November 2016 | Senior Leadership
As the forces of globalization continue to reshape the business landscape, developing and maintaining a global perspective is a key competency for senior leaders. Yet while a survey cited on McKinsey.com revealed that 76 percent of senior executives agree that their companies need to develop global leadership capabilities, only 7 percent think their efforts are effective. This gap comes at a cost: 30 percent of U.S. companies report that they were unable to exploit fully international opportunities because they lacked qualified talent.
How then do organizations help their senior leaders, and those rising in the ranks, to build this competency? Developing a global perspective doesn’t happen through study alone (although there are plenty of success stories and cautionary tales to learn from). Global leadership requires first-hand knowledge and experience of foreign markets, businesses, and consumers. To meet this need, Wharton partnered with China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and IESE Business School to offer Global CEO Program: A Transformational Journey.
Designed for top executives, the program is held over non-consecutive weeks on three continents, immersing participants in the distinct cultures of Shanghai, Philadelphia, and Barcelona. Faculty from three of the world’s top business schools, who have decades of international experience, share the latest academic research and best practices, providing local and global views of markets, sourcing, products, technologies, and talent.
Harbir Singh, a Wharton management professor and director of the school’s Global CEO module, says it offers the right blend of scholarship and personal experience. “The program gives you a current view of leadership that is both global and strategic, and because there are months between sessions, participants can begin to apply it immediately. It challenges your business models, thinking, and practices.”
Wharton faculty who teach in the program include internationally recognized experts on the globalization of firms, the integration of finance and strategy, digital marketing, and product development. They not only guide in-depth discussions in the classroom, but also facilitate participants’ individual learning, case-based study, peer coaching, role-plays, and group exercises. The program also includes small- and large-group discussions, team projects, and study groups that promote the exchange of ideas, experiences, and feedback.
A hallmark of Global CEO is the Cross-Program Project (CPP), which involves an individual business challenge identified by each participant. They analyze and address it using the content learned in the classroom, and receive valuable confidential feedback and support from expert peers from different countries, industries, and backgrounds.
The peer network is another invaluable asset, says Singh. “Most CEOs have to maintain a very small circle to share their issues with. Pressure from stakeholders, the need for consistent superior performance, and demands on time make it nearly impossible for senior leaders to step away, gain a wider perspective, and support and coach each other. The Global CEO program provides a trusted network of highly experienced peers who have a deep appreciation for the pressures they face.”
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