By Raymond Smith
Executive Education at the Darla Moore School of Business basically has two approaches to helping busy executives get better at what they do.
One is the Open Enrollment approach. We have an extensive menu of courses that are open to individuals, teaching a wide variety of skills designed for the general business population. Sign up for one of those courses, and you will learn valuable skills sitting next to people from a wide variety of industries and organizations.
We’re very proud of the seminars, workshops, conferences and other programs we offer on an open-enrollment basis. But maybe your company needs something special to help you deal with a challenge unique to your organization, from a vexing problem to an opportunity you’re not sure how to engage successfully. Then, you need something not on the usual menu.
That’s where our Custom Solutions come into play. We create a program just for your organization. That’s where things get really interesting.
How do we do that?
First, we get to know your specific situation thoroughly. We want to speak with all the people who can best tell us all we need to know about your specific need. All those “C” people, and anyone else who can help complete the picture. We ask such questions as:
- What does your company do? Sometimes this is obvious, of course, but not always.
- What’s the direction in which you are going, and where do you want to go?
- What do your people need in order for you to get there?
We then start thinking:
- We know where the gap is.
- We know what these people need to be developed to where they can fill that gap.
- How can we teach that so they learn?
That’s not always simple. It’s not a matter of just coming to the Moore School, sitting in a classroom and behaving yourself while the faculty speaks. The approach will be more hands-on, more participatory, and will be designed specifically to most effectively communicate just what you need.
It’s not just us teaching and you learning. This is a partnership between the Darla Moore School and your company.
The needs we might address through Custom Solutions can be wide-ranging. For instance:
Your greatest need might be to develop the next generation of leaders for your organization. This involves identifying the people likely to play those roles in the future, and then making sure they learn what they need to know to fulfill their promise.
Or perhaps you already have a clear plan for where your company needs to grow, and the challenge is having all the right people fully understand how to execute that strategy in order to get the results you seek. We’re not there to determine what the strategy might be. We might make observations, but the plan is yours.
Perhaps you have a finance program in place but not everyone is doing his or her part to achieve it. We can help them thoroughly understand their financial goals. Then, when everyone with a budget follows the plan, the program can achieve its potential.
This isn’t just about picking up some information and getting a piece of paper that testifies to it. We work with you to make sure it’s translated into action. First, we involve higher-ups from the start. If I’m your boss, I need to know what you’re learning and how it fits with our goals.
Once we put the plant in the soil, we look to see how you can keep it growing. We talk to you about how to do that, offering specifics. Your people are learning something that needs to be practiced to become embedded. Everyone needs to be on board. If someone is going to say, “No, no, no, we don’t do it like that around here,” we need to talk about that, so that you get the return on investment you were seeking when you came to us.
We like a challenge, and we love helping you solve yours. Talk to us at Executive Education. We’ll work with you to make it happen.
Ray Smith is the former associate dean Executive Education at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. He continues to collaborate with ExecEd on special projects and Custom Solutions designs.