Upcoming courses

Stakeholder Dialogues

  7 - 10 April in Hammamet
24 - 27 June in Potsdam/Berlin
21 - 24 October in Cape Town
11 - 14 November in Lima
  2 - 5 December in Potsdam/Berlin

Stakeholder Engagement

25 - 26 September in Berlin

Dialogic Facilitation

8 - 11 in July in Potsdam
18 - 21 November in Bangkok
9 - 12 December in Potsdam/Berlin

Collective Leadership

3 - 5 June in Berlin

Process Designs for Stakeholder Engagement

1 - 4 July in Potsdam/Berlin

Success Factors in Stakeholder Dialogues

28 - 31 October in Cape Town

Young Leaders for Sustainability

Module 1: 21 – 26 July
Modlue 2:   4 – 8 November 
Module 3: 18 – 21 February
Module 4: 16 – 19 April


Course overview 2014 (pdf)

Collective leadership: relevance and challenges in today's world

Collective Leadership for Sustainability

If you ask five different people how they understand “collective leadership for sustainability”, you will certainly get five different answers that address the different perspectives of this approach and reflect its wholeness.

We went into dialogue with experts and practitioners from various sectors, in order to discuss our model of collective leadership with them and to determine the relevance of the topic at the present time.

The message:

The challenges of sustainability require collective leadership: In other words, people in institutions and social groups who jointly seek and develop innovative solutions and that are willing to take mutual responsibility for outcomes.

But how can this concept be integrated into our everyday lives?
How can we apply the principle of collective leadership in the context of our work and of our personal life?

Many participants seemed to have the feeling that there is little or no room for collective leadership in their professional environment. Expertise often takes precedence over collective intelligence. Getting to "personally" involved is often perceived as a weakness. But collective leadership does not necessarily mean eliminating existing management structures and hierarchies, but rather, it provides the opportunity to create a new space within existing structures for harnessing collective intelligence and the innovation it brings with it. This can be within a single organization or between a multitude of institutions or social groups. A more open and structured exchange of opinions can cultivate a climate of responsibility and commitment, both of which are needed for the wider implementation of sustainability.

A results-oriented and integrative approach can foster collective leadership in change processes for sustainability. The "how" - i.e. the quality of these processes, helps people to bring their enthusiasm for future sustainable practices into concrete implementation - because dialogue needs to produce tangible results. Only by clearly demonstrating the potential of this approach will the principle of collective leadership prevail.

What is the personal relevance of the collective leadership model for each of us?

At the core of collective leadership is the human capacity to dialogue and transform differences into progress. It enables the transcendence of self-centered views, a prerequisite for successfully addressing the challenges of globalization and sustainability. Thus, this approach integrates all the different perspectives and associations that each of us connects with the concept of collective leadership for sustainability.

Collective leadership means making sustainability a joint endeavor – in order to reach goals larger than any one of us – even if conflicting interests initially stand in the way. It harvests both the collective and individual knowledge of experts, and makes it available for the greater good, combining the potential of all parties in order to reach goals more quickly and more sustainably. Collective leadership also stands for empathy and recognition – it begins with the individual and their willingness for self-reflection and mutual respect, but also includes the knowledge and skills needed to move towards sustainability in conjunction with others.

Actually implementing Collective Leadership for Sustainability happens for most people through a change of perspective: we develop a closer connection to our own humanity and to the needs and perspectives of others. We slowly begin piecing together the bigger picture in order to find common and sustainable solutions and realize that only by overcoming our own limitations, will we be able to develop empathy for others’ perspectives. Herein lays the true challenge – but also the opportunity: the idea of jointly promoting and implementing sustainable development.

Read more about CLI's first diaogue event here...

Learn more about our course "Collective Leadership"

Voices of collective leaders

Implementing sustainable solutions requires the joint efforts of a variety of different actors, if these solutions are to have any real impact. The Collective Leadership for Sustainability Model is an intriguing step in the right direction.

Katrin Wippich, B.A.U.M. e.V.

The Collective Leadership for Sustainability approach is very significant for the complex realities currently faced by many businesses: It creates a space for leadership development, in which each and every individual can contribute not only their professional competencies, but also their personal strengths. Besides developing one’s professional qualifications, this model also emphasizes the soft skills.

Frank Appenzeller, im Vorstand der Incovis AG

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