Annual ECLF Conference 2014

10th Annual ECLF Conference (1st Global ECLF Summit)

Building the Capabilities of Globally Networked Organization

September 3-5, 2014

John F. Welch Leadership Center
Ossining NY, USA


It is hard to believe, but 2014 is the year we celebrate our 10th annual meeting. The ECLF initiative has come a long way since our inaugural gathering at Credit Suisse in 2005. To celebrate this occasion, we will turn our usual annual meeting into the 1st Global ECLF Summit.

Our member Sylvain Newton has generously offered to host this event at GE's famous Leadership Center in Crotonville. Under the motto "Building the Capabilities of Globally Networked Organizations", the Summit will bring together not only ECLF members; together with GE we also invite leading corporations from all over the world to engage in the kind of intellectually and socially inspiring dialogue which has become the hallmark of ECLF's culture.

Large and global organizations have to cope with distinctive challenges that come with size and reach. While they usually enjoy advantages of scale, vast resources, global brand recognition, and political clout, they also have to struggle with the structural symptoms of the "elephant disease": High organizational complexity, bureaucracy and inertia, political infighting, a culture of silos, slow response times to changing market conditions, and more. 

At the same time, leaders and their corporations are meshed up in a new interconnected world of complex global networks that engage in novel ways of co-evolution and co-creation, with stakeholders dispersed across the globe. They are faced with disruptive forces that require continuous business model innovation, and they have to deal with mounting political, economical, and ecological mega-challenges on a global scale. 

Corporate learning does not remain untouched by this massive change. Learning Leaders need to gain an in-depth understanding of the new capabilities that organizations and their stakeholders need to turn these challenges into competitive advantage, and they need to design their learning function accordingly.

Conference Topic Overview

Our 1st Global ECLF Summit will take a closer look at these challenges. Issues we are going to explore in this context are:

  • How do we deal with the new realities of the horizontal organization (leading across boundaries without the power of hierarchical control, empowerment of the periphery, informal network organizations, etc.)
  • How can an organization master the dynamics of the extended enterprise (drive a flat and global value chain and gain leverage among multiple stakeholders who compete for value)
  • What is the role of the corporate function in this context? How can corporate add value?
  • What capabilities do people and organizations need in this context? What structures, processes, systems can help drive and anchor such capabilities?
  • How can technology help to master this conundrum? What capabilities are required to leverage the opportunities that come with technology?
  • How does the Learning Function itself deal with these issues? What is the appropriate design for the Learning function in globally networked organizations? What are the governance implications?
  • What are effective learning interventions to promote key organizational capabilities of a networked organization (e.g., collaboration) that should be "owned" by global Learning?
  • Which capabilities does the learning function need in the future to deliver on these challenges?


In the tradition of ECLF, the summit is designed as a highly interactive and collaborative mix of top level expert input , case reflections from our members, and peer-to-peer exchange. Some highlights:

  • Aaron Dignan, CEO and Founding Partner of Undercurrent, a boutique consultancy specialized in innovative organizational designs, will provide insights how large organizations can become more responsive and able to change faster in the face of overwhelming complexity.
  • Debra France from W.L. Gore & Associates will share with us the capabilities and mechanisms that drive innovation and financial success in an organization of 10,000+ people that does not have a single manager, no traditional org charts, and no chains of command.
  • The GE Crotonvlle Team will share with us their transformational journey towards a globally networked organization.
  • Three Executive Round Tables will take a closer look at recent innovative initiatives at Cisco, AXA, and Fiat.
  • In two workshop-type sessions, we will also jointly map the issues that come with organizing on a global scale, and deepen our understanding how L&D can help companies master the related challenges.
  • And, as always, we will have our popular peer-to-peer Focus on Members Issues session...





Hosted by member companies, ECLF annual summits are the highlight of the year, bringing together ECLF members from more than a dozen of countries to engage in an intellectually and socially inspiring dialogue which is the hallmark of ECLF's culture.

Each conference is dedicated to exploring a strategic challenge of the practice.