Innovative management approach inspires new leadership program

Published: 26 May 2004

Henry Mintzberg's cutting edge approach to leadership development is at the heart of a new leadership program which is attracting attention from some of Canada's top companies. Starting today, a group of executives from Aeroplan, Bell Canada Enterprises, Domtar and Via Rail will gather at the McGill Faculty of Management to experience the new Advanced Leadership Program (ALP). The ALP is part of the next generation of management programs inspired by the world-acclaimed International Masters Program in Practicing Management (IMPM). Both programs focus directly on the development of managers in their own context — their jobs and their organizations — a novel way to help managers learn from their own experience.

A unique approach to executive development

The ALP differs from many existing executive programs in that participants attend not as individuals, but as company groups that share a common concern or mission of significant importance to the company. The ALP program consists of three one-week modules running over nine months. Each module is organized around a leadership mindset which examines a set of concepts and competencies – Managing self: the reflective mindset, Managing organization and context: the connected mindset, and Managing change: the catalytic mindset.

What makes the ALP a path-breaking program is the fact that the company teams focus on their own strategic issues of central concern to their organization in the classroom, as opposed to an agenda of facts and cases. Part of the program content and design is determined by the company issues brought to class and how they unfold throughout.

"At Via Rail, talent management and leadership development represent key strategic priorities. We are convinced that the ALP program fits very well with our vision," says Paul Côté, Acting President and Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Operating Officer at Via Rail.

IMPM as a model

While the IMPM was developed for seasoned managers, the ALP is intended for executives and is offered in a more condensed format. The IMPM, developed and conceived at McGill by Henry Mintzberg in collaboration with colleagues from Canada, England, France, India and Japan, is a groundbreaking approach to management education that has been highly successful since its inception in 1996.

"We created the IMPM with the intention of changing management education. It is on its way! We have now created the ALP to do the same thing with leadership development, by providing teams of executives with the opportunity to reflect on their experience while addressing key issues for their companies in a thoughtful classroom. So this is not just executive development; it is also friendly consulting from executives in similar positions in other organizations and top international management faculty — maybe the best a company will ever get," explains Henry Mintzberg, whose latest book, Managers Not MBAs, demonstrates how the IMPM represents the third generation of management education programs.

While the ALP is being offered exclusively by McGill University, a Global ALP will be launched in the fall in conjunction with top business schools in Europe and Asia, where senior executives from multinational companies will attend the modules in three different countries.

A focus on participants' experience and issues gives the ALP a significant advantage over the Advanced Management Program offered by some leading business schools. Building on its established reputation and world-class expertise in program development, the McGill Faculty of Management offers an impressive number of innovative management programs.


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