Executive Education

  • Date:01 Nov 2007
  • Type:CompanyDirectorMagazine

How the AGSM’s senior management development program helped Justin Montgomery pick up speed in his career travels.

Montgomery travels a new road

In his 20 years in the travel industry, Justin Montgomery, managing director of Creative Holidays, has witnessed revolutionary change. From the influence of the web on consumer travelling behaviour to the impact of man-made and natural disasters, these changes have presented significant challenges for Australia’s leading independent travel company.

A year ago, Justin decided it was time to challenge his own thinking and enrolled in the Senior Manager Development Program at AGSM.

“It had been 17 years since I had last undertaken any form of education and I really wanted to challenge myself again,” he says. “In terms of my learning style it was important to take myself out of my comfort zone and throw myself into continuous study in order to break my old habits and think differently, both about my business and my management techniques.”

Montgomery notes that although it was a shock at first to be studying again, the experience crystallised his thinking and helped him see the broader picture.

“I was able to discuss my practical problems within the workshops and enjoyed spending time with peers who were confronting similar business issues. One year on, I keep in touch with many of them. We have created a network of support and professional advice that has been an invaluable sounding board for me, along with a few social catch ups which is great.”

Montgomery says the program helped him develop strategies to address specific issues, including staff engagement and change management, as well as to refresh the company’s direction, product offering and relationships with customers.

“I returned from the course motivated and ready to challenge my team to broaden their thinking and play an active role in shaping the company and its future.

“I undertook a roadshow to every state to share key learnings from the course, to communicate our business challenges and to get honest feedback from staff. I also invited AGSM teaching staff to present to my management team and to work with me in my business environment,” Montgomery says.

He is now also encouraging members of his staff to further their education.