Riding Tigers, Eating Elephants Leading Effectively – and Sustainably – During Chaos

A modularized distance-learning program for leaders who need to expand and sustain effectiveness with leading teams through times of disruptive, unanticipated or undesired change.

Objectives: Provide leaders with the critical awareness and skills required for successfully navigating unexpected and highly disruptive change, particularly when faced with escalating and prolonged periods of uncertainty, so those leaders are able to:

Continue to evolve and advance missions.

Translation: Leaders and teams can continue to move forward during chaotic times.

Build the crucial capacities needed for resilience and adaptivity.

Translation: Leaders experience less stress and overwhelm, and up-level sustainable performance.

Continue to deepen and broaden in-house talent pools and knowledge base.

Translation: Leaders Improve talent retention, improve cross-silo information and knowledge sharing, advance operational resilience.

Enhance team cohesiveness, resilience and effectiveness.

Translation: Team members experience less lost productivity due to frustration and conflict as trust and engagement improve.

Elevate organizational culture from “culture by default” to an intentional, co-created culture designed to elicit the best in those who make up the organization.

Translation: Leaders and team members are able to more quickly identify and address old patterns of behavior and thinking that compromise the agility, responsiveness and sustainability crucial in today’s world.

Program Philosophy:

What got you here won’t get you there.

Marshall Goldsmith

Who rides on the back of a tiger cannot dismount.

Chinese Proverb

The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Creighton Abrams

Narratives from the dominant culture tell us the only way to succeed is to work harder, push more, DO more and do it faster and better than anyone else. As a result, leaders committed to excellence often resemble someone trying to ride a charging tiger without falling off, while simultaneously attempting to eat an elephant. Unquestioned urgency has become the norm, and when real urgency occurs, people often lack the reserves needed to ramp up to effectively meet the rapid pace of change in today’s world and the increasingly complex challenges accompanying change.

This program offers leaders ways to examine old unconscious narratives, boost emotional literacy and evolve conversations in order to more effectively and sustainably lead people through highly variable and unfamiliar landscapes.


In order to receive the program certificate of successful completion, participants are required to:

  • Attend 85% of live, tele-conferenced sessions,
  • Present a case study demonstrating how they apply new concepts and behaviors, and the results achieved,
  • Participate in 85% of study group/ POD meetings,
  • Meet 3 times with course facilitator for internalization and progress checkpoints.

Program delivery:

This program can be scaled up or down as needed, and delivered virtually, on-site or in a customized blending of distance and on-site learning experiences. 

Module 1: Setting the Foundations

Participants explore approaches for learning to self-monitor and self-regulate reactivity, based on emerging and established research in the neurobiology of leadership.

Why people do what they do, why they don’t do what they say they want to do, and how we can help ourselves unlock new aspects of personal potential.

 Module 2: Surfacing the Story

Participants identify outdated and unconscious narratives that drive behavior, skew perceptions, derail conversations and limit performance.

Why we need to reclaim the keys to the bus when our personal and collective histories have hijacked the bus – and how we go about it.

Module 3: Building Resilience

Participants learn how to identify core capacities leaders need for sustainable success in today’s world and explore how to apply specific practices for actively building those capacities.

Why we need to move beyond knowing (and parroting) developmental concepts to actually living them – and what is needed before this can happen.

Module 4: Changing the Conversation

Participants explore what makes difficult conversations “difficult,” and are introduced to a key perspective shift that dramatically expands what is possible inside conversation.

Why we need new kinds of conversations to tackle new kinds of challenges, and how we use the concepts and practices from Modules 1, 2 and 3 to help foster the conversations needed.

Module 5: The New Accountability

Participants learn a much more sustainable approach to accountability that actually helps develop both leaders and those being led, and stands up much more effectively in remotely led, geographically diverse teams.

Why yesterday’s “power over” approach to accountability shows diminishing efficacy in the face of the complex challenges and rapid change of today’s world, and how we need to adapt now.

Module 6: Integrating the Learning

Participants present their case studies to detail what they have learned in the program, how the learning has been applied and what has resulted, as the foundation for moving into exploration of a co-created, intentional culture and design of next steps for this group.

The program cost for a 100% virtual option for up to ten (10) participants is currently $20,400 USD.

For other cost and structure options on this program, please contact Lyn Allen.