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ELECTION 2022

Fresh bid to bridge skills gap, revitalise industry leadership

EDUCATION
By Mark Oloo | Jan 29th 2022 | 4 min read

Catalead Founder David Oginde leads other guests in cutting a cake after the launch of the Catalead Associates, a leadership development platform at the Nairobi Serena Hotel. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

John F Kennedy, the 35th US President, once said leadership and learning have a keen friendship and are indispensable to each other.

In Kenya, corporate gurus admit that leadership is heavily reliant on strategic training, and that there’s need for creativity, innovation and collaborations in capacity building initiatives to plug skills gaps.

And last week, a mentorship and career development drive was launched in Nairobi in what the founders say marks the start of a bold effort to “recalibrate leadership in disruptive times.” The disruptions relate not just to pandemics like Covid-19 but the effects of globalisation and changes in market and industry dynamics.

The unveiling of The Catalead, a consultancy, last Friday brought together corporate, government and organisational leaders who said it is vital to examine leadership gaps — time and again — in pursuit of improved skills in the wake of the changing trends in the information age.

 “It is our plan to organise more such fora at which senior leaders can explore various leadership issues and thus sharpen one another,” Citam Bishop Emeritus David Oginde, The Catalead founder, said at the launch.

Safaricom Chief Executive Peter Ndegwa and Carole Kariuki, the CEO of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) graced the launch and shared their corporate leadership experiences.

While stressing the need to empower local industry leaders through sustained training, Ndegwa said: “Leadership is about judgement, influence and drive.”

Ms Kariuki said leadership required “relationships, ability, knowledge and communication.” Using locally developed and contextually apt tools, materials, and programmes, founders of The Catalead say the initiative will offer leadership coaching and leadership consultancy, all of which are geared towards achieving what they called “a practical demonstration of credible leadership” in diverse fields.

The team says much as a lot has been written about leadership, and plenty taught about it, the world craves solid, authentic, and credible leaders – men and women who will raise families, build organisations, or transform nations.

“We want to bridge the current gap by recalibrating leadership and shifting the paradigm in leadership practice,” says Dr Oginde, a former chancellor of Pan African Christian who was an adjunct lecturer at Daystar University.

He says The Catalead Associates are a team of professionals passionate about leadership development - with proven track record in their diverse fields, and will seek trainees allover for tailor-made trainings. Dr Oginde added: “I saw a gap. When I became a leader, there was little guidance on leadership. I didn’t even know you could go to school to study leadership.”

The Catalead Flagship programme has lined up a training series curated to meet leadership needs using unique and practical tools for individuals, teams, and organisations. The inaugural series has 20 modules of content.

Another of its high impact programmes, the team says, is designed to catalyse personal leadership. The programme consists of three sets undertaken individually or as part of a group.

There is a series on “establishing your leadership roots” which takes learners from where they are and journeys them through their leadership path. At the end, they get empowered to handle valuable knowledge and understanding of leadership. The ultimate outcome is developing own practical and clear roadmap to becoming a high impact leader.

Other aspects of the course are designed to help learners develop the disciplines, habits, and practices in leadership that will ensure they reach top of the game as high impact leaders.

“Through well-crafted lessons, readings, and practical exercises, this is the crucible for building your leadership muscle. The ultimate outcome is the cultivation of consistent life transforming disciplines, habits, and practices that will make you an authentic leader,” The Catalead says in its training catalogue.

Also lined up are a series on growing your leadership capital and another that seeks to help team leaders and members grasp the key principles of forming and working in teams. Targeted in this category are those who want to go beyond positional leadership. “At the end of the series, trainees are expected to readily move from any silos to an exciting and fulfilling world of the geese – deliberate collaborative work,” the firm says in its prospectus.

“We get trainees from individual, team or organisational subscriptions. We also get referrals. We run various packages. On March 3 and 4, we will hold practical lessons open to the public at DoubleTree by Hilton in Hurlingham, Nairobi. Registration is open and details are available online,” Judith Nyarangi, The Catalead’s Communications Coordinator told Saturday Standard.

Its launch comes in the wake of a recent World Economic Forum Report that shows 30 per cent of the Kenyan workforce has inadequate skills, negating productivity in corporate leadership and across sectors.

A 2019 report by the Aga Khan University’s East Africa Institute also alludes a widened gap between the skills possessed by people entering the workforce and the current and emerging needs the market today.

The Catelead adds to ongoing initiatives by universities and colleges that have pegged their trainings on enterprise development and skills development. Some have the components of matching up trainees with potential employers across key sectors.

It is banking on a team with expertise in mentorship and communication, digital and big data revolution, behavior change, culture transformation, human resources and leadership and organisational transformation to deliver on its mission to bridge the skills gap.

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