At Executive Education HEC Montréal, we know how important professional development is to your continued success. But coming up with a suitable plan can be a challenging task, especially considering the extensive array of opportunities we offer.
That is why it is important to start by considering your own continuing education strategy. Making wise training choices as your career progresses is vital, especially if your ultimate goal is to become an impactful leader.
Our executive education model is designed specifically to help you reach this outcome. It is built around three focuses and five key traits.
Professional growth hinges on acquiring solid expertise in a given management field. This in turn is contingent on credibility, the first trait of an impactful leader. Consequently, laying out a training pathway designed to develop or bolster a specific area of expertise is a winning strategy for managers as they pursue their career.
Future executives must also prove their mettle in terms of fulfilling a wide spectrum of management responsibilities. The profession – or art – of being a manager requires two essential traits.
Today’s managers must strive for effectiveness in delivering a high level of performance, no matter how challenging the circumstances. They must have a knack for utilizing the tools of the trade (dashboards, for example) and bringing projects to fruition.
They must also be a positive influence and a motivational force for others. This takes self-assurance, charismatic leadership skills, the ability to maintain productive and lasting interpersonal relationships, and a talent for clear, effective communication.
Managers with leadership aspirations require a capacity for horizontal thinking and must therefore embrace a vision marked by cross-disciplinary competency. Once they have established their expertise, and as they continue to hone their executive skills, they must push themselves outside their comfort zone to gain a broader and deeper understanding of functions beyond their area of specialization. This kind of pathway is typical of an MBA mindset.
The remaining trait is just as indispensable: strategic thinking – the ability to handle high-level decision-making with aplomb in a world characterized by complexity and ambiguity.
Here are six suggestions for making the professional development choices that are right for you and your career trajectory:
1. Take stock of your situation
Obviously, it is important to give the matter some thought before you take action. Where are you in your career? Where do you see yourself going? What kind of feedback are you getting from the people around you?
We have a ready-made tool you can use to guide you in your thought process. It contains a series of questions about your continuing education profile to help you identify your precise needs. To get your copy, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Pinpoint and prioritize your needs
The demands on managers are many and diverse, but some will inevitably be more important to you than others. Perhaps you want to strengthen the skills sets that are core to your position. Or maybe you’re interested in building up your expertise in a field that will be useful to you in a future capacity. Or you might be looking for ways to capitalize on an existing strength or address a shortcoming that is keeping you at a standstill in your career.
To help you navigate through our programs with ease, we have linked each of our seminars to one or more of the five key traits that form the backbone of our executive education model.
3. Diversify your learning portfolio
Our training activities constitute the bulk of our executive education solutions. They are a time-tested way to bring your professional goals to life. However, experience-based learning, through on-the-job projects and challenges, and encounters with influential individuals, be they positive (role models to emulate) or negative (poor examples to avoid), can be an excellent complement. You are therefore best advised to explore the various alternatives available to you to optimize your professional development mix.
Our goal is to help you successfully align your continuing education activities. As such, our training programs are designed to provide you with compelling food for thought and let you benefit from past experience (i.e., “If I had to do it all over again…”). We put equal emphasis on having participants share their stories and on inviting experts to express their insights so that the lessons they have learned can be serve as a source of ideas and inspiration.
4. See the big picture
In choosing their professional development activities, many managers tend to be rash, impulsive or inconsistent. They fail to take a broader, longer-term view – and this can considerably undermine the corresponding benefits for their career advancement. It’s best to begin by defining your overall objectives and then establish a step-by-step plan that is consistent with them.
We can provide one-on-one assistance as you explore your options. For more information, read Customized Support.
5. Timing is everything
There is a right time for everything, including your executive education activities. Investing too early or too late in your career can yield less-than-optimal results. The simplest way to go about this is to focus on training that corresponds to your immediate needs and that can be taken advantage of as soon as you get back to the office. But if you have a transfer or promotion on the horizon, your plan should be timed to coincide with the main steps involved in the transition.
In all of our education activities, we aim to bring together people who share similar priorities and concerns and who have their sights set on applying their newfound knowledge to improve their on-the-job performance and advance their career in a timely manner.
6. Get the support you need
Learning is growth. And along the way, you may need someone – an instructor, a mentor, a coach – to provide input, to guide you in making informed decisions or to facilitate the transition between learning and concrete action. We are here to support you throughout the process. Don’t hesitate to take full advantage of the many services we have at your disposal.
If you feel that one-on-one assistance is what you need, we would be delighted to put you in contact with our extensive network of skilled coaches. See Customized Support for further details.