Editor’s Letter

Welcome to Developing Leaders from IEDP The more we explore the challenges facing organizations, the more frequently we come back to the same set of answers. It is rarely technological complexity or lack of access to capital that stymies big enterprises and all too frequently ‘people problems’. Often these are not complex issues to define either, fear and an inability to take decisions lie at the root of many corporate troubles. Those decisions senior executives do take are usually based upon nice sets of accounting figures presented rationally and coherently, though we know that most corporate failures are due to people issues which are frequently left out of the equation. The cover of his issue of Developing Leaders deals with the thinking that a diverse group of experienced consultants and executives – from architects to HR professionals, academics to tech entrepreneurs – have pooled together on the topic of digital overload. Peter Thomson, the editor of the book they have written, summarises their thinking and asks who is responsible for everyone drowning in a torrent of data? While the answer is still not yet clear, some of the conclusions in the book ring true – one suggests “we all just need to grow up a bit” in being able to decide to turn our devices off, and another quotes Tolstoy “Everyone thinks of changing the world, no-one thinks of changing himself”. This segues nicely into Paul Brown and Theresa Dzendrowskyj’s article on Emotional Muddles. Emotions power the energy we all have – or don’t have – to make things happen, and it is the leaders’ role to harness it and direct it for the betterment of organizational performance. Again, it is people who are both problem and solution – and if nothing else, this insight from neuroscience ought to be central to all management thinking going forward. Elsewhere we have behind-the-scenes reports on how businesses as varied as Airbus and BMS France deal with culture change and development. The latest thinking on decision-sciences from Fuqua, Ideabanks from Columbia, program design from Cranfield and the increasing focus on purpose from Oxford Saïd; as well as the vision of two business school deans from Darden and HEC Paris.

As ever, we are keen to hear your thoughts, comments and opinions on what is going on in the magazine and more widely in the world of executive development. Please contact me at

Roderick Millar | Editor

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4 | Developing Leaders Issue 29: 2018

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