“Learning to build trust and perform as a member of a diverse, inclusive cross-cultural team – operating within a larger, collaborative Section Cohort – is an essential experience for learning how to manage and lead global teams.”

A Learning Team consists of approximately 5 Program or Course Participants. Members of Learning Teams forge close bonds while collaborating to complete assignments such as Case Analysis Memos and Presentations during their Program or Course.

The ability to work well on a team is one of the most valuable skills you can build. All Participants are encouraged to build diverse learning teams that are characterized by Psychological Safety, Dependability, Structure & Clarity, Meaning, and Impact.

Why Does MDI.TOKYO Use Learning Teams?

In 21st century organizations, Teamwork is an essential component of both Leadership and Value Creation.

Accordingly, at MDI.TOKYO, most Programs and Courses make extensive use of Learning Teams.

First innovated at Wharton, diverse Learning Teams, are a great way to enhance your collaboration and teaming skills while deepening your learning and enhancing your transformative learning experience.

Benefits from the Learning Team approach include the following:

  • Enable you to test drive your ideas and analysis about the cases we will discuss before coming to a Learning Session (i.e. class).
  • Enable you to hone your persuasion skills as you work to convince one another of the best recommendation.
  • Enable you to gain better Self-Awareness, an important Leadership competency.
  • Enable you to appreciate the benefits that come from working with people with diverse perspectives and backgrounds, specifically, the benefit of being able to identify and frame business problems in more holistic ways.
  • Enable you to build the foundation for a network of professionals and friends that can support your initiatives through your career.


“di·ver·si·ty (d-vûrs-t, d-) n.: the quality of being different or unique at the individual or group level. This includes age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity; language differences; nationality; parental status; physical, mental and developmental abilities; race; religion; sexual orientation; skin color; socio-economic status; work and behavioral styles; the perspectives of each individual shaped by their nation, experiences and culture—and more. Even when people appear the same on the outside, they are different!” – United Way

a compelling direction, a strong structure, and a supportive context—continue to be particularly critical to team success.

— Martine Haas & Mark Mortensen, The Secrets of Great Teamwork

Why Does MDI.TOKYO Recommend Diverse, Inclusive Learning Teams?


“in·clu·sion (n-klzhn) n.: a strategy to leverage diversity. Diversity always exists in social systems. Inclusion, on the other hand, must be created. In order to leverage diversity, an environment must be created where people feel supported, listened to and able to do their personal best.”

  • – United Way

Even though Japan has a relatively homogeneous society, the population is ageing and shrinking rapidly. Growth can only come from markets outside Japan. Companies and Individuals operating in Japan that seek to successfully address growth opportunities outside Japan need to build new capabilities – including the ability to work well on diverse, inclusive teams.

Embracing Diversity and Leveraging Inclusion can feel awkward the first time you rise to the challenge.

But, once you have experienced the value-creating power of diversity and inclusion, you will wonder why you waited so long to embrace diversity and leverage inclusion.

For more on this topic, please see the article Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter by David Grant and Heidi Short.

How Does MDI.TOKYO Support the Growth and Development of Diverse, Inclusive Learning Teams?

As part of our learning designs, at the beginning of every Program or Course that uses Learning Teams, each team is required to commit to the Learning Goals and Objectives of the Program or Course. Additionally, each Learning Team writes a formal agreement among themselves and then endeavors to manage Team Performance in accordance with that agreement.

Some questions that every effective Learning Team must answer include the following:

  1. Who are we? | Every team member is different and every member is accepted.
  2. What do we want to accomplish? | Team Goals include Performance, Member Satisfaction, Team Learning. In addition to Goals, consider also motivations.
  3. How can we organize ourselves to accomplish our goals? | What work structure, roles, norms, should we adopt?
  4. How will we work together? | The collaboration process involves interaction and outputs. Design a process that acknowledges interpersonal dynamics and which maximizes individual and group strengths and minimizes individual and group weaknesses.
  5. How can we kaizen (i.e. continuously learn and improve)? | Use self-assessment and feedback to get better.

Contact MDI.TOKYO To Get Started!