Tällberg Leadership Programme – Pathfinders


The Tällberg Leader Programme (TLP) aims to help leaders, entrepreneurs and other decision makers reconsider their wider role in a globally integrated society. This society – we now know – is on a direct collision course with nature, calling for a radical transition in the way we organise ourselves.

This poses new strategic challenges to individuals with responsibility for organizations in the private, public, philanthropic and civic spaces, and asks new questions, at both a professional and personal level.  In this emerging landscape, learning to read the complex natural, social and political dynamics of the transition become crucial skills. And in times of greater complexity, having the courage to act on early intuitions grows in importance. This in turn requires personal strength, unusual creativity and emotional maturity.   Sean Germond, in collaboration with Tom Cummings (and the support of then Board Member, Marcello Pallazzi), was instrumental in the design, development and delivery of the first leader programme that took place in 2006, which he framed using the metaphor of “canaries in a coal mine“.  This was followed by successive annual programmes in through to 2012.

In 2011, the programme was reframed “The Pathfinder Programme”, and was held in Sigtuna, as part of the Talberg Forum 2011 in Sweden.  This residential programme offered an opportunity for 35 participants, each carefully selected for their pathfinding leadership in their respective sectors/fields, to convene and engage each other on questions that they are confronted with in terms of their work, their lives as leaders.


Over the years at the Tällberg Forum, we have come to term the individuals who are most suited to the tasks at hand Pathfinders. Pathfinders are those in the stamp of a Nelson Mandela, leaders who chart the future through their personality, vision and character, or of a Ray Anderson, who totally redirected Interface from a sustainability laggard to a leader in the carpet industry.

tlp sigtuna 2011

The faculty consisted of a programme leader (Tom Cummings, Executive Learning Partnership) and co-facilitator (Sean Germond, Pygmalion, Cape Town) and supported by Rebecca Oliver (Tällberg Foundation), and Pio Barone Lumaga (Pond Innovation & Design AB, Sweden) . Marcello Palazzi, Progressio Foundation, Herman Mulder, former ABN-AMRO banker and initiator of the Equator Principles, and others will be available for coaching throughout the programme.

The response from all participating ‘pathfinders’ has been over overwhelmingly positive.  We are now in the process of reviewing the outcomes and planning follow through initiatives.  All will be sent a slide show that captures the experience.

A key activity that all completed was an invitation to bring along 5 personal objects that would be personal leadership artifacts which would provide an explanation of ‘who you are’ and ‘why you are’ in a leadership composition (this Still Life activity was inspired by the work of Elizabeth and Charles Handy, whom Sean worked with in Sweden in 2006 and 2007).

The following are some of the leadership compositions that were created during the programme. Each composition tells a unique story of the person and their pathways that have shaped who they are and what is important to them.  The composition itself, tells us about ‘how they are’, which is often a reflection of their personality in action (so often mapped out and described in traditional psychometric instruments).

img_1237 img_1190 img_1138 img_1124

(see: www.tallbergforum.org)