Course Details

Our thoughtfully-crafted program design and faculty will provide a cohesive, progressive, and powerful encounter with the core concepts and will inspire participants to rise to the critical leadership demands of the 21st century. This selective program utilizes Harvard's convening power to attract best-in-class faculty, contributors, and a high caliber, diverse cohort, ensuring engaging, high level exchanges and powerful networking and mentorship opportunities.

Course Fee


Program Structure

Virtual offering with 68 hours of content, activities, and discussion - September 13 - December 17, 2021

The virtual 2021 Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership offering will run as a mix of intensive online content delivery, smaller groups activities and discussions over a period of three months, starting September 13th, 2021 and continuing through to December 17th, 2021. Total contact hours will be around 50 hours, spread over the three months period. During this time, participants will be supported as they integrate their learnings and practice into their respective professional contexts.  

The offering will be structured into 7 modules, with 2 weeks dedicated to each module. Each module will incorporate course content, Q&A and discussion, and small group activities with an application focus. In an effort to accommodate varying time-zones and busy schedules, all lecture content will be pre-recorded. Week 1 of each module will include 3 hours of pre-recorded course content, in 20 minute or less increments, to be viewed at your leisure over the course of that week. We can make arrangements for smaller group collective viewings of the pre-recorded content, if this is preferred, so that you have a group to help work together to digest and synthesize the material and to identify questions for one another and for the teaching team.

Week 2 of each module will kick off with 2-hr live sessions with course faculty likely on Monday afternoons (3pm ET) during which the teaching team will be available for open discussion and Q&A. The remainder of each Week 2 will have an applied focus. You will be organized into small groups (PODs) that best accommodate timezones, as these PODs will schedule their own meeting times (2 hrs per session) and will work through a designated activity as a group. Together, these 2-hour faculty discussion and 2-hour POD meetings on the second week of each module will serve as the “connective tissue” for the cohort. We will also be hosting 2-3 optional full cohort meetings over the course of the offering to touch base on opportunities for content application and to harvest insights across the cohort gleaned from the applied experience.

Through this program, leaders learn powerful new strategies for enacting high-impact sustainability leadership that positions sustainability as a driver of organizational engagement, authenticity, agility, innovation, and change-capability.

Our focus is on organizational design to optimize and accelerate impact for sustainability and innovation.

What is sustainability?

We define sustainability as the triple bottom line enterprise of achieving economic and social wellbeing derived from a mutually regenerative relationship with our planetary life support systems. We also define sustainability as the ideal adaptive challenge for building your organization’s fitness for the 21st century.

The single most unique leadership demand of sustainability is the sheer pace, volume, and depth of change it requires. To rise to this challenge there is a profound and immediate need to provide senior leaders across all sectors with sustainability-centric executive education that empowers high-impact sustainability leadership.

To date, the most prevalent senior leadership response to sustainability has been the adoption of goals and metrics associated with environmental impact reductions that amount to simply ”doing less bad.” There is an urgent need to go beyond this incremental “command control” approach. It is failing to produce the pace, volume, and depth of change needed because it is failing to produce the engagement, innovation, agility, and change-capability needed.

We are looking for senior leaders and sustainability professionals ready for a new kind of high-impact sustainability leadership dedicated to driving sustainability into the core of their mission and business by unleashing new levels of organizational effectiveness. This will place new leadership demands on senior leaders and sustainability professionals, as well as on the very structure and design of their organizations.

We welcome leaders who are new to sustainability, and those who are already fluent in it. We are seeking leaders with an appetite for mastering a new kind of high impact sustainability leadership that will transform their organizations into agile, innovative, and profoundly change-capable enterprises. The crucial mindset we seek is that of wanting to go beyond positioning sustainability as “doing less bad” and moving towards the triple bottom line of economic and social wellbeing based upon a mutually regenerative relationship with our planetary life support systems.

To this end, the critical leadership conversations encountered in this program will include:

  • Unleashing human potential across your enterprise through purpose-driven engagement
  • Creating clear pathways for good ideas to come from anywhere and to take root
  • Leveraging positive social dynamics and social learning to increase engagement, idea flow, and organizational learning
  • Revolving loan funds and other mechanisms to ensure finance and accounting processes enable innovation and engagement
  • Engaging millennials
  • Working with the strengths and weaknesses of your command control operating system to advance change-capability
  • Decision-making agility to allow for good ideas to be scaled up quickly
  • Change management as a practice of reducing risk and instability

By preparing leaders to generate the right organizational fitness for the sustainability triathlon (social, economic, and environmental), many other complex 21st century problems will also become easier to address. From this viewpoint—and with the right leadership application—sustainability can be the “problem that solves your organization.” The value proposition of this new kind of sustainability leadership is enormous.

The program is offered once a year, typically in a 5-day residential format, but this year in a longer term virtual format, with the intent of having participants experience the content and apply the tools first hand, develop strong networks within their cohort, and interact directly with the faculty to optimize their learning experience and their effectiveness as a sustainability leader “on Monday.”

Attendees gain mastery in a powerful new framework and lexicon designed to increase rates of engagement, change and innovation across their organization through purpose-driven organizational design and idea flow. The program delivers a strong balance of guiding principles, case stories from the field, and activities & direct application grounded in the core framework of adaptive organizational design. Dynamic networking across sectors and the sharing of best practices are key elements of the program design. Our selective admissions process ensures that you will be as stimulated and inspired to action by members of your cohort as you are by the course material and program faculty. 

This program is connected to a growing global network of collaborators and trainings, all sharing and co-evolving the open-sourced content, tools and case stories. 


Our program will enable participants to:

  • Evaluate what has and has not been working with efforts to take sustainability from the margins into the core of your organization
  • Learn a powerful new framework for increasing your sustainability leadership impact
  • Position sustainability as a driver for innovation, agility and effectiveness
  • Unleash human potential through purpose-driven engagement
  • Design pathways for good ideas to come from anywhere and to take root
  • Advance your ability to make the sustainability business case
  • Align finance and accounting structures to drive innovation, engagement, and change-capability
  • Leverage positive social dynamics and social learning to drive idea flow and organizational learning
  • Increase decision-making agility to allow good ideas to be scaled up quickly
  • Engage millennials by leveraging your sustainability enterprise
  • Reduce risk and instability by mastering sustainability change management
  • Deepen the engagement of other senior leaders and the entire leadership system within your organization
  • Embed an adaptive capacity for stable change across your organization
  • Engage in meaningful thought partnership on shared problems and opportunities regarding this critical leadership challenge with senior leaders from diverse sectors