What makes Leading IMPACT different from the Executive MBA? What is an executive coach, and what are impact teams? And what can participants expect to take away from the Leading IMPACT program? To find out, we asked Stein Kleppestø, management expert, researcher, and Leading IMPACT instructor and development manager.
1. How would you sum up Leading IMPACT?
Leading IMPACT is a program that shifts the focus from education to development. We do this by moving away from general theories and models (proposed solutions) to instead devote ourselves to the real-life challenges our participants face. We also focus on the entire organization, not just the individual participant. It’s easier to learn if the learning process is problem-based so that what you learn has an immediate impact. And it’s easier to achieve professional development by starting from your present situation and applying the challenges you’re currently facing.
2. How does this program differ from the Executive MBA program?
Leading IMPACT is a natural continuation of the progress we already made on our Executive MBA program. We have extensive experience of methods such as problem-based learning, reflective practice support and real-life projects. With the new program, we are taking a giant step forward in the same spirit. Like I said, this means a transition away from education towards development.
3. Each participant is assigned an executive coach. How does that work?
The executive coach is a new feature that helps us to focus more on development than education. The Leading IMPACT program gives all participants the support of a coach who has first-hand, hands-on experience of leading development and change, often from managerial line positions. We’re convinced that a mix of problem owner, experienced practitioner, and scholarly instructor is a strong recipe for added value. At Leading IMPACT, an executive coach follows each participant over the entire 15-month program period.
4. What is the role of impact teams in the program?
Impact teams are another feature of the program that help us take the step from education to development. The idea is that each participant has a team in their home organization that serves several functions. The most important is giving the participants a platform to run their business-driven development projects. The impact team can also act as a testbed for ideas the participant got inspiration for from the program. The team can also be a way for employers to spread newfound knowledge throughout the organization.
5. Who is the program geared towards?
Historically, the Executive MBA target group has been largely role-based, meaning it was geared towards individuals who hold or will soon hold a senior executive position. Although these individuals are still part of our target group, the group is much wider now. Any employee who needs to develop their ability to create change and evolve their organization – in other words, make an IMPACT – will benefit from the program. Given that the foundation of our learning method is centered around business-critical development projects, participants must have the support and trust of management.
6. What can participants expect to take away from the program?
As the program’s name indicates, it’s all about IMPACT. The program aims to increase participants’ ability to create impact throughout the organization. What that means more specifically depends, of course, on the individual participant’s personal circumstances and organizational context. But some more general take-aways include a deeper and broader understanding of how companies and organizations work, how to lead them and how to develop them. We place a sharp focus on a few fundamental abilities – analysis, reflection, decision-making and action.
7. How do people make time for the program in their already busy schedules?
Well, this is an investment that requires time and energy. But you get solid returns on another level when you’re involved in real-life projects that bring immediate relevance and value. And thanks to interaction with the IMPACT team, you also get support, structure and energy throughout the process. My long-standing experience of previous programs, such as the Executive MBA, has taught me that you manage to find the time and energy when what you learn is immediately useful and relevant. Otherwise, it’s more difficult to motivate yourself to learn things that you can potentially benefit from at some point in the future.