Monday, February 18, 2008

The WSJE Future Leadership Institute

To build further on our physical distribution program towards the universities and business schools I created The WSJE Future Leadership Institute, a virtual institute acting as a bridge between university and industry. With the Future Leadership Institute we target students as well as managers who have come to the point they feel the need to re-educate themselves to be able to move to the next level on the corporate ladder.

For this audience I highlight every day a seminar or educational event that could be of interest to them, in a specially designed educational box on the back page of our newspaper. Except for Thursday's that is, because on Thursday's I am giving away management books via a little book contest. The book to win this week is 'Grande Expectation' about the rise of Starbucks.

The book contest enables me to come into direct contact with our customers. It is one of the best things I did working for The WSJE to reach out and learn about our customers.

Because our audience (at least the managers responding to the contest) is Blackberry-proof it is often very interesting to see how responses come in from countries we are not delivering to. I dare then to ask where they picked up the copy, what is of interest to them in the newspaper, etc... (for example an Amercian COO responding from the US, who picked up a copy at Davos, or a CFO responding from Iraq (!) who picked up a copy on an airline...). Personally it is a lively reminder of my former function at the WSJE where I was responsible for the distribution operations. Back then I knew exactly where the copies were going, but I didn't know who was picking them up.

More details about The Future Leadership Instute will follow in later posts.