Group's 15-month programme aims to develop managers into leaders who can drive change Flora Chan is meeting many participants on the New World Star Executive Development Programme for the first time despite having worked for Hong Kong-listed New World Development for close to a decade. 'The content of the course is like a mini-MBA but the participants are all from different businesses within the group, making this an invaluable opportunity for senior managers to mingle and share their experiences,' said Ms Chan, executive director of New World Strategic Investment, New World Development's private equity business. 'This is a good opportunity to get to know people who are part of the same group. In working for the same group, it is important to have the same culture and values.' The 15-month programme, delivered in partnership with the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, aims to train the group's senior executives to take up leadership positions, strengthen their drive to lead change and enhance their management skills. The seven modules address issues such as leadership and change management, executive communication and presentation skills, how to lead high-performance teams, strategic analysis and action, successful negotiation, strategic marketing planning and management of financial performance and resources. Ms Chan said what she appreciated most was the opportunity to be introspective and to take a breather from day-to-day operations. 'A manager and a leader are quite different,' she said. 'We may be good at execution but there is rarely a chance to sit back and think about the implications of being a leader. We are just too busy with daily operations and too focused on meeting budgets and targets. 'People might typically think about career and self-development on their own, but it's rather unusual for one to focus on aspects like change and leadership. 'That's how a programme like this can really guide you through the thinking process to addressing these broader themes.' The significance of embarking on the course during a period of economic downturn has not been lost on the group's senior management. 'In the current economic climate, such a programme is more important than ever before,' said Adrian Cheng, executive director of New World Development Company. 'Our employees will face much adversity in the coming year and this training will help to equip them to think more positively and with the courage to face change.'