The idea of Adaptive Leadership Foundation was inspired out of the need exercise leadership to bring social change.
The story behind the Adaptive Leadership Foundation is anchored on the realization that when the universe is kind to place on you certain privileges, you feel compelled and duty-bound to pay forward or give back to the society. My name is Mercy Atieno Odongo and this is my story. My story stems from the experience I had as a student of Master of Public Administration at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in the United States of America in 2016. I was the only Kenyan in that cohort of 19 African students out of 200 amazing individuals selected from across the world.
As is the tradition of Harvard University, students bid for the courses they want to take besides the compulsory one. I figured out that I needed to bid for a course that can only be taught at Harvard. When I perused through the catalogue there was this particular course that had bid for 999 the previous year. On enquiry, I was reliably informed that was among the few courses taught only at the Kennedy School. This resonated with my desire to focus on such courses, tenable only at HKS and help bring change in my country and the continent with immense potential. I took a chance at exercising leadership politics of change taught by Heifetz Ron. The course went for only 300 and I got a chance to do another course with the same lecturer on Leadership from Inside Out. These two courses have been transformational and shaped to a greater extent my leadership approach. I got to understand deeply the concept, application and exercise of adaptive leadership.
I have been put in a place of privilege when the world needs more authority figures to exercise adaptive leadership to transform the trajectory of the world. I feel compelled and duty-bound to share the experience, empower emerging leaders and pay forward for my community, country, continent and the world. It is against this background that the Adaptive Leadership Foundation was hatched. I did reflection and soul searching in trying to find a better way to share this idea. One of the key lessons in leadership is "don't do it alone".
I looked for a team to help put this together and what a better way to deliver this than start with short lessons targeting young people to introduce them to this concept, immersed with various sessions of lectures including personal case studies, explore their repertoire and challenge their beliefs, attitudes, mindsets and expand their space of change.
I strongly believe that our little contribution to this discourse and working with others will bring positive change and help empower, build the capacity of authentic leadership aware of the challenges that require either technical or adaptive solution to fix. Most of the common problems we encounter within a family, society, organizations and world at large are adaptive in nature. They require the exercise of adaptive leadership to fix. Most people in a position of authority tend to apply technical fixes to these adaptive challenges.
The Adaptive Leadership Foundation envisages to empower, and connect emerging leaders from across the world through a core set of shared values and adaptive leadership skills, to build a new generation of people in positions of authority prepared to be part of the change they want to see in their communities, countries, and continent. The Foundation seeks to identify emerging leaders in government, civil society, and the private sector who have exercised leadership within their sphere of influence to bring changes they want to see and experience.
The objective is to build a growing network of people in positions of authority who are able to exercise adaptive leadership to drive change in their communities, countries and the world. The emerging leaders would use the platform, networks, skills, and knowledge acquired through the ALF and life experiences, to influence policy and bring impactful change across the globe.
- To equip, empower and inspire young people across the world to create the change they want to be part of.
- To catalyze, connect and support leadership capacity, bolster current leaders and prepare the next generation of change makers.
To mobilize adaptive work and create pool of resource for exercising leadership.
To create a world class leadership centre of excellence.
- Create a pool of change agents on exercising leadership.
- Create a website that will disseminate information on adaptive leadership.
- Conduct online training for leaders.