Sunday, September 26, 2010

Advanced Management Programme

For 6 days of last week I was on a residential Advanced Management course run by the Australian Institute of Management and the University of Western Australia. It started on Sunday at 10am and finished on Friday at 4pm and there wasn't a lot of time off in between. They told us about the importance about work-life balance but warned us that it wouldn't be demonstrated during the course.

Sunday: Started with introductions and a team exercise (building a lego tower in our syndicate groups - My syndicate group started off as a challenge- 5 male engineers and me. I was worried that it was going to be a very long week with this group). Following this we had a couple of leadership sessions. We were also introduced to our case study for the group assignment. Mine was BP and Global Climate Change.
After returning to the hotel we had 30min free time and then it was a formal dinner with David Wirrapanda as our guest speaker. We were asked to fast after dinner for blood tests for Monday morning.

Monday: Started with reviewing the case study and making notes at 5am, then blood tests at 6.30am, breakfast at the hotel and then back at Uni by 8.30. We had strategic thinking sessions and a number of group activities. Monday was also a nice lunch at Matilda Bay Restaurant. We had about 30 min of personal time on Monday afternoon, then back to it. Syndicate case study discussions, strategic leadership, a bbq dinner at the university and then an executive health session. 5am to 9pm today.

Tuesday: It was a group exercise session first and then another full day at uni. Topics were Strategic Finance, strategy and more syndicate case study discussion. We also got the results of our change questionnaire and no surprises... I still have a preference towards more structured change processes :-) This shouldn't surprise any of you at all. At the end of the day we had 30 min spare time to get ready for dinner which was at the UWA Club with Colin Becket from the Gorgon Gas project as a guest speaker.

Wednesday: This was the shortest day of the lot, just 7am through to 5.45pm (managing human capital and strategic marketing). I did have a swim in the hotel pool to wake up and try and get a bit more energised the 20 m lengths made me really dizzy while tumble turning. There was nothing planned for dinner and most on the course were having their partners join them for the evening. Unfortunately Jason could only stop in briefly on his way to water polo but it was nice seeing him all the same. By this stage most on the course were feeling pretty tired, as I was. I had intended to do another exercise session, but when it got round to it I had a massage in the hotel spa instead and it was the best choice. Following that I had room service for dinner and it was an early night for me.

Thursday: This was going to be the biggest day of the lot. We had to finish our syndicate assignment and presentation for Friday. By this stage our group was working quite well and I was strategically leading from behind. Just doing little things to keep them going but not being an overt leader as they didn't respond well to that. We had another couple of strategic thinking sessions, then a negotiation skills session. We applied the negotiation skills in an exercise which I did well at (surprising me). We had some personal time allocated after lunch but my group decided to work through on our presentation. The afternoon session was a health de-brief, my fasting glucose, cholesterol and iron levels were all normal. Others had a few shocks though. Finally we had 4 hours to finish the presentations. During this time each member was taken out for an hour session with an executive coach where we went through some 360 degree analysis. Finally at 10pm we were done and the bus was there to take us back to the hotel.

Friday: The day of presentations. Ours was last so I had the nervous wait watching all the other fantastic presentations. However, ours was also a resounding success and we had VERY good feedback. So all in all a success. The rest of the day consisted of personal and group learning reflection. The group learning reflection was very innovative, with an interpretive acting/musical group playing out what we had learnt or achieved during the week. A fun way to do it. Finally there were the group awards- I got Ms Conscientious reflecting the extra group work I did to keep it all running.

So all in all it was a great week, tiring but great. I was very pleased to get home at the end of the week and very pleased to have a three day weekend.

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