July 31, 2014,15:49 +0900(JST) 10th Anniversary of Executive Training Program
At the end of last week, in order to attend the kick-off meeting of an executive training program Action Learning, I stayed at our seminar facility on Mt. Ikoma, on the border between Osaka and Nara Prefectures. The program was launched in 2005, marking its 10th anniversary this year. The program annually draws 40 to 50 executive managers from our various divisions and our domestic and foreign affiliated companies. More than 400 people in total have participated in the program so far.
Although the program certainly includes a several-day lecture-oriented seminar, the main part is a half-year activity called “action learning.” In this session, participants are divided into teams, each consisting of five to six persons. The teams are required to work on provided themes regarding actual management, and to submit solutions. Since participants are divided into teams randomly on purpose, many of them need to struggle with themes that are outside their fields. There has been no change in this style since the program was first launched.
It is difficult to explain this program’s specific effects. However, there are quite a few of proposals and ideas incorporated into our management policies directly or indirectly. In addition, since many participants tend to consider issues only from their divisions’ perspectives, the program is very effective in helping them to learn about the situation of the entire Sumitomo Electric Group and to share the group’s management challenges.
What types of proposals will the nine teams this year submit? Based on my past experience, proposals that were completed after much legwork were most convincing. Some proposals were helpful enough to provide management with new perspectives (even though proposals may have hit sore spots). At the start of this year, I requested all company staff members to realize the idea of “creative destruction.” I hope that this year’s teams come up with many bold ideas that will help achieve this idea. I look forward to hearing the teams’ presentations at the end of the year.