Creating ‘leadership cohorts’ can help leaders think differently. Here’s 4 things to know if you want to create the most successful Cohorts:

As leaders become more familiar with success, they can become less and less curious; losing the ability to think differently. My Alexander colleague John Ainley recently wrote about the dangers of the ‘experience blindfold’. So how can you avoid it?

1. Create ‘safe uncertainty’

Familiarity of course is a more comfortable state to be in but it doesn’t always help leaders reach the right decisions in today’s fast changing business environment. In my last post, I talked about the need for leaders to create the space for ‘safe uncertainty’ to aid better decision making. One method of helping develop that process for ‘safe uncertainty’ comes in the shape of ‘leadership cohorts’.

2. Each cohort should include a member of the executive team

A definition of a cohort is of ‘persons banded or grouped together’. That’s exactly what a ‘leadership cohort’ is but with the obvious filter that the individuals who make up each cohort have a leadership role. Typically, each cohort will include a member of the executive team – to demonstrate commitment from the very top – and up to seven or eight others drawn from leadership roles across the organisation.

3. It makes sense to try and mix different skillsets

In some cases you may want to bring together those in conflict if one of the objectives is to solve relationship issues. A good gender and diversity split is also important.

How many leadership cohorts you set up will depend on the size of your organisation but, once formed, each cohort will start to learn together and explore business experiences in terms of what works and what doesn’t. They are a hugely effective mechanism for addressing the shift in leadership thinking from the ordered predictability of the older, Newtonian world to the chaotic quantum world more prevalent today.

4. Cohorts can deliver at a deeper level

Successful leadership cohorts can become a source of support and challenge; allowing leaders to engage with each other at a much deeper level. In time the quality of learning and change increases. As relationships develop, leaders have the courage to speak up about difficult issues, explore experiences and assess what works well and what doesn’t.

Leadership cohorts are a very successful way of creating an area of ‘safe uncertainty’ for learning and growth; providing a vehicle to help leaders think differently about the world in which they operate.