Transition to Business Leadership (TBL)

IMD Executive Education

How long?

  • 4 weeks
  • in person

IMD Executive Education


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Who should attend

The program is ideal if you are an experienced manager who has recently transitioned or will soon transition into a business leadership/general management position. You have a minimum of 10 years of relevant management experience. Some of you already have country or multiple country responsibilities or are in charge of multiple functions. You are looking to boost your leadership capabilities and be able to lead organizational change. You must already have a reasonable knowledge of core business functions such as accounting, finance, marketing, HR, and operations. This prerequisite functional knowledge can come from a variety of means such as experience, previous development programs or independent study.

About the course

  • Assess your strengths and development priorities relative to leading a business
  • Design business unit strategy, structure, systems and skills to deliver results
  • Cultivate your executive presence and ability to communicate and inspire
  • Be ready to lead change and organizational transformations more effectively

Become a highly effective general manager and business leader

Do you want to make the shift to business leadership? As a general manager, do you need more confidence and influence so you can make a positive impact at a personal and business level?

Transition to Business Leadership is designed to help you take the step up to enterprise leadership. TBL helps you make this move quickly and successfully through a unique combination of personal leadership development with coaching, strategy, execution and managing organizational change.

Completing Transition to Business Leadership is your 2nd step to IMD’s Program for Executive Development. Alternatively, you may also take TBL as a stand-alone program.

Pre-program: Preparing for change

Becoming a better leader is an interactive experience, and participants first prepare themselves for change. This is critical to the overall journey participants take on Transition to Business Leadership. In the month before you arrive on campus, you set your development priorities and assess your strengths with a unique 360 review. This is based on The Seven Seismic Shifts developed by program co-director Michael Watkins and is an in-depth career experience survey.

Some participants also feel the need to further build their financial skills, and may also take an optional finance and accounting course before joining the program, however this is not compulsory.

Throughout the program, there are two main themes: personal leadership development and leading organizational change. These themes are developed over two modules of two weeks each, with additional inter-module support. Modules for the program are followed in sequence.

Module 1: 2 weeks on IMD Campus

During this first module, you receive feedback and coaching from highly experienced executive coaches based on your 360-degree assessment that you completed during the pre‑program preparation.

You will work extensively with Professor Michael Watkins to create a plan for your personal development to explore and develop the capabilities you need as a leader to run a business. You learn how to assess the competitive environment and create a vision and strategy for your business. You diagnose the architecture, structure, systems, capabilities, and talent of business units. You also focus on developing the executive presence necessary to be effective as a business leader.

During this time you will also get the chance to develop strong relationships with the diverse group of participants in your class, typically made up of 15+ industries and more than 90% already holding upper middle/senior management positions.

Module 2: 2 weeks at IMD campus

In this second module of Transition to Business Leadership, you learn to lead change and organizational transformation, here you will be led by Program Co-Director Phil Rosenzweig to develop and strengthen your capabilities to influence, negotiate, communicate and manage conflict. In the process, you apply these new learnings to advance your organizational change project.

Finally, you experience the full complexity of leading a business and integrating multiple functions to deliver business results through participation in a highly interactive and comprehensive business simulation exercise involving your fellow participants. This simulation is a unique opportunity to test out your new skills and

By the end of the program, you will be ready to implement your personal leadership development plan and organizational change project in your organization.

Post-program: Staying connected and following your plan

Throughout your leadership journey, you will have formed strong connections with your class and typically each class forms a WhatsApp group to stay connected and encourage you on your future leadership journey. You also join the wider IMD Alumni community, immediately getting access to a network of more than 100,000 executives around the world.

This is also the time for you to follow through on your learning, implementing your personal leadership development plan and executing your organizational development project.


Michael Watkins

Michael D. Watkins is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD. He has spent the last two decades working with leaders – both corporate and public -- as they transition to new roles, transform their organizations, and craft their legacies. Dr. Watkins is author of the internation...

Albrecht Enders

Albrecht Enders is Professor of Strategy and Innovation and Dean of Programs and Innovation at IMD. His major research, teaching and consulting interest is the reaction of companies to radical changes in their environment. Professor Enders has worked for clients such as ABB, Deloitte, Deutsche B...

Jennifer Jordan

Jennifer Jordan is a social psychologist and is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD. Professor Jordan's teaching, research, and consulting focus on the areas of corporate and individual ethics, power, leadership, and negotiation. Professor Jordan has received specialized t...

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Transition to Business Leadership (TBL) at IMD Executive Education

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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

Full disclaimer.

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