A journey of education and discovery

10 September 2020

“I am already effectively applying my learning to real-life situations and projects, adding genuine value to strategic outcomes.” Former Executive Diploma participant, Steve Smith, shares his journey on the Organisational Change Diploma

Having worked within new technology start-ups, growing SMBs and large companies, I’ve been involved in continuous change processes of one form or another at a senior finance level for twenty years.

Although over time I’ve become more comfortable tackling and adapting to ambiguity and continuous change, I’ve found falling back on professional experience increasingly limiting as the complexity of projects and their context has increased. The more change initiatives I’ve been involved in the more apparent it has become that the success of all but the simplest change is about the involvement of people – not simply about changing the process or technology!

For significant change to be delivered sustainably, or encouraged to occur organically, the critical importance of including the people element from the very start of a change initiative cannot be underestimated.

It seems so obvious when you say it, yet it’s surprising how infrequently the impact of change on individuals and groups – and by definition the impact of individual and group behaviour on the success of change – is adequately considered by leaders as a core component of change activities. It is astonishing perhaps that this remains the case given the direct consequences this can have on organisational performance.

It was my increased curiosity about the dynamics of change that led me to explore the topic of organisational change from a more rigorous academic perspective. I wanted to dedicate time to study the subject but due to other commitments I didn’t want to over-commit to a period of study that I couldn’t then sustain. I considered but soon discounted more general MBA options as these were spread over too long a period, and I’m already an ACMA (qualified accountant) and didn’t think I’d get the most value from this route. I then looked for a single-year course that focused on change and strategy execution. I discovered a few interesting alternatives, but the Executive Diploma at Warwick Business School ticked all of the boxes for me. It was exactly on-topic, consisted of a modular format that I could commit to, at a globally respected leading business school.

I joined the first cohort in the series of The Warwick Executive Diplomas and although I began the course with some trepidation in terms of whether it would meet expectations, any reservations I had were quickly dispelled. The quality of teaching lecturers; the quality of fellow cohort members; the content and format of the course modules and quality of materials; and of course, the iconic Shard location and facilities cannot be ignored! These were all exceptional.

The course was intellectually stimulating and challenging, and with a stretching but tolerable time commitment outside the classroom, hugely satisfying and rewarding to complete. Taking up just the right amount of course residential time away from the workplace environment provided precious opportunity to absorb and reflect on my learning.

Being a one-year course means an early return on investment is a realistic prospect. I am already effectively applying my learning to real-life situations and projects, adding genuine value to strategic outcomes.

I originally set out on the WBS Executive Diploma in Organisational Change as a journey of discovery and to educate myself on the subject, and I have completed the course with a new-found confidence in this topic – though there is always more to learn! I hoped this would prove to be an invaluable complement to my existing professional skillset, and this has already proved to be the case in practice.

More than this, I’m finding the addition of a ‘Postgraduate Diploma’ in the subject of change and strategy execution to be a differentiating competency. This would be the case in any year but is even more valid in 2020. I highly recommend others to explore the same journey and discover the opportunity it can reveal.

Find out more about The Warwick Executive Diplomas.