2017 Award

Global Forum / Robert L. (Lex) Dilworth Award



GEORGE BOULDEN (United Kingdom)

GEORGE BOULDEN (United Kingdom)

George lives and breathes Action Learning – ever since he met Reg Revens, the action learning bug has caught his mindset. He has been looking at how to implement Action Learning in many contexts, in a way that would get the results in that specific context. And does he gets the results!

I met George on the internet in 2001. We where looking for an approach for our leaders in Roche Development to actually learn leadership hands-on, rather than through university education. We quickly found we could work together. After several months of preparation and internal selling, we launched our L2+ Peer Group Learning program in 2001, with in total 250 people invited, and more than 100 actively participating and reporting on their results. The program participants where enthusiastic (some of their bosses were not, with all that empowerment, and stopped their people to participate). When I occasionally still meet participants years later, they remember and tell me that it was the best program they were ever on. One of the faciliators of that time, Zeljka, actually proposed an Action Learning Program to her organization in Basel last week as part of her adult university education. If that is not tribute, what would be?
In my view, this was and is for a large part due to George’s unrelenting enthusiam and belief in the development potential of people, and how to achieve growth with action learning, which I am sure he will take to his grave one day in the far future. One of the many of George’s strenghts is combining strong brain horsepower with taking action immediately, once he gets the challenge at hand. Even before we get a chance to finish a conversation, he is already scribbling a pro forma to get us started. In front of groups or individuals, George exudes his beliefs in an infectuous enthusiasm that is riddled with reality and practical examples that you cannot but be convinced that he is right.
I am so happy and glad that our paths have crossed George, and you are my best friend. I hope that we may be enjoying many more years along our life’s journey, gently and insistently bringing forward the mission of action learning. If anyone deserves this award, for me, it is you!

Great facilitator at stimulating grounded innovation by staff in revising processes at the heart of local productivity. Extremely capable program designer for empowering sustainable change through widespread involvement of human resources. And a charming member of any team;-)

I could not be more delighted that George is receiving this well-deserved recognition. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with George for close to 40 years, and in places as far apart as Scotland and South Africa. Apart from his unfailing good humour and boundless energy, which make him so easy to work with, the things which set George apart are his creativity, his adaptability, and his ability to translate his knowledge and experience into practical and value-added solutions for his clients. I’ve worked with him in widely divergent arenas, ranging from groups of scientists, technologists and senior executives at one extreme, to totally uneducated, unsophisticated and inexperienced factory operators at another, and he’s always been able to translate and impart his thoughts, ideas and solutions in ways which are acceptable and effective, no matter the audience. He is uniquely deserving of this award-I just wish I could be there to see it!

I first met George in the then Czechoslovakia in December 1989. The dust has not settled yet after the Wall fell down and here he was ready to provide guidance, share experience and offer help. With our group that also practiced Action Learning without knowing it, pretty much like Moliere’s character Monsieur Jourdain was not aware of speaking prose all his life, George was on the same page with us from Day One. That doesn’t mean that we had nothing to learn from him. With his long experience dating back to the days of Reg Revans, he had a lot to share.

Since then we’ve done some good work in areas as different as airline baggage handling, nascent mobile phone company, an Austrian bank trying to launch their business in an emerging market, and many others. His broad knowledge and rock solid professional background also allowed him to get involved in academia: we taught Executive Leadership class for an US accredited MBA program. George excels in connecting people, have them speak up, and in unleashing their creativity.

Action learning at its best.

IAN HALL (United Kingdom)

IAN HALL (United Kingdom)

I’d known Ian Hall for several years prior to my joining his Masters Programme at Salford University in the early nineteen nineties. I was Cheshire County Council’s Training Manager at the time but was tentatively contemplating setting up my own consultancy. I was at a crossroads, and unsure about the future. As with so many naturally talented people, Ian has a light touch. It was his “rich” questioning that helped clarify my thinking, paving the way for the new business. I learnt that the truest indicator of the presence of real freedom is still the agony of personal choice; and Ian has been there for me and so many others ever since. He has championed my work and allowed me to access his amazing network of likeminded people. He taught me that independence is the rarest of life’s commodities by making the fullest use of the ration he was accorded. He has refused a life of mere observation. He was always blissfully inquisitive; a professional eavesdropper. A train journey was the perfect opportunity to entertain and befriend a captive audience.
Ian has an authentic warmth and elegance of spirit. He is irrevocably betrothed to laughter, that would shower the assembly like water from a hose. He tells the truth, simply and unaffectedly, and is entirely loyal purely because he could not conceive of not being so.
However, we are here today to recognise Ian’s outstanding talents as a skilled practitioner and champion of Action Learning. It was this forthright and winning man who first contaminated me with the happy virus of enthusiasm for Action Learning. It is so easy to give, if there is someone willing to take; it is so easy to take, when there is someone with so much to give.
He came to my rescue at a turning point during that exhausting, terrifying and magnificent journey of self-discovery we call life. And for that, I’m endlessly grateful.

I will never forget my first meeting with Ian. Manchester, early evening, I was already tired; too tired to realise that this meeting would influence the rest of my life.

It was 1995, I was embarking upon the two year MSc in Management Development, for which Ian was the Programme Director. My fellow students were a mix of Senior figures in the Private and Public Sectors, and some high earning, self employed consultants.

We were an impatient, hyper-active and over competitive group. Movie buffs might have described us as a fearsome mixture of the Expendables and the Wild Bunch. I was one of the worst, more of a ‘Despicable Me’ character. Action Learning didn’t mean much to me. My thinking was dominated by the letters M, S and C and by calculating fee increases.

Into this maelstrom came a gentle, blue eyed Hobbit. He seemed unarmed. We hadn’t realised that actually Ian had super powers; like one of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ian’s super powers came from his belief in, and his expertise in Action Learning. Thus began our journey. Two AL filled years later it ended, not in Mordor, but in Graduation.

During that time Ian demonstrated the most skillful Consultancy skills. He communicated expertly, he listened patiently, his little nudges were delivered with precision timing. But we expected that. We were paying handsomely for it. What I admired most about Ian’s practice of Action Learning are things, which I still today, admire most about the man.

Risk taking - Ian risked unleashing a ferocious power - my / our determined commitment
Courage - Ian had the courage to let us run - even in unpredictable or undesirable ways
Trust - Ian demonstrated huge trust in us to battle our way back to terra firma
Love - My first working location was Belfast and my last was Baghdad. I don’t often use this word in a working context. I am not sure if I ever have used it. However, those of us who have been fortunate enough to have experienced Ian Hall’s professional expertise, will also, I believe, have experienced his warmth, his gentleness, his strength, his Love.

When I heard about the Lex Dilworth Award, naturally I researched Lex Dilworth. He seems like he was a wonderful person, a General, a Leader, someone who cared so much about others. Ian Hall is a similar breed. Ian’s work has, through his Clients and his Students, like me, influenced thousands of individuals in many countries. In my own case, in around thirty countries. All of us, me most especially, owe Ian a debt of gratitude.

May I take this opportunity to thank you Ian, for so very much. Finally, may I add that I am proud to have known Ian Hall, happy to call him ‘friend’, proud to have worked with him, fortunate to have learned from him, and delighted that he is being recognised in this way. I am certain that Ian is a worthy Lex Dilworth Award recipient.

During my role as Business Development Manager within the finance industry, a flyer landed on my desk inviting me to consider a post graduate qualification through Salford University. As I was about to put it in the bin, I recognised a familiar face from the recent Masterclasses I had been attending.
During the centralising of the New Business administration in our Edinburgh Head Office and the introduction of an award winning Life Assurance product, I had been seeking learning and growth for myself to help me manage the change and the Masterclasses had been invaluable.
Following the success of the project, our organisation was now up for sale, leaving me with a whole new dilema.
My initial thoughts were, Me? University? Really? Could I? My job description said “Likely to be degree qualified “however I had been no-where near a university! Somewhere between my doubts came a small thought that perhaps, maybe I could so I picked up the phone to Ian. I wasn’t even sure what a postgrad was – and I was very aware I didn’t already have a ‘grad’ to ‘post’ and we arranged an interview.
We met and with my corporate background, I was all ready with my evidence, my experience and my eagerness to show him how great I really was. Ian listened, nodded, smiled and agreed. The words that I remember him saying were. “You have it all; you are really just looking for the evidence, really an insurance policy for yourself.” Yes, perhaps I am” I’m not sure what happened, but I ended up in the Msc group – studying for a Masters in People and Organisational Development
I have always seen Ian as a very gentle man, quite quiet and very humble. His ability to put people at ease is evidenced by our strong learning set that he built with Sarah, Glyn, Chris and I. Ian believed in his students and there were tough times too, he made us step up to our challenges and put us through our paces when necessary I didn’t always like it, in fact I never liked it, he pressed my buttons, I cried, I wrote, I rewrote, I briefly thought of giving up – but I knew I couldn’t let my team down, we were all in this together.
We have often laughed since about that interview, when I thought I was going into university knowing it all, when in actual fact I came out thinking I knew nothing at all, a very humbling experience that I am so grateful for. I thought I was quite an independent girl; you helped me change my life Ian, believe in myself and go share my talents with the world.
Thank you so much for it all Ian, I was so pleased to hear of your award, I hope you have a wonderful time.



I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Grazyna shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall while Yury and I were putting together an action learning program for General Electric. It was an unforgettable experience on both a personal and professional level. To walk the streets of Warsaw with a person so profoundly proud of her country, and so knowledgeable about its history, culture, and business environment was mind stretching and thought provoking. Grazyna put together a remarkable educational experience for our GE executives that gave them a unique insight into the issues facing Poland as it emerged from the communist era. People who could not find Poland on a map before the experience became advocates for Poland within the organization when we returned to the US. Not only that, but they gained a greater appreciation for the artistic contributions of Polish luminaries in art and music. For me personally, to visit the site of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was particularly meaningful. As well, as a student of the American revolution, it was an honor to visit the homeland of two Polish heroes that helped shape the Continental Army—Casimir Pulaski and Thaddeus Kosciusko.
I urge you all to take advantage of Grazyna’s great love for, and understanding of her wonderful country.

You have been and you still is the finest professor I ever had during my studies in Wroclaw University of Technology, Wroclaw Economic University, and the Warsaw School of Economics. Thanks to you strategic management became my passion what resulted in changing my focus from computer manufacturing industry to private equity business. From the time perspective I think it was the right choice.

I know Prof. Grazyna Lebkowska for more than 20 years now. I must admit she is one of the most competent academic in Warsaw and very effective business consultant. Grazyna was Executive MBA studies Director at Warsaw School of Economics when I attended the program 1997-1999. She was a fantastic teacher and mentor to let me understand the business processes and tools which helped me to build and develop my corporate and business career.
I value her high ethical and communication standards and have a great pleasure to participate in various events organized in Poland which promote executive education solutions in the modern way.

DANICA PURG (Slovenia)

DANICA PURG (Slovenia)

“I have known and worked closely with Danica Purg since my first visit to Slovenia in 1988. I was then Dean of IMEDE (now IMD).

IEDC Bled IS Danica. It exists as it does today mainly because of her vision and will to create something unique and of indisputable high quality in the transformational years in CEE following 1989, and to provide the executive education that was needed in Slovenia and the entire CEE region. But never content with this success she has taken the School progressively much further - internationally with upwards of 70% of participants coming from emerging and developed markets literally worldwide. She is widely regarded as a global leader in innovating at the interface of the arts and leadership. Her brilliant recent publication in the Academy of Management Journal testifies to leadership in this field better than words I could write here.

CEEMAN is an equally incredible achievement. Starting with a small handful of management schools almost immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, CEEMAN now counts more than 200 member institutions and has become THE association of management schools not just for CEE but increasingly for emerging markets globally.

Danica combines the personal attributes of what distinguishes great leaders, with vision, purpose, and exemplary values and sense of aesthetics on one hand, and an extraordinary capacity to get things done by mobilizing others to follow and perform miracles on the other. Receiving the Robert L Dilworth Award for Outstanding Achievement is both a tribute to her personally and a sign and example to others about what can be achieved by a person who never loses sight of excellence.”

I wish to offer my strongest support for Professor Dr. Danica Purg, the President and Dean of the IEDC, Bled School of Management, who fully deserves the 2017 Global Forum/Robert L. Dilworth Award. No one is more deserving than Dr. Purg. Among the many reasons I could list based on her extraordinary record of achievement, there are five main reasons why I strongly believe that Danica deserves the highest level of recognition. First is the pioneering work she has done founding management education in Slovenia. Second is the important contribution she has made by founding and extending the Central and Eastern European Management Development Association (CEEMAN). Third is recognition of her never ending desire and ability to support others, with the result being that she is a role model par excellence for deans, faculty members, and managers throughout the region and increasingly worldwide. Fourth are her innovations in how management and management education are conceptualized, designed, and delivered. Fifth is her contribution to having the world recognize the powerful role that management education plays in the functioning of civil society, as exemplified by the President of the Republic of Slovenia awarding her the “Honorary Order of Freedom.”

Nomen est omen and Danica in Slovene means morning star. She is one of the brightest starts in the sky and in contemporary leadership. Globally.

For more than 30 years she has been developing leadership concepts and competences.

Her vivid and conquering spirit drives her to innovate paradigms; and her entrepreneurial talent turns this into a success.

Danica would have not succeeded without her talents and competences and her passion for leadership. Her horizons are wide and reach far into the future. Many leaders par-excellence have made their way to her school and to her many networks, also thanks to her perseverance and charisma.

She is energetic and passionate: when she sets herself a goal, there is no force that can prevent her to reach it.

We have known each other for more than 20 years. I am still fascinated and enthusiastic about her and I still like to be part of her story.

With her innovative and interdisciplinary approach, she has changed the paradigms of management in the CEE and beyond and has introduced ethical and creative leadership as response to sustainable society. In Bled, she has created an “epicenter” of excellent education, an incubator of management development and a meeting place of world-renown thinkers.


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