Since 1990, when we started facilitating leadership programs, we have had a number of international visitors to South Africa attend these experiences. They have found the interconnected wisdom of Africa, Nature and New Science enticing. They have spent time with South Africans on the programs and have shared the excitement of the 'Rainbow Nation'. They have taken this wisdom and excitement back to their countries - they have found tremendous value in applying it in their families, their communities and their organisations.
Using the content of our Corporate and other programs, we have designed an exclusive 4-day experience aimed specifically at international corporate clients. The venue for the Leadership Safari is an hours flight from O.R. Tambo International Airport.
We examine closely how the wisdom of Africa's people is so integrally connected to Nature. We remind ourselves that we are part of Nature and that our behaviour can fit comfortably with natural patterns of behaviour. We spend several hours each day on a game-viewing vehicle watching the majesty and splendour of the BIG FIVE – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo – as the sun rises and sets. We learn how they co-exist with each other. We watch small birds trailing a buffalo as it moves through the grass, unsettling tasty insects. We see rocks lifted metres from the ground by thousands of ants working together to build their nest. We see and feel the incredible orderliness of Nature without any need for control and rules.
We rediscover that Africa and Nature are so close to the West – we wonder how we have forgotten this. The discoveries of New Science, so much a part of the modern world, validate what Africa and Nature have known for as long as they can remember – that everyone and everything are interdependent and interconnected, and different.
We acknowledge that we are all part of an intricate web of relationships. We examine the quality of these relationships and question the infinite possibility of outcomes of relationships built on trusted information and positive human energy.
But we also remember that Africa is a paradoxical place. She has grown leaders like Nelson Mandela who truly embraces the essence of being African. But she has also grown leaders who have forgotten what it means to be African. She has nations which have flourished in peace; and she has nations which have crumbled in war; she has communities which have thrived with scarce resources; and communities which have died with plenty. She has corporations which have embraced the diversity and energy of its people to achieve astounding success; and she has corporations which have achieved success using coercive power and believing that some people are better than others.
We ask our delegates to tell us their stories. We see and hear how Africa and the West are so similar and yet so different. Together, we will share some of the traps that we face as Africans – and the traps you face in your country and how we have come through these traps as individuals, as companies, as communities and as nations.
New pictures of leadership will emerge. The infinite potential of leaders to contribute towards and create quantum outcomes for families, communities and organisations will be clearer than ever before.
Following a highly successful "Leadership Safari" program for 28 of their senior executives, the HR Manager of MSN Europe Middle East Africa (EMEA) wrote:
"Thank you so much for your commitment to Judy, her team and MSN. I was never certain how this would turn out - but it exceeded my dreams (not even expectations). You've got a brilliant team around you, and I'm really looking forward to spreading the word and sharing the experience with Microsoft."
Judy Gibbons, head of MSN Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), was interviewed by the London Financial Times. (published 19 December 2002) regarding her team's visit to South Africa and the Leadership Safari:
"The course was a synthesis of the best thinking, but also had a lot of African philosophies in it. One that turned out to be a very powerful tool for us was something called "indaba". Every so often all the leaders come in to see the chief with their grievances and issues. Each person speaks about the issue, and this continues right round, again and again. Gradually people shift position and you end up with a much deeper understanding of all sides of the story.
In the company, people are very high energy, motivated and intelligent. When we have meetings, you have loads of people talking and the debate isn't very well-structured. So we've started using "indaba". It's incredible, it makes people more thoughtful and respectful of each other."
John Noel from the Noel Group, USA wrote of their Leadership Safari in 2000:
"With Colin Hall and a cast of wonderful facilitators, our executive team went through a series of exercises that brought a new perspective to the way we see our company and ourselves. During The Leadership Safari our executive team started to identify the opportunities and concerns that we face. We talked about the concepts of energy and how to inject more of it into our organisation. We began charting our vision for the organisation, where we can go and what we can be."