A leadership development program for Walmart executives, with a focus on dealing with ambiguity.
Walmart is one of the largest organizations in the world. Its leadership is leading enormous teams, amazing goals and grand objectives in a high pace changing world.
Therefore, Walmart identified ‘Leading within ambiguity’ as a learning objective and asked nexxworks to invite this group to the Day After Tomorrow.
The group had to choose a bold day after tomorrow problem to ‘solve’ for. The starting idea was that we not only live in a VUCA world but in a BANI world: Brittle, Anxious, Non-Linear, Incomprehensible – based on the work of James Cascio.
Nexxworks designed an immersive experience in China during which the group was exposed to multiple creative collisions.
The group was welcomed in China without any idea on what they would experience besides the frame of the chose day after tomorrow challenge. They were challenged to explore the city and culture by themselves. The key was to work together, rather than to win the game. They did field research via the visits to companies like PingAn, iCarbonX, Tencent, etc. They built their own prototypes and developed a collective manifesto. They had a workshop on ‘what world would we want to live in’. This was organized in the experiential & immersive setting of a very different culture than their own, as well as enhanced with multi-sensory experiences.
All these grounded not in solving for the problem, but to learning about how they approached it and collaborated.
All of this happened with a dedicated community of experts and enablers, that challenged the way of thinking forward. JP Rangaswami, Céline Schillenger and Ozark Henry were part of the enabling team.
Individual pre- and post-interviews with the participants were held to capture the input and output of the initiative.
Individually the leaders evolved on their personal vertical development skills. Key personal learning conversations exposed how the experience had shifted perspectives. Lots of them moved to different roles within a year. The leadership development team feeds the experience as a true treasure within the day to day of the business which was challenged by Covid directly after the learning expedition.
Collectively the group found boundary spanners to rely on in their daily work. Belonging to this group of leaders, having experienced this thinking together, they are collectively committed to achieving the company’s goals.
It’s so important to step outside the day-to-day business. We are the only ones who can moderate this back to our teams and translate what we’ve learned to accomplish our daily goals.
This experience showed how short-term planning and long term planning are both needed. The China visits were truly inspiring in how they execute on that.