What is the need for Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP) ?
In the 20th century, organisations started becoming large, which resulted in the advent of specialist roles like supply chain, R&D, marketing, sales etc. But this came with its own set of challenges wherein the right hand did not know what the left was doing. Let us take an analogy, albeit a bit stretched, to drive home the point :
- Imagine Magic Toothpaste Inc to be an organization employing Ram and Amit. Ram is a scientist whose team, after years of R&D and multi million dollar in investment, made a tooth paste which ensured no cavity or tooth decay. Amit, a young engineer, was responsible for manufacturing. Being an innovative engineer, he packaged the toothpaste in cube shaped jars, because they were cost efficient, easy to stack during transport or at shops. So an end user needed to dig out the toothpaste with his finger and apply it on the brush!! To make it worse - all users of a given toothpaste jar would dig their fingers into it.
A more real world example is of a person developing software for a mobile handset. Most such programmers code to a given specification and, typically, have little idea on how the phone will be assembled / manufactured OR how it will look like.
Typically, senior professionals are able to anticipate and help their organizations navigate around such pitfalls because of their decades of experience. This is the birth of Accelerated Leadership Program, wherein candidates are given experiences / exposure across multiple departments so that they can be specialists and generalists simultaneously in half the usual time.
Tell me more about ALP ?
ALP may go by different names across different organizations. But they involve rotations across a wide range of functions before you are assigned to a function, which is aligned to the specialisation you seek .
With time, the programs have become global in nature, wherein one of the rotations is in a geography outside the home country. This is especially true for organisations where product life cycles span across multiple countries and continents. For example, product management and core platform could be based in the US , software development in India and manufacturing in China. The Global ALPs have participations from across the world. So tomorrow if you need some insights into the manufacturing process, you can reach out to your counterpart you met in the Global ALP program. If you look closer home - IAS officers are taken to a central location at the beginning of their career so that they can get to know each other and then later on network to find solutions to their local problems, which their batchmates would have solved in their respective geographies.
Do all companies have ALP ?
The ALP by nature is needed in large companies (in start ups the job description itself is an ALP!!) . Traditionally, old world companies, especially in FMCG, manufacturing and core engineering have used it.
Software and B2C consumer devices world is waking up to its power, with the odd exception here and there.
So is ALP attractive for a person who is passionate about writing great software rather than management ?
ALP is about giving you various experiences and exposure to improve your decision making ability. Essentially a holistic 360 degree view. ALP program is designed in a way that after initial rotations you get a role in the field of your specialisation (be it software, finance, marketing, manufacturing etc).
As a matter of fact, it might be worth it to take a very high salary cut to get into these opportunities given that they are so rare in IT world. You will pay for your higher studies , right ? Treat this similarly , as in you paying (through salary cut) to learn !!
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