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Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme

Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme

An experiential journey

People who come onto this programme are not necessarily looking for skills, models and tools. They are generally senior people who are already leading. It's very much a programme that is for people who are thinking - 'Why me?'

It has been designed as an experiential engagement with new ideas, and an opportunity for rich connection with other leaders. At the heart of the programme, though, are the participants and their individual stories. Because of that, each programme is different, and each builds on the last. So it's like tapping into a continuum of experience - or an ongoing conversation that will continue long after the end of the programme week."

Tracey Camilleri, Programme Director, Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme

6 day journey

Opening remarks

'If you are looking for something that elevates you beyond text book and 2x2 matrixes and that impacts your way of thinking, this is the programme to choose.'

Markus Ranner, Sales Director, Adtran Inc., Switzerland





'The OSLP is a mixture of a very innovative approach, very modern, with a traditional reputation of the city of Oxford. This was a mixture which was very interesting and outstanding.'

Alexander Thees, First Vice President, Head of Structured Financial Solutions for Banks, KfW Bankengruppe, Germany



Living in the Age of the Anthropocene: How will leaders cope?, led by Achim Steiner, Director, Oxford Martin School

'I found the challenges of the new paradigm very useful and more importantly how to react to these and all that comes into the global in-tray. Felt like a wake-up call.'

Kanayo Awani, MD, African Export-Import Bank, Egypt



Complexity, Turbulence and Change, led by Professor Gareth Morgan, Faculty, Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme

'The organisation I am working in is changing quite substantially so we are perpetually trying to manage these changes and keep on top of what is happening. Probably because of this, the idea that most stood out for me on the programme was that there is a difference between leading and managing. Leadership does not require you to engage with the day-to-day details of the organisation. Organisations, by their very nature, organise themselves; what they need from leadership is the right environment and the right direction.' 

Oliver Hergesell, Senior Vice President, Communications, Turner Broadcasting International, United Kingdom



The Leadership Zone: A Psychologist’s Perspective, led by Jon Stokes, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School

'You have an idea of who you are and that's your picture of yourself, but the truth of the matter is this won't necessarily be what other people think of you and if you're a leader there are a lot of other people and it's what we think of you that you need to find out about, not what you think of you.'

Jon Stokes, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School


'The most important piece of learning I took from the programme was Jon’s advice to throw out everything we’d heard about leadership. It was very liberating moment for me. There are a lot of leadership programmes out there where you get bombarded with views and the latest theories about what leadership should be and what a leader is. I’ve always suspected that a lot of it is garbage, and that each idea is rapidly succeeded by the next one. The idea that leadership is just about setting direction and providing energy is so simple and refreshing - I think it’s perfect.'

Fiona Allan, Chief Executive Officer, Curve Theatre, United Kingdom

Leadership and Performance, led by Peter Hanke, Associate Fellow, and Dr Paul Hedley, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School

'Seven words have transformed my thinking, 'Use less energy to create the beat.' When I had a go at conducting the choir, I knew that creating a steady, strong beat was important and I did this by using a lot of movement. But Peter told me I was doing too much – he showed me a much more subtle, gentle way that still kept the choir together and following him. Suddenly I could see that there was another way of leading.'

Anna Skarbek, Executive Director, ClimateWorks Australia/ Monash University, Australia


'What I really enjoyed was sitting with the choir, watching them prepare for a performance. It was just like getting ready for a board meeting. They were asking essentially the same questions and no one obviously took leadership. It was like six heads of divisions from a company, all with the same amount of power, collaboration. You don't always have to have someone leading, that idea resonated very strongly.'

Kevin Higgins, Senior Vice President/Principal of CBRE-Grossman Retail Advisors, United States




Making, Mapping and Modelling Strategy, led by Professor Claus Jacobs, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School

'Participants on this programme walk away with a better sense of their own repertoire of leadership skills. I believe they also start appreciating their incompleteness, not as a bad thing but a good thing. They start appreciating that they need others to enable them to be good leaders because there are no leaders without followers and that creates a more humble but, in the end, a more effective way of being a leader in an organisation.'

Professor Claus Jacobs, Associate Fellow, SaÎd Business School



Hamlet: The Soul At Work, led by Richard Olivier, Associate Fellow, Saïd Business School

'The session delivered by Richard Olivier was emotionally charged, superbly delivered and content rich. A brilliant bringing together of different concepts and disciplines to provide a framework for the leadership journey.'

Debra Carter, Head of Local Government Finance, Welsh Government, United Kingdom


'Absolutely incredible. The internal conflict and different push and pull pressures of leadership authenticity was truly insightful, powerful and a real catalyst for personal change.'

Jan Savage, Executive Director, Campaigns and External Affairs, ENABLE Scotland, United Kingdom


Experiential workshops

'I was looking for something that would add a different dimension to the academic work that I've done over the years in leadership and what excited me about the OSLP was the variety and breadth of the activities. So looking at everything in a different dimension from meditation to falconry and the Oxford approach is at it's own level very academic but very creative.'

Carrie Lomas, CEO & Founder, Increation Technologies Ltd, United Kingdom



Parting thoughts

'Oxford is a great institution, I've been to a few other international institutions. The difference is that here it is practical and it is about you as the leader, not about some company outside. It's about the practical challenges that you as a person are facing. Sometimes you find that the issues you are going through some other leaders are also going through, or have gone through that before, so they suggest how to navigate it. So being on this programme has given me the opportunity to see the other side and to also learn from other global leaders.'

Japhet John, Regional Corporate Executive, Fidelity Bank Plc, Nigeria

'It is the best course I’ve been on and others have been very good. I think the thing that is most impressive about it is the degree of vision and passion and thought that’s gone into it from the Programme Director and the Tutors into how you integrate head, heart and hand. The OSLP really puts you back into your environment and gives you the confidence to deal with issues from the day back at work. I feel confident I’ll find both the areas of vulnerability that I need to be aware of, things I need to learn and unlearn but equally have the confidence to make a bigger contribution.'

Lucian Hudson, Director of Communications, The Open University, United Kingdom

'OSLP has had a profound impact on me. It was sometimes through the unique simplicity of the programme that the depth of many of my challenges were better understood. The programme greatly liberated my thinking in terms of understanding my role, my influence and how I might seek balance. Thank you.'

Peter Walton, Director, International Programs, Australian Red Cross, Australia


'If you are looking for something that elevates you beyond text book and 2x2 matrixes and that impacts your way of thinking, this is the programme to choose.'

Markus Ranner, Sales Director, Adtran Inc., Switzerland

Programme Facts

A participant's view

"Maybank Indonesia is currently at the last part of its three year country transformation plan, which is the most critical part of it in my opinion as it focuses on culture transformation. I hired a local consultant to conduct a series of leadership coaching for the Bank's Board of Directors (including myself) and the Regional CEOs. Upon my return from the OSLP, I have asked our consultant to look at how we can incorporate some of the 15% rule and local actions learning. It should help reverse the mind-set of our regional staff who have grown tired of being micro managed by head office. I am also incorporating Richard Olivier's archetypal leadership character and Clara Gaggero's design of experience into our session. Next week we are also having a musical masterclass (similar style to the conducting exercise by Peter Hanke) for 70 of our top leaders."

Taswin Zakaria, CEO - Maybank Indonesia

Fresh perspectives

"I joined the programme because I wanted to get some fresh perspectives on leadership. What is leadership all about? What can I personally learn about being a leader? How can I reflect on my experiences as a leader? I was interested in the design of the programme and in the idea of getting different inspirations from other sciences and the arts."

Paul Schierz
Business Unit Leader: Food, EEMEA,
Novozymes Switzerland AG,

A participant's view

“I’m a classic example of someone who’s got credibility in a leadership role because of my expertise. I see now that I need to let all of that go if I am to progress as a leader.”

Pauline Clarke
General Manager
Christchurch Hospital
Canterbury District Health Board
New Zealand

A participant's view

'Excellent leadership course. Convincing concept. Competent coaches. Great participants from across the globe. It's the most insightful, thought-provoking and inspiring programme I've ever seen. Conducting a choir in an Oxford college chapel, meeting Plato in the cave and helping the Hamlet in each of us to unfold was an extraordinary experience – and, together with all other sessions, an eye-opening and mind-broadening journey to yourself. I particularly enjoyed the open, friendly and respectful atmosphere at any moment of this unforgettable week.'

Wolfgang Modery, Senior Adviser - European Central Bank, Germany

Holistic learning

"I have been on a lot of leadership programmes and nowhere else have I experienced the thoughtful, reflective tone of the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme. It isn't about case studies, as at other global business schools, where it all seems to be about mathematics and challenging your analytical faculties. This appeals more to the qualitative faculties of your brain." 

Zarrar Khan 
Chief Technology Officer 
Viva - Kuwait Telecom Company