“You Cannot Buy Leadership Competence”: Emirates Bank Group
Emirates Bank Group (EBG) is one of the leading financial institutions in the UAE, with its flagship, Emirates Bank, regularly earning first place among UAE banks in the Arab Banks rankings. They have experienced change and rapid growth.
EBG commissioned Duke Corporate Education and the Coaches Training Institute to jointly develop and deliver the Diploma in Business Leadership, a program designed to develop future leaders on a continuous basis. Ramakrishna Movva, Head, Strategic HR and Organizational Development, indicated “what we needed was a development program rather than a training course, which actually builds a platform for developing leaders.”
Each participant creates an individual leadership development plan, receives coaching, and practices new skills as part of a learning community.
Participants are mid-level managers. They make a significant investment of time in the program, attending 21 days of classroom education distributed in 2- to 4-day blocks over a 12-month period. When not in the classroom, each is assigned to a team that works with a senior figure from within the bank, on an action learning project addressing real business challenges of major importance to the bank’s top management. Team members analyze, discuss and formulate a plan to address their challenge.
The program focuses on four key areas:
- Strategic Management – Identifying / evaluating new business opportunities and executing strategic plans and initiatives
- Functional Management – Enhancing the effectiveness of critical business processes and performance measurement tools
- Leadership Effectiveness – Guiding, engaging and motivating teams and individuals
- Self Management – Learning and changing continuously while leading a fulfilled and balanced life
Those four themes develop individual effectiveness (each person a better leader) in the context of building organizational effectiveness (enabling the bank to reach its business destinations).
By immediately applying the lessons they learn in the classroom to their team projects, the skills become real and are integrated into the way they work.
The program is a demanding and challenging activity for its participants. They experiment, they take risks, and they learn from successes and failures. TheDiploma in Business Leadership program is a major strategic initiative that is critical for realizing the EBG’s vision. As program participants become more effective leaders, EBG is building the organizational capability needed to achieve its goal of substantial expansion in the Gulf region and beyond.
Mr. Movva notes, “You can buy technical expertise from consultants … but what you can not buy is leadership competence.” Talking about the impact of the program on participants, he observes “the immediate feedback is excellent; they all feel that this has changed them as leaders.”