Are you Ready for the Next Level?

At my last company, where I was responsible for leadership development and succession planning, I once received a phone call on a Friday afternoon from one of my favorite managers.

It went like this: “Dan, I just found out I’m going to promoted to a senior manage on Monday. Is there a senior manager school I could go to ASAP?”

My first reaction was, “Seriously?!”

However, the more I thought about it, the more that question resonated with me. Why shouldn’t there be something, other than a book and a “good luck” handshake, to offer a newly promoted or soon to be promoted senior manager to help them be successful in their new role?

I had facilitated countless succession planning talent review meetings, and the same development needs seemed to come up over and over: leadership presence, thinking strategically, and the ability to lead change were always the big three. We rarely discussed the kind of functional skills (marketing, operations, and finance) that are taught in typical MBA programs – those were considered table stakes for this level of management. It was always the “soft” stuff that was considered important, and those capabilities were usually in short supply. A lack of these skills was the reason many managers were considered “not yet ready”.

So why should we care? Well, according to a 2012 Corporate University Xchange Leadership study, 81 % of surveyed organizations have “significant” concerns about the leadership bench strength and their ability to support growth initiatives. In the next 5 years, companies are going to be faced with a wave of retirements of their senior leaders. If they don’t start preparing now, they are going face stiff competition from other companies for talent (at a high price with no guarantees) or throw unprepared managers into these roles.

With that poor manager, those talent reviews, and the pending organizational senior leadership talent shortages in mind, I’m pleased to announce the new Next Level Executive Development Program, offered by the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business & Economics.

The program was designed to help recently promoted or soon-to-be promoted senior managers be successful in their new roles. For organizations, it’s a way to invest in the development of their high potential managers before it’s too late.

In designing this five-day program, the first person I turned to was Scott Eblin, executive coach and author of The Next Level: What Insider’s Know about Executive Success. In my opinion, Scott’s book is one of the best on senior leadership transitions, and much of the program will be based on its principles.

Scott will teach the first day, and each participant will receive their own Next Level 360 assessment feedback report and autographed book.

Day two will be dedicated to strategy and strategic thinking, taught by one of our own best UNH professors, Peter Lane.

In the third day, participants will roll up their sleeves and spend the day developing their executive presence. They will learn and practice with Elizabeth Freedman, an executive coach from one of the leading executive communication firms, Bates Communications.

Day four is all about leading change, taught by Tom Gross, another outstanding UNH professor and founder of Genesis Consulting, experts in organizational transformation.

In the final half day, I’ll be helping participants apply what they’ve learned to their own organizational challenge project.

I’ll also be your development “tour guide” throughout the entire program. We’ll have time for reflection and journaling, small group and individual coaching, guest speakers, and plenty of networking with other outstanding participants. We might even have a little fun. But not too much. (-:

Programs will be conducted in our brand new, state-of-the-art Paul Collage of Business, with dedicated executive development classrooms, breakouts, and dining. Participants can choose from a number of hotels and inn near our quintessential New England campus and the charming seacoast city of Portsmouth, NH.

Please visit our website to learn more, or email me at daniel dot mccarthy at unh dot com.

I look forward to seeing you in New Hampshire!

Note: In the interests of full disclosure, my day job is the Director of Executive Development Program at UNH, so yes, this is absolutely promotional. However, I believe in and stand behind the program (I designed it) and am excited to promote it!