Marianne Knuth, co-founder Pioneers of Change, on leadership

Recently I co-hosted AIESEC’s Youth to Business Forum where 500 delegates came from 110 countries to engage, inspire and take action on three tracks: innovation, corporate responsibility and leadership.  My last post talked about wise words from Chris Weeks, Director for Humanitarian Affairs, DHL and what he said about corporate responsibility.

Today’s post is about speaker Marianne Knuth and what she had to say about leadership (that’s her gorgeous photo above).

Of Zimbabwean and Danish heritage, she’s currently in Zimbabwe heading up Kafunda Village. 

‘A starting assumption for my work here is that people already know how to work in creative and self-sufficient ways, and that the challenge is to help them access that knowledge – and the self-confidence to act on it – generating concrete and often surprising results in the process.

At AIESEC’s forum she had this to say:

  • ‘We fear and manage chaos by jumping straight to control.  Control is about creating more of the same.’  Her advice was to get comfortable with chaos and see the benefits in it.
  • ‘Start anywhere and follow it everywhere’ Marianne says.  In other words start.  Don’t wait until you have all the answers, until you have the perfect business plan, the perfect marketing plan, the perfect workshop design, jump in and get going NOW!  The resources you need will reveal themselves Marianne says.
  • ‘Don’t forget to be playful and tinker’, Marianne advises.  Taking a page from innovation, much has been discovered by so called mistakes (penicillin and post-it notes for example).  Have a sense of humour and play and explore.
  • Marianne defines a leader as ‘anyone who is wiling to serve.’

Wise words.  Who is willing to serve (the greater good) near you?  What are you in service of?

Stay tuned for the next post about Jessica Fraser, co-founder, Mobile Movement, which connects those who have with those in need, and what she had to say about innovation.


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