Business management educationDo we need to take a radically different view of business management education?

Based on our experience and research we think a fresh look at how to make business management education work is needed. There is so much potential that is frequently unrealised between Business Schools/training providers  and businesses.

Here we take a look at how a mutually beneficial relationship can help to realise some of that potential. The best place to start is with a blank flip chart (!) and simply ask businesses what they are looking for in a business management education provider.

That is exactly what we did in our research, and here’s what we found out.

What Do Employers Want From Business Management Education Providers?

When we talked to businesses they said they wanted:

  • Genuine customised business management education to meet their needs
  • Great partnering built on strong relationships
  • Credibility, based on an excellent track record

Businesses said they were looking for Business Schools and other providers who could bridge the gap. That is as one business leader told us: wanting a provider to

“open their ( the managers on the programme) thinking to academic insights, but…. never undervaluing the importance of their day-to-day experience.”

Often a business knows it has a need for business management education, but is unclear as to exactly what is needed. They wanted a partner who would work with them to determine what is needed and how to make it happen:

It’s thinking, it’s being flexible and it’s understanding the needs of the organisation.”

To respond to these needs we have developed the purposeful engagement model to enable businesses and Business Schools or other business management education and training providers to make it work.

Purposeful Engagement

The model is in two stages. Initial relationship building requires providers to ENGAGE. So the first six steps – Entry, Negotiate, Gather, Analyse, Generate, Execute – are crucial to developing initial (or one-off) client relationships. The ENGAGE stage we aim to:

  • Enter – making initial contacts, identifying credibility and capacity, building initial relationships.
  • Negotiate – definition of client’s initial needs, discussion and contracting.
  • Gather – information about the customer (needs, issues, situation, opportunities), development of relationship
  • Analyse – information about the customer (needs, issues, situation, opportunities), expansion of relationship.
  • Generate – range of interventions to meet client needs, client intervention requirements (their commitment), solutions to fit client needs.
  • Employ – pilot interventions, workplace improvement focus, learn as you execute, build depth of knowledge of client.

Delivering all that is involved in the ENGAGE stage can be difficult, but it’s still not enough. Whilst ENGAGE is the essential first step in building a new client relationship, (or a one-off intervention), truly effective business management education requires ENGAGEMENT. This means ensuring an on-going partnership through the second stage activities – Manage, Evaluate, Network, Transfer.

For a purposeful engagement we therefore aim to:

  • Manage the client, not just the programme.
  • Evaluate the whole intervention with the client, not just at session or programme level.
  • Network within and then beyond the organisation.
  • Transfer the experience and learning within both organisations.

Effective business managemnet education should be built on a mutually beneficial relationship which is typified by what we call Purposful Engagement.

Contact us to find out more about how to make the most of your business management education needs: get in touch today

If you want to find out about some of the broader arguments behind our model we discuss both the views of business  and some academic research inour article: Leadership Management Training: New Demands for Business Schools

You can return to our main discussion to improve the relationship and effectiveness of academia with business here: Academia into action