At weeks end,
six of the
admit they had
of finding a way
CEO is feeling the loneliness of his position.
The threat posed to his firm by Asian competition
is real and frightening. His senior
internationally experienced believe they
understand and are addressing the problem. They
have built this company into a
multibillion-dollar industry leader and are
confident they can maintain that position.
The CEO knows otherwise.
Nothing in the companys history is
comparable to this new challenge. The old
solutions will not work. How can he convince his
executives that a real crisis looms on the
For more than
five years, the executive development function at
this firm has lain fallow. The last program, an
advanced management course designed to broaden
emerging executives as a university program does,
served its purpose well and was attended by 85%
of the current executives. No compelling reason
has existed to launch a new program. Certainly
the executives themselves are not interested;
they just want to do their jobs. But maybe,
thinks the CEO, maybe now there is a reason.
And so the
executive development function receives its new
charter: Find a way to thoroughly capture the
executives attention and focus it on the
dangers posed by Asian competition. To fail at
this, confides the CEO, is to risk the continued
health of this successful communications and
After months of
hard work, the new program is ready for its
debut. As 18 senior executives arrive for the
pilot session, some grumbling arises from the
group. What are they doing here? If there is such
a big problem, why have they been pulled away
from their offices for six days?
end, six of the participants admit they had come
with every intention of finding a way to deep-six
the program. Prior to attending, each had been
visited by colleagues with the same idea: No way
are we going to do this. Make sure that program
goes no further than its first session.
But the program
convinces participants that a serious issue
exists here. They have been underestimating the
nature, scope and complexity of the threat
originating in Asia. The old solutions will not
work; now is indeed the time to re-evaluate the
traditional ways of doing business.
spend six days with a world-class faculty team of
academics, consultants and government
dignitaries. A program facilitator provides
continuity and linkage and ensures that the group
thoroughly processes the information presented.
Content areas addressed in
the program are described below.
- The United
States Industrial Base: Is the U.S.
declining as an industrial power? What
are the implications either way?
- Japan: The
pervasiveness of its governmental
orchestration and industrial networking
- Korea: How
and how quickly is Korea gearing up to
compete as a major industrial power?
- China: The
risks and opportunities related to doing
business with the Peoples Republic
- Models: for
analyzing organizations, industries and
countries (viewing a country as a
One of the many
innovative features of the program is that each
country is studied as if it is a corporation. In
addition to the expected examination of social,
cultural and political trends, each
countrys international trade goals,
industrial strategies and economic performance
are analyzed. An actual competitive Asian firm is
also considered as an example of these dynamic
tensions. The week ends with a dialogue with the
CEO about the groups concerns, issues and
recommendations for action.
One hundred and
eighty vice presidents attend the program. All
nine sessions are held in less than nine months
to ensure that the effects of the program are
focused, concentrated and have maximum impact.
One of the most
dramatic outcomes of the program is
participants recommendation that further
intense effort be devoted to studying the
corporations interaction with and presence
in the Asian Pacific Rim. The vice chairman
creates a task force of seven senior vice
presidents who, for three months, devote 100% of
their time to this project. The results and
recommendations of the task force are shared with
all 180 vice presidents in a series of
facilitated follow-up meetings.
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