Top execs complete "Business mission on steroids"
After thousands of kilometres and a year's worth of exposure to new ideas and challenges, learning and reflection, a cohort of 23 senior executives have completed the Business School's inaugural Global Executive Leadership Programme.
Developed in collaboration with partners New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the ICEHOUSE and the Thunderbird School of Global Management, the programme aims to help New Zealand companies achieve sustained international growth by enhancing the capability of senior executives.
"One of the toughest challenges New Zealand companies face is building an international business from a far corner of the world with relatively small resources and across cultural divides. But doing so is incredibly important to the country's future," says the Business School’s director of executive development, Ivan Moss.
Likened by one participant to a "business mission on steroids", the demanding, experiential programme, which includes residential modules in New Zealand, China and the United States, has won praise from its first graduates.
"I thought I knew what a global mindset was. After experiencing the programme, it means a whole lot more," says the chair of Actronic Technologies, Keith Oliver.
Oliver likens the process to looking at the world from the moon and thinking about how all the pieces and opportunities fit together, then refreshing that global perspective daily.
"Just after we looked at cross-cultural relationships in the programme I spent several months leading the formulation of a strategy for merging companies located in Europe, North and South America and Asia. Working with shareholders, directors and chief executives in each jurisdiction and culture was a delight – the challenges and behaviours that were explored in the programme played out in front of me each day."
Andy Lewis, chief executive of New Zealand Pharmaceuticals, says the programme was outstanding for reinvigorating thought processes and for building a peer network. Surprisingly, it also had an immediate impact on his business.
"The module in China and one-on-one time with [Thunderbird's] Karen Walch changed my approach to negotiation. The outcome has been not only a growth in customer sales, but a collaborative relationship for a new product."
"It is vital that we have the right people with the right knowledge and expertise to help us compete on the world stage," says Peter Chrisp, the chair of programme partner New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
"Gaining exposure to different, global ways of thinking is one way to help our business leaders upskill and expand their mindset in areas needed to achieve that goal.
"The global business connections they make are an asset, while their exposure to international experts and markets gives participants the tools to continue their journey as international leaders."
Applications are now open for the 2013 programme. For more information on the programme and an online application form:
For participants' comments, watch videos (04:32) and (04:03).