Executives assuming general management responsibilities face unique challenges of leading cross-functional teams, defining strategic directions, and making decisions in high-pressure situations.
Developed and led by Professor E. Ralph Biggadike, an authority on general management issues, The General Management Leadership Program was conceived to help cross-functional leaders effectively face these challenges.
Through interactive sessions that include role playing, simulations, and case studies, executives preparing for or already in general management roles get the tools they need to lead more effectively.
General managers face broad responsibilities that challenge even the most talented and effective executives.
The General Management Leadership Program shortens the learning curve by developing the skills needed to achieve excellence as a cross-functional executive.
During the program, you discuss the role of the General Manager with peers from across the world in various industries such as finance, manufacturing, and information technology. You learn how to maximize people and resources, develop a broader understanding of integration across functions, and make accurate projections to enhance your organization's effectiveness and profitability.
Most importantly, you actively practice the skills essential to effective leadership such as questioning, listening, integrating, and communicating, and receive feedback on how to make improvements. You have the opportunity to experiment with new approaches during interactive sessions and to discuss your own professional challenges with the class and faculty. You explore how GMs utilize their emotions in business decisions, manage communications, and shift their view of the organization from working in the trenches to an overall perspective.
The General Management Leadership Program is designed for upper-level to senior-level executives with 10-15 years of experience who seek to advance their ability to lead across functions. This program caters to executives preparing for the role of general manager, those in the process of transitioning to this role, and general managers already serving in this function who seek to expand their skills. Participants come from not only North America, but from all continents and represent industries including automotive, healthcare, media, and manufacturing. Their titles range from executive director to senior vice president of operations to deputy governor. Under Ralph Biggadike’s direction, these executives quickly acquire knowledge that assists them with the challenging and sometimes lengthy transition to this multifunctional role.
Shipping and Transportation: 6%
North America: 34%
Asia Pacific: 21%
South America: 13%
Africa and Middle East: 8%
50 or older: 11%
34 or younger: 7%
Hear from Past Participants:
"This experience was a great opportunity to interact and collaborate with managers from a broad range of countries, functions, and industries. In today's economy leaders are continually faced with new challenges, so it's critical to tap into the knowledge, abilities, and relationships of the team as a whole."
—Todd Walthall, Vice President Channel Management USAA
"Excellent. Very relevant to both my current position and future successful transition to general management."
—Lynda Luppino, VP of Group Sales, The McGraw-Hill Companies
"An excellent preparation for the mind shift required for a transition to a General Manager."
—Aart Hille Ris Lambers, Regional Manager of Business Development, APM Terminals
"This program will definitely help me in my transition to general management. It gave me awareness of the complexity I will be facing but also of the set of skills I will need to be successful."
—Thomas Delignon, Retail Director Japan, Chaumet (LVMH Group)
"Almost no one expected what was coming. It's not fair to blame us for not predicting the unthinkable."
–Daniel H. Mudd, former chief executive, Fannie Mae, NY Times, p.1, 10/05/08, "Pressured to Take More Risk Fannie Mae Reached Tipping Point."
"General Managers operate in a world that has much about it that is unpredictable. Furthermore, most general managers cannot take the attitude of Mr. Mudd. In the program, we discuss how, in a world where much is unpredictable, leaders can make themselves and their organization aware of complexity, even chaos and unpredictability, and give themselves a chance of reaching the best possible decisions."
In the classroom and out, you gain a nuanced perspective on group dynamics and a deeper understanding of the traits, attitudes, and demeanor that leaders of decision-making groups must possess. You learn to build cooperation among departments and provide the strong leadership essential to success as a general manager.
Small-group work allows you to analyze your own business challenges and benefit from the insight of other managers from around the world who share similar situations and transitions.
Summary of Benefits
Foster cross-functional collaboration.
Increase your capacity to think strategically.
Develop an empowering leadership approach.
Strengthen your ability to understand—and manage—change.
Maximize individual and team performance.
Learn to analyze financial statements.
Upon completion of this program, you will earn 13 days towards a Certificate in Business Excellence. Learn more.
Additional Program Faculty
Professor of Professional Practice
Author of Emerging Financial Markets
Associate Professor of Management
Author of Napoleon's Glance:The Secret of Strategy and Strategic Intuition: The CreativeSpark in Human Achievement.
Professor of Management
Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Ethics Fellow
Author of The Feiner Points of Leadership
Chavkin-Chang Professor of Leadership
Other Faculty/Industry Experts
Week 1: Cross-Functional Leadership
The challenge of leading organizations
Understand the dynamics of an organization
Learn how general managers can gain perspective on their organizations
Consensus and conflict-based approaches in decision making
Explore how conflict can impact the quality of decisions and their implementation
Experiencing groups and thinking systemically
Develop a deeper understanding of high-performance leaders
Discover how to lead people to excel
Week 2: Maximizing Performance of Individuals and Departments
Personal case situations and practicum in group leadership
Gain insight into behavior patterns that limit personal effectiveness
Practice putting ideas into action
See how accounting ratios provide valuable clues to business performance
Projections and cash management
Recognize the contrast between equity financing and debt financing
Gain insight into actualizing global strategy and organization development
Cross-Functional Leadership: 50%
Personal and Professional Development: 20%
General managers are rarely alone, so it is essential that they understand group as well as individual dynamics. The program participants spend a significant amount of time understanding the components of this kind of leadership and how current strengths can be developed to serve these new needs. Participants present challenges from their own careers that have involved each of those dynamics. Each participant's case is given two hours of attention and incorporates discussion, analysis and role-playing.
According to Faculty Director Professor E. Ralph Biggadike, "The program sessions that I particularly enjoy are those where we analyze the decision-making process of business, political and military leaders during times of crisis. Sometimes we read cases, other times we have a guest lecturer or screen a film. It is always enlightening to learn how much the success of leaders can be traced to cognitive behavior and to see the results of their performance when gripped by emotions. It is also quite entertaining to experience how things that were thought of as 'just part of a movie' can become an important part of a lively debate."
Columbia Business School Executive Education programs focus on the total executive: finding a balance between your professional life and personal growth. Learn More