Learning to lead globally by working on social impact challenges

Credit Suisse: Leading Beyond the Organization

Learning to lead globally by working on social impact challenges

Leading Beyond the Organization (LBO) is an optional module for participants on the Senior Directors Leadership Development Programme. It’s goal is to provide participants with the opportunity to explore how their leadership transcends the boundaries of the organization by working with community partners supported by the CS Foundation on unresolved complex challenges they are facing.


Credit Suisse wanted to provide participants on their Senior Director Leadership Development Programme with a capstone experience. Something inspirational and immersive that challenged participants to apply concepts addressed in the programme to real challenges faced by social impact partners.

The intention was to help leaders who were located around the globe go deeper with their leadership and provide an experience of what leadership feels like beyond the boundaries of the organization where senior leaders need to be operating as their careers develop.

The learning was set within the context of a BANI (Brittle, Anxious, Non-linear & Incomprehensible) world and the kind of leadership qualities that this demands.


Participants could opt-in to an experience in which they worked collaboratively in small groups to tackle unresolved challenges faced by social impact partners supported by the the CS Foundation in the areas of Financial Inclusion and Financial Education.

Over 6 sessions of 2-3 hours spread over 2 weeks, participants came together with the partner to dive deeper into the challenges presented and co-create a path forward to addressing them. Action Learning coaches worked with the participants and partners to surface learning opportunities experienced by the groups in the flow of their work and facilitate sharing of feedback.

Plenary sessions bookended the work in small groups. The initial session prepared participants and partners for the experience and introduced key leadership concepts such as Kolb’s learning cycle and key leadership themes such as challenging assumptions and the role of emotions in leadership. The final session supported participants to reflect on their learning and integrate it into their day-to-day leadership.


The programme was highly successful. Results from a post-program survey completed by participants 5 months after the experience and compared a baseline survey completed immediately before the LBO Experience showed behaviour had shifted in 4 key areas – Being Real, Being Effective, Being, Innovative and Being Whole. 86% strongly agreed that the experience provided them with new perspectives that would impact the way they lead. 100% would recommend the program to other colleagues.

Partners supported through the experience reported that the experience had enabled them to make significant progress in the challenge they presented (100%).

The programme was also recognised as an example of innovative practice by Points of Light Foundation.

“[It was] a fantastic experience, which I found very motivational. I would recommend this to any leader, as the ability to see how your skills outside of your comfort zone/expertise can provide benefit is really motivating to see.”

– Participant, Leading Beyond the Organisation