“Be the change!”

Last week, we at IESE Business School celebrated our 2016 Global Alumni Reunion – GAR, as we call it. I had the honor to serve as Academic Director together with my colleague Professor Núria Mas. It was such a pleasure to welcome 2,500 or so of our 45,000 alumni from all over the world! The theme was “Be the change! Leadership for a positive new era”.

I chaired a session on Internationalization. Mr. Francis Okomo-Okello, immediate past Chairman of Barclays Kenya and currently a member of the Board of the Barclays Africa Group, was one of the panelists. These are some of the ideas that he shared with us:

  • Africa should have a leadership position in the world stage and be a competent dialogue partner in the discussion of Africa’s role and our roles as global citizens. This requires a collaborative leadership style.
  • Developing local talent is critical, as locals understand best the cultural aspects of business. Business leaders should think in terms of their global responsibilities, and at the same time undertake business growth taking into account local professionals.
Panel session on Internationalization: Okomo-Okello, Barclays Africa Group; Antonio Basolas, Gas Natural Fenosa; Marc Puig, Puig; myself, IESE Business School
Panel session on Internationalization: Okomo-Okello, Barclays Africa Group; Antonio Basolas, Gas Natural Fenosa; Marc Puig, Puig; myself, IESE Business School

He remarked that change starts with oneself. This is promoted at Barclays Kenya through two related programs that are anchored in participatory management styles: the iChange program that recognizes that change starts with personal transformation, and the iChange circles program that involves support groups for change.

This resonated with other messages that came across during the day:

  • We change with the community, and need other people to change –a message from Dr. Valentín Fuster, Physician-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital in New York.
  • It’s teams, and not isolated individuals, that change the world – a remark from Prof. Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin School, Oxford University.

Change starts with ourselves: something that we often say but that we practice less often. But if we want to live in a positive new era – which I bet we all do – we can’t wait for others to lead the way: we must be the change.

Any thoughts on how to be the change?



4 thoughts on ““Be the change!”

  1. Greetings from Nairobi,
    Sure, change can not come from without but from within. A case in point is the place of African Leadership in the global arena or global organizations. It has been so subtle that it is sometimes entirely ignore. Actually it is taken for granted even by global bodies. 2 weeks ago the United Nations made a mistake of subscribing to this “norm” by sacking a Kenyan Lieutenant General who was leading a peace mission in South Sudan without formally consulting with the Kenyan Government. This was despite Kenya’s role in South Sudan peace, even the UN official pass through and reside in Nairobi when laying strategies on SS. The result shocked UN as Kenyan Government got upset and immediately announced the withdrawal of our troops from the UN mission in SS due to “UN’s disrespect for the Government of Kenya”. Belated apologies did not help. Ban Kimoon apologized on behalf of UN but our wise president challenged him that “I will only accept your apology if you promise UN will respect African Leaders and governments in future”. Ban promised. This is the change we need. Can only come from within, not outside.
    Lameck Nyandusi
    Green city in the Sun

    1. Hello, Lameck!
      From what you describe, it seems to me that change is needed from all of us: we all need to change an old-established mentality of dependence which has led nowhere.
      Thanks for sharing your views!

      1. Dependence is a disease. I hope Amina Mohamed, Kenya’s Foreign affairs Cabinet Secretary succeeds in her bid to be the next African Union Chair come January next year. Among her agendas, is to mobilize internal funding for the AU so as to shut further donor funding for the continental body. She also promises to lead the continent into independence as much as possible. Africa does not need donors, it needs non-exploitative trade partners. She has very high chances of winning, having used her diplomatic acumen and experience. Kenya’s lobbying power is also high plus Uhuru Kenyatta’s standing before African leaders is high. If probably she wins, Africa will start talking about a strive for independence from donors. Africa deserves its rightful place in the world as the new frontier for development. Luckily, its possible. I personally will not wait for all to happen. I have a vision to be a leader that will play a major role that will see Kenya become an industrialized country in my lifetime. I am currently a corporate executive and I believe if I am making significant change in a multi-million dollar company at 26, then I can bring big change to my country in years to come. Yours is a nice blog. Keep up

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