173: Anthony Willoughby—How to Lead Your Organization With Trust And Courage

Learn how a nomadic mindset helps you see where you are going!

I was introduced to Anthony Willoughby by Diana Wu David after our podcast interview. She said, “You just must meet Anthony. He will take you on his adventures around the world where people learn to build their trust and their abilities to work together.” So I did! As you will hear, Anthony grew up in Africa, wandered the world, and much like an anthropologist, learned how to observe, listen and learn from different cultures, particularly nomadic tribes. This led him to found the Nomadic School of Business, whose concept of a nomadic mindset helps leaders and their teams achieve clarity, purpose and agility. There’s so much to apply to your own teams…enjoy.

Anthony Willoughby-1Do you and your team understand and embrace change and disruption?

Have you created a culture that welcomes change? Can you engage, unite and empower a diverse collection of individuals? If you answered no to some or all of these, you might really benefit from watching and listening to my conversation with Anthony.

Your big takeaways are going to come from learning about the power of stepping out of your comfort zone and building real trust with others. You’ll hear how Anthony has worked with large organizations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at the Great Wall of China, as well as small groups, most notably the Maasai in Kenya. But regardless of their size or scope, their interests or challenges, Anthony and his Nomadic School of Business offers a transformative experience for the individuals who immerse themselves in one of his programs.

Check out the video of our podcast here:

Anthony Willoughby podcast

Offering a fresh worldview, a new perspective

What is unique about Anthony’s approach to corporate team-building is the way he creates learning adventures where leaders can open their minds to each other, building trust and clarity in their organizations. These adventures are built around a team’s territory mapping experience and a leadership trust wheel. Together, these two processes enable team members to understand, own and assume greater responsibility for the delivery of critical strategic objectives of their organization.

As I have been to Kenya, and the Great Wall of China, it was easy for me to see the power of these venues to take people away from “the way we always do it” syndrome and open their minds to what “we could do.” No, I have not gone on a nomadic experience with Anthony — yet — but I might indeed do some wandering with him soon.

The photos below capture the territory mapping exercise by the Maasai and participants in Anthony’s Nomadic School of Business.

   Maasi map   mapping

What is a nomadic mindset?

  1. Recognize and accept that your environment is changing
  2. Identify as an agile group that moves toward opportunity
  3. Harness the wisdom of your community to make decisions

One thought I want to leave you with

Kenyan chiefThis New Guinea chief (at left) had an amazing headdress. When Anthony asked him why it had so many feathers, he said, “To give them away.” In that moment, Anthony learned that the power of a chief is in giving away his wealth, not accumulating it. Now more than ever, there is so much to learn from other cultures about how to build communities where trust unites us, and where sharing creates benefits beyond what any of us can get on our own.

Get to know Anthony Willoughby

Raised in Africa and schooled in the UK and the US, Anthony was 22 when he bought a one-way ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express to Japan in search of inspiration, adventure and opportunities. In 1982 he took his first journey to the highlands of Papua New Guinea to stay with the Chimbu Tribe. There, he discovered how important a territory is to a tribe and its leaders, and how a map can provide power and clarity to different cultures and debates. It was during this expedition that he encountered a persistent complainer, which led him to establish his “I Will Not Complain” team-building and leadership development programs in Japan in 1989 and in China in 1992.

In the years since, Anthony has developed a visualizing process called “Territory Mapping,” inspired by conversations with tribal chiefs in remote villages in Papua New Guinea and Kenya. This process has been described as a method that ” enables you to crash through civilization and see where you are and where you are going with new clarity.”

Anthony has ridden paddle steamers down the Nile, was briefly a bullfighter, and has scaled some of the world’s biggest peaks, such as China’s 7,546-meter Mount Mustagh Ata, without porters or oxygen. Now based in the UK, he makes regular trips to Africa and Europe, delivering programs and expeditions for individuals, and spreading the word about the Nomadic School of Business. His clients have included AIA, Ogilvy, AXA, Mars, Qatar Airways, IBM, Ferrari, Dyson, London Business School, Chubb,  and Google.

To learn more about how to be a more effective leader, check out these blogs and podcasts