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Alumni Stories · Leadership

“IMD gave me a new start in life”

IMD Alumni Success Stories: Agnaldo Santos discusses the Advanced High Performance Leadership program
December 2014

Advanced High Performance Leadership program alumnus Agnaldo Santos says that his experiences with IMD boosted his professional career and helped him reconnect with his family.

Head of Research and Development at the Brazilian office of elevator manufacturer Schindler, Santos didn’t know much about IMD when his former boss recommended that he participate in IMD’s High Performance Leadership (HPL) program taking place in São Paulo in 2010.

“I was expecting a very traditional course that would just outline the latest practices, but I was amazed by my experience,” Santos says. “I really gained a deeper understanding of myself and my leadership style”.

After finishing HPL, he immediately reorganized his department and achieved effective results.

International research and development departments are bench-marked annually against each other at Schindler, and the Brazil office has continuously come out on top since Santos’s first IMD program.

After such a positive experience the first time around, Santos was looking forward to the next step, the Advanced High Performance Leadership (AHPL) program in Lausanne, Switzerland in 2013.

He expected the second program be similar to the first, but he was pleasantly surprised that it delved into new territory. “I looked at my own abilities and career in further depth but I also explored myself as a person and learned how to improve my relationship with my family,” he says of his experience in the advanced program.

According to Santos, AHPL’s most important takeaway was “not only knowing where I wanted to go with my life and career but knowing how to get there”.

Professor George Kohlrieser’s secure base leadership teachings left a lasting impression on Santos. He says he now realizes that his family is his secure base and is the reason he is pursuing his successful career.

“I had been neglecting my family to some extent and that was holding me back in my career and my life. I had built a castle with high walls and forgot about letting the sun come in,” Santos says.

“After recognizing that my family was my secure base, thanks to the program, I bought a small piece of jewellery in the shape of the sun to remind me, my wife and daughter that I needed to let the sun in. Now I think about what my purpose in life is every morning. It has been very emotional. My family has told me that they can really feel the change. It was a new start,” he adds.

Another aspect of the program Santos appreciated was the coaching. “Two coaches helped me reflect on my experience and why I had gone through a great deal of my life in difficulty. They helped me get down to my deepest problems in a matter of hours,” he says.

Back to work at Schindler, Santos again put his AHPL learnings immediately into practice. In the year since he finished, his team has told him that they recognize his changed ways, that he has a clearer and more transparent approach to leadership, and that he trusts them more.

“The High Performance Leadership courses changed my life for the better,” Santos says.

High Performance Leadership (HPL) is for experienced executives who want to achieve the next level of effectiveness in leading individuals, teams and large groups to their highest level of sustained performance.

Advanced High Performance Leadership (AHPL) is for experienced executives who have already attended IMD’s High Performance Leadership (HPL) program.