keskiviikko 3. lokakuuta 2018

Strategic courage - on a personal level

Who are experts on matter of self? Psychologists, sure; philosophers, certainly some of them who focus on this topic; and some other professionals. This blog suggests that when we talk how executives see themselves, their identity and in particular their capability to act as leaders, we must also include business disciplines into this discussion about self. How deepening and widening strategic thinking relates into matter of self? I will make my case in this text.

May I start by telling briefly about the background setting where this issue of self and strategy came into my mind. In Business School world international accreditations are most important quality work and also most thought provoking events to all who have a pleasure to participate in those processes. No matter whether you in the AMBA, AACSB assessment panel or on the receiving end of the assessment, you are really thinking and trying pinpoint what is most important, what could be most beneficial for the development of the school.

In an event like this we at Executive Education in Jyväskylä University were telling how we approach key aspects in executive education. We proposed that successful leader takes development steps in four main areas of leadership capability in her/his EMBA program. 

S/he builds her/his knowledge base with latest theories, frameworks and business cases. S/he enforces her/his networks and networking capabilities. S/he becomes even more astute in leading change and development in her/his organization. 

And then we came into fourth pillar, the discussion around this pillar is the main topic of this blog. The fourth pillar is self, self-knowledge and also leadership identity.

When the discussion moved into this fourth pillar we got a question that how the issue of self is truly present, examined and studied in our EMBA program.  There we talked about courses like Psychodynamics of Leadership and Leadership and Group Dynamics, which are our anchor courses in this topic. Excellent discussion ensued and I believe we were able to make our case.

However, as it often happens one starts to reflect important encounters afterwards and finds new ways to think and see. Here I continued to reflect the matter of self in organizational context and in the setting of executive development. My point here is not take anything away from disciplines like psychology or philosophy, their continuous contribution in the issue is vital and our role is learn from those findings as much as we can. And there is enough for all of us to learn for the rest of our life. There is always room to learn more who were actually are and how we can develop ourselves.

Nevertheless I would propose that whenever we talk about self-identity in organizational context we must include business topics and business knowledge in this examination. Let us focus on strategy here. What I suggest is that strategic understanding is part of self-identity in leadership positions. 

When a person deepens and widens her/his strategic thinking s/he becomes more able to see what her/his organization could achieve and what could be her/his role. The leadership identity develops partly by contribution which comes from disciplines like psychology and philosophy, but it also develops from the contribution of business discipline like strategy.

At its best EMBA journey leads to increased personal strategic courage. A person becomes more willing and more capable in detecting and leading strategic change projects in her/his organization. A more strategic participation and contribution becomes part of her/his self-identity.

JYU Executive Education

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