By Lisa Brown
The large business schools—Stanford, UCLA, Wharton, Chicago Booth, MIT and others—all have executive development programs in one form or another. But after a student graduates and is in the real world, do companies continue that type of laser focus on leadership planning? The answer is mostly yes, but the methods vary.
Robin Weckesser, founder and principal of a3 Workplace Strategies, has long valued the importance of molding future industry leaders. He says the process starts with recruiting top talent who are the right fit—in other words, they have a balance of character, skillsets and an entrepreneurial thought process.
“Leadership training is particularly important in today’s corporate real estate environment, where the stakes are so high and technology is changing so quickly,” Weckesser says. “Every good manager should nurture their associates to bring out the best in them, maximizing their production and opportunities for the enterprise to thrive. Our job is to create workplaces that will give clients a competitive edge, responding to their cultures and brands and that requires exceptional leadership, dedicated managers and seamless communication.”
In terms of mentoring, Weckesser draws from his teaching experience. “I apply some of the same mentoring techniques that were part of my approach when I was teaching organizational management. I liked to develop learning outcomes through interaction and reaching solutions together with my students, and this applies to my management style today as I promote collaboration with my staff. I also think it’s important to have an open mind and learn from your associates. The learning process is iterative and, as such, the path is often filled with turns, successes and failures. I believe in engaging staff so they feel they are part of the final solution. This contributes to an overall sense of ownership and empowerment.”