Accelerating Collective, Adaptive Leadership at the Global Fund

The Global Fund logo
CLIENT:The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria 
LOCATION:Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland
SIZE:1100 staff representing more than 100 nationalities

Client Profile & Challenge

The Global Fund was created 20 years ago to fight the world’s 3 deadliest epidemics: HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria. Global Fund-supported programs have saved 44 million lives since 2002, proof that global commitment and community leadership can force the world’s deadliest infectious diseases into retreat.

The Global Fund also plays a major role in supporting low-and middle-income countries fighting COVID-19, which threatens to undermine progress and overwhelm the fragile health systems.

Since 2002, the Global Fund has  disbursed more than US$50 billion to respond to HIV, TB, and malaria and for programs to strengthen systems for health across more than 155 countries, including regional grants, as of June 2021, which makes it one of the world’s largest funders of global health.

The Global Fund contends with rapid change and uncertain operating environments every day. To achieve its strategic objectives for 2017 – 2022 and beyond, the Global Fund needed to master more adaptive ways of leading. Indeed, learning and leadership development was identified as one of the 7 pillars of the organization’s People Strategy.

Their intention was to create a flagship leadership program—called ‘Elevate’—that would trigger a step change in their ability to adapt as a collective. Adaptive leadership was judged to be essential for the Global Fund in its fight to end the epidemics. To take the organization to the next level in enabling the organization’s mission, they sought high impact learning interventions for their leaders.

Accelerating Collective, Adaptive Leadership at the Global Fund

Solution

The Global Fund engaged CCL and its partner the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) to design and deliver the Elevate program. The partnership’s discovery work with the Global Fund determined that, individually, many Global Fund professionals were highly adaptive leaders. It was the organization’s collective capacity to adapt that needed unlocking. Together CCL, GCSP, and the Global Fund designed a multi-module and multi-modal program that would focus on developing collective practices to support a more positive and adaptive culture. Participants included the Management Executive Committee as well as their direct reports, and midlevel managers. In total, the Global Fund’s 180 most senior people managers embarked on Elevate.

With a learning journey spanning 4 modules across 2 ½ years, Elevate engages participants through multiple modalities:

  • 1-day Workshops
  • Assessments
  • Individual coaching
  • Experiential simulations
  • Momentum boosting clinics
  • Short agility bursts

The Global Fund is nearing deployment of Elevate’s fourth module. Module 1 focused on Mental Agility and introduced the Theory of Change. This set the scene for Module 2, where the focus was on People Agility and challenged participants to build, nurture, and role-model a climate of psychological safety, trust, collaboration, and personal growth. Module 3, fully virtual, was titled Change Agility and focused managers on the adaptive requirement to navigate paradoxes that are not problems to solve, but tensions to lead.

ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP WAS JUDGED TO BE ESSENTIAL FOR THE GLOBAL FUND TO END ITS TARGETED EPIDEMICS.

Results

Across the first 3 modules, the Global Fund is witnessing positive behavioral shifts among participants:

  • Leaders trying new things and feeling accountable
  • Indicators of speaking up are emerging
  • Instances of cross-unit collaboration initiated
  • Role modeling by senior executives generating greater impact, and
  • Adoption of practices recommended by the Elevate cohort by the senior team to help lead the most critical tensions.

Participants report a positive impact of Elevate across 10 out of 11 key indicators relating to individual and collective learning agility. Module 4, Results Agility, is focused on helping participants consolidate their myriad individual acts of leadership into focused collective practices that generate a cultural step change.

No one could have predicted that COVID-19 would present Elevate participants and organizers with the ultimate adaptive challenge at the mid-point of the program. Fortunately, Elevate was always conceived as an adaptive program for targeting adaptive outcomes. The flexible approach to design has allowed CCL and GCSP to walk in step with the Global Fund’s shifting internal and external realities and tune its solutions to leadership that matters for today.

“[I started] “to see myself as a change agent, meaning that if I wanted something changed I needed to change it myself rather than expecting someone else or senior management to change it. And I think that was a big step for me.”

“Our coaching sessions are a true gift to me and I feel increasingly equipped to address some of the short to medium term challenges I have committed to tackle. I feel absolutely confident to successfully lead the journey to agility in and well beyond my own department.”

Partner With Us

At CCL, we understand how community-led and community based initiatives can help build a foundation for real change and greater transformation. We can partner with your organization to create customized leadership solutions that allow you to expand your impact and the meaningful work you bring to the world.

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