Friday, June 24, 2005

LEAP: Leadership Through Business

In 2002, recognizing the fact that Africa continues to lag behind in the development of leadership institutes that had emerged over the last twenty years, Ndidi Olonkwo Nwuneli did something about it. She founded Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability & Professionalism (LEAP). In both developing and developed countries, there is widespread recognition that leadership skills are crucial for individual and organizational success and wealth creation.

Because the business community and youth in Africa had limited exposure to effective leadership skills, and the majority had received minimal coaching, Ndidi believed it was necessary to initiate LEAP so that African entrepreneurs and enterprising youth would benefit from leadership training programs.

LEAP Africa's mission is to inspire, empower and equip a new cadre of leaders in Africa, and in order to do this, it offers leadership training programmes and coaching services for young people, the business community and social entrepreneurs. It is Committed to equipping these groups with the skills, tools and support that they require to serve as change agents in society.

In addition to these efforts, LEAP also conducts research on leadership in Africa and provides leadership awards to youth.

Directing its efforts through projects for the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation in Rwanda, and the Harvard Business School, LEAP has focused on building its knowledge base, industry networks and experience.

Additionally, it has successfully launched its youth programme in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Enugu and programs for entrepreneurs in Enugu, Kano and Lagos.

LEAP says that it is unique because it ensures that its participants are immersed in a world-class and practical learning environment. Its curriculum consists of case studies, interactive exercises, games and breakout discussions, offered over a two-year period, which are designed to change mindsets and behaviour.

In addition to its programs, LEAP provides its participants through one-on-one coaching sessions in order to motivate and inspire them.

While LEAP works across Nigeria, it also has an Africa-wide orientation and has already contributed towards leadership development efforts in Ghana, Rwanda and South Africa.

LEAP says that between "January 2004 and December 2009, LEAP is committed to cultivating a culture of leadership, effectiveness, accountability and professionalism among at least 1,200 entrepreneurs who manage small and medium-sized enterprises and 1,500 youth leaders. This will ensure that more African businesses outlive their founders, and that more African youth lead positive change efforts in their communities."

In its youth program, LEAP recognizes that in order for individuals to acquire leadership skills, they need first hand experiences and long-term support. As a result, participants who are nominated for LEAP's youth programs are immersed in a range of interactive exercises, games, role play, and breakout discussions. In addition, LEAP provides a world-class and practical learning environment.

Through one-on-one coaching sessions LEAP monitors "change of mindsets and behaviour" of its beneficiaries, and provides its participants with access to information on a range of issues related to youth development and change leadership, among other things.

LEAP relies on nominations from faculty members, school administrators, religious and community organizations and non-profit organizations for its youth participants. It also welcomes peer nominations from other youth who serve as leaders in their local communities. Potential participants must demonstrate a strong interest and commitment to service, a passion for the ideals and values of LEAP Africa, and moral integrity.

LEAP's Business Leadership Programme is modeled after international best practices,and is designed to:

o Expose business owners to critical skills and tools for effective leadership in business

o Give them the unique opportunity to reflect on their current leadership abilities and to enhance their leadership and management skills

o Build a close community of business owners who will encourage and support each other to build successful and sustainable businesses

Some of the training topics are:
- the art and act of leadership, visioning and goal-setting, motivating and coaching people for peak performance and building world class Board of Directors.

LEAP collaborates with several banks in the nomination of participants for its Business Leadership programmes in Lagos , Benin and Kano respectively.

Additionally, in March, 2004, with funding from the Diageo Foundation, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and LEAP Africa launched the Trendsetters Social Entrepreneurs' Programme in Nigeria .

This programme was designed to identify and support the success of a select group of entrepreneurial Nigerians who have applied their talents to the creation of social and economic wealth, and has the following components:

o Leadership and Management training
o Opportunities to participate in domestic and international events and
o One-on-one coaching.

There is obviously much more to thes programs than I have given in this brief outline. But if I quoted there entire web site you would not have to go to:
to get the whole story.

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