Background of our Theory of Change

Dear Fellows,

Leading in whatever capacity can be a particularly challenging, yet lonely, endeavor. While navigating through strategies & roadmaps, managing their operations, and evaluating the implementation of projects, most leaders deal with plenty of complexities. The workplace today is increasingly dynamic with a growing local and globally competitive environment, a high rate of change, improved technologies, and economic uncertainties. The leader’s job is often a balancing act of internal, external, individual, and institutional factors. To succeed, it is therefore essential for leaders to develop a broad perspective, a strategic mindset, and a high level of resilience. However, it is ever more apparent that these are not the only traits required for leadership success. 

The advent of the 21st century was awash with numerous cases of disappointing leadership failures much to the detriment of the general society. Inadequacies in ethical or moral practices, such as financial greed and corruption, were rife among many leaders who had risen through the ranks to prominence in society (Government, Business, and Civil Society).  In response to these phenomena, many management and leadership theorists placed a renewed emphasis on the importance of ethics and morality and began challenging the qualities needed for an exemplary leader.      It became increasingly evident that entities and society at large need to look more at a leader’s set of values, morals, and ethics to restore hope, confidence, and integrity into leadership. As a result, there is more focus on the concept of Value-Based Leadership which has now become a common feature in management and leadership literature. To be truly transformational, a leader must also be moral, ethical, and authentic.  History has repeatedly demonstrated that leaders who lack ethical and value-based dimensions end up having serious adverse consequences on their subordinates, followers, organizations, society at large, the nation, and the world.

Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt among others, are identified by James O’Toole as excellent examples of value-based leaders in history who appealed to the self-interest of their followers. They were moral mediators and enablers of their followers and hence helped to significantly impact society. 

Anchored on this, Our Theory of Change (ToC) is developed to guide our programs toward our mission of investing in systems that foster the emergence of the next generation of African leaders in business, politics, and civil society who are effective, values-driven, and enlightened.

May 2020