This is week two in a three-week series of blogs about executive education. In “And Now, Something Completely Different,” one of the many articles published in The Wall Street Journal about this topic, there is a list of innovative, or unusual, EMBA programs.!@!
At a few schools, executives try their hand at improvisation when they do a one-word story, where each individual adds a word to an ongoing narrative. In this experience, executives learn about leadership, team-building, innovation and creativity. At the Columbia Business School, participants, who aren’t briefed ahead of time, are taken to a large kitchen and asked to prepare dinner. Teams work at different stations to bone fish, prepare lamb chops or cut and peel veggies. This environment is all about collaborative work. My favorite idea is the horse farm visit at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler school, where executives work with the horses to coax them into performing specific activities. They learn how their outward behavior directly affects the horse. And lastly, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, executives use poetry to learn about communication. They do reading and writing exercises and then discuss how the lessons learned from the poetry transfer over to the workplace.
An unusual experience deepens the learning process. For instance, visiting a horse farm isn’t something you just forget the next day. It’s an experience that stays with you, and as a result the lessons learned also stay with you. We should mine these university programs for ideas that we can use in our own organizations.
Do any of you have creative and unusual learning programs in place?
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