Personal development as a strategic managers assignment
Christian Bucheli, executive director at SIX Payment Services, always associated a strategy program as being mainly about tools, frameworks and methodologies – the tactical aspects of strategy development. He never expected personal development to be incorporated so prominently into such a program at a top business school. Yet it was this aspect of IMD's Advanced Strategic Management program (ASM) that has been most impactful from his perspective.
"This personal development emphasis was completely unexpected but extremely valuable, " he said.
Bucheli was looking for a refresher strategy course following a 2012 restructuring at SIX Payment Services (provider of secure cashless payments to financial institutions and merchants). As a result, he was promoted from his role leading business development to being the head of strategy and mergers and acquisitions. He chose IMD because of its reputation, the positive experiences he heard from his colleagues and his interest to learn with an international cohort from different backgrounds and industries. Even before he stepped into the IMD classroom, Bucheli was thinking through personal development issues as part of the program.
"Before we officially started ASM, we were asked to think through what we wanted to achieve from a personal perspective. We had to narrow this assignment down as the program progressed. The majority of participants changed their focus throughout the three weeks. What they thought was important for achievement changed because of new insights – and these changes often times were significant."
For Bucheli, the end goal he articulated at the outset of the program was to build a sustainable long-term growth strategy for his business that was aligned with his personal values and aspirations. Group work, assignments and particularly a two-day personal development retreat in the Swiss mountains enabled him to crystallize how he needed to move forward to reach this goal.
"Before the program, this was all fuzzy to me, " he recollected. "It became clearer as I went along. I was able to get a much better picture of how I needed to organize the team internally, put together a legal structure, best serve target markets and think through the financials."