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Strategic thinking and acting for executives

Strategic knowledge is a basic requirement in general management and is one of the most essential skills of a successful manager. Basic content on strategy development and execution is therefore already taught during the course of study.

The fact that education does not end with a successful degree has been evident for some time in the development of the continuing education market, in which lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important. This is also confirmed by Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Managing Director WHU Executive Education: "Even the Corona crisis was only able to slow down the demand for high-quality continuing education formats for a short time. Especially now, with falling infection figures, we are noticing an increased demand for interactive face-to-face formats that focus on the personal exchange of participants. After months of managers and executives having to act and lead from their desks at home, they want now more than ever a direct, personal exchange to learn from each other."

Due to the high relevance of the content and demand, WHU has developed a new continuing education program for experienced managers that employs experiments, role playing (derived from war gaming) and AI-supported computer simulations to teach strategic thinking, decision-making and action: the "Strategic Decision-Making Program." The program thus adds another strategy format to the portfolio of Executive Education programs at WHU, alongside the already firmly established “Strategy Essentials Program”. "In this way, we can offer participants a continuing education opportunity at every stage of their professional lives," says Rebecca Winkelmann.

The three-day intensive program is designed as an on-site "training camp" so that participants are challenged as strategists and a direct transfer to their own everyday work is encouraged. A digital learning platform serves as program preparation and introduction to the Business Simulation Game used during the program. In the fall of 2021 (October 20th – 22nd), the first program will take place at the modern WHU Campus Düsseldorf. As with all executive education formats at WHU, in addition to the program content and varied didactic methods, the focus is particularly on networking elements, which are intended to initiate networking among participants after the program.

For more information, please visit the program website.

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New online program “Leading beyond the crisis” launched successfully

In November 2020, a group of 42 selected senior professionals came together in a virtual format to reflect upon their individual leadership challenges in times of a pandemic. The group of senior professionals attended inspiring sessions on crisis leadership to prepare them for events that could happen during their future time as a leader. In addition, participants were encouraged to reflect upon their personal as well as organizational resilience to cope successfully with unforeseen and stress-provoking events and change.

“I am thrilled to see that we created an intimate learning environment so that our participants had the opportunity to discuss their personal leadership challenges”, says Dr. Rebecca Winkelmann, Managing Director WHU Executive Education, who initiated the “Leading beyond the crisis” program. High-profile guest speakers from different industries complemented the academic and self-reflection sessions. They shed light upon the challenges of their corporations during the pandemic, and gave insight into innovative solutions. Participants appreciated the possibilities to personally interact during the seminar and to learn from each other in a fully virtual environment. A few of them share their personal learnings and take-aways:

“The topic and curriculum of the seminar could not have been timelier. What impressed me most was the seniority of the participants and the speed at which a mutual sense of trust was formed which, even in a fully virtual classroom, quickly fostered highly valuable discussions and peer-group connections.“

Armin Häberle, Head of Business Media Division & Managing Director „Die Stiftung“ Media GmbH

“Leading beyond the crisis Program” defined leadership differently with exchanges of real-life experiences and nowhere-to-be-found group works. Leadership during a time of crisis will never be easy, but I feel I will be able to understand the meaning, reason, and purpose better and more importantly, convey this understanding to my team.”

Ali Inal, IT Director of Enerjisa Üretim

“The Leading beyond the crisis Program successfully directed our awareness and understanding of resilience. What does resilience mean for me, my team, and the organization? How to handle the first signs of misbalance? The well-experienced coach Karsten Drath helped us gain a deeper understanding, and the exchange with peers in the online break-out groups was extremely valuable.

Friday and Saturday were filled with insights from industry speakers and consecutive deep dives into resilience. We later summarized that it was especially good to see that we were not the only ones with concerns, challenges, and questions on what this challenging time of Covid-19 is doing to us and our work lives. A lot of food for thought!”

Jutta Kaiser, Head of Retail Development - Strategy & Governance @ Customer Support at BMW AG

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Creating a business impact abroad with a diverse team of leaders

Managing and leading a business project is never a simple task, and especially doing it in another country. To successfully carry out a project, a team must face challenges that will enable them to grow, have a connection with each other, and as in this Sri Lankan experience, adjust to the resources provided.

Marianne Ohm, Managing Partner of codiviti UG and participant in WHU’s 6th General Management Plus Program, shares her program experience, challenges, and takeaways from an on-site business impact project in Sri Lanka in cooperation with the non-profit organization BOOKBRIDGE.

You will get her point of view on how the reopening of a learning center was made possible, the leaders who contributed and made it happen, a glimpse into the Sri Lankan culture, and the outcome of the project for the team and the Sri Lankan community.

Read part 1 and part 2 of her incredible learning journey!

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Interview: 3 key capabilities of a good leader

Professor Dr. Jürgen Weigand is Academic Director WHU EMBA Program and the Center for Responsible Leadership at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management. Having worked as a senior advisor for various international blue-chip companies, he is an expert in business strategy and conveys the necessary skills and knowledge to become a good leader. In this interview, he points out the most important qualities of a good leader, the influence of digitalization on leadership, and more.

What are the most important qualities of a good leader?

“Transitioning into a leadership role means having three key capabilities: The will, the skill and the integrity to lead. This may sound challenging, but there are both a lot of leadership knowledge and tools that you can learn to develop your authentic leadership style. Additionally, mastering leadership requires of self-reflection and feedback from others.”

Does Digitalization influence the role of General Manager?

“Yes, definitely. Let me mention two: First, disruptive innovation may change the ‘game’ in your industry, so General Managers will have to think more and more about how to sustain competitive advantage. Second, ways and speed of communication with all stakeholder change, which means that GM need to constantly reflect upon leadership and communication style.”

Can General Management be learned?

“In my over 20 years of experience in designing MBA and lifelong learning programs, I have observed that three broad areas of knowledge and skills are highly relevant: a) Business acumen – the ability to understand the financial side of your business, b) Strategy – the ability to formulate and execute strategic initiatives in your team or business unit and c) Leadership – the ability to motivate and guide teams. All this can be learned!”

Become an outstanding leadership personality

Do you want to develop and strengthen your leadership skills? The Leadership Essentials Program provides you with useful tools and concepts that will help you become a stand-out leader who inspires those around him.

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Excellence in Management Education

WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management

Erkrather Str. 224a
40233 Düsseldorf

execed@whu.edu

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