Clifford: How Alliance Manchester Business School, TEXEM are Boosting Nigeria’s Strategic Leadership in Turbulent Times

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In this interview, Dr Nick Clifford, Senior Fellow, Public Policy and Management, Alliance Manchester Business School, speaks on how the institution, in partnership with These Executive Minds (TEXEM), is boosting Nigeria’s Strategic Leadership in Turbulent times for Superior Performance. Excerpts

Tell us about the program at the Alliance Manchester Business School

Alliance Manchester Business School and These Executive Minds (TEXEM) pride themselves on their ability to customise programmes for their clients. Through extensive collaboration we have a deep understanding of Africa. Alliance Manchester Business School is listed in the top 50 Schools in the world for Executive Education. It was the top institution for research according to the Economist in 2014. Alliance Manchester Business School is the UK’s largest Business School and is still growing. A recent £15 million endowment gifted by Lord David Alliance has led to its new name Alliance Manchester Business School.

This programme at Alliance Manchester Business School seeks to provide participants with a knowledge platform for senior leaders who are finding it difficult to overcome the challenges of turbulence in today’s markets. While providing important material for discussion and new ideas for tackling challenging situations, TEXEM and Alliance Manchester Business School also seek to provide an all-round experience of the City of Manchester with its history, culture and entertainment. This programme on Strategic Leadership for Superior Performance in Turbulent Times takes place between 31st of May to 3rd of June. For more information, please visit www.texem.co.uk

How does the program help executives address issues that they are currently facing?

To better understand the key dynamics in the current economic situation and the challenges that are presented to senior managers and executives; To provide leadership skills and techniques which address the difficulties of dealing with change; To recognise the key essentials in managing for accountability and transparency; To offer a new perspective on problem identification and analysis which can lead to more effective action plans; and to provide a way of thinking and planning more strategically for the future.

How does the program help executives address issues that they are currently facing?

By offering a blend of academic management theory with interactive teaching and learning, all participants can feel that their own challenges have been addressed and thought about, so that they can return to their organisations with some fresh insights, renewed energy and enthusiasm for dealing with the challenges they face in the future.

Who does this program target, and what type of companies should it attract?

Participants are expected to comprise senior directors and executives from organisations of some size that have to deal with both corporate as well as operational managerial tasks and problems that require experience and skill to solve them.

Are the sessions participatory and interactive –why is that important and how does it benefit participants?

The style and content of the programme offers the opportunity to engage and participate in discussion to enable participants to feel they have both grasped some new managerial concepts as well as found new ideas for how they might change their approach to the more difficult challenges they face in their day to day management responsibilities.

Is the program tailored to suit the specific needs of different participants?

Through close collaboration with Texem and its world class faculties Alliance MBS has a very good grasp of contextual realities of Africa vis-à-vis fragile institutions, limited infrastructure and the huge size of government. The programme is highly relevant to organisations based in emerging countries. The relevance of past programmes organised by TEXEM has been exemplified by 60-70per cent of TEXEM’s delegates being repeat participants. Also, the programme direction in Alliance Manchester Business School is delivered by the School’s more experienced academics and this is focused on monitoring the programme throughout to ensure that participant’s needs are a primary consideration during the whole period of the four day programme.

Why do you think executives should sign up to attend this program?

All senior executives operating in challenging environments can find it extraordinarily beneficial to refresh their knowledge, to meet similar executives experiencing similar problems, and to share ideas and suggestions for improvement – ‘we are never too old to learn’. Often, just the opportunity to work briefly with other executives in other organisations can be an enormous benefit – sometimes a ‘break can be as good as a rest’.

How would this programme provide methodology for problem analysis?

Problem analysis and solution finding can be complex – a model of analysis that ensures that the ‘scope’ of the problem is identified, the key stakeholders and their role in the problem is thought through carefully, the key barriers are identified and a strategy to overcome them can be extremely helpful. Such a model has been developed at Alliance Manchester Business School which can ensure that the ‘problem’ is thoroughly looked at, and a ‘solution’ can then be explored that provides the basis for developing a successful action plan. This is based on extensive research into practice and is highly relevant to modern business managers in large corporations.

Could you give some insights into what some leaders facing turbulence and uncertainty in other climes do?

The programme will acknowledge the differing experiences of nations and cultures across the international context and contrast the different reactions and responses to the problems that have been identified.

Analysis to suggest what has lain behind the different responses; what action plans have been adopted to deal with them; what lessons have been learnt; and what approaches have been most effective and efficient will be provided to enable fresh insights to be gained on current managerial challenges.

How could thinking more strategically assist in formulating better strategic plans for the future?

The ability to see the wider (or ‘whole’) situation is often the difference between a corporation’s successfully navigating a period of turbulence or being overwhelmed – this ability is based on the degree to which thinking strategically has been developed. Alliance Manchester Business School is proud to have a long track record in assisting managers, directors and executives to discover and then ask the important and critical questions at the ‘mission critical’ time to ensure that the corporate strategic action plan is well understood and provides a strong platform for future growth.

How could leaders better handle change?

The ability to recognise the nature and scale of modern change problems so that an organisational buy-in to a new change strategy can be achieved is one of the fundamental challenges of modern leadership. Alliance Manchester Business School and TEXEM both have a considerable track-record in providing the best and most optimal programmes for their clients. Such programmes enable leaders with natural talent to become even more effective in their chosen fields.

How could accountability to key stakeholders be improved?

A combination of openness and collaboration with colleagues can provide the most secure platform to ensure that the challenges of responding to change are addressed and developed further together; in this way greater confidence can be engendered across internal and external stakeholders to ensure that their support is maintained.