Can CEOs Learn?

The question may seem unnecessarily provocative.

The CEO role has become one of the most personally challenging roles in 21st century society. CEOs are often attacked, criticized and vilified by external and internal stakeholders such as governments, shareholders, social media, boards, top teams and the press. The increasing pressures of accountability, responsibility and performance can lead to a mindset that is more focused on being defensive than on deep learning. 

Conviction, certainty and clarity have become essential attributes of successful CEOs in a rapidly changing world. Indeed, failure in their own judgment or performance leads to intense scrutiny. “Successful” CEOs learn to protect and defend themselves against criticism and challenge from those with vested interests; whether they be financial or ethical.

The IMD CEO Learning Center examines the critical relationship between CEOs and their organization, their board, their executive team and, most importantly, themselves and how these relationships can foster or inhibit learning.

The Center helps CEOs to be:

  • more open and more resilient in their openness
  • learn as much from their antagonists as their trusted supporters
  • build executive teams that are comfortable with provoking uncomfortable dialogue
  • question success
  • deeply understand and learn from failure
  • accept and embrace the isolation of leadership roles

The purpose of the IMD CEO Learning Center is to explore, understand and develop the capacity for learning among CEOs and senior executives.