Developing Cognitive Readiness Competencies

taught by Prof. Sattar Bawany

Course description

Developing Cognitive Readiness Competencies


“It is evident that conventional leadership development practices are no longer adequate. Organisations globally need to incorporate the next generation leadership competencies including cognitive readiness in order to address the development needs of their rising leaders. This expanded group of upcoming leaders need to have a broader skillset, one that equips them to think and act globally in a VUCA business environment. They must do so while embracing cross-cultural diversity and cultivating collaborative relationships within and outside their walls. These are the hallmarks of the mindset needed to develop effective global leaders in today’s highly disruptive VUCA world.”


– Prof Sattar Bawany (2016)

2016 Trends in Executive Development: A Benchmark Report


In a VUCA world what is needed is Cognitive Readiness: the preparedness and agility to handle the situation at hand and still prevail. Chief among the new VUCA-related competencies that leaders need to develop is a high level of Cognitive Readiness, which is the mental, emotional, and interpersonal preparedness for uncertainty and risk.

Organisations are prioritising the development of Cognitive Readiness as the one of priority for leading in a VUCA business environment. This may reflect recognition of its importance for current and emerging leaders and a serious commitment to developing these mental capabilities, or it may simply reflect curiosity about the latest leadership development topic and a desire to avoid being left behind. Either way, two issues are present. First, organisations will need to think creatively about the processes they employ to accelerate the development of Cognitive Readiness in High Potential Leaders. Second, organisations may want to explain why, in practice, Cognitive Readiness is important to their success and then define in much greater depth their expectations of perspective.

Importance of Cognitive Readiness in a VUCA World

Traditional Critical Thinking is the ability to recognise assumptions, evaluate arguments and draw conclusions. The traditional Critical Thinking competencies typically include strategic thinking, creative thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. In the 2016 “Trends in Executive Development – A Benchmark Report” by Executive Development Associates (EDA) has defined Cognitive Readiness, on the other hand, as the mental, emotional, and interpersonal preparedness for uncertainty and risk. It complements Critical Thinking by emphasising non-rational, non-logical skills.

Executive Development Associates (EDA) has defined the following as part of Cognitive Readiness Competencies:

  • Mental Cognition: Recognise and regulate your thoughts and emotions
  • Attentional Control: Manage and focus your attention
  • Sensemaking: Connect the dots and see the bigger picture
  • Intuition: Check your gut, but don’t let it rule your mind
  • Problem Solving: Use analytical and creative methods to resolve a challenge
  • Adaptability: Be willing and able to change, with shifting conditions
  • Communication: Inspire others to action; Create fluid communication pathways

Overall, heightened Cognitive Readiness allows leaders to maintain a better sense of self-control in stressful situations.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this Masterclass, the participant will be able to better appreciate and/or understand the importance of developing their cognitive readiness and critical thinking skills which would be of great relevance and importance in problem-solving and decision making in their roles as a leader in a highly disruptive VUCA World.

The programme incorporates a number of unique features and works on a number of levels. It is specifically aimed at enhancing and developing the skills, knowledge and behaviours of the participants.

The participants will develop their understanding of Leadership Effectiveness and how it will lead to a creation of a sustainable competitive advantage for their respective organisations through the development of an organisational climate that will contribute towards enhancing employee engagement and productivity during challenging times when operating in a disruptive VUCA business environment.

For copies of Clients' Testimonials for the delivery of these programs, please visit here .

Prof. Sattar Bawany
Prof. Sattar Bawany
CEO & C-Suite Master Executive Coach, Centre for Executive Education (CEE)

Prof Bawany is concurrently the Strategic Advisor & Member of the Board of Trustees and Governing Council of the International Professional Managers Association (IPMA); Managing Director and C-Suite Master Executive Coach with Executive Development Associates (EDA) and Master Facilitator with Action Management Associates, Inc. (AMAI).

He has over 30 years’ international business management experience, including 20 years in executive coaching, group facilitation, and leadership development and training with global management consulting firms. In addition to his business and consulting career, Prof Bawany has over 15 years of concurrent academic experience as an Adjunct Professor teaching senior executives international business strategies and human resource courses at various leading universities.

He is currently the Adjunct Professor with Curtin Graduate School of Business (CGSB) and a member of the Advisory Board of Curtin Graduate School of Business (CGSB), Curtin University, Western Australia.

He is especially skilled at coaching leaders work through leadership transition issues, whether individually or systemically. As a seasoned coach, he truly cares about others, listens with an open mind, and adds value in unexpected ways. His approach to executive coaching encourages new insights into the key capabilities and unique strengths needed to sustain practical behavioural change over time, resulting in the executive’s enhanced self-awareness, better decision making, and continuous performance improvement.

Prof Bawany is an astute advisor and coach to executives who need to know how they are perceived and want to focus on what is most important in their professional and personal lives. He has coached a range of leaders, from CEOs to senior vice presidents, and high potential managers. His current work in organisations focuses on encouraging individual initiative and leadership from a systemic perspective in order to achieve clearly defined business results. His speciality is effectively linking people processes to business outcomes.

Prof Bawany is a Fellow of International Professional Managers Association (IPMA) and The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). He is a Professional Member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). He is also a Practising Member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and International Association of Coaching (IAC).

Prof Bawany’s complete Profile can be found here and also on LinkedIn.

Contact us:


Perry Barrow, MD,

Course Curriculum

Leading in a Disrupted VUCA World - Recommended Online Resources
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Evaluation of Leadership Masterclass Series
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