Introduction

Question … has the executive education giant that appears to have been sleeping for the past twenty years or so finally awakened?  A recent article in the house magazine of the Institute of Directors (Director, March 2014) appears to think that, at least some of these somnambulant institutions appear to be rousing from their slumbers. Apparently the surprising thing is that soft skills are equally as important to business leaders in the 21st Century as technical ability! Here “softer skills” are defined as including engagement, values and ethics, sustainability and a more inclusive approach to business and the IoD wonders whether providers of business education and leadership development programmes can deliver this new approach. It does seem, according to the article, that at least a few of the UK’s business schools have set their alarms earlier than others and are even including “Personal Development Plans” within their courses to encourage participants to identify the softer skills that will enable them to achieve personal goals. What I, as someone who has been involved in leadership development for some 20 years and who is working for  an organisation that has been delivering Leadership Development and related behavioural change for over thirty years, am most amazed at here is the amount of surprise that is contained within the article.
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