As the world continues to change at a rapid pace and the challenges experienced by businesses continue to be less predictable, a large Indian conglomerate wanted to ensure its business unit heads were prepared to encounter new situations and challenges and were able to readily execute stretch goals in a timely manner. The company partnered with Duke Corporate Education to create a leadership development program that would prepare leaders to keep pace with the fast changing global environment and the company’s global presence. The goal of the program was to not only equip the executives with enhanced knowledge, skills and practical tools, but also to reshape how the leaders think and orient themselves as leaders.

The program began by building the case for change to start shifting the leaders’ mindsets. Leaders were encouraged to understand and challenge their own tenets about leadership and develop “yes and…” thinking while also becoming comfortable managing upward. To do this, participants took part in an activity called “Global Trends” which created heightened awareness of the company’s competitive position and imparted the importance of monitoring and understanding the competitive landscape while also having long-term strategic vision paired with the ability to be versatile and flexible.

The program also aimed to engage people and teams through open dialogue about leadership, choices, customer centricity and stakeholder management. One activity presented dilemmas between numbers-based performance and relationship-based performance highlighting the differences and the importance of connecting to customer needs while also meeting growth and profitability goals.

Lastly, the program focused on creating an improved leadership climate and introduced the idea of leadership legacy.  Actors delivered a powerful vignette which articulated the intended and unintended consequences of a leader’s behavior and the impact it has on the next generation of leaders. The act showcased how specific behaviors condition the response of employees showing leaders that their behavior sends a message to employees and collectively translates into the company culture. Leaders then reflected on their own actions and how their choices would become their legacy.