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Deliberate Calm

How to Learn and Lead in a Volatile World

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About the Book

A trio of McKinsey & Company veterans draws from a unique combination of psychology, neuroscience, and consciousness practices plus a combined 50-plus years of international board room experience to offer a unique approach to learning and leading with awareness and intentional choice, even amidst the most challenging circumstances.

As the speed of change in our increasingly complex world accelerates daily, leaders are tasked with performing outside of their familiar zones both in their personal and professional lives. This requires us to adapt. Yet, the same conditions that make adapting so important can also trigger fear, leading us to resist change and default to reactive behavior. The authors call this the “adaptability paradox”: when we most need to learn and change, we stick with what we know, often in ways that stifle learning and innovation. To avoid this trap, leaders must become proactive so they can lead ahead of the curve.

Enter Deliberate Calm, a tangible guide that combines cutting-edge neuroscience, psychology, and consciousness practices, along with the authors’ decades of experience working with leaders around the globe. By practicing Dual Awareness, which integrates our internal and external experiences, leaders can become fluid and respond to challenges with intentional choice instead of being limited by their old success models. With Deliberate Calm, anyone can lead and learn with awareness and choice to realize their full potential, even in times of uncertainty, complexity, and change.

About the Authors

Jacqueline Brassey

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Jacqueline Brassey, PhD, MAfN, is McKinsey’s chief scientist, the director of research science for People and Organizational Performance at McKinsey, and a global leader with the McKinsey Health Institute. She is also affiliated with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, is an adjunct professor at IE University in Madrid, Spain, and serves on the supervisory board of Save the Children NL. Jacqui and her husband, Nicholas, live in Luxembourg with their teenage twins.

Aaron De Smet

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Aaron De Smet is a senior partner at McKinsey & Company. For twenty-five years, he has helped institutions transform to improve performance and organizational health. After getting his MBA in 1992, Aaron helped lead research to enhance the impact of behavioral health programs. He earned his PhD in social and organizational psychology at Columbia University and joined McKinsey in 2003. He lives with his family in Montclair, New Jersey.

Michiel Kruyt

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Michiel Kruyt is the CEO of Imagine.one with a mission to help business leaders create systemic transformation toward a more sustainable and equal planet. Before joining Imagine, Michiel was a partner at McKinsey & Company and a cofounder and managing partner of change leadership at the firm Aberkyn. He started his career working for Unilever in the Netherlands, Italy, and the United States. He is a board member of the Urban Consciousness Center in Amsterdam. Michiel, his wife, Christine, and their three children live just outside Amsterdam.