How can senior leaders guide their organisations to sustainable growth?

If three words had to define today’s global business landscape, disruption, volatility and hyper-competition would surely be top contenders. The rules are constantly changing in industries worldwide, shaped by the forces of technological innovation, geopolitical shifts and evolving labour markets.

Against this backdrop of complexity, how can senior leaders better navigate or even capitalise on the reigning uncertainty? What strategies will advance their organisation’s trajectory to long-term sustainable growth? While the answers to these questions will vary widely from sector to sector, one thing is certain – a “business-as-usual” approach no longer suffices.

“Markets are in a constant state of flux and disruption, so it’s no longer safe for global executives to assume that the successful strategies of yesterday will yield the same stellar results tomorrow,” explains Ahmad Rahnema, academic director of IESE Business School’s Advanced Management Program (AMP).

“To sustain competitive advantage and set their company’s direction for the future, senior managers must become more agile and adept at adapting to change.”

While the “what” may sound easy enough, the real challenge resides in the “how”. For senior managers, particularly those with years of experience in the same sector or organisation, the ability to shift gears, identify viable opportunities and drive the requisite organisational change frequently requires taking a step back from their day-to-day commitments.

By adding some much-needed distance, they are able to broaden their perspectives, challenge “group-think” behaviours and reconsider long-held beliefs that may be hindering their ability to lead.

The capacity to integrate and align diverse viewpoints often entails finding a space to gain clarity and reconsider our preconceptions

Yolanda Serra, managing director of IESE’s International Open Programs, observes: “Today, the best market solutions often emerge from a multidisciplinary, cross-functional and diverse pool of talent. The capacity to integrate and align diverse viewpoints often entails finding a space to gain clarity and reconsider our preconceptions.”

In this regard, executive education offerings such as IESE’s Advanced Management Program provide an ideal forum to accelerate this type of professional and personal enrichment. With a general management approach, the programme is specifically designed for C-level executives responsible for global operations.

Ms Serra adds: “The AMP targets top-level executives – general managers, company owners, country managers and senior directors – who aspire to break new ground and take their success to a higher level. They aim to leverage their years of experience and write the next chapter, looking ahead at the next ten to fifteen years of their careers.”

AMP cohorts offer a rich platform for peer-to-peer learning and networking by integrating a diversity of participant profiles, sectors and cultures. In previous editions, participants represented 15 sectors and 21 nationalities, and brought an average of 18 years of managerial experience to the classroom. While IESE professors guide the academic journey, their role largely involves harnessing the collective expertise of AMP participants.

In addition to a global outlook and a desire to push their limits, AMP participants share another commonality – a demanding timetable. To accommodate challenging executive schedules, the programme encompasses four residential modules delivered over a six-month span. This flexible format has the dual benefit of limiting time away from the office and allowing participants to apply actionable insights immediately between modules.

As one former participant observed: “The modular format is really what makes the programme work. The chance to leave our obligations behind for a short time and concentrate on learning something new is what generates such an incredible impact in such a short timeframe.”

IESE’s Barcelona campus will welcome the next intake of the Advanced Management Program in March 2018