We are thrilled to congratulate this year’s graduates of MCAA’s Advanced Leadership Institute. On November 17th, the 36 members of ALI Class 22 received their diplomas, and joined the ranks of those who have completed MCAA’s premier executive leadership program. MCAA’s President Robert Bolton (ALI graduate, Class 16) and CEO Tim Brink (ALI graduate, Class 1) joined our ALI contractor-facilitators to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of this year’s graduating class. They, much like the UNC faculty who led our sessions, were repeatedly impressed by the incredible dedication, enthusiasm, and engagement of the ALI participants.
When it comes to ALI cohorts, ‘impressing professors’ is not a new phenomenon – our industry leaders have done this for 20 years. But this year was marked by many things that were new for ALI. The program’s new home, UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business, is ranked #2 in the country for executive leadership education. Under Carolina blue skies, participants stayed and studied in a newly-renovated campus facility only minutes from downtown Chapel Hill. The newly-refreshed curriculum maintained focus on key leadership topics that have always been part of the ALI experience, but the way in which learning took place has been adapted to reflect what instructional design research has taught us about adult learners in recent years (no more lecture halls!).
At the core of the new ALI curriculum is the goal of ‘putting tools in the toolbox’ of our industry leaders. Each lesson led by our professors was followed by team workshops and groupwork in which participants applied the ideas and tools presented to the specific issues and challenges they face in their work. Classes focused on presenting research-backed, practical, step-by-step strategies that participants would then immediately practice applying to current challenges in the mechanical industry: from finding new talent, to encouraging cross-collaboration between company divisions, to tailoring coaching strategies to the broad range of individuals in their employment.
The goal of MCAA’s Advanced Leadership Institute is to put leadership theory into practice. First UNC faculty explained the theory; then our MCAA contractor-facilitators linked theory to their own stories of real-world mechanical industry experience. Students ‘brought it home’ by integrating all of this to explore and report back their own innovative ideas for bettering themselves, their teams, and their companies. And – perhaps most importantly – during their two weeks of intensive analysis, reflection, discussion, and innovation, participants also developed a network of peers and friends that will last for the rest of their careers.
In the classroom and after hours, this newly-formed but rapidly tight-knit community of mechanical industry leaders all took on the role of ‘seeker’ and deconstructed ‘questions of interest’ to identify non-traditional solutions, leaving with ‘simple rules for strategy’ that take innovative ideas from theory to practical application. What exactly do we mean by all of that? Ask an ALI ’22 graduate or – better yet – send an executive from your company to the program to find out! The application for ALI Class 23 will be released on March 1st.