AI Method Guides British Council Strategic Leaders Programme | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

AI Method Guides British Council Strategic Leaders Programme

Posted 2.25.2010

Over 60 leaders from Africa and the UK will converge in Johannesburg from 8 - 11 March for the British Council Strategic Leaders Programme (SLP).  Weatherhead's  Appreciative Inquiry management process will guide the proceedings.

The prestigious Strategic Leadership Programme offers an opportunity for established leaders from the public, private and voluntary sectors in Africa and the UK to explore issues that can transform their organisations and provides them with the tools to meet today's global challenges. 

The British Council has run leadership programmes for five years in 19 African countries and in the UK.  More than 3,000 leaders now use its tools to understand better their own role as leaders and to bring out the best in their teams.

The group, which has already gone through the first learning session in London in January, will meet in Johannesburg for the second part of their learning.

The Strategic Leadership Programme is not about teaching leadership skills--it is about leaders coming together to look at their own leadership skills, reflecting on how they make decisions about the world they live in and the way they lead. They will learn from each other through skilled facilitation.

"Many business schools offer leadership programmes bringing text books, case studies and methodologies from Europe and the USA. Five years ago the British Council in Africa pioneered a very different approach to leadership called InterAction, not based upon tired Western notions such as leader as hero or as shareholder champion. This distinctive approach brought African leaders together from across the continent and the UK to generate African solutions to African problems. This exciting programme inspired leaders from different organisations to find their passion, use cutting edge theory and launch breakthrough initiatives. The key was in leaders discovering how success arises from a different approach to their relations with others," explains British Council's Tom Hinton: Director: Professional Development; Sub Saharan Africa.

"At the British Council we believe that our future in this crowded, dangerous world depends on people of all cultures living and working together to build engagement and trust. In the Strategic Leaders Programme we bring to leaders, the Council's distinctive leadership approach, through our speakers, alumni and our facilitator team. Our vision is to bring a large cohort of African leaders together with UK leaders, to focus and produce leadership that generates sustainable solutions to the real and pressing challenges we now face in Africa, the UK and throughout the globe," concludes Hinton.

The programme is anchored in the management theory of transformational leadership and built around the pillars of ‘appreciative inquiry', ‘systems thinking' and ‘working with difference'. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is about focussing on what works in any given situation, organisation or context. It is not about problem solving because this often leads to ignoring the areas we are succeeding in and leads to a feeling of being overwhelmed by problems. Appreciative Inquiry is about looking at any given area and seeing what is working in order to build on that. The intention is to provide a forum to impart skills to motivate workforce, accelerate sustainable change, and provide the opportunity to network with international peers.

The programme offers experiential learning led by professional and skilled African and UK facilitators allowing for space for cross-cultural conversations and mutual learning under the guidance of international guest speakers with global and organisational insights.

Among this year's facilitators are London-based Tony Page and Elana Friedman and Twalib Ebrahim Hazara from Kenya. This year participating countries include: South Africa and UK with delegates from Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The purpose of the British Council, the UK's international organisation for cultural relations, is to build engagement and trust for Britain through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people worldwide. The Strategic Leadership Programme falls within the remit of this purpose.

For more media information / photos / interview requests etc:

Illa Thompson
Publicity Matters (Durban)
Tel 031 2011 638

Bridget van Oerle
Buz Publicity (Johannesburg)
Tel  011 482 3467 / 3489 / 083 263 6991

British Council:
Sekai R. Mpisaunga
SLP Regional Support Manager
British Council, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel +263 4 756668
Freephone: 08004300/08004301

Lion Phasha
Projects Manager: Programme Delivery Team
British Council South Africa
Tel  011 718 4317
Web site:


For more on Appreciative Inquiry and related opportunities:


Emily Drew

Communications Manager

The Fowler Center for Sustainable Value

Tel  +1 216 368 1535

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