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Panacea to leadership challenges

I happen to be one of the few lucky ones to have attended the launch of Duke University’s corporate education programme and was particularly excited by their Global Executive Development Programme.

Robert Mandeya

Duke University is an American institute specialising in leadership and management programmes which are tailor-made to suit the different needs and challenges of corporate clientele in the various countries where they operate.

Currently, they are in 70 countries worldwide and Zimbabwe could be their 71st destination. Duke’s Faqua School of Business has established itself as one the leading business schools in the world and was ranked number one full time MBA programme by Business Week in November 2014.

Apparently, Duke also has a strategic relationship with the London School of Economics (LSE) which is a commercial subsidiary of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Again LSE also has a global reputation for excellence spanning economics, international relations, trade, government and law, information systems and accounting and finance.

Now back to the Global Executive Development Programme. This programme is designed to develop a globally competitive senior business executive who can lead collaboratively and innovatively in today’s rapidly changing environment. What I found appropriate for those in leadership is the programme’s thrust to stimulate senior executive’s mindset by expanding their horizon and shifting their global perspective in doing business.

In doing this, the programme provides a toolset which provides practicalities that bridge concept to application as well as include a skill set meant to build skills to address the key challenges as senior leaders.

Therefore, the approach is anchored on four thematic dimensions namely; leading self, leading others, leading the enterprise and leading in context, providing that dynamism required in corporate leadership.

What I found intriguing about this programme is the business approach to learning which does not take the participant out of his context. Rather, the learning is customised to suit the participant’s actual business environment and context while at the same time linking the learner with the broader global business arena to produce that uniquely responsive business executive who can stir his business to great success even in the highly volatile business environment. The programme in a unique way links learning and value to business.

Seeing opportunity with fresh eyes

In the process of learning, the programme helps executives to understand and be grounded in the trends that are driving significant changes in trade flows and value creation while at the same time capturing and delivering significant business value across the globe. Besides, the learning also enables the business executive to recognise the patterns in local and global business trends and to also identify opportunities for leveraging to drive growth in emerging markets. It gives the business leader that agility to run the business at local and global level.

High-leverage opportunities

The programme does not only give the business executive agility in doing business but also helps him/her to understand the systemic interactions between governments, enterprises and societies.

In other words, it helps the business executive to understand and appreciate the external stakeholders pertinent to the operation of business — the social, economic and political context that affect business and be able to navigate smoothly by leveraging on the opportunities presented by these while at the same time creating value by capturing on the advantages thereof, ultimately delivering on the desired business results.

Sensitivity to such factors would actually make the business executive to rise above the challenges that might be presented by such exigencies to post positive results on the business front.

Emphasis on emerging markets

The programme is also premised on the belief that the global socio-political and macro-economy is undergoing seismic shifts and as such the programme is designed to reflect the changing world order — whether it be social change and innovation or high-speed economic growth in emerging markets around the world.

This global business volatility certainly requires versatility in business leadership in order to cope and drive business to success. There is a compelling need for alertness in doing business currently and what better way to improve leadership alertness than be involved in the global executive development programme.

Work-friendly format

The programme brings with it a unique format which includes four sessions namely:

Leading cross-functional excellence;-Future and global trends and strategic challenges covering issues such as globalisation, economic integration in Africa, competitive strategy-New games, new rules working in these markets.

Leading the enterprise: Innovation and client centricity in emerging markets which touches on issues like; Expanding your capabilities for identifying and capitalising on growth opportunities, creating business for tomorrow through winning customer value propositions and value delivery systems, driving innovation and growth through non traditional strategic approach to client centricity.

Other issues include operational excellence and collaboration for success, access to the “innovation ecosystem” through company visits, executive panels and a tour of innovation labs on cutting edge innovation trends.

Collaborative leadership: Leadership agility and leading change; which focuses on: authentic leadership, strategic decision making, leadership agility and influencing change. Other focus areas involve collaboration, negotiation and building relationships, managing high performance teams and talent.

Global Exchange Day: “Pulling it together,” this is the last of the sessions and it involves presentation of action learning projects.

Benefits of the programme

This will certainly create leaders who can effectively lead in context by leading the enterprise, others and self in the implementation of change.

Robert Mandeya is a senior executive training consultant and communication in management advisor, a personal coach in leadership and professional development with the Institute of Leadership Research and Development. Contact him on mandeyarobert@yahoo.com, mandeyarobert@gmail.com.

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