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Leadership skills for hostile environments


If you thought the current economic climate was hostile for business, then try making decisions in an environment where the outcome could be life or death.

That’s why ChangeMaker International, a leading change management consultancy, in partnership with Anthony Willoughby, explorer, photographer, business consultant and author, have invited eight Maasai warriors and elders to the Institute of Directors (IOD), London, for a master class on sustainable leadership and strategy.

The event, which takes place on 24 July, is an opportunity for British businessmen and women to learn new approaches to thrive and succeed in the current uncertain economic times.

The Maasai tribe have had to develop strategies and leadership skills in truly hostile environments, where the consequences of bad decisions are not reflected in profit and loss figures, but in life and death.

In 2001, Anthony Willoughby inspired Chris Howe to visit Kenya to understand more about the Maasai. On the trip they recognised the potential for UK businesses to learn from this culture, whose strength is based on mutual respect and finding long-term solutions, rather than quick short-term fixes.

Since that time they have jointly been arranging business training programmes to visit and learn from the Maasai. The participants on these programmes have come from a wide range of organisations and businesses and have all found that the wisdom of the Maasai can be easily applied to help to create an inspired and sustainable business.

Chris Howe, CEO of ChangeMaker International, comments, “Our aim is that business leaders will be able to explore a wide range of issues with the Maasai including how their leaders develop and what is expected from them; what criteria the Maasai use to assess risk, develop strategies and make decisions; and how they ensure all tribe members take high levels of responsibility and act with pride.”

Anthony Willoughby comments, “In today’s increasingly arid economic climate, companies that can think nomadically by clarifying their cattle (customers and capital), defining green pastures (market opportunities) and then focusing on getting the two together, will ultimately be more successful.

“This is why the lessons and the experience of the Maasai are so relevant to UK businesses and why this event is an exclusive opportunity to learn from some of the world’s very best businessmen.”

The event will begin with the Maasai singing a selection of legendary hunting and cattle raiding songs and explaining the meaning and importance of each of them. Chris Howe will then interview the Maasai to explore various topics around leadership and sustainable cultures.

Following this, there will be a question and answer session and an opportunity for discussion with a panel of British business leaders, many of whom have been on journeys to East Africa to learn from the Maasai.

The business panel is to include: Mark Lucas, head of corporate finance at Tenon, Nigel Nicholson professor of organisational behaviour at the London Business School, Jo Owen author of Tribal Business School and William Dawkins, managing partner of board practice of Odgers Ray & Bernstein.

On 23 July, the Maasai will be at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, for an all-day event, where attendees will have the chance to interview the Maasai and work in small groups to discuss how to overcome challenges in order to create sustainable organisations.

The day will then be rounded off with an evening of singing and dancing and a barbeque/hog roast and drinks.

To book email: [email protected]


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