Health Benefits Company - Shelf life: opportunity, not program
A client in a mature service business requested a customized executive education program for its middle managers. Needs analysis and assessment identified sets of development needs centered around general management professional competencies. A ten day campus based program consisting of two five day sessions divided by a two month intersession was designed with customer executives. The first week dealt broadly with planning and organizing, and the second with leading and controlling.
Each year the content of the program was refreshed based upon detailed and careful evaluations carried out for the client by an outside entity. By keeping it current, the shelf life of the program was prolonged and flourished.
The company continually grew its core business while pursuing opportunities in Asia, meanwhile, the industry of which it was part evolved in significant ways. Human Resources, sensing opportunity decided to move this executive education initiative beyond its current mandate. Given the evolution of their industry, it was decided that a new key priority was to develop their leaders and associates as agents of cultural change in the way that the company was and where it needed to go. The journey was the destination, transformation the game plan. A key tactic was perceived to be in encouraging participants to develop a personal business plan, a living document for them as change agents in their "business of one". They were and are the brand.
Strategy, leadership, marketing and positioning are key pieces, experiential and action learning projects essential parts of a journey. The challenge will be to help change the company from a traditional thinking, inside out, selling one size fits all culture to a consumer centric, outside in, customization, marketing culture. A culture in which customer centric implies innovation, risk and collaboration. Key program metrics lie in significant equity value changes in company brand associations.
The new executive change program will be built around three modules, each module three days in length, one month apart. Participants will work in project teams that cut across the organization, face to face (f2f) on the program, virtual teams (vt) working across space and time via wireless technology during the program inter-sessions. Corporate change initiatives will be assigned on the first day of the program, and they report back, with their recommendations, one month after the program has finished. They will be involved in the execution of what they propose, building new capabilities for their company and themselves as the go. Transformation is the job of executive education. It's the Kelley way.