While executive education has been a fad for Indian firms, the recent economic slowdown has led many to look at it far more seriously.
In a growth market, firms focus on achieving scale and market share. Consequently, managers tend to neglect learning and development programs. But that is not the case in a recession, which is why India Inc is currently laying emphasis on executive education. This is a good time to invest in building a new level of management to rejuvenate and re-grow the organizational leadership base.
Playing a Pivotal Role:
Professional knowledge and pedigree has now become the key differentiating factor. Firms need to get through this phase of slowdown without adding to the headcount to curtail costs. This is where executive education plays a pivotal role. If you freeze or cut your manpower, you need to develop the available talent to keep the competitive edge.
Also since most firms are not growing in volume due to the overall gloom, employees do not have work overload. Thus, they have more time in hand for education. Executive education is along term investment that individuals and their employers make to enhance their future value. But unfortunately, in most cases, they expect immediate return on this investment in the form of higher remuneration, position or role.
During the high growth phase in the economy, most individuals get hefty returns without much investment on self development. In fact, the time and investment required for this was considered unnecessary as it kept the away from work.
The current slowdown has separated the men from the boys as firms are evaluating how well educated their managers are in their professionals. Professional knowledge and pedigree has now become the key differentiating factor.
Taking a cue from this, some firms are sending their employees on forced study leave while few others are introducing and conducting courses internally. Perot systems which runs its own in house training academy called the Perot Academy is one such example. It provides training to hundreds of lower to mid level executives. We have introduced several new courses and also rolled out an attractive higher education policy to support ongoing learning of our associates.
Angel Broking is another firm which has internal programs for executive education. They offer specialized Management Development Programs (MDPs) and Leadership Development Programs (LDPs) focused on Stock Broking and Financial Services Business.
Some firms are following the policy of ‘Training the trainer’ to maximize knowledge sharing. Then there are few firms which are also inviting academicians to their offices.
Whatever be the means and method of educating executives, firms across the board are becoming proactive. And what are the kinds of courses that most executives are seeking in the present market scenario? Leadership programs with a high focus on adaptability and innovation as well as change management programs.
Clearly, the fact that knowledge is the best weapon to sail through has dawned upon India Inc. And to achieve the same, they are resorting to various smart methods, executive education being one of those.
Taking the case of Larsen & Toubro Ltd., even way back in 1970s they have a systematic Training program procedures both in house and outside institutes for all their executives. The bosses right from office level to General manager level have to incorporate the training imparted to their subordinates through these programs in their KRAs and proposed training required had to be specifically mentioned in the Performance Appraisal format of their subordinates. Therefore irrespective of recession or work load this executive training must be a part and parcel of an organization for individual development and in turn organizational growth. —