The British Council: Economics, Finance and Management

Management 2000: management development, training and consultancy from Britain

This is the text of a British Council travelling exhibition about Management development training and consultancy from Britain. The exhibition is currently being shown by British Council offices throughout Asia.

Management 2000: Welcome to the new world

Change dominates business life. Farsighted managers know that top-flight management training and development creates the right approach to managing change.

British management trainers are now leading the world in developing the skills which companies need to manage change and to stay competitive.

Britain is the leading provider of management training and developing in Europe. Leading European companies turn to British management trainers to learn how to succeed in a dynamic, international environment.

The same ability to manage change is vital for success in the Asia Pacific region. This leaflet highlights some examples of the unrivalled British experience in developing managers who can succeed in complex, changing and highly competitive environments.

And it shows how you and your company can use British expertise in three key areas - managing change, developing people and performance, and managing in new environments.

Managing change

The performance of every enterprise is affected by changes in markets, technology, economic conditions and products.

How well firms succeed in a rapidly changing world depends on the skills of their managers to spot and maximise the opportunities created by change.

The best trained managers harness change to gain maximum competitive advantage.

Innovation driven by quality programmes

Quality programmes were the key to innovation in customer service at British Airways. The idea of giving telephone check-in facilities to first class and business passengers with baggage was an initiative developed from a BA quality programme.

Programmes of continuous improvement stimulate new thinking. They encourage staff to adapt to new challenges by changing the way they work. Participants on quality programmes analyse customer needs based on their work experience. Then they set up new systems to meet these needs. Better service delivers more premium customers and higher levels of satisfaction.

Tailored programmes for business leaders

Managing diversity is the key to strategic success over the next decade. Templeton College, Oxford designed an individual eight week programme for Richard Nottage, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in New Zealand. 'This taught me the importance of organisational ethos, values and the continuing need to maintain momentum and not to postpone strategic change until you are losing competitive edge' says Richard.

Qualifiying for success

You don't have to go to Britain to get British training. Ellena Au is General Manager of the Hong Kong based import-export business, USC Asia. She studied in Hong Kong for a professional qualification with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountancy. The training used British course materials, backed up by local tutorials.

Company based learning

Unipart, the car parts and logistics management group, has backed its commitment to staff training by setting up Unipart U, its own 'university'. Unipart's staff and mangers teach courses themselves and coach individual staff.

For Unipart, staff development is as important as product development to meet the challenges of changing markets and growing competition. Every Unipart employee spends ten days a year on training. By developing its staff, Unipart aims to become 'the world's best lean enterprise'.

Building on success

The best time to invest in future success is when you're at the top. That's why the Hong Kong Jockey Club is using Ashridge Management College for management development.

The Ashridge approach weaves together three strands. First, it teachers self-awareness to help people to understand their capabilities and competencies. Training in marketing links this improved self-awareness with a focus on customers and their needs. And finally, Ashridge looks as how to manage for the future, encouraging participants to match their current performance against future needs and to seek continuous improvement.

The British Council and NVQs

Pioneered by British employers and the British Government, National Vocational Qualifications are a new approach to learning. NVQs - and SVQs for Scotland - allow people to gain qualifications by demonstrating competence at work, rather than by passing exams or attending courses.

Managers in Hong Kong and Thailand can now gain Management NVQs through an agreement between the British Council and the British Institute of Management.

Managing people

Britain provides the world's widest range of education and training expertise for managing people. Training is available in every area, from basic finance, marketing and operations to wider issues like environmental analysis, communication and strategy.

Britain pioneered action-learning, in-company executive education, distance, open and flexible learning and competence-based management standards.

All training providers retain the historic commitment of British education to quality and high standards across the full range of services.

Developing people from within

Marks and Spencer use informal development groups to encourage people to manage their own career and development needs. These are backed up by 'on the job' coaching and management skills training. Wider experience is gained through shadowing senior people and giving staff the opportunity to look at different environments, such as local government.

Information to improve performance

British Petroleum are changing to a more participative style of management with help from the British company Feedback Fundamentals. They have designed a series of feedback forms to gather information from right across the company about how teams and team leaders are performing. This information is used to pinpoint problems. To ensure confidentiality, the information is collected remotely by fax. Feedback Fundamentals are planning to develop this further by going on-line using BP's internal communications.

Challenging people to learn

When Cathay Pacific Airways needed a training course to develop the young staff they recruit each year, they turned to the British company, Impact. Impact designed a programme including challenging outdoor activities like rock climbing, raft building and abseiling.

The participants worked in teams to set goals, complete tasks and review success. By the end of each project, they had learned how to work together under pressure, how to communicate their objectives clearly, how to identify and pool resources and how to show the commitment and energy they needed to reach a successful conclusion.

Matching people to their natural roles

The China Non-Ferrous Metals Corporation is using an innovative British training approach to develop and assess effective teams. The Belbin Interplace System identifies which styles of working come naturally to people and then matches the right people to the right jobs.

The system starts by recognising that teams need people to work in a variety of equally important roles - as co-ordinators, implementers, specialists and so on. Group working identifies each manager's strengths and weaknesses. The team can then be organised for the best balance, with help where people lack skills, to perform well in certain roles.

Distance learning

Distance learning allows students to study in their own time and at their own convenience. The flexibility offered by distance learning packages is therefore an attractive option in today's busy work environment.

Through partnerships with the National Council for Vocational Qualifications, the Institute of Management, and major British universities, Pitman Publishing produces a wide range of distance learning materials.

The Heriot-Watt University MBA by Distance Learning has attracted students from over 110 countries worldwide. The course is entirely self-sufficient and does not require study leave.

Open learning

Open learning ensures that training is relevant to users' needs. Central to effective open learning is a partnership which recognises the different expertise of both trainer and user.

A group of Chinese agricultualrists worked with the British company The Learning Business to develop open learning material for Chinese farmers. One participant, Zu Shien, used this approach to design training on how to increase profits from farming products.

Training and franchise agreements

Body Shop is a successful British cosmetics company with an expanding network of retail outlets right across the Asia Pacific region. It has developed a unique approach to personnel development which is consistent with its ethos as a business dedicated to the pursuit of social and environmental change.

Staff get half a day off each month with full pay to take part in a local social project. Personnel at all levels in the organisation work with communities or campaigning organisations, earning goodwill with potential customers, broadening their experience and living out the company's ideals. Body Shop franchises anywhere in the world are obliged to give their staff the same opportunity.

Managing in new environments

Operating environments are being transformed across the world by major shifts that create threats for companies which cannot adapt, opportunities for companies which can.

The information revolution, the explosion of entrepreneurship, globalisation, privatisation and deregulation are all testing the ability of managers to adapt to new circumstances.

Success in these new environments will depend on investments in new thinking and new ways of learning.

Broadcasting for business

Training for business will soon be available from World Service Radio right across South East Asia. A combined English language and business skills series developed for Indonesia is being adapted for listeners in Mandarin, Vietnamese and Thai.

BBC World, the 24-hour news and information channel, is available throughout the region. Programmes like World Business Report and World Business Review help management learn more about global business and how it will affect them and their management training needs for the future.

Worldwide databases

Effective cross-cultural communication is vital for organisations operating across borders. Cranfield University School of Management is researching into how the top teams in Hong Kong and China succeed and is adding the information to a worldwide database. Organisations can work with the Cranfield international team to identify key factors in improving the effectiveness of joint ventures.

Joint ventures

British management training is now available right across South East Asia from an expanding network of joint ventures.

Warwick University, for example, has set up joint ventures in manufacturing training in Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and Thailand. The university works with a variety of partners, including academic institutions, national government, local foundations, the British Overseas Development Administration and the British Council. Courses are constantly updated to remain relevant to local needs, drawing on Warwick's overview of conditions right across the region.


A key feature of British aerospace partnerships with China is support for training initiatives for Chinese managers and specialists. China's State Economic and Trade Commission, together with Rolls-Royce and UK industry, have agreed a new five year training initiative for 2000 managers and specialists to be trained in China and Britain.

International quality standards

British quality standards have been adopted as international quality standards. The British Standards Institution (BSI) was instrumental in developing ISO 9000, the internationally recognised standards for quality management systems.

BSI provides courses for staff within organisations and forms partnerships to market, sell and deliver BSI training in the local market. Along with other industry bodies, BSI also offers ISO 9000 certification schemes.

Career action centres

For the British telecommunications company Cable and Wireless the key word is no longer employment - it's employability. The company needs people with competitive skills in rapidly changing environments. That's why Cable and Wireless is setting up a world-wide network of Career Action Centres, including one for its employees in Hong Kong.

The centres are equipped with PCs with databases matching skills to jobs and a Vacancy Phone Hotline with details of all opportunities in the company. Other resources include links to the Internet, self-training facilities, a library and career counsellors.

Britain on-line

People around the world are now studying in Britain in a 'virtual' classroom.

Using a combination of computer conferencing techniques and electronic mail, executives work for their MBAs by interacting with tutors and other students, running business games, accessing databases and participating in discussions via the Internet.

Britain trains managers today via the technology that businesses need for the future.

Learners are linked together by satellite.

The tutor is videoed giving a lesson, either live or pre-recorded.

Students communicate with their tutor and other learners.

Videoconferencing facilitates global seminars, study groups and tutorials.







Produced in Britain by the British Council
© The British Council 1997

The British Council, registered in England as a charity no. 209131, is the United Kingdom's
international network for education, culture and development services.