Despite some criticism and claims that open programmes have very little impact on the development of executives, they continue to play an important role alongside other development methods like job-rotation assignment, on-the-job training, executive coaching and others.
This longevity is due, in our opinion, to a number of important benefits that they deliver when properly used, i.e. when both the participant and the sponsoring executive have a clear understanding of the business and personal issues to be addressed and when the best-suited programme is carefully selected to maximize its impact and the return on the investment.
Benefits of open enrolment programmes include:
1 – Enhancing knowledge – they provide a toolkit of specific skills for participants to take away; they are an excellent way to enhance specific functional knowledge for managers coming from other functions, e.g. finance for non-financial managers, or to enhance more advanced strategic skills for functional senior managers or among general managers, e.g. strategic marketing for senior executives, and to introduce functional managers to general management issues, as in the classic general management programmes.
2 – Spreading the latest management ideas – leading management thinkers often take part in open programmes bringing into the class room the result of their latest research and study of best-practices among their clients.
3 – Cost effective and ready to use solution – the scope of available subjects is enormous; schools often run several editions of the same programme over the year; open programmes are the only affordable training solution when the size of the organization does not allow for a customized programme to be tailored to a group of employees.
4 – Reflection, renewal, networking and benchmarking – they provide time and an opportunity to reflect away from the day-to-day demands of work, allowing participants to look outside the company, gaining exposure to other national and corporate cultures, benchmarking themselves and their company against their fellow participants and other companies, taking space for renewal, creativity and innovation to occur on their return to work.
Source & further reading: «Which executive programme?» EIU – The Economist Intelligence Unit, fourth edition, 2001, isbn 0862181593
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