25 min read
Jan 2024

Adaptive Leadership


Adaptive Leadership

To accomplish meaningful systems change, it will take each of us doing what we can to nudge, push, and pull together in a positive direction. We believe that leadership is not about status or position, but about many decisions, both big and small, across multiple decisive moments. Our aim is to nurture and support you along your unique leadership journey.

Executive Education for Senior Leaders

We partner with world-leading universities to deliver dynamic learning experiences with top-rated academics, expert practitioners, and like-minded peers:

  • Exploring the nature, challenges, and opportunities of purpose-led business

  • Using in-depth Economics of Mutuality case studies and stories from the field to illustrate and share best practices

  • Fostering peer-learning, support, and debate in small tutor groups during the program and in optional Communities of Practices afterwards

  • Experimenting with your ideas and hunches to build momentum behind innovative ideas within your organization

  • Creating time for reflection on your own practice and approach to leadership


“The most precious commodity that we are lacking today is willpower. That comes from leadership – courageous leadership and at times uncomfortable leadership.”

Paul Polman
Economics of Mutuality Senior Advisor;
’Net Positive’ Co-Author; Former Unilever CEO



8-Week Online Oxford Program

At regular intervals, we run an Economics of Mutuality live virtual executive education program with Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.

Each module has been designed to equip senior leaders to deliver both purpose and performance – empowering them to walk the talk of Stakeholder Capitalism by learning how to create value for people, planet, and business.

Watch: ‘Landing the Leadership Commitment’, a discussion with Hubert Joly and Nadia Terfous from the 2021 Executive Education Live Virtual Program with Oxford University

Customized Courses and Training for Teams

If you are interested in a tailored learning experience designed to meet the specific needs of your business unit team, click the button below to fill out an enquiry form. We offer:

  • Half-Day Workshops: Designed to provoke and stimulate deeper thinking on issues related to sustainable business models, innovation, and growth. Asking what it will take for your company to transform the way it creates value for people and planet.

  • Whole-Day Workshops: Building in more ‘how-to’ content and practical experimentation with the Economics of Mutuality toolkit in order to achieve these 4 management shifts.

  • Multi-Day Courses: Typically run for 3-4 days with an emphasis on experiential and hands-on learning, giving the team a real grasp of how the Economics of Mutuality works in practice to deliver mutual value creation. The goal is to build in-house capabilities based on the Economics of Mutuality approach.

For example, we designed a 3-day training program with a client based in Chicago. We spent a day running a systems mapping experiment around a local foodbank project where the company team conducted interviews with a large range of stakeholders in order to understand drivers of food insecurity in the city.

By identifying many pain points of various stakeholders and highlighting the breakdowns in the system, the team was able to see how foodbanks offer one key solution to the problem but also the emerging opportunities to drive even deeper positive impact.

Individual Certification

To achieve our purpose of Completing Capitalism, we are building a global movement around the Economics of Mutuality that spans all sectors and geographies. We are currently developing a certification program that will enable you to join this movement as an Economics of Mutuality practitioner at three levels:

  • Advocate: Equips you to understand, experiment with, and promote an Economics of Mutuality way of thinking in your specific business context.

  • Expert: Offers in-depth training on the Economics of Mutuality methodology and toolkit, with a focus on identifying mutual value creation opportunities.

  • Consultant: Enables you to deliver Economics of Mutuality projects in partnership with our team and to apply the methodology and toolkit when delivering your own client projects.

Click the button below to sign up for our EoM Briefing newsletter and receive notifications about the certification launch, which is scheduled for later in 2023.


“We as champions of purposeful business have to make sure that people don’t think there is a dichotomy between doing well and doing good.”

Arunma Oteh
Academic Scholar, University of Oxford;
Former World Bank Vice President and Treasurer


Why ‘Adaptive Leadership’?

‘Adaptive Leadership’ is a management framework focussed on mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges and thrive. It was developed by Harvard Kennedy School Professor Ronald Heifetz’s 2009 book The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World. It includes the following key tenets:

  • Successful adaptive changes build on the past rather than jettison it

  • Organizational adaptation occurs through experimentation

  • Adaptation relies on diversity and takes time

  • New adaptions significantly displace, regulate, and rearrange some old DNA

The ‘Adaptive Leadership’ approach is a framework for leaders that is ideally suited for our current ‘VUCA’ context and can help guide leaders seeking to deliver lasting, transformative change in their organizations.