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Rhodri Lewis

Executive Management Programme

How did you choose the Henley Executive Management Programme? (EMP)

‘I’d been interested in doing some non-legal CPD at this stage of my career, and had been looking at a few courses. When I saw the EMP programme details, it seemed to tick all the boxes and suit the senior management role I am in. Having previously worked in the City, I knew of Henley’s reputation for excellence. So I spoke to the people there, and it seemed like a no-brainer.’

What were your expectations, and how did the reality differ?

‘To be honest, I’d always wondered whether Henley might be a bit elitist, but it was anything but. It was, however, a good deal more intensive than I’d expected! The first week, in particular, was really full-on, but I was pleasantly surprised at how practical so much of it was. And as a lawyer, I wasn’t expecting to learn so much that I could use back in the office.’

Looking back on the programme, what were the highlights?

‘The quality of the teaching was exceptional, so despite the long days, we always felt that we were being taught by world leaders in their fields. Peter Hawkins’ session on engagement was especially memorable – a real lightbulb moment for me.

‘The other things that made a real impact were the importance of a clear strategy, motivating the team, helping them to help you to frame your priorities, and the value of milestones. I could see exactly how I could apply the lessons in my day-to-day role.

'I enjoyed meeting those who were also on the course. We were a diverse group, from many different backgrounds, but we seemed to hit it off really quickly and there were plenty of light-hearted moments!’

So what impact did it have when you went back to work?

‘I was really enthused, and implemented a process to set my team’s priorities, but very much in an inclusive and engaging way. I asked all the team to go away and present their ideas back to me. There were a few raised eyebrows at first, but it clearly got them all thinking, and they grasped the ownership of the ideas. It made me realise that we’d been too directive as an organisation before.

‘We also focused on what improvements we could make, and how we could measure them. This provided some tangible results; the team is more motivated, more responsible, much more self-starting, and they can all see exactly how and where they fit in to the overall business strategy.

‘We’ve redefined what our organisation’s values mean to my team, and I’ve tried to empower my team so that we’re more agile. The EMP has given me the tools to step up, too. I think much more deeply and broadly about strategy, delegation and accountability, and I’m more determined – and confident – about achieving my career goals. And even outside of work, I’m applying some of the learning. I coach my son’s under-7’s football team, and I apply lots of the ideas in the way I handle the parents and other coaches!'

So what would you say to anyone considering the Henley EMP?

‘I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone, and already have done. I know it’s always a challenge to fit a residential course like this around work and family commitments, but the people, the facilities, the resources, the support – they all make Henley such a special place, and one that gives you so much in return if you are prepared to invest the effort.’

Find out more about the Executive Management Programme