by Margaret (Maggi) Cary

I’m designing a client-specific physician leadership development workshop for creating high performance care teams and so I’m revisiting leadership literature. I came across the Center for Creative Leadership’s “Future Trends in Leadership Development.”

Nick Petrie took a one-year sabbatical at Harvard University, interviewing experts in leadership development for their opinions and thoughts on future trends. The biggest challenge is how to grow minds that can deal with complexity and interconnectivity. This means vertical development through the stages of adult development, from individual to group, from tactical to strategic, from local to global, from black and white through shades of gray to the entire spectrum of colors.

Those of us in high content fields, such as law, medicine and engineering tend to cluster in the Expert group. We all move to the next stage when our current worldview limits us. Read about Robert Kegan’s Immunity to Change process on page 16. Check out the Harvard Business Review article he wrote with Lisa Lahey, “The Real Reason People Won’t Change.”

The second trend is for individuals to be more actively involved in their development. Columbian drug traffickers created learning organizations, outsmarting and outlearning the US Government, which spent billions of dollars against them. They were self-motivated to learn, just as many of our patients are.

The third trend is the rise of collective leadership. Patient-centered care, patient care teams, treating chronic diseases – all require a multidisciplinary approach. How many times have you, as a patient, been frustrated by your clinicians’ lack of coordination? This is a huge change in The Way We Do Business in health care, given our current hierarchical structure and the penalties one risks when questioning The Experts.

The fourth trend is the need for innovation in leadership development. The current ways aren’t effective for future leadership needs. The most useful skills to have are:
1. Adaptability
2. Self-awareness
3. Boundary spanning
4. Collaboration
5. Network thinking

Where are you seeing this in your organization? In yourself?

Margaret Cary, MD, MBA, MPH
Maggi is a family doctor and leadership coach who engages her audiences in highly interactive presentations. Maggi is a doctor’s doctor with a physician’s mind and a friend’s heart. As an executive coach, she blends a scientist’s thinking with empathy. She is a constant learner and serial focuser with a lifelong passion for sharing what she’s learned. She is an inspirational motivator, occasional humorist, and excellent listener and storyteller. She translates the latest research in leadership development into her coaching process and into entertaining and highly interactive presentations. She is an author, trainer, facilitator, and teacher (Georgetown University School of Medicine). Her authenticity and ability to communicate and connect emotionally with her audience through storytelling—combined with just enough humor—result in rave reviews and standing ovations. She embodies a warm, sincere approach in sharing lessons learned as she guides you in creating your own Leadership Expedition. Email Dr. Cary at to learn more.


  1. Thanks for the kind words Maggi. It is fascinating for me to see how those trends resonate with you in your world of healthcare.

    While I was studying last year I worked on a lot of projects with Harvard Medical Residents. They were very interested in how to apply Adult learning principals, so that they could empower their patients to heal, change and grow.

    Robert Kegan, who you quote in this post told me that 10 years ago the only people interested in his work on adult development were in the education school. Now, he says, he spends all his time over at the Business, Medical, Law and Government schools. I am fascinated and excited about where all this is going.

    Keep up your great work.


    • Hi Nick,

      Thank you for your comments. In my coaching practice of physicians I find they’re interested in their patients’ growth, and also in their own. One of my dreams would be to work with Dr. Kegan.


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