Wendy Bittner is a scientist, a former McKinsey & Company consultant, a leader, a coach, a seeker, and an all-around wise person. In this episode, we explore the concept of leading and living in a complex world, based on her own experience and through the academics and theories that are the foundation for her work.
Wendy first encountered complexity from the scientific side while getting her PhD in inorganic chemistry at Caltech. From there, she became a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she ran head-first into the complexity of the business world…and the many ways in which we, as humans, are ill-equipped to handle it. A move into leadership development at McKinsey and beyond brought her into contact with Jennifer Garvey Berger and, later, Keith Johnston, who helped her begin to adapt the learning from the science of complexity into the practical application of complexity to organizations. Today, as a partner at Cultivating Leadership, Wendy serves a range of clients around the world from non-profits to commercial banking, from small startups to tech giants. Her work is as wide-ranging as her clients, encompassing individual coaching, team-based interventions, leadership programs and keynotes to larger audiences, but always working at that critical intersection of complexity and human capabilities, helping her clients to grow into and thrive as their biggest selves.
In addition to her work with Cultivating Leadership, Wendy is a periodic guest lecturer at the Berkeley Haas School of Business and a certified MBTI, LVI and Leadership Circle practitioner. When not following the nomadic lifestyle of a leadership development practitioner, Wendy has the good fortune to live in northern California wine country. Her passions outside of people development include cooking elaborate meals for friends, baseball (full disclosure, she is a Dodgers fan), games of all kinds, and wine.
A few links to some of the topics covered in this interview:
To read Wendy’s bio and learn more about Cultivating Leadership: https://www.cultivatingleadership.co.nz/our-team/wendy-bittner
To learn more about the Cynefin Framework: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7oz366X0-8
To learn about Robert Kegan’s work on Adult Development: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUOapqI3rzs