WHAT IS CHALLENGE-DRIVEN LEADERSHIP?
While serving as executive director of the MIT Leadership Center from 2014-2019, we focused on building challenge-driven leaders at every level of an organization. In “How to Cultivate Leadership that is Honed to Solve Problems” (Strategy+Business, 2017) and “The Power of Leaders Who Focus on Solving Problems” Deborah Ancona and I synthesized findings from in-depth interviews, assessments of institutional artifacts and data from companies that employ MIT alumni. We took a deep dive into the patterns that emerged and defined the highly effective style as Challenge-Driven or Problem-Led Leadership. This approach can help people solve big, complex problems in a changing world and is critical in highly innovative and creative environments.
- They choose challenge over trappings.
- They let problems lead.
- They choose collaboration.
- They step up and step out.
- They work the problem tirelessly.
- They do what the data say.
We created the MIT Leadership Center Video Series to uncover and share the stories of challenge-driven leaders who solved some of the world’s most challenging problems. As executive director, I regularly sat down with established and emerging leaders to discuss their leadership challenges and philosophies. Here are a few of my favorite conversations.
Founder and CEO McChrystal Group and author “Leaders: Myth and Reality” and “Team of Teams”
The Introverted Leader
Managing Director, Bain Capital and former governor of Massachusetts
Asking the Right Questions Across Politics and Business
Cofounder and CEO Cybereason
How Failure Inspired One Entrepreneur to Ask Better Questions
Cofounder & Former Chief Executive of Infosys
The Danger of a “Good News Cocoon”
Social Impact Storyteller and Experience Designer
Seeing the Big Picture
Global Head of R&D Digitalization Strategy, Novo Nordsk
Building Empathy Into Your Business