Some academic references to face continuous training 1

In my capacity as president of the AEEN I have been taking a quick tour of some of the international programs that prestigious universities and business schools dedicate to continuing education. Therefore, I am going from the current programs that Harvard University has at its disposal for this type of training, in its Division of Continuing Education”.

The intellectual exercise that I propose to our readers of all the news and information that we give from the AEEN website, is very simple: give a reply so that in this way it serves both students, teachers, researchers, managers, businessmen, etc. We are going to the first course “Becoming a Leader: Developing Your Style and Making Sound Decisions”.

The promotion of this course highlights certain benefits, such as:

– Become aware of the preferences, leadership styles and blind spots that both candidates and others have. We find it very eloquent that one of the benefits refers to the awareness of preferences, naturally framed in the variety of leadership styles that exist. But that, in addition, highlights how useful the student to realize the black holes (he calls them blind spots) that both the candidates and the rest of the people who are either in the academic or business world have. Another of the benefits that are indicated and that for this program is considered essential is:

– Learn the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership and decision-making, especially cognitive biases and the illusion of rationality. For this, this program indicates that the curricular contents focus on:

– Bases of power and influence throughout an organization.

– Awareness of individual preferences and leadership styles as a tool to become a more effective leader.

– Situational leadership throughout his career.

– Leadership and better decision making through emotional intelligence.

– Tools to manage oneself and others in times of increased pressure.

From the AEEN we ensure that we support the work that all our associates carry out by constantly updating the programs of our associated schools and it is something that has been taken care of during all these years. Hence, the inputs that regarding continuous training come to us from world-leading training centers, we take them very seriously. Now, the main conclusion that we draw from this relevant program of the Harvard Continuing Education Division is that the weight of the topics is focused on leadership styles and soft skills nucleated from emotional intelligence. Very well, our readers may wonder what is an obvious observation. Of course it is. But the question we must look at is from another perspective, why this insistence on leadership styles and emotional intelligence is due, as well as why this program tops a list of other 21 active programs at the moment, on different approaches to leadership.

For example, the one titled Behavioral Decision Making or Building Organizational Cultures: A Framework for Leaders. In both there are contents that are already being treated in the first one of which we are doing this analysis, but the angle of view changes, because it speaks of behavioral decision-making or the framework that leaders exercise to build organizational cultures. From the perspective of leadership, these three programs that we are addressing so far are different visions and applications of leadership. In other words, the concern of the Harvard Continuing Education Division is eminently centered on what appears to be an overwhelming lack of leadership training at different levels of organizations and in society in general.

This should not attract our attention either. But this Harvard Division fulfills its social duty to be capturing the needs that society, organizations and institutions demand. This is so clear. Because, contrary to the sensu, the reality that we have experienced, for example, in the leadership for a year and a half of fighting the countries of the world against Covid-19, put in the spotlight the reaction capacity of governments and institutions against to the pandemic. The reaction to a problem (the same to a challenge) is a matter of analysis in leadership as a discipline. But when, despite the fact that during the last ten years, to say a number, hundreds of thousands of professionals around the world have joined the managerial and professional world, the scientific and technological world, and from now on to the field of politics. It seems that the capacities in terms of applied leadership, the day-to-day action to solve problems and make decisions, the necessary capacity to lead people and organizations, is below what it is supposed to be. Undoubtedly, there is a gap between the levels of training and those of application of knowledge.

For this reason, we who from the AEEN are defenders of continuous training, will continue to demand that our activity be perfectly recognized not only by society, which in fact has been doing it for years and by each of the business schools that comprise it, but of the institutions and authorities. Because just like the Harvard Continuing Education Division is doing, we have been working and we will also continue with very similar programs because, in fact, a generational change in the management of companies, institutions, etc. has to take place in these years. And in the same way as the Harvard Division, we are convinced that it will be necessary to continue insisting on leadership styles and emotional competencies, training and educating new generations of professionals at a very high level in soft skills, as well as the techniques that they are supposed to handle you almost perfectly, be it budgeting, strategic planning, marketing, finance, etc.

Other Harvard Continuing Education topics

Continuing with this journey, let’s now look at another amazing course that is Building Personal Resilience: Strengthening Your Mental Agility, of which the Continuing Education Division also highlights the benefits.

Between them refers to:

– Examine patterns of thought that undermine our effectiveness and our ability to recover.

– Practice and reformulate our thinking in a way that allows resilience.

– Create an action plan to increase mental alertness.

To achieve this objective (the benefits exposed for the attendees) you must delve into these curricular contents:

– Resilience and mental agility.

– Growth mindset.

– Fixed-minded traps.

– Thinking traps.

– Apply resilience in real time.

It is clearly a very sui generis program because it indicates that those who should enroll are professionals of all levels who want to increase their confidence in their ability to stay focused and participate productively in times of stress and challenge. We must clarify that the origin of therapeutic programs for resilience have been mainly due to people with post-traumatic stress, after an accident, loss of loved ones, but very especially, it has been applied to refugees from war zones and conflict.

Of course, it is good news that it is incorporated as a normal continuous training program, for the current time in which we are developing a very particular war against Covid-19, which has disrupted all the operational structures and procedural protocols of organizations private, public and other institutions of all countries. It has occurred in recent months, we have seen it at the local level in Spain, thousands and thousands of inquiries about problems of depression, anxiety, lack of sleep, etc., which has been caused by the instability and uncertainty derived from the pandemic.

Antonio Alonso, president of the AEEN (Spanish Business School Association) and general secretary of EUPHE (European Union of Private Higher Education)