Henley's executive education programmes keep businesses relevant

Linda Buckley

Linda Buckley

Henley Business School Africa has grown its executive education programme offering from four to 60 programmes in the past three years, and has seen exponential growth of its client base.

The business school’s wide range of accredited executive education programmes, that teach skills in the areas of management, finance, coaching, strategy, customer relations, creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation are proving very popular among South Africa’s young executives seeking to further their careers. But it is Henley’s custom-designed executive education programmes, tailored to individual needs, that have been attracting the attention of corporate South Africa.

Linda Buckley, director of Executive Education at Henley Business School, says more and more corporates are realising the importance of executive education for their employees, who need to keep abreast of fast-changing developments in the global environment. They must stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new, technology-driven business models that are significantly disrupting traditional ways of doing business in many industries.

Henley’s immersive learning executive education programmes emphasise critical thinking, creative problem solving and design thinking. The programmes not only teach business skills but provide corporate executives with deep learning, immersing them in real life situations that challenge their thinking and unlock their creativity so that they learn how to find innovative solutions to complex problems.

“The global trend is a move away from command/control-type leadership towards collective, collaborative leadership styles and human-centered approaches. There is a need for company executives and leaders not only learn task-oriented skills and competencies, but to also develop their thinking capabilities, EQ, and capacity to think in more complex and agile ways. Our bespoke corporate programmes are developed through an in-depth and highly consultative co-creation process with our clients to ensure such key outcomes are achieved,” says Buckley.

One challenge that corporates are currently dealing with, says Buckley, is how to effectively lead both youthful millennial employees and the older, long-serving employees. “Young millennials come into companies asking what the company can do for them, while the older generation are still asking how they can better serve their companies. Long-serving, older generation employers often feel like they are being sidelined and that their contributions are not acknowledged, as the younger generation comes in with new energy and innovative ideas that are embraced by the leadership. Companies therefore need to figure out how to best manage their businesses across generations, and find ways to use different generational inputs creatively and innovatively.”

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution upon us, we can expect artificial intelligence (AI) to take over many of the jobs currently done by humans, says Buckley. She believes the nature of the work humans do will change, and that businesses need to start preparing for this change.

“Corporates are going to have to focus on developing their employees’ creative abilities, as creativity is one of the few skills that machines won’t have in the immediate future. New ideas, innovation, creative problem-solving and our ability to be empathic and tell stories that inspire and motivate will remain the domain of humans, and keep us relevant in an AI future.”

Henley’s executive education department works closely with the school’s Centre for Innovative, Creativity & Entrepreneurship, which is at the forefront of teaching creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in South Africa. In collaboration with the centre, the executive education department teaches executives how to become creative leaders and thinkers to prepare them for the future world.

“At Henley, we continuously strive for excellence. Our in-depth understanding of the global environment and its impact on business, and extensive knowledge of the industries our clients operate in, means that we can offer unique insights and perspective on how our clients can remain relevant and tackle any challenges that may lie ahead.”

Linda Buckley is director: Executive Education for Henley Business School – Africa