An ILA Leadership Perspectives Webinar

Provocation as Leadership: The Art and Practice of Challenging the Status Quo

Photo of person in silhouette shooting an arrow into the sky at sunrise.


with Dr. Michael Johnstone and Maxime Fern

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Change rarely occurs without some kind of shock, crisis, or compelling reason. To create deep change, you have to disturb people, or at least risk doing so. Provoking without antagonizing or shutting people down, as well as tolerating their pushback, are complex challenges, requiring skill and will.

This webinar will present a roadmap of provocation as the essential change leadership tool.  Presenters will touch on why provocation is necessary for effectively leading change, the different forms of provocation, action, tools, and frameworks. Presenters will share some of the lessons learned from practical case studies how to use provocation to live, learn, and thrive.

By attending this webinar, participants will….

  • Expand their repertoire of leadership tools to be used to open up more productive conversations.
  • Hear real world case studies where provocation has been productively and effectively utilized.
  • Clarify the difference between productive and ethical versus unproductive and unethical uses of provocative action.
  • Discuss an extension to the seminal work of Ron Heifetz and Marty Linksy.

The webinar is based on their new book, Provocation as Leadership: A Roadmap for Adaptation and Change.

Maxime Fern and Michael Johnstone

Maxime Fern and Michael Johnstone, the cofounders of Vantage Point Consulting, are life and working partners, based in Canberra, Australia. For the past 40 years they have worked together around the globe as leadership consultants, facilitators, and coaches with clients in the public and private sectors, not for profits and professional service firms. Stepping into places where others may be too polite to go they refined the art of provocation at Harvard’s Kennedy School as a framework to help others succeed with their change efforts.

They were visiting faculty at Harvard University for fifteen years, are on the Faculty Advisory Board of the global Adaptive Leadership Network (Washington, D.C.), are members of the Inaugural Faculty for the Australian Adaptive Leadership Institute and recently joined the Academy of Adaptive Leadership at the University of New South Wales as adjunct professors. Both authors are Members of the Australian Psychological Society, Chartered Management Consultants and Members of the Australian Institute of Management Consultants.

Kerissa Kuis

Dr. Kerissa Kuis, MBA, DEL, (Moderator) is the Chief of Leadership and Education at BRAVE Leadership School, which will be launching later this year based on her research into the future of leadership development. Kerissa is an emotional intelligence counselor, business and leadership consultant, and teacher of love and leadership. She is a faculty member at West Virginia University, where she teaches in their organizational leadership degree program. She is an associate faculty member at the University of Arizona global campus, where she is on the committee for the center for women leadership and research assistant. She is passionate about innovating leadership development and educating and inspiring emerging leaders. Kerissa is currently serving as the chair of ILA’s Leadership Development member community.

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