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5 Ways to Train Executives

5 Ways to Train Executives

Do you have an executive training program?

Dan McCarthy | Great Leadership

May 14, 2010

4. Executive Team Development

One way for an executive team to work on the “soft stuff” that’s getting in the way of achieving better business results is to improve the way they work together as a team. To accomplish this, an external (or sometimes internal) team development consultant is often engaged. After an initial assessment, the consultant can guide a team through activities and discussions designed to address team behavioral issues identified by the assessment. Sometimes, a concentrated team development effort takes place as part of an off-site retreat.

I’m generally highly skeptical of this kind of activity – I’ve seen way too many of them maybe make the CEO happy, but make everyone else miserable (although they don’t usually admit it). However, in the hands of a highly skilled consultant, and with the right conditions, this kind of work can turn a business around and show dramatic results.

5. Scenario Planning

Like business war gaming, scenario planning is more of a strategy development process than executive education. However, both can be also be educational, in a sneaky kind of way. While there are many variations of scenario planning, they typically involve identifying all of the possible alternative futures around a specific strategy. The process helps executives challenge their assumptions around their industry and develop and test strategies under a variety of plausible futures. Executive teams can then examine those potential alternatives, and build robust contingency plans.

Well run scenario planning sessions can produce high levels of organizational learning and collaboration that wouldn’t normally take place in a traditional strategic planning process.

While these are five of the most common forms of executive education, I’m sure there are more. The best companies for leadership development understand that training does not stop after new employee orientation. Organizations need to be constantly looking for new and improved ways to train their current and future executives.

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