The iSolon’s range of Management Development Programmes are very flexible yet intensive corporate education programmes which can be delivered face-to-face or as a combination of face-to-face and distance learning modules.
For many the precise difference between management and leadership remains elusive. At iSolon we subscribe to the following, as stated by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in their excellent book, ‘First Break All The Rules’[1]:

first break all the rules

“Great managers know and value the unique abilities and even the eccentricities of their employees, and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack.

This is the exact opposite of what great leaders do.

Great leaders discover what is universal and capitalise on it. Their job is to rally people toward a better future. Leaders can succeed in this only when they can cut through differences of race, sex, age, nationality and personality and, using stories and celebrating heroes, tap into those very few needs we all share.”

Both roles are about inspiration. A manager should inspire each person individually with something that connects with their personality and work life demands; a leader should inspire the whole team by developing a sense of community and a worthwhile goal.


Therefore we offer three levels of participant engagement:

  1. Foundation Level for supervisors and junior managers
  2. Advanced Level for middle managers
  3. Executive Level for directors and senior managers

Our management programmes focus upon these five goals:

  • How to motivate and develop a greater commitment from individual team members
  • How to plan, forecast and organise resources
  • How to select, recruit and develop the right people
  • How to delegate and use time efficiently
  • How to define objectives, manage performance and increase output

Paul Winspear

“As you know, I did not want to attend the programme in March 2010, I felt it was too soon after joining the company and would interfere with work at a critical time. In fact it did indeed interfere and has set me back in a few areas; just preparing for the course took a toll both work-wise and personally. However, as with most things I found that the effort put in was exceeded by the rewards. I’d say that around half my learning happened during the pre-course activities and half during the course itself. I have learned a lot and am looking forward to applying new insights and skills in my position at Fugro-Geoteam.

The high value of the course lies around 30% in the course material and around 70% in the trainers, in my opinion. It would be hard to praise John & Kevin too highly for the quality of their training, the effort they put in on a daily basis, the personal interest they took in each and every one of the attendees, and their overall professionalism. I’m sure you have probably heard such comments in the past. I attended a very similar course with my previous company in 2004 where we were embedded at Rice University in Houston for two weeks with a number of instructors: Rice University professors, external consultants and company trainers. Their knowledge and ability to motivate and energize a class were eclipsed by John & Kevin.”

Paul Winspear, Managing Director, Fugro-Geoteam AS

The content and duration of each programme is directly proportional to the seniority of the participants. At the most junior level we recommend a series of short interventions, whilst at the most senior level we recommend a mentoring type of approach. But at all levels we address the real-life challenges facing our client, either by individual or organisationally.

We have delivered hundreds of Management Development Programmes over the past 12 years to participants drawn from the Americas, EMEA and AsiaPacific. Although many organisations use English as their main language, we can deliver them in other languages or incorporate translators into the programmes.

business smart logo

A Business Smart on-line business game simulation can be incorporated if appropriate. And we can show filmed interviews of senior executives talking about the challenges they face as a manager.

Each programme is tailored specifically to our customers’ needs. However, we have found that these are the critical success factors:

  • The programme is sponsored and promoted at executive level
  • Real life issues organizational and personal challenges are confronted confidentially and used as the backdrop for explaining some of the proven academic models and theories
  • Teams discuss and present their recommendations after studying real-life international case studies
  • Time is allowed for the sharing and discussion of individual challenges
  • Individual, team and group exercises cement the learning
  • Networking and relationship building between the participants is an important element

We recommend that a significant amount of pre-work is undertaken at an individual level before the start of the programme. This is to ensure that the participants enjoy the same or similar level of knowledge about specific subjects so that we have a common platform from which to work. It also gets their minds engaged for their personal objectives for the course. Here are some of the tasks that have proved beneficial:

  • To read an appropriate book from our recommended reading list
  • To subscribe to and read a business newspaper] and select a number of articles for discussion
  • To write a brief on the greatest three people management challenges
  • To complete an MBTI or 360 degree assessment

In delivering each programme we may draw on the work of the following or more:

Peter Drucker, Robert Caplan, Michael Porter, Jim Collins, Meredith Belbin, Edward de Bono, Bruce Tuckman, Marcus Buckingham, Stephen Covey, Douglas MacGregor, John Whitmore, Abraham Maslow, Eric Berne, Robert Cialdini, Daniel Goleman, Ed Lazear, Igor Ansoff, Gordon Hewitt, Frederick Herzberg, Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters et al

toronto skyline

The following individual comments were made following a Management Development Programme held in Toronto for 25 participants drawn from seven different countries.

“The time management concepts were extremely powerful. I can’t get them out of my mind.”
“I enjoyed the Belbin concept and exercises very much. I look forward to sharing it with my team.”
“Disrupting the norm to promote change is something I have never thought of. I can’t wait to impart ‘disequilibrium’.”
“I will never forget the ‘oxygen mask’ comment – take care of yourself first before helping others.”
“The course certainly forced me to re-evaluate my thoughts and ideas.”
“Liked how we took time to talk about one of the participant’s real life issues at work.”
“The Malcolm Diamond interview was awesome!”