Leadership Action Frameworks

Leadership is learned. Leadership is a choice.

Leadership is an action.

Wicked Problems

Wicked problems are unprecedented challenges that combine constant change, high social complexity, disagreement among stakeholders, have no right answer and seem to get worse with each attempt to “fix” the problem. Wicked problems have no precedent.


Leading is a choice and that choice can come from anywhere in an organizational structure without regard for formal authority or position. Leading is an action; it is movement; therefore people “exercise” leadership. Exercising leadership is challenging and can be dangerous. Therefore leading is not for everyone.


Leaders are educated, trained and ultimately rewarded for knowing
the answer to problems. This approach works well when the problem is technical and has a clear answer. Wicked problems repel quick answers. The approach to dealing with wicked problems is to run experiments and iterate ideas. This work calls for deeper observation
of the challenges faced; more time spent interpreting what is happening and then designing interventions and experiments to address the problem.


Leaders can only mobilize people around a purpose. The purpose must engage people’s head and their heart. Mobilizing is the process moving people and organizations from a current reality to a better future. This is the most challenging work that leaders do because it is often about values, deeply embedded assumptions and behaviors that are often unconscious but constitute the essence of the organization’s culture.


The entire world is a system. Today problems come nested inside other problems inside a larger system. Leaders need to see the system that is producing the challenges and identify their own contribution to the challenges. Getting on the balcony is a
metaphoric reminder to do the observational work of seeing the entire system before intervening. Getting on the Balcony is reflective work. Both self-reflection and systemic reflection.


80% of leadership capacity is built on the job and through peer learning. Our responsibility to our clients is to design a leadership development practice that leverages the 80% of real world learning with the 20% that happens in a classroom. We do that by designing development experiences and actions that utilize coaching, peer learning, and feedback over time. The goal is to build capacity to exercise leadership. Leadership is learned through experiences instead of mental consumption of theories. This form of learning is more dependent on personal resolve then intellect.
Skip to toolbar