Author and consultant Jennifer Garvey Berger has worked with all types of leaders—from top executives at Google to nonprofit directors who are trying to make a dent in social change. She hears a version of the same plea from every client in nearly every sector around the world: "I know that complexity and uncertainty are testing my instincts, but I don't know which to trust. Is there some way to know what to do when I can't know what's next?"
Her newest work is an answer to this plea. Using her background in adult development, complexity theories, and leadership consultancy, Garvey Berger discerns five pernicious and pervasive "mind traps" to frame the book. These are: the desire for simple stories, our sense that we are right, our desire to get along with others in our group, our fixation with control, and our constant quest to protect and defend our egos. In addition to understanding why these natural impulses steer us wrong in a fast-moving world, leaders will get powerful questions and approaches that help them escape these patterns.
About the author
Jennifer Garvey Berger believes that leadership is one of the most vital renewable resources in the world. At a time when organizations are often forging the path rather than following the path of others, leadership is about creating the conditions for people to be their most creative, connected, intelligent selves. She is a founding partner and CEO of Cultivating Leadership, a consultancy that serves executives and executive teams in the private, non-profit, and government sectors around the world. Her clients include Google, Microsoft, Novartis, Wikipedia, and Oxfam International. Jennifer designs and teaches leadership programs, coaches senior teams, and supports new ways of thinking about strategy and people with clients facing these dramatic shifts in complexity, volatility, and change in their workplaces and markets. She blends deep theoretical knowledge with a driving quest for practical ways to make leaders' lives better.
Jennifer holds a doctorate in adult development from Harvard University, where she studied under and worked with acclaimed developmental psychologist Robert Kegan. She was an Associate Professor at George Mason University before she left the academy on a mission to connect powerful research and the people doing real work in the world.
"The greatest journey a leader can take is into a world of self-awareness, mindfulness, and curiosity. Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps is a pioneering handbook that I believe will help a new generation of leaders navigate complexity and find fulfillment."
—Vas Narasimhan, Chief Executive Officer, Novartis
"In this book, Jennifer explains key skills: listening to learn, disagreeing to expand, resolution to deepen relationships. I wish that every leader, and every person, would read this in today's increasingly interconnected yet polarized world!"
—Diane Tang, Vice President, Google
"This book is deceptively brilliant. It offers a host of very accessible practices that will result in creating the agile, innovative, engaged organizational conversations and cultures that can thrive amid complexity."
—Bob Anderson, Founder and Chairman, The Leadership Circle
"I don't know how Garvey Berger has managed to capture so much wisdom in such a small compass, but I do know we are all the beneficiaries!"
—Robert Kegan, Harvard University
"Thought-provoking, insightful, and empowering. This book opens up academic research to a broader audience, encouraging us all to expand the limits of our thinking. Jennifer's work continues to inspire me."
—Jill Ader, Chairwoman, Egon Zehnder