Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Airlines, said: “Our aim in everything we do should be to simplify the complex: complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple.”
In 2003, I started my consultancy with this mantra: “Simplify the complex.”
Now, I’ve pursued that mantra for seventeen years in corporate, community, and conservation arenas. And I’ve seen outstanding results.
”I began my career as a research scientist, studying marine population dynamics.
I had graduated from university with a first-class honours degree in statistics, mathematics, and biology. Between 1984 and 1987, I led three teams to survey minke whales in Antarctica. Our findings would be discussed by heads of government deciding whether the global ban on commercial whaling should be continued or stopped. I discovered, however, that my leadership and management skills for implementing projects were poor. Is this not a typical situation? People are continuously trained to become more technically expert in their field but can often lack the skills to most effectively implement projects through people and teams.
In 1992, I joined the pharmaceutical industry.
In contrast with my scientific days, I was exposed to some of the best training in the world—from business and sales to leadership and management. However, I found so much of the leadership and management training far too complicated and impractical. I wanted practical. I wanted simple. I wanted tools that would help me achieve my objectives. I believe we all want that.
Our passion at Forward Consulting is to improve the effectiveness of programs and projects by equipping people with a set of leadership and management tools that are clear, simple, practical, and relevant. We implement a one-of-a-kind methodology that releases people’s potential to a level that produces results outstanding to us and them. Over the course of a training program, an unschooled conservancy chairman raised $350,000 USD to build boarding schools for two communities—having never previously raised a single cent! This is but one example, and here are two more:
Further, two experts in this field say the following:
A lot of training in the conservation field is centred around conservation or livelihoods technical training, but what about generic personal skills for the effective management of people, partnerships, or resources? This is just as important for conservancy managers and boards if we are to see the conservancies operating to the best of their ability.Mike Harrison, former CEO of Northern Rangelands Trust, Kenya
The quality of leadership and of day-to-day management is a powerful driver of social and economic progress. While this is generally recognized in the for-profit world, non- profit organizations and their funders have been paying much less attention to its critical role. Most funding to wildlife conservation organizations goes to “hardware” such as anti-poaching equipment and training, and to environmental and life sciences. Hardly any funding goes to enhance local leadership and management capacities, and yet modest efforts to build such capacity can improve conservation as well as community development outcomes significantly.Guy Pfeffermann, former chief economist at the International Finance Corporation and founder of Management Skills for Wildlife Conservation and the Global Business School Network