Impulses for executive Education Executive education is regarded as a success factor for companies. A survey among 428 HR managers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland reveals that many firms would like new impulses for the development of their executive staff. 6 March 2014. The Executive School of Management, Technology and Law of the University of St.Gallen has published the results of the survey in the St. Gallen Executive Education Report 2014. The report provides backgrounds to trends, challenges and objectives in executive education. Besides, it shows effective design principles for successful executive development and elucidates differences in individual countries. HR managers will be able to consult the report as a decision-making aid for the sensible use of resources. Dissatisfied with executive development Only one in five interviewees confirms that his/her company fully exploits the potential of executive development. Limited resources and poor in-house coordination, in particular, are considered to be obstacles. In addition, 64 per cent of interviewees emphasise that executives’ often different functional backgrounds aggravate their further development. Enterprises thus face the challenge of having to harmonise their experts’ differing views to ensure that they act successfully and collectively in an executive team. Four steps to becoming a pioneer According to the survey, there are four development steps on the way to an effective development of executives: at the first stage, firms have established no or no formal or informal learning mechanisms. The authors of the study describe this as the “infancy stage”. Once firms have recognised the need for action, this initially frequently results in actionism at a stage of the unstructured implementation of formal and informal learning mechanisms (“unbalanced stage”). The lack of success arising from this approach usually makes those in charge realise that formal and informal learning complement each other and must therefore be integrated into an overarching learning architecture on an equal footing (“growth stage”). At the highest stage, the “nurturing stage”, firms put formal and informal learning to maximum use. Firms at this level are better able to cope with the challenges of executive development, usually exploit their entire potential and describe themselves as pioneers of executive development. Increasingly more professional Basically, managers who are in charge of executive development share an optimistic outlook on the future. 74 per cent of interviewees expect an increase in relevant activities, and 56 per cent are convinced that more resources will be made available to executive development in the future. However, these resources are intended to be spread among fewer executives than in the past. For talents and future executives this means that they must signal their readiness and potential for further development even more clearly.