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A ‘deeper learning dive’: The CALI Signature Program

By Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz

A passion for and belief in Asia’s dynamic role in the world. Ultimately, this is what drove the Center for Asia Leadership to metamorphose from a tag team of Center for Asia Leadership fellows organizing study tours for Ivy League scholars to an up-and-coming leadership start-up. Today, CAL has offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; Seoul, Korea; and Tokyo, Japan.

In a Forbes article, Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, gave a sweet and simple definition of what a start-up is supposed to be. He said, “A start-up is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed.” This is exactly why CAL exists: to have a finger on the pulse of Asia’s ever-shifting realities and in turn, to help upgrade the leadership of its decision-makers, empowering them to tackle the region’s hard-to-pin-down problems. The landscape that leaders in Asia find themselves in has become increasingly unpredictable. And CAL recognizes that leadership in the region should adapt to our tricky times of lightning-fast innovation and perpetual uncertainty.


In 2018, CAL developed its Adaptive Leadership Signature Program that curated elements of the CAL learning experience with world-leading teaching and thought leadership inspired by Harvard, Stanford, and other world-leading universities.

The program is offered as a standalone 1-module program or as a deeper 4-module Adaptive Leadership program for mid-level to senior managers. According to CAL Director for International Affairs Faustino John Lim, each session is designed to help participants develop capacity for leadership as change-agents. “CAL’s mission is to assist and empower individuals, companies, and governmental bodies to play more active and meaningful leadership roles in their companies and communities,” he explained.

Going beyond a general leadership framework, the Signature Program is a deep dive into creative problem-solving geared towards meaningful progress. Through the program, managers from corporate, government, government-linked companies, and non-profit organizations will learn theories of change and real-life case examples from leading experts. Using interactive lectures, cases, simulations – some of the topics the Signature program will tackle include:

  • Mega trends of the 21st century and its implications on your leadership work, your business, and industry
  • The nature of work ahead: Distinction between technical work and adaptive work
  • Choices ahead when leading organizational change: Distinction between exercising authority and leadership
  • Aligning core capabilities in dynamic and fast-moving global environments
  • Developing personal and organizational agility: Taking calculated and collective risks
  • Relational work: Bringing teams together to sort competing issues
  • Unlearning and relearning

Unlearning and relearning

Going beyond the purely theoretical, CAL is concerned with what happens when the rubber meets the road. What kind of practical thought leadership translates to a change in day-to-day habits, perspectives, ideas, and action? Ultimately, CAL aims for lasting social impact – not just on the personal and organizational level but even wider. The end goal, says Lim, is “promoting prospects for thriving and modern companies and just and democratic societies.”

For this shared vision of Asia to happen, organizations need to start investing in their key people who will benefit more from a more serious, continuing commitment to learning. One-off trainings or workshops may be beneficial but will prove inadequate for the long-term. To borrow a quote from American futurist and businessman Alvin Toffler: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Email us to find out how your organization can benefit from the CALI Signature Program soon.

For more information about Custom Programs, please visit this link.