You may be surprised to learn that the biggest challenge faced by CLI has nothing at all to do with working in Congo. Obviously, operating in an uncertain environment adds degrees of difficulty, but the hardest aspect of teaching leadership is determining whether, when, and to what degree we have achieved success.
It’s not just us! Major universities, corporate training programs, and many (expensive) consultants face the same issue. Human capital training is too often treated as a “black box”. For instance, in our case, we know intuitively that having talented and entrepreneurial leaders is useful in a place like Congo, but why? Even if we can demonstrate learning, does it matter? Further, if we can all agree that success has been achieved, how do we know that it was the training (and not another factor) that led to the success?
We don’t have all the answers (and frankly, we don’t think anyone does), but one of our major goals in 2014 is to begin to scientifically test the efficacy of the Leadership Institute. CLI has now trained over 500 youth and with our current scale, we are confident that we can design useful, controlled experiments in order to isolate the impact of CLI training on civic action and entrepreneurial success. We’ll be sure to share the results with all of you as we continue to improve!