UCD: Making a difference to companies and countries
Innovation Profile It comes as no surprise that countries as well as businesses can benefit from good management
Pat Gibbons: “There is increasing research evidence that the competitiveness of economies is directly linked to the quality of management.”
The new Diploma in Advanced Management Performance at the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School is aimed at helping companies gain a competitive advantage through the implementation of the best management practices and the latest strategies.
“There is increasing research evidence that the competitiveness of economies is directly linked to the quality of management,” says Pat Gibbons, academic director at UCD Executive Education. “And it’s not surprising that if good management can make a difference to companies it will also make a difference to countries – that’s the background to this new programme.”
The programme is mainly aimed at people who may have moved into a new role on senior management or who wish to brush up on their existing skills and knowledge. “It is very much targeted at people with experience,” Gibbons points out. “By this I mean with five to six years experience of senior management as an absolute minimum. Managers who have received training in the past can update this with the latest thinking, while others can use it to help them in a new role and to focus on achieving growth for their organisations over the longer term.”
Delivered in separate modules over six weekends – Fridays and Saturdays – the programme seeks to help participants gain a comprehensive understanding of how their organisations function and give them the knowledge and skills to apply to the specific challenges and goals they face in their own working lives.
The first module deals with leading strategic growth. “This explores participants’ personal approach to strategic leadership through which through organisation can enhance performance and strengthen capabilities for sustainable, long-term growth,” says Gibbons. “This module will demonstrate how to apply tools and techniques to manage business growth and assist in creating strategic road maps for growth, innovation and profitability.”
The second model is centred on the Smurfit School’s acknowledged strengths in marketing. It emphasises the need for managers in every function and at each level to understand the key marketing challenges facing their organisation.
Shift in focus
“Evidence from the marketplace is that firms who are driven by the market and who integrate marketing with their overall strategy, grow more and achieve higher profits,” Gibbons points out. “This module will enhance understanding of the essentials of marketing while acknowledging the wider strategic perspective.”
Creating adaptive organisations is the focus of the next module. According to Gibbons, all business processes from across the value chain need to be completely integrated and mutually supportive if organisations are to remain competitive. This shift in focus has enabled organisations to attain new levels of competitive advantage by viewing the entire organisation as a system of interacting processes and aligning them to the corporate strategy.
“We take a practical approach enabling participants to align their own corporate strategies with a well-designed business architecture. It will support the transformation of organisations and provide a road map for continued improvement and enhanced strategic flexibility.”
The course then moves onto the culture of organisations. “We want to move away from fear and compliance and towards something a bit more dynamic. There is a need to contextualise leadership in order to nurture what I call a ‘human organisation’ – establishing and sustaining a high performance culture, leading change and creating high engagement work practices to support long-term business goals.”