Our business is a 5th generation family owned and operated company and at its core has been an incredible team, with our longevity a function of a lot of people working very hard towards our goals.
As my father’s retirement loomed and my brother and I looked to step up in to the roles of Joint Managing Director, we were both acutely aware of the need for ongoing professional development.
As Richard and I looked to our future, we knew that we needed to maintain the positive momentum, but also rise to drive the business in to the future.
A series of chance meetings saw the opportunity to access a grant through the Industry Leaders Fund highlighted. My interest was piqued and after researching potential areas I could explore, I narrowed in on a short course offered by Harvard Business School titled “Building and Sustaining Successful Enterprises”. It was a course that sounded challenging but topical. I completed the written applications and progressed to the thought provoking and challenging Board interview. I was absolutely thrilled, albeit surprised, to receive a call from Geoff Vogt telling me that I had been successful in my application and would be receiving a grant.
In November 2015, a mere 6 weeks after being formally awarded with the grant I found myself on my way to Harvard.
In preparation for the course, I had undertaken an enormous amount of preparatory reading.
The course was described by the Harvard Professors in the opening session as “a Harvard MBA full semester subject concertinaed in to a one week executive programme” and they were right.
We covered a myriad of different business areas, including Leadership, Scoping and Structuring Businesses, Investing for Growth and Disruptive Innovation to name but a few. It was a power packed week with long days and theories underpinned by extensive case studies and break out study groups. The diversity of attendees from different countries, businesses and experiences made for a truly unique learning environment and one which delivered a depth of learning unlike any I’ve ever experienced.
Clayton Christensen was the lead Professor of the course. Clay is one of the world’s leading thinkers on Disruptive Innovation Theory and has written and lectured extensively on this topic. Spending time and learning from not only Clayton but from other Professors who write the books that we read was amazing.
Clay presented several lectures over the week including one titled “How will you measure your life”; a lecture based on a book he has written that takes business theories and applies them to ones’ personal life. To say it was a transformative afternoon for every one of us in that classroom would be a gross understatement.
I returned home and when asked about the course my only response has been “life changing”.
I am incredibly grateful to the ILF for the opportunity to undertake study at this level and encourage others to apply to this outstanding initiative.