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Executive Leadership Programme

Personal Leadership in the Complex 21st Century

The Deloitte ALP programme is uncomfortable, hard, provocative and prickly. Yet time and time again, our leaders want more and more of this. In 2019, we will be running our 6th intake of ALP. Chris, your ALP programme is (literally) life-changing. It challenges our leaders to the core. They are confronted with themselves, their fears, their aspirations and their courage. Compelling, compassionate and challenging. You do brave work Chris, and we need more of this leadership development for our communities and country. Sofia Puente, November 2018.

This programme emerged from a 2013 request from Sofia Puente, Head of Leadership Development at Deloitte, who asked me to design a flagship Advanced Leadership Programme (ALP) for senior partners and executives at Deloitte. In 2019, there are plans for me to work with the 6th intake of this Deloitte programme. Since I started with Deloitte, I have run similar programmes for Massmart EDP, MMI(Africa and Asia) and Groote Schuur Hospital Executive.

The basic premise of the programme is that senior leaders have been enculturated into a management leadership model where individual work and thought is rewarded. The challenge of new thinking and exploring innovative collegial creativity does not thrive in this individualist environment. The challenge of working in complexity means the development of extra skills and awarenesses which need to be understood and then practiced.

In order to address these issues, I use a methodology which takes participants into an ever deepening process whereby concepts are not just learned theoretically but instead are practiced in the sessions. Through a continuous loop of action and reflection we enter a space of real life, real time learning. My intention is to facilitate a change in actions by participants rather than just thoughts.

The two major themes of the programme are related to the questions: Who is my Self? And What is my Work? They are approached through the topics of Intelligence-in-Action and Becoming a Keystone Individual.

The basic structure for the programme is 3 x 2 day modules at 2 monthly intervals with a follow-up taking place 6 months after the completion of the third module.

All modules take place at off-site venues chosen by the company other than module 2 which takes place in Cape Town.

The ideal number of participants is 10 but we can accommodate a maximum of 12.

The structure of the content is basically as follows:

Module 1: 2 days (Chris Breen)

The challenge of module 1 is to get buy-in from each individual in the group so that they are fully present and work at the skills that are offered. Theoretical frameworks are offered and a great deal of interactive real-life real-time exercises are offered.

Themes: Introducing Complexity; Error and Illusion in our current view of the world; The importance of Presence and Awareness; The Challenges of Working Together; The World after Midnight; Building a Safe Space for Participants.

Module 2: 2 days plus an extra pre-module even at Cape Town hotel. (Day 1: Chris Breen plus 2 others; Day 2: Chris Breen)

This module revisits implementation of intentions set at the end of module 1 and then puts participants into a simulation which tests the effectiveness of their work to date. They are also introduced to the concepts of Keystone species and individual as the start of their attention to the What is my Work  question.

Themes: Working Together under Pressure; Hinge Moments; Blind Spots and Patterns of Behaviour under Pressure; Courageous Conversations; Speaking one’s truth.

Module 3: 2 days (Chris Breen and 1 or 2 others on Day 1 and Chris Breen on Day 2)

Themes: Hinge Moments; Choosing the learning path; Options for acting differently; Taking Stock; Future intended changed actions; My personal ongoing contribution to the world as a significant force.

Follow-Up Day: 1 day (Chris Breen)

Participants report back on the results of their attempts to realise their goals.

Experience has shown that two key pre-understandings are necessary for maximum benefit from the programme:

  1. All participants must attend each and every module – this includes being present at the start and end of every session – no late arrivals or early departures. There is agreement that anyone who misses a session disqualifies themselves from continuing with the programme.
  2. Cell phone usage is restricted only to lunch times in emergencies and not during class or tea breaks except in exceptional circumstances.

Some participant feedback:

Look what you have accomplished! You have changed everyone in this room forever. Thank you for your commitment to the growth of this nation, most importantly thank you for your care.

Thank you for the amazing privilege to have learned from you. Thank you for seeing deep into me and recognising that there has been a road full of thorns. Thank you for your wisdom, for sharing your stories with us. Thank you for always being true to yourself and keeping us together on this journey.

Oh my shattered nerves. Thank you for seeing me and my seeping vulnerabilities. You have taken me across the valley and I am eternally grateful for what has been unlocked in me.