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T


he GCSP-CCL Leadership Alliance brings together the Geneva Centre for Security


Policy (GCSP) and the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). It combines expertise in leadership development with in-depth knowledge of peace and security issues and policy. In an upcoming GCSP-CCL


Leadership Alliance event in partner- ship with NATO, we will be addressing some challenging leadership questions; questions about how to advance the practice of collaborative leading and leadership development in post-conflict areas to bring about sustained peace. Fragile and conflict-affected


environments present complex chal- lenges. Chief among these is cultivating co-operative leadership capacity and practices that mobilise and sustain pos- itive peace among diverse stakeholders. At this NATO-sponsored


Advanced Research Workshop, experienced international and local field leaders on one hand and expert leadership development researchers on the other, will come together to explore, for example: How to effectively lead the transformation of civil and military operations from peace-keeping to peace-building? How is it that certain leadership practices that may contribute to stabilising conflicting factions are not always those prac- tices that lead to rebuilding thriving communities? How can missions better fuse (outside) international assistance efforts with local ownership? What are effective ways to assist transition of leadership itself from a ‘recipients and donors’ posture, into co-leaders and co-creators who span sometimes vast boundaries and form common goals?


Challenges ahead


If there ever was an arena that challenges leaders, it is a state of fragility and turbulence. However, these dynamics are shared across many, if not all, sectors of society – the private sector included. Te evidence is clear: fragility begets


fragility. Places once in conflict are those most vulnerable to the occurrence of conflict again. Turbulence begets turbulence. Situations where disruption happens, tend to continue experiencing disruption rather than ‘normalising’. Tese dynamics play out in nearly


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all human organisations today. Issues of finding successors and of leading organisational transitions abound. Business units in flux tend to remain in flux for longer periods. Successors come and go on shorter tenures. Strategies become tests of hypotheses rather than executable code. For example, leaders of every UK


organisation today face turbulence since the Brexit vote. As well, every European organisation in the EU is facing ‘how to deal with UK counterparts’ over the coming months, if not years. Te UK government itself recognises the perils of triggering Article 50 to exit without a “strategic plan to say ‘what





We are using the RUPT descriptor – Rapid, Unpredictable, Paradoxical and Tangled


kind of UK do we want, what’s our place in the world, what are we trying to achieve in these negotiations?’”.1 Turbulence in the UK begets


more turbulence in the UK. And it is contagious: even spilling over into US elections and the full-on questioning of free trade and the benefits of diversity. So, ask yourself: is your organisation


experiencing turbulence? Are things evolving faster and less predictably? Are you faced with a continuous need to make tough judgment calls, where there are pros and cons to any and all actions you might take? Are the calls to action coming more rapidly? Is it clear that actions and impacts are tangled in a web of inter-related elements? What we at the GCSP-CCL


Leadership Alliance are learning through weekly interactions with leaders of foreign ministries, global humanitarian relief organisations, police, military, intelligence officers, international non-governmental organisations, researchers, academics and private companies is creating an interesting new layer of ideas about leading for many of us. Turbulence is the new norm,


replacing existing contexts in which to lead and challenging our concepts of what it means to lead.


 | October 2016 | 25


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