Executive KnowledgeWorks
Leveraging Executive Education and Leader Development For Strategic Planning, Action Learning, Customized Executive Education and Enhanced Business Meetings - all supported by a philosophy of Breakthrough Centered Development.
Research and Publishing:
Eight National Benchmarking Reports.

Pros and Cons

Thank you for making time to visit our site. While the information contained in each of the sections of this Web site provides, in the aggregate, a more detailed exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to executive development, leadership development and organization development, this section is meant to offer a quick overview.

We've organized our thinking regarding approaches to "Development" around three of the most prevalent processes:

  • Action Learning
  • Executive Education
  • Executive Coaching.

Action Learning:

Action Learning - Pros

  • Probably the most POWERFUL single approach to individual and organization development.
  • When properly designed - very ENGAGING even for the most seasoned and cynical of senior executives.
  • When successful, there is a substantive, relatively near-term BUSINESS PAYOFF.
  • May very well provide the HIGHEST ROI of all the development processes.
  • The locus of RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCCESS quickly shifts to and normally stays with the participants.

Action Learning - Cons

  • Normally, a HIGHER COST per participant-day than other development modalities.
  • Even when well designed (perhaps especially when well designed) can feel OUT OF CONTROL to the HRD staff and senior management.
  • Because of its real-time nature, Action Learning can sometimes be a difficult modality in which to insure INDIVIDUALIZED DEVELOPMENT.
  • If not properly designed, facilitated and managed, an Action Learning initiative can put senior management in a NO WIN situation.
  • Can be demanding and RESOURCE INTENSE.

Traditional Executive Education:

Traditional Executive Education - Pros

  • Traditional executive education interventions are normally easier for senior management and the HRD design team to CONTROL.
  • When compared to Action Learning initiatives, Traditional Executive Education activities are typically LESS COSTLY per person-day.
  • Because their goals are typically less ambitious than those of Action Learning initiatives, Traditional Executive Education programs are normally LESS RISKY.
  • Unless it's design is highly unconventional and untested, a Traditional Executive Education initiative will normally leave a senior management team that is looking for stability and predictability feeling MORE COMFORTABLE than would an Action Learning initiative.
  • When creatively and properly designed, a Traditional Executive Education program can have POWERFUL individual and/or organization DEVELOPMENTAL IMPACT.

Traditional Executive Education - Cons

  • The locus of RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCCESS starts with and often stays with the design staff. Participants may have the unproductive luxury of remaining consumers and critics.
  • A Traditional Executive Education program, if poorly conceptualized or designed can be (justifiably) PERCEIVED AS WEAK, irrelevant and/or academic.
  • It may, therefore (if poorly designed), be LESS ENGAGING for the business-focused manager or executive.
  • Because the goals of a Traditional Executive Education program are often less ambitious than those of an Action Learning initiative, the BUSINESS PAYOFF(S) may be DELAYED, diluted or, in the worst cases, non-existent.

Executive Coaching:

Executive Coaching - Pros

  • The development can be TARGETED and truly individualized.
  • The initial and ongoing investments in Executive Coaching can be CONTROLLED and modest. See "Cons" also.
  • At least for the individual, the IMPACT can be measurable, substantive and fairly immediate.
  • It can be a DISCRETE and quiet intervention.

Executive Coaching - Cons

  • Executive Coaching can be a CHALLENGE TO SYSTEMATIZE and/or scale up.
  • Executive Coaching is sometimes used as a substitute or replacement for strong leadership and MANAGERIAL COURAGE.
  • As organizations strive to achieve "scale" in their coaching efforts, it is easy to LOSE CONTROL of:
    1. The "message" and content
    2. Costs
    3. Quality
    4. Managers' and executives' expectations

To explore these and other strengths and issues related to each of the major human resource development processes call or email us at 815 356 3557 / info@ekw-hrd.com


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