27 August 2014 16:51

One of the UK’s most successful business management development programmes has been upgraded by Lancaster University.

Following a decade of success in helping owners and managers to grow businesses across the UK, Lancaster University Management School is to enhance its successful LEAD programme.

LEAD, a ten-month leadership and management development intervention for owner-managers has supported more than 3,000 small-and-medium sized enterprise (SME) owners, creating over 10,000 jobs. In an independent evaluation, participants reported post- LEAD turnover growth rates of 13.8 per cent, and employment growth of 16.8 per cent per annum.

The new version of the programme, called ‘LEAD 2 Innovate’, takes advantage of recent conceptual insights and academic research excellence from Lancaster University Management School, such as Ricardo Zozimo’s work on Observational Learning and has a greater focus on developing innovation – a key driver of business growth.

LEAD 2 Innovate, which will be delivered for the first time from this October, will also be more applied than its predecessor. Delegates will participate in five skill-specific workshops and they will be expected to implement the skills they learn on their own business, while receiving critical feedback from their peers.

The enhanced programme also benefits from experience gleaned from the delivery of other leadership development programmes run by Lancaster University Management School’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development.

Ian Gordon, programme director of LEAD 2 Innovate, said: “LEAD has been an excellent programme with a strong record of helping business leaders to deliver growth and employment.

“However, now that the programme is ten years old there is a benefit to upgrading it. We are having a step-change, rather than a piecemeal change, and we are adding value by incorporating many of the things we have learned as one of the UK’s leading business schools over the last decade.

“We want delegates to enact solutions directly within their own organisations. We help this process by creating a supportive network of people with high levels of trust that provide peer to peer analysis, criticism and feedback.

“LEAD 2 Innovate is not just about developing the essential soft skills of you as a leader, like LEAD did, but also looking at the strategy of their business and specifically addressing the general theme of innovation, which is critical to continued business growth.”

The programme’s workshops will also specifically look at selling, finance and people management – key skills for any organisation.

There will also be a series of five inspirational master-classes to provide additional motivation. Previous master-classes have been delivered by people such as Sir Chris Bonington, and Olympic coach Frank Dick.

Lancaster University has a nationally-leading reputation for working with UK SMEs. Since 1998, the university has worked with more than 5,000 SMEs to help provide economic growth. This year Lancaster University received a Small Business Charter Gold Award – one of only three - in recognition of the role it has played in helping to kick-start British enterprise.

The publication of Sir Andrew Witty’s report in 2013 ‘Encouraging a British Invention Revolution’ identified Lancaster as a top university in terms of the number of interactions with SMEs. An external review of Lancaster’s ERDF projects revealed Lancaster boosted the economy by £15.8 for each pound received – almost double the national average of £8.7.

More information about LEAD 2 Innovate is available by visiting http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/lums/business/business-growth/programmes/lead2innovate/