Acumen Leadership Essentials
Acumen Leadership Essentials is a 6-week course that will give you a taste of Acumen’s leadership training designed to build leaders who can help change the way the world tackles poverty and build a world based on dignity.
This is an introductory course for those who are new to the social impact space and interested in cultivating more self-awareness as a leader and change agent. We will touch on Acumen’s investment model. However, this course is not about the impact investing space and will not provide an in-depth look at Acumen’s investing work.
The course is free but you must work through it as a group (min: 2 people; max: 6).
What You'll Learn
As part of this course you will
- Explore your own values, motivations and goals for how you want to impact the world
- Understand the different perspectives and complexities around the work of poverty alleviation
- Understand Acumen’s ‘patient capital model’ and its role in poverty alleviation
- Understand and begin to develop the capacity for moral imagination - the humility to see the world for what it is and the audacity to imagine the world as it could be
- Reflect on your leadership journey and the changes you might be willing to make in the future
How the Course Works
There are no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course. You will work through the course with a group of course mates we call your “lab group”.
You can read through this curriculum on your own, but it won’t be any fun. The real learning happens face to face, person to person, when you challenge yourself and those around you. We recommend a group size of 2-6 people.
1. Recruit your friends or family
2. Connect with people at an existing meetup or start one in your city!
Course content consists of readings, online videos, discussions, and hands-on activities. Each week, you’ll receive an email with the materials for the upcoming week’s lab. The materials will consist of two things:
- Lab prep (1-2 hours): To be completed before your lab group meets
- Lab guide (typically 2 hours): To be completed together with the rest of your lab group when you meet. Upon completing each lab
At Acumen, we believe in “learning by doing”. You will get as much out of this course as you put in. There is much about this course that will seem challenging, which is appropriate since this is about leadership development. You will need to be self-motivated to make it through all 6-weeks. Some of the exercises are designed to push you out of your comfort zone. You will need to build relationships with your lab group and conduct meaningful discussions with no clear authority in the room.
The course is designed to run for 6-weeks; each week covers a different Acumen leadership module, except for Lab 4 which takes 2 weeks.
Lab 1: Foundations of Leadership
Objectives: Become familiar with the lab format for this course, get to know your lab group, dive deeper into your personal values, motivation and purpose for taking this course as well as Acumen’s view on leadership.
Prep time: 1 hour
Lab time: 1.5 hours
Lab 2: How to Do Good?
Objectives: Discuss and reflect on the different perspectives and complexities around “doing good”.
Prep time: 1.5 hours
Lab time: 2 hours
Lab 3: Acumen in Context
Objectives: Understand Acumen’s investment model and where it stands in the international development discourse of the past, present and future.
Prep time: 2 hours
Lab time: 2 hours
Lab 4: Everyday Barriers
Objectives: Exercise empathy and experience what it takes to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand their situation, feelings and motives.
Prep time: 4 hours
Lab time: 1 hour
Lab 5: Adaptive Leadership and You
Objectives: Understand the difference between adaptive and technical challenges; begin to get a feel for what it takes to face internal resistance while implementing changes; reflect on a personal adaptive challenge and the over-all course.
Prep time: 1 hour
Lab time: 2 hours
Is this course just for +Acumen chapter members?
No, this course is open to both chapter and non-chapter members interested in the course and prepared to commit 4-5 hours per week to it.
Do my group members need to be in the same location?
We recommend signing up with a group that is all physically located in the same place. Much of the value of this course derives from the face to face learning that happens between group members. With that said, we have had groups cover many of the labs over Skype or Google+ hangout so it is possible to have a remote group.
Is there a set class schedule each week?
No, we set the schedule regarding what topic to cover each week but you are free to review the prep material and meet with your group within each week whenever it is convenient for you and your group. So it’s a good idea to consider all your availability when forming a group.
Will a certificate be awarded upon completion of the course?
The course is really for you and your own personal development; therefore, you will get as much out of this course as you put in. With that said, we will provide a Statement of Accomplishment for individuals that complete all 6 weeks of the course and complete all the required participation surveys.