I was extremely grateful to be granted an ILF scholarship to study a High Performance Leadership program at the Oxford University Said Campus. The week long course was hosted on campus with a group of international business leaders – in fact more than 40 different countries were represented. At times the learning experience felt like a UN meeting with the mix of countries represented and the lecture theatre layout with microphones and official name badges in a tiered U shape.
The style of learning was conversational but relatively structured with mostly academic lecturers sharing best practice case studies. This was a new experience for me which I enjoyed, as were the mix of students I found myself surrounded by. Most of the students were in C-suite or academic roles. Although I would suggest this particular course is tailored more towards CEO’s, I found their insights interesting and contrasting to my previous 12 years of learning which has mostly been focussed in the entrepreneurial space with other business owners.
In addition to the lecture theatre style learning, spending time all living on campus for the week enabled great discussion over meal breaks and peer to peer learning in this format. This was excellent and likely my highlight of the program.
We were also given small group coaching with a mentor allocated for sessions while on campus and then a follow up once we returned home. This was insightful as it was a chance to share an issue with an impartial person who had no knowledge of us personally and they were carefully trained to listen and probe with questions so that we could reach our own answers and direction.
In the lectures, we studied and analysed leadership and communication but my key takeaway was the importance of small 5% changes we can influence. For example, as business leaders, by enabling a series of small incremental changes in our business (to a process, a communication channel or a product improvement), suddenly the implementation of four of these small 5% changes add up to an impactful 20% organisation improvement.
There is great learning and reflection gained from the opportunity to be in a new environment and my week at Oxford certainly provided this.
Thank you again to the ILF Board for facilitating this learning experience. I have already seen positive impact on the experience in my organisation and we have been working consistently at our 5% process improvements and efficiency changes.