Our leadership program is a six-month long collective learning journey with the purpose of better understanding ourselves, our relation to others and the inner workings of the complex systems around us that we live in. During these months we meet at six weekend gatherings, which are highly participatory, practical, and will enable us to make the changes we believe to be most important around us. The program consist of 6 gatherings focused on three main modules: Self, Relations and Systems. Each of the modules represents where we direct attention in the different parts of the program, and is directed towards identifying strategies for creating positive impact.
SELF Building your own foundation. (2 weekends) We direct our attention inwards to become aware of and work with our own behavior, thoughts, feelings and mental models. We work to accept our starting point, and to develop better personal strategies for leading ourselves.
RELATIONS You in relations to others (2 weekends) We direct our attention towards relational processes to be able to form healthier relationships, more effective collaborations, and to lead others. Sensing the relational field to better understand what is happening between people and how to solve complex problems in collaboration with others.
SYSTEMS Navigating the world (2 weekends) We direct our attention towards the terrain, the systems, context and society that we are a part of. We work to better understand the workings of complex systems and to be better equipped to influence them towards a desired direction.
Our approach to leadership education is highly participatory and practical. This means that during the program, participants have the chance to step up, practice leadership skills, and have impact on how we do things in Future Leaders.
We have designed the program to focus on developing abilities that are adapted to each individuals personal needs, relations and context. We do not believe that we can know or define what each participant needs to learn or develop. We believe in facilitating a learning space where they have the environment needed to challenge their own assumptions/beliefs/biases, widen their perspective and learn how to take advantage of the science of learning to change their own behavior.
There are three main abilities we aim to aid participants in developing. Resulting in three main learning outcomes:
1. Self-Mastery: We believe an effective leader today is a lifelong learner who is able to influence their own thoughts, feelings, will and behavior.
Self processes The ability to influence oneself (thoughts, feelings, will, behaviour); to cope with everyday life, performance, growth, and moral maturation.
2. Relational Mastery: We believe an effective leader today is able to form healthy relations and collaborations.
Relational processes The ability to foster and build healthy relations and collaborations in community and organisational life; you in relation to others.
3. Systems: We believe an effective leader today is able to solve enormously systemic and complex problems.
Contextual processes The ability to understand context, develop and solve problems, at various scales and levels of complexity; understanding old systems and how to make better ones.
"Know Thyself" - Ancient Greek aphorism
To reach our goal, we first need to focus inwards to understand ourselves and our minds better. Only through understanding ourselves, we can create a foundation to build relationships with others. Combining the understanding of our self and our ability to foster healthy relationship and network around us, we can easier find our direction and create the impact we desire.
The skills and habits of mind, connected to the individual modules are translated into actionable tasks. These tasks can be trained and applied in-between the gatherings and thus contextualised in the demands of your real-life setting.
Future leaders enabling the above mentioned tasks will extend their impact outside of the program, to recognise that we are setting the mind-set and foundation for personal leadership development, rather than give you a one-and-done program that makes you a leader.
The gatherings provide the safe environment to be vulnerable and challenge yourself in your pioneer groups, while having the inspiring and supporting community of the future leaders around.
Some scholars define leadership as a process, focused on achieving goals through others;
the influence of other people through different varieties of power combined with the responsibility of delivering on goals. A broad definition lays ground for different theories, approaches, and views. These include personal- , strategic- , administrative- ideological- , situational-, emotional-, authentic, transformational- , relational- , operational management , and many, many more.
In this program, however, we will not touch upon most of these theories. We view, work with and practice leadership on a practical, operational and personal level.
Leaders are humans Our starting point in the program is you as a human being, a flawed and imperfect human being. In our view, all leaders are also flawed and imperfect. We aim to destabilize the concept of the leader, and rather focus on leadership as a relational process and the act of taking responsibility for some of the problems we face together.
Knowing doing gap
Future Leaders question the whole concept of leadership as something that can be taught, as Ann Cunliffe, professor of organisation Studies in Leeds is highly critical of. She has studied MBA programs worldwide, and how they develop leaders. The results show that far too often programs and studies focus on theory, with little room for participants to adapt what they learn reflexively. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor in organisational behaviour at Stanford explains how this has been shown to have a negative effect on leadership development, as people learn the ideal way to lead, but rather seldom, manage to apply it when they graduate, which is shown to increase what Jeffrey calls a knowing-doing gap and apathy.The Future Leaders program is designed to close the knowing-doing gap, though emphasis on practical and contextual learning.
The program is anchored in critical management studies, deep learning and complexity theory. Through personal system-two reflections, participants develop their own evolving strategies for self-leadership, leadership and navigation in complex contexts. Our focus lays on developing personal strategies through testing, challenging, learning and iterating, aligned with where you are in your life, the people you work with and the context in which you operate.
The Future Leaders program uses methods adjusted to fit a flexible mindset and way of life. In Future Leaders we view leadership as a lifelong process of constant development and learning. All processes have a long term mentality, how you choose to act today will determine what impact you will have on the future.
The program is founded on physical gatherings. Each gathering lasts for 2 whole days, and consists of different tasks, presentations, exercises and challenges.
New theory, perspectives and topics are introduced in each gathering. Key content is processed through individual and group reflection, and further broken down into practical goals and commitments, taken on by the individual
Training and Practice
The program serves the outside context. The most important work participants do is after the gathering is over, and it is time to turn new knowledge into practice. All participants commit to specific training points between each gathering, and are supported to follow through.
The pioneers are facilitators of the program. They are responsible for groups of six participants each, and are important role-models and mentors. The pioneers have participated in the program at least once before and are following their own learning program during the year.
Collaborative learning in groups
Through groups we create safe environments with trust and understanding, facilitating for the challenging of assumptions, biases and change. Another important reason for the use of groups is interpersonal learning. It is shown that people learn more effectively through relations with others, using the possibility to discuss, receive feedback and reflect openly. Groups also help the participants to translate their learning into actionable practice that fits their life outside the program.
Mindsets and perspectives
As we seek to solve complex problems, we need to rise above our own subjectivity. Continuous development of perspectives and mindsets, to let go of assumptions we have about the world and our self, is crucial throughout the program.
Lifelong learning perspective
As sad as it is; participation in the Future Leaders program can only last for so long. Therefore one important principle in Future Leaders is that our program should function as a stepping stone rather than a final destination or individual goal. Through the program the talents learn technique, gain self confidence, learn how to learn, how to develop others and how to develop themselves. Making the Future Leaders program a staring arena for lifelong learning.