27th February 2017
The Five People you’ll meet at our Accelerating Executive Presence Program
After seven years, 25 programs and 230 participants, Harold Hillman and I have seen some patterns emerge in the people who come along to our highly regarded Accelerating Executive Presence (AEP) program. We’ve maintained an incredibly consistent score of 90% of the participants rating it ‘Excellent’ and as ‘The best Executive Development program they’ve attended’, so we know it’s a great experience.
But what type of people come along and get so much from that experience? Well, we’ve thought about this and have come to the conclusion that there are five types of people you might meet if you came along as a participant. They are:
1. The reluctant doubter
We’ve seen the type. Their organisation has sent them along without much preparation. “This is a great program and we want you to go along” says their Manager. It doesn’t take long (usually in the afternoon of day one) before they realise there might be some value in spending five days in a great location with stimulating company, reflecting on themselves. By day three, they’re telling us how much they’re loving it, and wish they’d have come to the program sooner. And yes, by then they’ve figured out why they’re there, and they’re usually really grateful for attending. The reluctant doubter becomes the strong advocate.
2. The confused next-stepper
Every now and then, we all need some time out to get away, and to think about our situation and ourselves. It’s great when one of our Accelerating Executive Presence programs coincides with this time in one’s life. For some people, the program has given them the thinking space and opportunity to dialogue with others, to work their way through a tough decision – “Will I take that new job?” “Do I change my priorities?” “How do I become a different person?”.
In most cases, these people find they’re not the only ones thinking that way, and usually, they discover an insight about themselves or their situation that wasn’t so obvious. The next steps start to come into focus.
3. The keen bungy-jumper
I’m sure you’ve seen the type too. They put the bungy-line on their leg, walk to the edge of the platform and just take the plunge. They are the ones who are up for anything, and give themselves to the program and all it can offer. They maximise the opportunity to engage, seeking to extract all the value they can from the facilitators, the external coaches we bring in, and the other participants.
By the end of the week they’re typically exhilarated – exhausted and spent, but chomping at the bit to get back to their normal lives and get started on something (whatever that something is).
4. The about-to-blossom star
This participant is probably the type we get the most satisfaction from seeing attend AEP. Our experience tells us they are more likely to be women, and they typically are very capable, authentic and likeable – at least that’s what most people around them think. Trouble is, they don’t think it themselves. For some reason or another, they’ve developed the wrong picture in their heads, lost their confidence or simply forgotten to give themselves the permission to be great. Often, it’s a voice from their past – a parent, a boss or a relation – that needs to be silenced.
The coach replaces the critic in their head over the five days at AEP, and suddenly they believe in themselves like others do. It’s such a gratifying thing to see, and makes our role as designers and facilitators of the program just so great.
5. The tightly-wound searcher
In the film “City Slickers”, Billy Crystal’s character Mitch goes on a cattle drive with his friends, encouraged by his wife to go and find his smile. He meets Curly (played by the wonderful, since deceased Jack Palance), a wizened old cowboy. He calls Mitch a tightly wound city slicker, coming out to the wilderness to find the meaning of life. So Curly tells Mitch the meaning of life. “It’s just one thing”. “But what is that one thing?” Mitch asks. “That’s for you to figure out” replies Curly.
When the Mitches of the world come to AEP, they start to figure out what that one thing is – often it’s the importance of their family, to be a better person at work, or to be a better friend, boss or parent. Oh, and like Mitch, they often find their smiles again during the five days.
We only have the last spots available for our next Accelerating Executive Presence (AEP) program. It’s in Sydney from May 29 to June 2. Alternatively, there will be a program in Auckland in August. We’re likely to have some doubters, searchers, stars and next-steppers among the eight participants sitting there on day one. Perhaps you’d like to come along and fill one of these roles, or create a sixth type? Everyone has their story, and we love to hear them at AEP.
Glen Petersen & Harold Hillman
Co-founders and Facilitators, Accelerating Executive Presence (AEP) Program