Becoming a Better Leader
At the start of June, Stephen Mitchell and I experienced traveling again and went to Harvard Business School to complete an Executive Education course.
In the modern workforce, upskilling and adapting has become a necessity; those leaders who think they have nothing to learn end up stagnating and falling behind, and their businesses suffer for it. Just look at the last 2 years, and the subsequent return to offices. Those businesses unable to adapt are no longer here, and those unwilling to change and adapt in the subsequent return to offices have found themselves victims of the “Great Resignation”.
Stephen has already completed a few of Harvard’s short courses, but this was my first, so I was super excited to get stuck in to our course, Strategy: Building and Sustaining Competitive Advantage, lead by Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee, the Professor of Business Administration in the Strategy Unit. He has taught the MBA program at both Harvard and Wharton and has won numerous awards for his work in both courses, and has helped to shape some of the world’s greatest leaders.
The course itself was exactly what you’d expect from an institution with Harvard’s reputation. It was both challenging and insightful, and it forced us to look at our businesses through fresh eyes. It was also a great opportunity to meet other business leaders from around the world and from a diverse range of industries, allowing us think outside the usual constraints of just our industry and geographic market.
The course permitted us to read, examine and tackle issues from companies like Apple, Zoom, Google, Deloitte, Colgate, and others.
I can certainly say it was an eye-opening experience and has definitely given me a new perspective on the modern workplace. To think how much it has changed, even in just the last decade, is crazy. Culture is everything, it’s no longer enough to just be the biggest or the best in your field to attract and retain talent. The ability to work remotely globally while staying local has meant that talent no longer competing for businesses, businesses now have to compete to hire and keep talent.
It’s much the same for customers. Globalisation has created a historically unprecedented level of consumer competition where not just winning but retaining customers has been more important than ever. Making sure that company values are not just words in some corporate brand guide somewhere, but are lived every day, through every team member and every interaction with consumers will not only set a consistent standard to maintain but will also boost morale and improve the customer experience. And it’s important that it’s rewarded, both in incentivization to employee but also operationally within the business. Your people are your most important resource, and any investment you make in them will be returned tenfold.
Thank you to Stephen Mitchell for the support, trust and friendship. I have come back inspired, fully focused on creating value and ready for the upcoming learning experiences.