The evolution of AIM to the Institute of Managers and Leaders is a step into chartered territory. BY DAVID PICH FIML
Throughout June 2017 and after the announcement of the launch of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, I embarked on a road trip to meet with Members.
This tour took in major capital cities and regional areas. I was delighted to be accompanied by Ann Messenger, the national chair, and local board directors.
In total, I visited 18 locations and conducted 24 communication sessions. In addition, I delivered three webinars to Members who were unable to get to one of the face-to-face sessions. All of the meetings were lively and passionate. The commitment of our Members, and their personal investment in their professional body, is perhaps the single biggest source of pride I have in leading this great organisation.
I arranged to have one of the sessions recorded. This is available for viewing inside the Member portal at managersandleaders.com.au.
During and after each session I took questions from the floor and these were insightful, probing and, at times, challenging. There were some key themes among the many questions asked. These are detailed below — in fact they represent the six factors that drove the rebrand and the launch of the Institute of Managers and Leaders. I’m delighted to outline them here and I thank each Member who has written to me and those who came along to one of the meetings.
1. Were Members consulted during the rebrand process?
Yes. The rebrand was fully tested over eight months in focus groups around Australia. A random selection of 220 Members were consulted under strict non-disclosure conditions. In face-to-face workshops they were asked if they would support the rebrand of AIM. A detailed presentation and robust discussion process followed. The results were:
• Members who supported a rebrand before the discussion: 10 per cent.
• Members who supported a rebrand after the discussion: 100 per cent.
• Members who wanted more information: 90 per cent.
2. Was management questioned and challenged about the rebrand?
Yes. The leadership team researched the rebrand for almost 15 months. This research included conversations with universities, potential partners and Members. In July last year I met with the Chartered Management Institute in the UK as well as a UK university that has rolled out the accreditation program. The new strategy, including the rebrand, was presented to the board on numerous occasions during this time. Rightly so it has been scrutinised, questioned, picked apart and interrogated. The business case for the rebrand was first presented to the AIM board in October 2016 and it has been a dedicated agenda item at all board meetings since that time.
3. Has the higher education accreditation model been tested?
Yes. It’s been presented under strict non-disclosure to eight universities. In all cases it was presented to the leadership teams or to the deans of the business schools. We’ve been told that engagement with a professional body that is focused on management and leadership graduates and undergraduates is missing and has been for many years. The dean of one leading business school said, “We’ve waited 20 years for a professional body to offer an accreditation pathway to our management students”.
4. Has the Chartered Manager designation been researched? Yes. Chartered Manager is the global gold standard for individual management and leadership accreditation. The royal charter for managers and leaders is held by the Chartered Management Institute in the UK. We investigated the development of our own designation. This would have been very costly and taken a significant amount of time. In any case, partnership with other professional bodies is both sensible and prudent. Chartered Manager (CMgr) gives the Institute’s Members the opportunity to take up an internationally recognised designation that is assessed locally here in Australia. We view this as a significant additional benefit to our Members.
‘Our Members’ continued commitment to the Institute is truly humbling.’
5. Why couldn’t this new individual and university accreditation model be launched under the AIM brand? AIM is a widely known and highly respected training and education brand. It has operated in the education space since its inception in 1941. AIM has a business school and an MBA. All of this means that, in effect, AIM competes with the universities in the higher education space. This has made the introduction of an accreditation pathway for students (undergraduate and post-graduate) under the AIM brand increasingly problematic.
6. What is the future strategy of the Institute of Managers and Leaders? The strategy is based on Member engagement and professional accreditation. In the past, AIM’s strategy was to increase management and leadership excellence through education and training. In the future, we will seek to do this through professional development. Of course, education and training will remain an important element in the careers of managers and leaders, but ongoing professional development is increasingly at the heart of our strategy. At the same time, the Institute will become the standard-setting body for management and leadership excellence by offering an individual accreditation program, Chartered Manager, and a higher education accreditation program, Pathway. This will be underpinned by our engagement with Members. As the accreditation body for managers and leaders we must continue increasing our engagement by offering more management and leadership-focused development opportunities. Our Members’ continued commitment to the Institute is truly humbling. With their passion and love of leadership, the future for the Institute is very rosy indeed.