Today’s mistake makes a better strategy tomorrow

‘Transformative Leadership for Future Challenges’ was the inspiring theme of 2021’s second residential week, taking place in the sunny city of Barcelona (Spain) from August 30 until September 3. Eleven students of MaastrichtMBA participated in this week, that was organized by EADA Business School of Barcelona. Topics on the agenda: negotiation strategies, cultural diversity, conflict management, digital transformation, responsible leadership and sustainability.

The residential week allows students to exercise and experiment with tools and techniques that support them in implementing plans in their team or organisation. In addition, it offers students unique opportunities to develop their soft skills, apply them in their working environment and become a better manager. But of course, they are also lots of fun. Especially, after a long period of online education and when taking place in Barcelona!

Like meeting a celebrity for the first time

Kelly Stals (34), Dutch national, currently living and working in New York city, reflects on an inspiring and fruitful week. “I loved every minute of it. The group was very inclusive, energetic and creative. For me, this was the first residential week and also the kick-off for the MaastrichtMBA programme. I can’t think of a better way to get to know my fellow students before starting the classes.” “I couldn’t agree more”, Kris Scott (37) says. Kris is British/Australian and lives in Schiedam. “I have participated in various online elements of MBA programme. It was fantastic to finally meet everyone face to face. The same goes for meeting and spending time with the MaastrichtMBA staff. A great experience all around.” Jon Manka, American and living in Amsterdam laughs: “Meeting people I previously only knew from my laptop screen felt a bit like meeting a celebrity for the first time. Exciting and great.”

Assignments addressing current issues

The residential weeks’ programme was filled with lectures, exercises and assignments. All addressing current issues and challenges. How did the students experience the assignments?

Kris: “My team had to investigate the Taxation of Google by the French government. We had to approach this situation as a negotiation, considering the interests of key stakeholders and proposing a roadmap to a solution. Very interesting.”  “Our group had to prepare and present the outcome of a negotiation between vaccinated and unvaccinated EU residents in the form of a European Commission decision for the creation of a document (‘vaccine passport’) to enable restriction free travel”, Kelly says. Jon’s group had to present a hypothetical negotiation scenario about refugees and asylum seekers form Afghanistan and the European response. “A complex topic, but a useful exercise to apply the negotiation frameworks we learned.”

Key takeaways

Key takeaways of the residential week? Jon: “The awareness that the impact of digital transformation and the pandemic has accelerated change and forces businesses to seek outside perspectives and counsel to challenge assumptions and increase performance.” Kris’ main takeaway is that despite challenges to traditional business models and other radical changes taking place in the world, there is still a place for strategy. “Constantly adapting, being innovative and incorporating sustainability is key.” Kelly: “The dynamics of transformation touch everything in both our business and personal lives, fundamentally changing how we need to approach business strategy and leadership to face change and disruption.”

Negotiation skills

What will Kelly, Kris and Jon do differently, going back to work after the residential week? In other words, which skills have they developed? Kelly: “I am in a better position to connect the dots between developments and trends, the need for personal and professional agility and resilience, as well as empathy, flexibility and pragmatism.” Kris particularly has learned a lot about negotiation. “It was valuable to work through the whole negotiation process and I now better understand the importance of preparation for a negotiation.” “I feel better prepared to set up my team for success in negotiations”, Jon concludes. “I am also more aware that in business you should benefit from your mistakes. So that today’s mistake makes for a better strategy tomorrow.”

 

This article present a recap of the EuroMBA Online residential week on Transformative Leadership for Future Challenges at EADA, Barcelona. Our EuroMBA Online track has a blended format, both face-to-face as online and is part of the executive modular part-time MaastrichtMBA programme. The programme has a Triple Crown accreditation and is aimed for professionals with at least 5 years of working experience.