Winners of the EFMD Global Excellence in Practice Awards have been announced, and this year a customised executive education programme co-designed by Henley Business School and Standard Bank has won Silver for its innovative learning programme designed to develop future-fit African leaders.
HENLEY Business School Africa and Standard Bank Group have been awarded a highly coveted Silver award in the category “Talent Development” at the EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards (EiP) in Brussels. Other winners this year include London Business School and Warwick Business School in the UK, and IMD in Switzerland.
EFMD is the largest international network in the field of management development and includes more than 950 member organisations across 90-plus countries worldwide.
The EiP awards were launched in 2007 to showcase outstanding L&D partnerships with a vision of becoming a global flagship awards programme demonstrating best collaborative practices in the field of executive education.
This year Henley Africa and Standard Bank, who have enjoyed a close working relationship for six years, won the award for their customised leadership programme entitled Acceleration, which forms part of the bank’s future-ready transformation strategy to grow the organisation beyond banking, to a platform business.
“Standard Bank approached Henley because we are well known in the Bank’s environment for being agile, innovative and for showing impact,” says Linda Buckley, Executive Education Director at Henley. “We feel privileged to have been recognised among some of the most prestigious global institutions – these key EFMD initiatives assist us to grow as we raise our own bar in order to be globally relevant.”
One of the primary levers of growth in Africa within the financial and business environment resides in the effective development of people – equipping leaders to be in the right roles at the right time and growing them to harness the capabilities of their teams and propel them to achieve their own and their country’s aspirations.
“Traditionally, the Bank had not hired or promoted internally for key in-country senior leadership positions in the 14 African countries in which it operates – the eventual incumbents often being expats or external appointments. Invested effort was also required to improve on the gender split at senior levels,” explains Mei-lene Els, the programme’s key driver and Senior Learning Partner for Business and Commercial Clients (BCC) Segments at Standard Bank.
The intention of the programme was to develop potential successors and to grow the Bank’s leaders to fulfil their potential and build a local talent pipeline in Africa regions in order to enable a sustainable model of in-country execution.
Henley and Standard Bank fine-tuned a design for delegates from 14 African countries. Five contact blocks were devised, incorporating the themes identified for the growth and development of African future-fit leaders, to be facilitated by best-in-class providers and the Bank’s own experts. Henley seamlessly directed and integrated the programme, while integrating eight additional providers and internal banking experts, ensuring a well-constructed, tailor-made and innovative learning journey.
The programme, expertly managed by Programme Director Dr Puleng Makhoalibe, was a huge success, both for delegates and the Bank. Of the 40 delegates, 13 were promoted into senior leadership roles (of which 40% were Black women). Those who were not promoted were either moved into relevant lateral roles, or newly created positions.
“The Acceleration programme was a culmination of the ingenuity of two institutions that care deeply about Africa and its growth,” says Makhoalibe. “The depth of thinking and engagement, the relationships built through laughter, the cultural curiosity and sharing were epic. It was a truly African programme uniting leaders to take the Bank and the continent forward,” says Makhoalibe.
“The impact of what we discovered was greater than we could ever have imagined. We no longer had to look for talent as that talent was ready and the pipeline was strong,” says Els. “Together with Henley we co-created a life-changing journey.”
“The opportunity to work with Standard Bank as a partner on our co-designed programmes is always a privilege,” says Buckley. “Most importantly though is that the delegates at the heart of the study have seen huge benefits from this learning experience – promotions into executive roles, movements into new and different roles and real personal growth.”
“This award is a great honour,” says Dean and Director of Henley Africa, Jon Foster-Pedley. “It shows how African business schools are now excelling on the world stage. I am proud of our teams, and our partner Standard Bank, for their inventiveness and depth of leadership.”