of her childhood: a mother who died when she was just eight and a father, confined to a […]

Living a Big-Picture Leader’s Life

The deeper leaders entrench in the boardroom, the further they drift from the frontlines. The result is cyclical (and often cynical): leaders not only become ignorant about what’s taking place across silos, but communication can also become “one-way,” with employees discouraged from asking questions or raising legitimate concerns. Put simply, the higher leaders rise in […]

How Leaders Stop Living in the “Good News Cocoon”

Kodak. Sears. Borders. The mere mention of any of these companies brings to mind the struggle to stay relevant amid today’s technology and boundless alternatives. But behind each of them lies a deeper story of at least one leader who is or was “sheltered” from the reality of their business. This dangerous “white space” where […]