• Learning

Dealing with Ambiguity

Immersive learning in Nairobi to build resilience, sense-making and self-knowledge. Special Offer to IEDP readers


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Dealing with business complexity and its ever-increasing velocity remains most organizations’ major challenge in terms of recruiting and maintaining effective leaders. We are all familiar with the issues of ambiguity and the skills increasingly required to deal with it: curiosity, sense-making, resilience, and perhaps above all self-knowledge.

None of these are ‘new’ to the business world, but they remain hugely difficult things to acquire and develop when you are more than fully occupied in ‘getting your job done’ with all the daily administrative tasks, meetings and fire-fighting that managers and executives face week after relentless week.

Join Emerging World’s 4 day Nairobi based program: Learning to Lead in a VUCA World, 6-9th November – SEE BELOW FOR SPECIAL OFFER

However, awakening people’s curiosity and developing their sense-making skills, as well their resilience and self-knowledge is at the heart of all good learning, and this applies to executive learning as much as any other form of learning. We know from wide research that adults learn best when they see that their learning is relevant to both themselves and their organizations (or wider environment), but also when they are stimulated and emotionally engaged – and challenged. The best learning happens when you are in a state of anxious uncertainty, for that is when your brain is most open to new approaches.

Executive development programs are much less the traditional ‘knowledge dump’ of facts and toolkits these days, though there remains a place for these within programs.  Increasingly programs use experiential activities to enable the required stimulation and challenge to involve the program participants and embed enduring learning outcomes.

The consultancy, Emerging World, has been running their experiential programs on a custom basis for single client organizations for many years. Their approach is at the more ‘full-on’ level than most and hence they call them, Immersive Experiences. They are now initiating an cross-company program aimed at companies that want to send smaller numbers of people on these kind of experiences and/or who value the multiple perspectives offered in this type of engagement. The format is their tried and tested one, of four days in Nairobi, Kenya, working with local organizations and bringing the participants' business skills to solve problems and challenges for small businesses and social enterprises there. These challenges force participants to think creatively, in unfamiliar environments to deliver sustainable business solutions. The activity undertaken ‘in the field’ during the day is crucially explored and discussed in the moment with an expert team of facilitators.

This kind of learning is not the ‘classical’ style where knowledge in the form of facts, figures and processes are shared and absorbed. It is an example of a much more impactful form of learning that changes people’s understanding of the wider world. It allows them to handle ambiguity more proficiently, creates perspective, and strengthens participants’ resilience ability as it grows their self-confidence and can for many being hugely re-affirming for appreciating their life’s purpose, which is invigorating and rewarding.

The Emerging World experience is at the more extreme end of immersive learning experiences, but the rewards and impact are more impactful as a result. There are plenty of other experiential learning experiences offered either as standalone programs or as part of advanced leadership programs at business schools. We have covered many of these in the past, such as the conducting experience at Kellogg, or the Solo experience at BG Group with Cranfield. If you are interested in finding out more about these kinds of experiential learning experiences please contact us at .

Emerging World is running its open-enrolment ‘Immersion Experience’ program in Nairobi on the 6-9th November.

Emerging World is offering a special discount of £750 per person on usual program fees for IEDP readers who confirm participation by 23rd September (4 places maximum).

Please see further details at 

Award winning specialists of immersive leadership development experiences. Helping global businesses and leaders make positive transformations which have positive social impact.

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