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Nexus Leadership Programme: Building Inclusive Leaders

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Gain a competitive advantage by adopting an adaptive and transformative leadership style and leveraging diversity and inclusivity in the South African workplace.

“Be a voice, not an echo’’ - Albert Einstein

The GIBS Nexus Leadership Programme is no ordinary learning intervention. It is a unique opportunity designed to equip you with the insights and tools to master adaptive leadership and make positive impact in your organisation and society.

This transformative leadership programme enables leaders in business, civil society and government to more skilfully – and collaboratively – understand and navigate the complexities of the South Africa context. Utilising a myriad of learning tools underpinned by deep dialogue, contextual awareness, experiential learning and self-reflection, Nexus nurtures leaders who are self-aware, have a high level of personal mastery, are able to engage meaningfully with a diversity of perspectives, and have the skills and the passion to develop innovative solutions to new challenges. The programme also provides tools for the application of key learnings back into the workplace.

The Nexus programme has been selected by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) as one of 35 programmes globally that demonstrate "the unique ways that business schools globally embrace an innovative mindset, and serve as visionaries across the higher education landscape".  In total, the AACSB received more than 315 submissions, across 33 countries for the 2017 Innovations That Inspire showcase.

Programme Methodology

The Nexus programme is based on experiential learning, reflective practice and direct engagement with societal leaders. It is not lecture based. Participants are invited into a series of carefully designed engagements with self, with others and with the broader environment and supported to reflect on these experiences to gain new insight. In this way, the learning of each participant is unique to them and continues to develop long after the end of the programme.

Over the eight-month programme, delegates meet for approximately two days a month. A series of written assignments allow delegates to integrate the learnings into their own lives.

Key Focus Areas

  • Contextual understanding of the South African social, economic and political landscape, key trends and issues.
  • Dialogue: learn how to have difficult conversations to achieve greater understanding, for more effective action.
  • Authenticity: self-awareness, congruence and the courage to voice divergent views.
  • Agency: a belief in your own ability and freedom to effect change.
  • Vision: a powerful and positive imagination of the future.


Quotes from previous participants:

"Here is what I still apply from Nexus every day: [The] ability to have difficult conversations, through the application of the tools I learnt at Nexus. A greater appreciation for the benefit of diversity and the strength it gives us. The fact that everyone has a story and has something to teach us, despite their background, education level, provocation or status. To be more understanding of people – since you don't know their story, until you actually find out" - Melanie Miller - KPMG

"The value Nexus offered me was twofold. In my personal life, I have learnt to listen more and challenge myself to explore new spaces in our country beyond my comfort zone. In my workspace, my team knows that they can bring forward any new ideas and they will be considered, no matter their position or the size of the idea. The result is, that many of these ideas are now being implemented to make us more efficient and successful as a team. It is also important that all voices are equal and that every person has an opportunity to contribute. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to attend a learning experience like Nexus. It was like no other course I have attended previously and realised quickly that what you put into Nexus, is what you will get out..." Gillian Whittal, Business Unit Manager, Janssen

"In the world of changing technology, climate, stakeholder expectations, ethical dilemmas and market instability, the job of a leader is increasingly becoming that of building trust and not just ensuring productivity. This requires a different kind of leadership. It requires leaders to be authentic, to seek to understand their contexts deeply and to set out compelling visions that will connect with the heads and hearts of those they lead. Nexus is a journey that invites you to experience and experiment with ways of becoming this type of leader. To look again at your assumptions, values, beliefs and fears and to choose consciously that which serves you, others and the world. You will laugh, you will be surprised, you will be confused, you will be awed, you will be angry and you may even cry. Don't worry, you are becoming…"  Lerato Mahlasela, Executive Director: Customised Programmes, GIBS

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More Information

Who should attend?
  • The ideal Nexus candidate is someone who is passionate about making a positive difference in South Africa even if they are uncertain how to do it, Nexus participants believe that change is possible and want to be a part of it. 
  • Participants come from the private sector, the public sector and civic society. 
  •  Some Nexus participants are sponsored by their organisations to attend the programme while others attend in their individual capacity.

How you will benefit

Through this programme you will: 

  • Deepen your ability to see systems and linkages and reduce the 'silo' mentality; 
  • Be able to work constructively and creatively with diverse stakeholders to understand and address pressing issues; 
  • Deepen your self-awareness, sense of agency and personal mastery; 
  • See more potential in people and situations, especially in those you may have been prone to discount or dismiss; 
  • Be more willing and able to engage in the courageous conversations needed to move ourselves, our organisations and the country forward; 
  • Gain a greater contextual appreciation of the complexity of operating in the South African environment and the implications for personal and organisational leadership; and 
  • Be connected to a passionate group of people who are committed to effecting positive change in South Africa.

Additional information

The methodology utilises experiential learning, reflective practice and direct engagement with societal leaders. 

This programme is not lecture-based.

Participants are invited into a series of carefully designed engagements with self, with others and with the broader environment and supported to reflect on these experiences to gain new insight. 

 In this way, the learning of each participant is unique to them and continues to develop long after the end of the programme. Nexus is run over an eight month period and delegates meet on average two days a month. 

 A series of written assignments allow delegates to apply their learnings in their workplaces and to integrate the learnings into their own lives

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Carrie Pratt specialises in the design and facilitation of participatory leadership, learning and change processes. Her work is driven by the belief that solutions to the issues we face - as individuals, as communities, as organisations, as a nation and as a world - can best be found in dialogue with those who are most affected by them. To that end, she creates opportunities for people to identify and explore the challenges facing them, to understand those challenges in new ways and to identify and implement solutions based on that understanding. 

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