Kenya is set to host the first ever Intercultural Agility Summit in Africa targeting CEOs, Managing Directors and heads of public institutions in East Africa with a view to addressing the intercultural question in the workplace at a time when globalization is posing new challenges to the 21st-century leaders.
The summit slated for March 24th and 25th is coming at a time when movement of human capital across East Africa, coupled with the entry of multinationals in the region and transfer of human resource has introduced diversity dynamics in the workplaces dictating new leadership approaches.
According to the Africa Regional Integration Index Report 2016 by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, the East African Community is the top performer in integration in Africa, with factors such as increased free movement of labour in the region contributing to the success of the integration.
But this transfer has also meant cultural shock for the majority of workers operating away from home and an even tougher call for heads of businesses to manage this diverse workforce.
“In an increasingly globalized world where boundaries no longer hold, leading across cultures can still be quite challenging for even the most seasoned leader,” says Lex Lindeman, the co-organizer of the summit and Managing partner at HR Boosters, a training and management culture consultancy company in Africa.
Facilitated by seasoned cross-cultural expert and founder of Clever Culture Communication, Sheriff Aligbeh, the summit’s approach will provide a balance of structured input and discussion of case studies, critical incidents and scenarios relevant to participants’ own particular contexts.
The summit is a follow-up of similar successful ones that have been held in Europe and Asia.
“This summit is about story telling. There will be no lectures or presentations. It will be about getting success factors as far as intercultural relations in the offices and handling them by executives is concerned while also sharing the hiccups that the leaders face,” Lex added.
Key among the topics to be explored in the summit include why modern day executives need intercultural skills, Culture clashes in the workplace and the way towards an effective resolution, the perceived nexus between culture, training and performance and personal experiences by different heads on dealing with different cultures in the workplace.
“This Intercultural Agility Summit focuses on assisting leaders to address diversity dynamics in multicultural workplaces as well as cross-cultural interactions and to demonstrate how to use both methods and approaches to foster a rich working environment and embrace diversity as an advantage as a 21st century executive,” says Erick Ngala, a co-organizer of the summit and Managing partners at Priority Activator Consulting, a consortium of specialists who offer human capital, management advisory services and training and development.
According to a recent study by the University of London that interviewed 28 global CEOs spanning 12 countries and leading companies ranging from less than 10 employees to over 200,000, training CEOs on intercultural competencies had a potential impact in key areas of their companies including decision making, conflict and negotiation and market entry.