The Institute’s Leader Community is Designed For…

  • Senior Leaders who operate in an industry undergoing significant disruption.
  • Senior Leaders responsible for transforming their organizations.
  • Senior Leaders the organization will bet on for future success.
  • Senior Leaders who have reached peak capacity using their current approach and need to find new  ways to lead their companies going forward.


Membership consists of a comprehensive leadership development program that integrates three core elements: Executive coaching with a Personal Leadership Advisor, Disruptive Development Experiences, and consulting and networking opportunities in a high-caliber, high-trust peer community. All integrated and applied for significant real-world impact at work.


Personal Leadership

Each member develops a strong relationship with his or her Personal Leadership Advisor (PLA) who facilitates a transformative experience by serving as the member’s executive coach, guide, and Peer Consulting Group leader. The PLA works with the member to craft an annual plan to include programs, events and relationships to help him or her achieve their current year’s goals. Institute PLAs are master coaches and advisors with a Ph.D. or M.B.A. and 15-20 years of experience working with C-suite executives.

Disruptive Development

The core design principle for Institute programs is that accelerated, or step-change, development does not occur without some catalytic experience. Programs thus aim to shake leaders out of their typical day-to-day experience, exposing them to big and new ideas, engaging them in deep thinking about their personal and business opportunities at this complex time in history, and activating them to tackle those opportunities with purpose and courage, all with the support of a high-trust peer cohort that will continue on as a resource throughout the year.

High-Caliber High-Trust
Peer Community

Leadership development is supported through interactions with a diverse array of other peers and experts who both challenge and support leaders to expand their capacity to think, feel and act with intention and impact. Each member of the Leadership Community is provided with a network of committed members invested in one another’s success. The cohort you join in your Base Camp Program becomes your ongoing Peer Consulting Group, ensuring sustained growth and real-world impact.  Members also participate in Community Networking Events throughout the year

Members can choose from either a Foundational or an Intensive development experience during their first year. Both include the core components described above. The Foundational Experience enables the member to disrupt their ingrained ways of doing things and develop new behaviors, mindsets, and networks. The Intensive Experience requires an additional level of time commitment, and enables a transformative change in the member’s self-awareness, empathy, complexity of thinking, courage and purpose. In addition to attending two more residency workshops, Intensive Experience participants work closely within smaller groups to assist one another with achieving an audacious business goal at their companies.

The Institute has been developed by pioneers in executive development, including David Peterson, Director of the Center of Expertise on Leadership at Google, and world renowned leadership developer Marshall Goldsmith, along with behavioral scientists and the collective mindshare of the Institute’s think tank community.

Developmental Journey of Pat Humphreys, ICL Member

Pat Humphreys serves as the SVP of Innovation at a top 10 clinical research company (market cap of $4.5B; 2016 revenue of $2.2B), a role to which he was appointed in late 2016 as a developmental rotation to better prepare him to be a strong CEO succession candidate, after having been President of the early phase clinical business (2016 revenue of $82M) for the previous 6 years. Almost 12 months into it, however, while having gained some traction on internal process innovations, which improved efficiency, he was not making measurable progress on goals related to product innovation, which would attract new, bigger customers and on which the strategy relied. This created risk – for himself and his career; for the company’s competitiveness; and for the company, in terms of having a strong and ready CEO succession slate.

Pat recognized that what had propelled him to success thus far in his career – his intellect and combined science and business background, his strong track record of problem solving and turnarounds, his strong people management skills, and his sheer drive – was no longer sufficient. He faced challenges that were qualitatively different from most he had tackled previously, but it was difficult to put his finger on what he should do differently. Pat now felt a subtle but gnawing sense of uncertainty and realized he was not having much fun anymore; he retreated a bit, going into “nose-to-the-grindstone” work mode, which had worked well for him in his more narrow, smaller scope and scale part of the business, where the metrics and goals and processes were fairly well-defined. He was working faster and harder to innovate, reading extensively, going to conferences, studying competitors and talking to members of his network from past companies and B schools (i.e., by trying to develop himself as an expert on innovation), so he was not short on ideas and the ability to drive projects. However, he was finding that he couldn’t get much done, encountering what appeared to him unnecessary and even political push-back on his ideas and plans from other business leaders.

The CHRO and CEO, who had identified Pat for the succession plan, were perplexed, as they had expected Pat to thrive in the innovation role and they knew the CEO role was significantly broader in scope and complexity, especially in light of a number of recent acquisitions over the past few years from different geographies and cultures which were intended to diversify the company into a broad range of additional drug development and commercialization services. They all agreed that a disruptive and accelerated development experience could be extremely valuable.

Pat’s experience at the Institute integrated several elements, including personalized executive coaching, a peer consulting group, and an intensive cohort-based program that disrupted the “what got you here” mindset while providing ongoing challenge and support in his efforts to think and act differently back “on the job.” His path over the course of the first 9 months included:

Deep Awareness: Stepping back and identifying the new situational demands and challenges of his innovation role and how they differed from past roles (i.e., where results were more defined, working harder typically led to results and accolades, he was able to exercise a degree of authority/positional power in getting things done). He realized that his new role was not initially or primarily about working harder, getting projects done, developing deep expertise in innovation, and solving problems, though these were all strengths of his that had made him successful to date. He realized that much of his self-concept and confidence was based in these ingrained behaviors.

Defining What Needs to Change: Pat realized he would need to both acquire and unlearn behaviors and ways of thinking. For example, he needed to develop a view of himself as, and the skills to support, being a connector, facilitator and convener of business leaders and a listener and synthesizer, learning their businesses, understanding their needs and their ideas in light of what he was hearing from other parts of the businesses, identifying patterns and themes as well as outliers, things that might be unique innovation needs. And he needed to engage in dialogue with these folks in a way that made them feel heard and bring back things that they could see included their fingerprints.
He would have to unlearn a more directive, expertise-based style with a primary focus on metrics such as revenue and profit, efficiency, speed, etc., though there would be a time and place for his talents in project planning and execution. He would have to communicate more and vet plans with other leaders, incorporating their input and engaging them with vision. He also realized that any plans would need to take into account a much more complex set of factors – e.g., considering further downstream implications than he was used to considering, considering the impact and tradeoffs of allocating resources to innovation projects, the agendas and concerns of varied business unit leaders who had no accountability to Pat.

The Personal Disruption Opportunity: For Pat, his personal, psychological shift has been to let go of an identity where self-respect came largely from delivering, being an expert, and being a highly intelligent “driver.” Instead, he has had to learn to appreciate and feel accomplishment in the joint achievement of an ultimate goal where his fingerprints are not necessarily obvious on the end state. He has also come to appreciate the importance of being much more relationship-focused and having the empathy and perspective-taking ability to really understand the internal business leaders’ perspectives and their customers’ perspectives and needs. And, finally, he has had to appreciate complexity and engage in synthetic, systems-thinking to appropriately prioritize and resource initiatives in the best interest of the company overall.

Action Steps: Pat engaged in personal reflection, perspective-taking practice, and some role playing with his PLA and program cohort; he leveraged his peer consulting group to learn how others were successfully working with and through others and to get practical advice and information, and he used the disruptive experiences of his program and subsequent practice to push himself to act with courage and to find ways of elevating others and celebrating joint goals. As one “metric” of mindset change, he noticed that, over time, he was beginning to feel less of an urge to be recognized individually. When his PLA asked him each month to rate his enjoyment of his job (since that was one of his early indicators that something was wrong) on a scale of 1-10, he tracked his response. It was not a quick change, but after about 4 months, he went from 3 to 5, and over the next 5 months, he got up to a 7.

Next Steps: Pat has noticed his personal relationships and non-work viewpoints have involved some shifts and is intrigued with the process of development. He will continue his developmental work from year 1 in year 2 but he also plans to attend more events with broader audiences, not just his peer consulting groups. He is particularly interested in exploring idea of powers and influence without authority.