As a member of senior management, it is likely that the responsibility lies with you whether you will make the difference between a constructive sense of urgency that enables your team and the organisation to learn and acquire new characteristics, and a feeling of total loss and paralysis that makes a positive vision, confident strategising, and active experimentation impossible.
If you need some inspiration and insight then, today is the day that you need to make the decision to enable change to happen, by taking part in the Executive Programme for Innovation and Change (EPIC).
EPIC will help you take charge in a rapidly changing environment and address the adaptive challenges you face as a leader. The aim of EPIC is to generate intense debate, provide useful concepts, actionable insights and helpful tools for strategic leadership and innovation, and to progressively elaborate on the individual leadership and development implications.
EPIC is a five-day programme, taking place on 6-10 July at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, will challenge you to think differently. Here’s what the week looks like:
Today is about broadening the horizon, and about critically examining the strategic context of the magazine industry. You will explore the key trends that shape the 21st century across disciplines – from changes in demography, economic development and technology, to the opportunities and risks that we see, to the increasing fragility of the financial system – and drive a discussion about what this means for you. Building on this, you will discuss and learn using case studies from industry leaders to scrutinise the implications for defining strategy and your own leadership agenda.
On the second day, you will turn insights into strategic propositions. Conventional wisdom holds that successful firms opt for a single, clearly defined strategy. It’s either going for uniqueness, focusing on intense efficiency, or selecting a market niche. Together with Oxford faculty, we will argue that it is possible to balance strategic features that are normally considered contradictory or distinct, such as ground-breaking innovation and quality, as well as highly competitive cost. The aim will be to bring this strategy back to your immediate business environment.
On day three, you will be given the tools for leading strategic innovation. Innovation takes place in a social ecosystem. It is the result of teamwork, not of lone genius. We will shift the focus from the obvious – aiming for breakthrough new products – to driving innovation across the organisation. We will explain how to work with an innovation process without stifling flexibility. As a leader, one of the key expectations will be to provide a steadying hand during the process of synthesis – and to stand your ground when it comes to experimenting in the market, accepting failure, and maintaining critical oversight of the innovation portfolio.
The fourth day is exclusively dedicated to you as a leader. You will develop an even better understanding of yourself, your behavioural preferences, how you interact with the world around you and relate to others, and the way you tend to respond to challenges and opportunities. You will appreciate the unique personal characteristics of yourself as a leader; reflect on how you might build on your strengths, and how you can identify areas in which specific techniques can help you become even more effective. A key insight will be that building a diverse team around you will make you more versatile as a leader.
The final day of this transformational experience will focus on implementing change and the resilience and persistence that is required to achieve lasting success.
This day will equip you with the tools to shape adaptive change and to shape complex transformations for which mere expert knowledge is insufficient. Adaptive challenges differ fundamentally from technical challenges. They require the collective intelligence of all involved. They cannot – and should not – be expected to be solved only by you as a single individual. They require the commitment of your followers as well as you as a leader. They are fuzzy, difficult to pinpoint, and their definition changes constantly. Sharing responsibility for the solution of this challenge will be essential.
Before returning to your workplace, we will equip you with the mindset and skills to frame and address your personal adaptive challenge, and to create a culture in which ‘positive deviance’ is explicitly welcomed and new talent can be attracted and integrated to facilitate the strategic renewal of organisations, without risking conflict of a destructive nature.
The course would not be complete without you enjoying dinner at a traditional Oxford college and other experiences that are unique to Oxford.
Make a difference, make a change and make the decision to join EPIC today.
If you have any questions contact Christine Huntingford.