Business and Design Challenges
This program is intended to help ‘rising stars’ realize their leadership potential — to envision competitive strategy, implement meaningful change, and achieve extraordinary results.
To focus the classroom content around the real-world challenges you face, everyone is asked to submit both a business and a design challenge in advance of the program. These should ideally be big-picture leadership or strategy issues you will encounter as you work toward the next level in your professional advancement. The curriculum will provide fresh perspectives for addressing these challenges, enabling you to put learnings into practice.
Understanding Competitive Advantage
Many businesses are successful in their markets, but have only a limited understanding of the reasons behind their success. This lack of understanding can be dangerous: Seemingly sensible decisions can turn an organization’s fortunes for the worse. More generally, companies with sustained competitive advantages are ones in which managers throughout the enterprises have a deep understanding of their key success factors.
This session will present a framework for analyzing your business’s basis of competitive advantage, and allow you to consider the implications of different sources of competitive advantage for strategic decision-making.
Motivating Employees to Work Harder and Smarter
In these tough economic times, leaders must find ways to motivate their employees to work harder and smarter. Most managers tend to rely on “carrots” as means of motivation. This session will explore alternative “psychological levers”: tools that truly motivate and inspire employees to perform without excess spending. The group will draw examples from successful companies that have unlocked their employees’ true potential by providing meaning in their work.
As a leader, you spend the majority of your time communicating with others: team members, subordinates, and clients. You probably don’t spend much time thinking about the way you communicate, nor are you likely, in a business setting, to get honest feedback about the way you communicate. Yet the quality of your communication largely determines your effectiveness.
This session will help you appreciate the nature and complexity of a specific form of communication — persuasion — and provide guidelines for boosting the strength of a persuasive message. We will draw on specific examples from other organizations to highlight our takeaways.
This session will draw on a collection of video cases featuring leaders talking about the toughest challenges they have faced, the decisions they have made, and the lessons they learned from these experiences. You will then discuss how these challenges relate to your own careers and to your development as leaders.
What should management do when a crisis focuses the harsh spotlight of public opinion on their organization? Whether it results from a company’s own missteps (think BP) or from strategic activism or media action (think Greenpeace), dealing with crisis is increasingly on the agenda for today’s executives.
In this session, you’ll examine the nature of crises and develop a deeper understanding of where they come from, how they evolve, and what you can do about them. You’ll explore the skills and organizational structures required to prepare for, and productively manage, a crisis to avoid bringing lasting damage to a firm’s reputation.
Strategy and Organizational Design: Translating Strategy Into Action
This session will examine the role of organizational design in executing a company’s strategy. The group will begin by identifying JetBlue Airways’ strategy and then discuss and evaluate how the company’s organizational design supports this strategy.
The case of JetBlue will be used to discuss the way a company culture is built and reinforced and how this helps to support the execution of the company’s strategy.
Advancing to the executive ranks typically means relying less on one’s own knowledge or technical skill and more on being effective at developing others, yet most leaders are relatively unprepared to do this. Coaching is among the most powerful and yet undeveloped and underutilized skills at a leader’s disposal.
We will introduce you to coaching fundamentals (listening, inquiring, reframing, and setting up experiments) as well as provide an opportunity to practice and further develop these competencies.
Strategy Beyond Markets
Most business school classes focus on companies’ interactions with customers, competitors, suppliers, and shareholders in the form of mutually beneficial voluntary exchange transacted in markets. In contrast, these sessions consider businesses’ strategic interactions with comparably important constituents, organizations, and institutions outside of markets.
Strategy beyond markets is a central component of a company’s approach to achieving superior overall performance, and it must be integrated with the company’s market strategy. Examples of topics to be discussed in these sessions include boycotts, activist pressures, regulation, judicial decisions, and political risk, all of which can substantially impact an enterprise’s performance and profitability.