Leverage Conflicting Views in Peace & Security
In September 2015, CCL and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy launched an alliance for advancing leadership in peace and security.
The Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) was established 21 years ago as the Swiss Confederation’s contribution to educating a new generation of security policy professionals. It brought together representatives with “hard” (military) and “soft” (diplomacy) security backgrounds to strengthen national expertise related to disarmament in the midst of the Cold War.
This initiative evolved into the Swiss contribution to NATO’s Partnership for Peace program prioritising education and policy analysis in areas of peace and security.
Today, GCSP’s Foundation Council consists of 48 member states, including the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Why the CCL-GCSP Alliance Is Needed
The CCL-GCSP Leadership Alliance stems from the growing recognition of 2 fundamental development concepts related to international peace and security:
- The forces and dynamics impacting peace and security are far broader than traditionally addressed in this community. These include, for example: migration, resource scarcity, non-state actors, global health challenges, corruption, as well as economic development, social entrepreneurship, pervasive technological innovation in communication, macro- and micro-finance, cyber security, ubiquitous (social) media, information access, etc.
- Rapid, unpredictable change and disruption are always present. The stakeholders and leading International Organizations (IOs) required to collaborate to advance peace and security in this broader context face a broadening, yet more tightly connected complex of interwoven actors and situations, all undergoing disruptive change.
As the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Institutional Governance Systems recently study summarized:
“Over the last two decades, the world has suffered from a global governance deficit. This deficit comprises a lack of…adequate mechanisms to deal with issues of international peace and security; satisfactory mechanisms to anticipate and counter global economic shocks; and effective instruments to ensure important global public goods, not least in critical areas such as climate change and public health…..(However)… no transformative overhaul of international institutions should be expected in the foreseeable future…(and)….there is one aspect where incremental reform seems not only necessary, but feasible: in the leadership of international organizations.
Why Leadership? Effective leadership in international agencies is crucial: the world relies on these organizations to ease cooperation – whether in ensuring pandemics are constrained, mail is delivered to foreign countries, or citizens can fly safely to other countries.”
– Effective Leadership in International Organizations, Global Agenda Council on Institutional Governance Systems, World Economic Forum, 2014.
CCL and GCSP are uniquely equipped with innovative talent, cutting-edge knowledge, and aligned missions and values to address the development of leaders in IOs. This audience is diverse on many levels within itself and especially from that of private corporations.
Traditional business schools fare poorly in these kinds of contexts. One cannot simply port over leadership training from business, military, or diplomacy schools and expect it to stick.
Since September 2015, the Leadership Alliance has been piloting and equipping this audience, 380 senior leaders in the peace and security space from 83 countries, with unique developmental experiences.
What We Are Learning
As my colleague and co-Director Peter Cunningham notes, “When you have senior leaders from diverse contexts like Iraq, Switzerland, North Korea, Germany, the US, Sweden, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Canada, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Indonesia, France, Belgium, the DRC, Nigeria, etc., coming from organizations as diverse as Care International, Military Commands, Foreign Affairs Ministries, the UN, the International Organization for Migration, etc. — all of whom are there to learn about ‘leading collaboration in international contexts’ — you never really know what will emerge, except that it is powerful experience for everyone.”
We are innovating new ways to capture peace and security contexts that go beyond VUCA (Volatile, Unpredictable, Complex, & Ambiguous) to recognizing contextual relativity in history/time/speed, paradoxicality of forces, views, and actions—as well as the general interconnected nature of these contexts.
Working with CCL’s David Magellan-Horth, we are using the “RUPT” (Rapid, Unpredictable, Paradoxical, & Tangled) descriptor, which lifts sights, thinking, and action into new realms of learning.
Working with world-class designers and thinkers like Dr. Geoff Cox and Barry Johnson, we are infusing events with interactive frames that bring participant content to the table from day one.
In this context, we must actively work with every “elephant in the room.”
Cross-cultural, conflicting views must be leveraged, not just acknowledged. History, religion, and even trauma are often present, so exercises and sharing need to be innovative and meaningful — not trivial.
We skillfully engage leading external experts to contextualize everything and collaborate on content and experiences with participants, not for them.
When talking about leadership, you run into so much culturally-grounded diversity it can only inform everyone, and our role is to open up, rather than close down, around such diversity of perspective.
This lays the foundation for personal transformation in an accelerated and stimulating fashion.
Moreover, we cannot just design-and-implement. We must also test-and-adjust throughout the event.
We prioritise design thinking-in-action, yet utilize the latest research available from ourselves and other leading institutions.
Recently, we recorded a 50% shift in self-reported capacity development of a cohort, immediately following one of the Leadership Alliance’s programs.
- What happens after the pilots? We believe that our test-and-adjust approach complements our RUPT world, where most everything is a pilot learning event evolving through iterations, rather than becoming standardizations.
- Our future? Our most challenging goal is to adapt these processes to engage and bridge networks of senior leaders in IOs with emerging leaders (for example, in the Young African Leadership Initiative, the Middle East Leadership Academy, ASEAN young leaders, and others in Europe and the Americas), and engage them in substance-focused areas like innovation, peace-building, sports & development, and anti-corruption.
This vision brings a whole new inclusiveness and interconnection to “global leading.” And the opportunity to lead better is infinite.