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Visual Explorer™: September 2007

September 12, 2007

Laos Leadership Forum 2007

Not only one tree will make a fence, not only the leader can create societal change. Lao proverb

A Leadership Forum was held on June 11, 2007 in Vientiane, Laos, aimed to raise awareness about the challenges of leadership in the public and private sectors, and to discuss approaches to further strengthen leadership skills in Lao PDR.

Read more about this forum (English - Lao) at

The agenda was structured around the following questions:
  • What is Leadership in the Lao context?
  • How can Leadership be learnt?
  • What are the challenges of Leadership & Leadership development in Lao PDR?
  • How can we strengthen Leadership Development in Lao PDR?

Visual Explorer was used to get people talking about the sometimes sensitive topic of leadership in a communist society. The framing question used for the Visual Explorer session was, “How would you describe leadership in your own organization to new employees?” In the words of one of the facilitators:

We just said “go pick a image that speaks to this question.” We role modeled the process once they returned to their seats, and then we turned them loose. The room was very quiet at the start. Then came voices, then attentive eyes, then leaned in shoulders, then animated conversation, and finally laughter. So, in terms of VE process outcomes, they got it; it worked. In terms of content outcomes, VE helped make the undiscussable (namely leadership) discussable. It helped the group to view leadership as something not just associated with senior politburo members, but as something relevant to all. Given the conference theme, "Leadership Concerns Us All," this demystifying process was a great outcome to achieve.

Contact Patricia O'Connor and Chris Ernst at the Center for Creative Leadership.

More information on Lao PDR at

Read more at the World Bank >> English - Lao

More at Leadership Without Boundaries.

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