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‘Redefining leadership’: Hogan Lovells teams up with Oxford Said Business School on partner leadership programme

Hogan Lovells has begun piloting a new leadership programme for experienced partners with Oxford Said Business School, an initiative which the transatlantic firm says will enable partners to build a unified approach to leading the firm and ‘become roles models and distributors of a strong, shared culture.’

Called ‘Redefining Leadership’, the programme is currently being piloted with a cross-section of partners from across the firm at various experience levels, including current members of its international management committee, partners responsible for particular offices or practices, and partners who are taking on management responsibilities for the first time.

With leadership development high on chief executive Steve Immelt’s agenda, a working group was tasked to work with the firm’s people development team to ‘crystallise its thinking about leadership’ and find an external learning provider to partner with. The group was spread across Hogan Lovells’ offices, and comprised Immelt, London-based deputy chief David Hudd and disputes partner Ruth Grant, Northern-Virginia-based commercial litigation head Emily Yinger, and IP, media & technology head Andreas von Falck in Dusseldorf.

The firm chose Oxford Said Business School from a shortlist of potential European providers, both to conduct the initial in-depth research, and to co-create and deliver the programme.

Explaining the decision to work with Oxford, Yinger told Legal Business: ‘We felt they not only brought their wealth of experience and expertise to the initiative, but a real sense of partnering with us to create an original and distinctive programme that is tailored specifically for our firm – where we are now, and where we want to be. We already have in place a suite of successful development programmes for our senior lawyers and for new partners as they make the transition to partner. We wanted to build on this by creating a leadership programme for more experienced partners.’

An initial group of 28 partners attended the first programme in November and the firm now plans to provide it at Oxford for more groups, continuing to mix people from different geographies, practices and levels of experience. Two additional cohorts are planned for 2015 after which the firm will review and evaluate the programme before deciding its next steps.

When asked about key objectives for the programme, Yinger said: ‘This project has been put in place to enable experienced partners to build on the “one Hogan Lovells” approach and become role models and distributors of a strong, shared culture, based on a sense of personal and shared responsibility for the firm’s success, clear and courageous communications, openness to change and innovation.’

Yinger added: ‘The programme aims to equip partners with the knowledge and skills to lead in practice. For us, this is about changing mindsets – being open to fresh ideas and new ways of doing things. Every aspect of the design of the programme has been calibrated to reflect one or more of these objectives. We see this project as a change initiative, not just an “out of the box” leadership development programme.’

‘We believe that the mix of approaches – two highly experiential residential modules, coaching and mentoring, psychometrics, and, most importantly practical leadership assignments between the modules for which partners select a mentor from within our senior leadership team. A distinctive feature of our programme is the commitment and involvement of senior leaders at every stage, from the initial thinking to the delivery and, importantly, the follow-through.’