PAST EVENT - Churchill College Alumni

Leading Change in an Uncertain World
Saturday 8 July 2017.
15:00 – 17:00

An invitation only event for Churchill College Alumni – matriculation years ’93-’98

This is an interactive leadership session at the Møller Centre which will be introduced by Cathy Butler, Director of Programmes, Møller Executive Education and led by Senior Møller Associate, Sudhanshu Palsule.  The session will be followed by a drinks reception in the Study Centre.


Welcome to the 21st century: an age of complexity and turbulence where continuous disruption is the norm; where information is no longer a source of strategic advantage, and where agility is fast replacing every other parameter of business success. This provides immense challenges for organisations and this session will help Churchillians to:

  • Understand complexity as a leadership issue
  • Develop their cognitive and behavioural ability to lead change in age of complexity

The core themes Sudhanshu will explore and develop are:

  • Learning to deal with complexity
  • Becoming aware of the cognitive and behavioural traps of the industrial age
  • Learning to shift your mindset from reactive to mindful
  • Building the resources to lead change in times of complexity and change
  • How to inspire others through authenticity and purpose

Sudhanshu Palsule will draw upon new research emerging from leadership as well as neurology and psychology, to propose ways of leading change that are effective in a complex and ambiguous environment. It will be a participative workshop that also draws upon the experience of the participants in their industries and organisations.

14:45 – Meet in Churchill College Buttery
15:00 – Registration tea and coffee – Study Centre
15:15 – Welcome – Cathy Butler, Director of Programmes, Executive Education
15:20 – Sudhanshu Palsule – Leading Change in an Uncertain World (details here)
16:15 – Interactive Q&A
16:55 – Close – Mark Carberry, Director of Client & Product Development
17:00 – Drinks reception.  Optional tour of the Møller Centre


The complexity of the 21st century is the result of multiple, and apparently unrelated factors, that are colluding in unpredictable ways to create conditions in which old solutions no longer seem to work as effectively as before. Globalisation, digital technology, socially created information, and a new demographic are creating a new environment that demands new ways of thinking and leading, and new ways of fostering innovation at the work place. It is no longer possible to solely rely on old ways of running our organisations, and leaders have to learn to thrive in a new complex landscape. Not since Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in c1440 has there been a more momentous inflection point in history. The impact is going to be massive.

Most of our leadership theories are largely based on the image of the leader as a general leading “his” troops in a planned, predictable world where instructions are obeyed and strategy is king. So much of the 21st century bears little resemblance to a time when linear solutions worked. In a complex world of multiple, convergent causes and unforeseeable discontinuities, leaders have to learn to think and respond differently.

So, what are the challenges specific to the 21st century? For one, our organisations are being driven to act more like networks than hierarchies. Secondly, our organisations are under scrutiny from employees, stakeholders and customers who possess three unprecedented resources: ubiquitous access to social information; an expectation that they can engage anyone and everyone in conversation and shape the point of view of the community; availability of cheap and fast communication that allows them to react to events in real time. In reality, the “general” has very little control left.

To stay relevant and significant, leaders must learn new cognitive tools and behaviours that are about the following four critical factors:

  • Learning to thrive in ambiguity
  • Developing the ability to adapt and collaborate
  • Operating with a mindset of mindfulness
  • Inspiring others through authenticity and purpose

Sudhanshu PalsulePicture of Sudhanshu Palsule, programme director

Sudhanshu’s work on leadership brings together the latest research emerging from neurology and psychology, and his own exploration of human thinking and behaviour over thirty years. Trained as a physicist, he uses principles of quantum mechanics in his work on building effective 21st century organisations and teams that can thrive in increasingly complex global eco-systems. His notion of “Self-Ware” – the program of thinking, emotions and beliefs that drive us – remains central to his work on leadership. His model of the “Four Mindsets” – Reaction, Control, Mindfulness and Mastery has been successfully used in many organisations globally, enabling teams and their leaders to operate at higher levels of cognition and leadership effectiveness. Renowned for his expert teaching, facilitation and coaching Palsule first worked in the corporate sector and then later with CEO’s and senior management teams of many Fortune 500 companies as well as organisations in the public sector and the United Nations.


The Møller Centre, Churchill College, Storey’s Way, Cambridge, CB3 0DE

To register

Click here