Developing a ‘Growth Mindset’

As the EFMD Global Network’s Executive Academy welcomes its third cohort and prepares for its first stop in Asia, Jordi Diaz and Ulrich Hommel reflect on the achievements and learning points after one year of operation 

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“The participation of our colleague has benefited the entire school, thanks to the new ideas and projects he has brought back from Miami. We are now implementing the capstone project he developed during the Academy.”

Paolo Boccardelli, Dean LUISS Business School, Italy, and Sponsor of Americas Participant

So far, 36 carefully selected participants with on average 20 years of professional experience can call themselves alumnus of the Executive Academy. As pioneers of this new offering, most of them probably entered the programme not sure what to expect but then returned to their home institution professionally elevated and intellectually enriched. They may have been attracted by the overall theme, “Leadership without Authority” but have come to realise that the opposite can be a professional reality within reach.

“There is a lot of brain power in any Executive Academy edition but when you connect this power with the heart and body, this is where real change happens.”

Mette Anthonson, Gothenburg University, Sweden, and European Stream Alumnus

To reference Carol Dweck’s concept of “Growth Mindset”, talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies and input from others. The Executive Academy is a handrail that helps participants move from an environment often dominated by a fixed mindset to one of growth in three critical areas: leading oneself; leading others; and leading the provision of degree programmes.

“Top-level teachers, strong focus on applied learning, team work experience and an individual project developed by each participant for their respective institution, all add up to a programme I would definitelyrecommend.”

Carlos Diaz, Dean of School of Business Administration of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile, and Sponsor of Americas Participant

The Executive Academy’s value proposition is reflected in the innovative design of the learning journey. Following an extensive preparatory phase, participants congregate for an intensive workshop week filled with curricular elements fostering personal and professional growth.

A 360° evaluation links preparatory work with the subsequent workshop week and leads directly into the first module of the face-to-face experience, “Leading Yourself”. This self-discovery experience lies at the core of enabling participants to become better leaders in their business schools and has been the most appreciated part of the overall experience.

“The remarkable thing about the Executive Academy was the consistent quality of the sessions. The material moved from personal leadership to organisational leadership before tackling substantive issues in post-secondary education. Every session had something I could take away and use back in my institution.”

Allen Goss, Ryerson University and Americas Stream Alumnus

When participants move on to “Leading Others”, they explore the pros and cons of different leadership approaches and link them, first to their own strengths (and weaknesses) and, second, to specific challenges that need to be dealt with. They explore strategies on how to generate broad stakeholder support in complex institutional settings.

Insights derived from the CCL Leader Network Diagnostic Tool as well as the CCL Change Style Indicator Questionnaire figure prominently in this context. Sponsoring deans consider this part of the programme most valuable.

“This has been a fantastic opportunity to think out of the box about the next challenges that my institution and I will face, as well as offering a chance to discuss them with an extraordinary group of my peers.”

Raffaele Oriani, LUISS Business School, Italy and Americas Stream Alumnus

The third module, “Managing Successful Programmes”, concludes the face-to-face week. Thought-provoking sessions encourage participants to learn more about disruptive innovation in management education, the changing needs of students, why internationalisation is much more than mixing passports or experience and how to manage stakeholder expectations better in an environment that appears increasingly in flux.

“The Executive Academy has provided me with lots of ideas on how to improve my own institution, such as raising the quality of our teaching and enhancing the global student experience.”

Hendrik Lohse, EM Normandie, France, and European Stream Alumnus

The Executive Academy is not a relaxed and stress-free experience; in fact, just the opposite. The before-during-after learning process ensures an immediate and tangible impact on both the participant as well as the sponsoring institution. It is not a conference nor a place where attendees can passively listen to best practices by well-established leaders and institutions.

“Having evolved since my participation in the Executive Academy to the Dean’s position, this training allowed me to better understand, from the moment I started my new mission, the various skills required from a technical and a human point of view.”

Samir Ayoub, ESSCA, France, and European Stream Alumnus

The Executive Academy requires pre-residential engagement, followed by total immersion and, when back at the workplace, reflections on one’s personal development plan combined with coaching plus completion of the capstone project that must deliver tangible value to a sponsoring school.

“The Executive Academy does not end when you say good-bye to your peers and instructors at the end of a fabulous week. Mentors and advisors help you to work out your ambitious project and develop yourself after the programme.”

Richard Szanto, Corvinus University, Hungary and European Stream Alumnus

Being admitted to the Executive Academy opens the door to a global community of like-minded peers. While participants focus initially on the programme itself, they will subsequently be given the opportunity to stay connected with their cohort and establish links to graduates from other editions as well.

“A benefit for my school by my attending the Executive Academy was for sure the networking – an opportunity to meet and interact with colleagues and experts from the field with different backgrounds and perspectives.”

Marta Pérez, IE Spain and European Stream Alumna

We can expect to see a more formalised engagement of alumni when staging future editions of the Executive Academy. This can range from co-decision rights in the Steering Committee to contributions as facilitators, coaches and project supervisors.

“The Executive Academy offers outstanding opportunities for developing management and leadership excellence in business schools by translating the best practice of the business community to academia and sharing management practice in business education.It creates an unparalleled platform for personal and professional development by training, networking and sharing experience among top business schools.”

Metka Tekavčič, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Sponsor of Europe/Americas Participant

The realisation of an ambitious voyage requires a journey of many steps, the next one being the first edition of the Asia Stream in April of this year. Hope to see you in Singapore.

Ulrich Hommel

Ulrich Hommel is Director of Business School Development, EFMD GN, as well as Director Quality Services, EFMD.

Latest posts by Ulrich Hommel (see all)

Jordi Díaz

Jordi Diaz is the Director of the Executive Academy and is also the Associate Dean of Programmes and International Relations at EADA Business School, Barcelona, Spain.

Latest posts by Jordi Díaz (see all)

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