A unique learning experience like no other

4 minute read

Saïd Business School’s Leading Strategic Projects Programme was a unique learning experience because the programme content was a unique mix of leadership, strategy and project. My expectations were exceedingly surpassed. The programme stood out for several reasons including the depth of insights of its instructors, the flexible mode of delivery, the practical application of the various concepts, theories and practices presented.

The programme was delivered remotely to a global cohort of participants between November 2021 and January 2022. Some interesting aspects of the programme include lessons on the dimensions of complexity (structural, socio-political and emergent), limitations of the iron triangle, using the complexity assessment tool, the three facets of leadership and the five directions of leadership. Of personal interest was the importance of appreciating the concept of the 'incomplete leader' as well as the power of doubt model and framework.

I advise anyone considering any Executive Education programme at Saïd Business School to be adequately prepared for the rigour and relevance required for their programmes. At the end of each module, the activity submissions must meet specific minimum academic standards of intellectual depth, expression and application required for satisfactory performance on the programme. The real-world application of critical concepts and ideas must be demonstrated. Participants must draw from their reservoir of historical or current experiences.

Personal impact

The programme sharpened my leadership skills by enhancing my ability to quickly identify the different dimensions of complexity around strategic projects, thereby facilitating the development of appropriate containment strategies. The strategic awareness gained from the programme has enabled me to post remarkable results in managing several strategic projects assigned to me, which have become the reason for several commendations.

Following the programme, I am intimately alert to the role of self-leadership and team leadership in the success of every workplace assignment. I foresee challenges that arise due to the structure of a task or the socio-political differences between crucial stakeholders/team members. I am also alert to emergent complexities as projects or assignments evolve, intending to craft appropriate containment measures. My level of strategic awareness has received a significant boost due to my acute sensitivity to the dimensions of potential uncertainties that could emerge in any project or assignment I am charged with.

Organisational impact

During the programme, I drew valuable insights from the experiences of my membership in the 5G spectrum auction committee established in 2021 by my employer, the Nigerian Communications Commission. I had to assess, analyse and strategise for the different dimensions of complexity (structural, socio-political and emergent) encountered in the programme of the work of this Committee.

Following my participation in the programme, I learnt the importance of consensus building amongst critical stakeholders in the success of a project or team. A strategy I frequently deploy in meetings or engagements where I am the team lead is to allow every team member to have a say before myself on all critical issues. This approach enables me to integrate stakeholders' perspectives in my submission which comes at the end of deliberations on each topic. I reflected on my principles of leading strategic projects, realising that my default leadership facet is managerial leadership. In terms of leadership directions, I emphasise self-leadership which implies having clarity of self-purpose, being authentic, building resilience, alignment of practices and adopting a principled approach to engagement with all stakeholders in a strategic project or assignment.

Beyond the classroom

One word that describes my experience with the programme is exceptional. The programme had an outstanding impact on my leadership role within teams and projects. Every ad-hoc project or team leadership role I took after the programme resulted in remarkable outcomes with official commendations within and outside the organisation. All the lessons from the programme were directly and instantly applicable in my workplace setting. It opened new outlook opportunities by unveiling my leadership potential in a complex and evolving work environment.

A post-programme community such as the School's elumni network is vital because it enables participants to connect, share lessons from the programme and explore opportunities for future learning, practical or professional collaborations. It is, therefore, an indispensable platform for personal, mutual and professional development. I strongly recommend programmes being offered by Saïd Business School.

Oxford Leading Strategic Projects Programme