A large proportion of the 66 programmes delivered by the CBS have been in the private sector in large multinationals such as Shell, Cummins, Singapore Telecom and British Aerospace and smaller ones such as Costain, Wates and Goddards (Barbados). All these activities have been leadership and organisation development programmes focusing on improving the implementation of the client's business strategy, the operational performance of the client organisation and the leadership competence of the participants. Many of these CUSTOMISED IN-COMPANY programmes have led to diploma and MBA qualifications and developing state of the art materials in all aspects of the client's business.
Action learning programmes have achieved breakthroughs in improving organisational and individual performance. This is achieved through project-driven, workplace learning techniques, where the job is the laboratory of learning NOT the classroom and where learning comes from 'engagement', from taking action in solving real business problems and reflecting on the experiences achieved and then taking remedial action. This is not to discount the classroom, where customised new knowledge about the client's and international business are delivered by individuals who have worked in the client's industry. The primary aim is to get participants to transfer the knowledge to the workplace and thereby contribute to improving processes and individual managerial behaviour.
Our programmes aim to create a critical mass of leaders who will drive the business strategy down into all the operational levels of the organisation and ensure staff focus on delivering excellent products/services to their internal and external customers. The key factor in doing this successfully has been the faculty's ability to work in close partnership with our clients, to understand their business issues, the national cultures in which they operate and what managers at all levels need to do to be successful. Armed with this understanding, faculty then use their experience in crafting programmes with design characteristics which facilitate the development of leadership skills which are used to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation during and after the action learning programmes
Replace conventional training with action learning programmes which feature learning and doing simultaneously, where leadership of high performing teams is a priority and where individuals take personal responsibility for improving their own performance and that of their departments and projects.
There is considerable confusion over how leaders are developed. We do not subscribe to the view that leaders are born or the myth that leadership can be taught in a classroom via a 'leadership toolkit', presented in programmes lasting for a few days or so. However, leadership can be LEARNT within a single organisational context designed to create challenges which force people out of their comfort zones into an environment where individuals are prepared to learn from their mistakes and successes and their colleagues and where their behaviour and predispositions are challenged.
How do we create a critical mass of individuals able and willing to lead a sustainable change programme, to learn from their experiences and introduce measurable improvements in organisational effectiveness and efficiency and individual competence, commitment and courage?
An example of our programmes at this level is the in-company MBA programme we did with the executive committee of a Caribbean hotel chain which led to a significant improvement in customer satisfaction, operational performance and the acquisition of two other hotels. This 2-year, part-time, customised programme was made up of 12 one-week modules designed around 4 central elements of workshops tailored to the international hospitality industry delivered by specialists in the hospitality sector; group projects on implementing the new business strategy defined as part of the programme; individual projects on improving departmental performance and personal development plans.
Another example is the two programmes we did for Shell UK which won a UK National Training Award. Senior managers of Shell UK claimed over £1m contribution to the bottom line was made as a result of improvements proposed and implemented by participants. As a result of this success the programme was taken to Shell Brunei, where faculty of the School ran 3 programmes over a 4-year period. Here it developed the leadership competencies of local managers, whose management style had not been assertive enough prior to their involvement on the programme.
This is an alliance between the CBS and organisations in the private sector of countries whose economies have, or are in the process of emerging, into the global economy. The School has created through its 66 programmes a CRITICAL MASS of leaders able to deliver a 'renaissance' in performance in their organisations. This success has to be built on by focusing on in-company and consortia, senior manager action learning accredited programmes WITHIN specific countries.
Action learning programmes create a critical mass of leaders able to deliver a renaissance in performance
The renaissance was a time of radical change, creativity and insight. Today's globalisation of markets and technologies requires similar responses from individuals and organisations with an emphasis on innovative leadership and the creation of organisational excellence. Our aim is to get several organisations in specific countries to join together in consortia programmes to develop themselves and their managers and to cascade a renaissance in their companies and their economies via our action learning approach. This initiative could involve large international companies operating in the country to lead this initiative which could be linked to the cascade of National Development Plans.
Our Action Learning programmes are leadership development programmes
Leadership throughout the world is in a state of crisis. Not only are many leaders failing to deliver on their promises, but there is a lack of understanding of what leadership is, of what leaders should DO, what competencies and characteristics they should possess and how these competences can be developed. These questions can best be answered through action learning, IN-COMPANY programmes aimed at achieving observable performance improvements by bringing energy and innovation to intractable development issues, driving change throughout companies and putting business at the heart of sustainable development. These in-company programmes can lead to developing particular sectors such as tourism or construction in an emerging market through a 'leadership alliance' approach.
We continually see failed efforts to change organisational performance not by efforts to involve people in learning what went wrong but by replacing the failed 'technique' or the leaders with others who repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
If you don't learn from your mistakes, you will be doomed to repeat them.
An example of this focus on several companies and how this grew out of a single in-company programme is the work we did in the Caribbean Island of Barbados. We did two programmes with the Island's leading companies which led to a partnership with the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and several action learning programmes with their members. This partnership was reinforced by the support of the Minister of Tourism. Ideally this approach can contribute to developing the private sector as the engine of growth and job creation in the country.