Viewpoint Developing Leaders Issue 27: 2017 | 19 Journalists will “show you the reality, they are going to show you things that you are not even thinking about in terms of shifts in the industry from a technological point of view, or regulatory….” One program FT|IE runs with a large financial services client, starts off with two FT sector specialists reflecting back to the participants what the rest of the industry thinks of their organization and where it is positioned in the rest of the sector. It is the kind of ‘on-the-ground’ view that executives rarely get faced with – and it can lead to uncomfortable conversations – but it opens up the thinking and prepares the ground for real change to occur. “Working with Financial Times journalists as opposed to traditional academics, really creates a very, very interesting environment to think out of the box” says Silveira. Silveira believes that the market for high-end executive education remains robust, “in Germany, in France, and in the UK, the economies are pretty sound. Of course, Brexit creates a double-edged sword for us…. companies are a little bit stunned, but also very concerned about up-skilling and developing their talent as they are in fear of losing their talent to other cities in Europe.” The financial services industry remains FT|IE’s biggest sector and with the continual introduction of new legislation and regulatory environments, alongside the “mandate to be more thorough in terms of ethics and transparency” there is normally “constant growth” to be had. The Middle East is also a constant growth location, though the direction of growth is evolving as the environment changes. With an increased risk in the security situation in the region there is a general exodus of experienced expat executives from Europe and N America which is becoming harder to replace. This lends itself to the furtherance of the Saudization/Emiratization of the workforce that has been taking place from many years – but adds some new urgency to it. “Organizations are becoming more sensitive to [learning] impact. They want to be more creative and more competitive” says Silveira, “the region is in need of endogenous innovation; endogenous talent capabilities. It has mooched off great western talent for a very long time, but this is becoming increasingly complicated from the standpoint of having a very wealthy population that is not really tightly involved in business.” Reflecting on the generous deals that many long-term executive development providers have benefited from in the region, Silveira observes that “they have been very good at selling their MBA’s, selling their executive education to individuals, but in terms of being part of the policy for the development of locals, they haven’t really delivered on those promises of actually helping organizations and the governments and the locals make the big crossing of the Rubicon.” “It’s more about behaviour than skills. I think the mistake global providers located there have made is assume it was more about ‘skilling-up the locals’ than actually about behaviour and mindset shifts. It’s not money that’s going to make the difference, it’s all about legacy; what are they going to leave for the next generation in their countries?” “So it is something that has to be much more endogenous than actually just getting people to learn more about finance or leadership or operations or HR or marketing…. a big “Utilising the Financial Times and their serious journalistic perspective as a prompter of behaviour, as a call-to-arms, as a provocation device is very important”