Testimony from Phil Hanson, IfM University of Cambridge

Manufacturing Leaders Programme
Institute for Manufacturing. University of Cambridge

MLP was a two-year part-time Masters Programme for aspiring chief executives in the manufacturing sector.  Typically, mid-career, the participants would be at a senior level in their professional skill area and likely to make their next career move into general management. Each participant was selected and sponsored by their employer.

Three residential modules at Cambridge and a study tour were the basis of the teaching programme. In-company projects were undertaken between modules.  Inevitably there was a strong focus on leadership and business strategy. The participants enjoyed a degree of personal mentoring throughout the two years.

Within the leadership syllabus, Etsko taught the “care and growth model” over two days.

It is fair to say that the ideas came as something of a revelation to the attendees, most of whom had twenty years of experience of prescriptive, task-oriented management. The impact it made was both remarkable and lasting. I remember personally thinking how much I would have benefited had I been exposed to these ideas at the same stage in my own business life. I recall seeing the students going through a significant paradigm shift in their understanding. It was a way of working that contradicted much of their work-life experience. Even the most sceptical were convinced. “Care and growth” became an integral piece of the course vocabulary from that point onwards. The effect was the same in each cohort.

Cohort six chose to put “care and growth” at the centre of the hypothesis for their study tour in Denmark and Sweden.  In visiting leading companies and interviewing business leaders, they were able to discern powerful examples that demonstrated the importance of care and growth as foundational for business excellence. They made an impassioned case for care and growth to the invited audience in their end-of-study-tour debrief.

The dissertation required of each student would inevitably, at some point, reflect on ‘care and growth’ in their own work context.  There can be no doubt that these students internalised care and growth as instinctively right in a way that would stay with them permanently.  The long-term impact of all this is a set of leading international businesses with advocates for care and growth in general management positions, each of whom can lead by example and create a culture in which care and growth is the normal way of working.


Phil Hanson
Former Co-Director of MLP

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