The Executive Development Program begins with a broad base of leadership training in communication, coaching, managing, messaging and teaming and moves to more specific disciplines for the remaining seminars. Participants can choose to take several of the seminars or all of them. For those who are pursuing the Leadership Charter, a total of 16 out of 20 must be taken in order to receive the designation.

While each seminar builds on the preceding seminars, there are no prerequisites to these subjects.

Seminar #1 

Leadership, Beyond Management – Participants will be introduced to leadership, both as a concept and as a series of actions and behaviors that one carries out. Discussions will include the differences between management and leadership, how to develop leaders, lessons to be learned from leaders and the relationship between leading and following. Leadership styles and situational leadership will also be addresses in this interactive session that will help the participants understand their strengths and weaknesses as a leader.

Recommended Books/Articles:
The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner

Seminar #2 

Communication for Leaders – This overview in communication styles handles all types of communications: interpersonal, written, oral and non-verbal as well as how to articulate messages professionally using positive message framing, questioning and listening techniques. This seminar is the foundational course for all communication related seminars to follow in the leadership program and an important primer for anyone in a leadership position. Skills and tactics learned in this seminar can help make a good leader clear and effective in critical communication techniques. How do good leaders ‘frame’ messages so as to be clear and effective? What questions does a leader make sure to answer in order to effectively translate to the audience both direction and the need for action? How do you deliver a difficult message? How do you gain organizational understanding? And finally, how, as a leader, do you move from understanding to action?

Recommended Books/Articles:
Great Communication Secrets of Great Leaders by John Baldoni
Lead With Purpose by John Baldoni

Seminar #3 

Time Management and Decision Making – Participants will be introduced to the concepts of time management including prioritization, allowance for external factors beyond our control and the specific deliberate planning that is part of visioning and making specific goals a reality. Classroom discussions will engage the decision making skills of participants with their colleagues and assess their own time management style and the positive and/or negative effects it can have on leading their teams.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Decision Making – 5 Steps to Better Results by Harvard Business Essentials
8 Minutes – Find Your Focus, Master Distractions and Get the Right Things Done by Bregman

Seminar #4 

Team Building and Team Dynamics – Team environments and team development are often the cause of success or failure of a team. Stages of team development are explored and participants are asked to think of where their teams are in terms of growth and effectiveness. Also inherent in teams are the changing roles and responsibilities of each team member. This seminar deals with how to make smooth and effective transitions when those changes occur so that productivity is not lost. Emphasizing the benefits of teaming as well as avoiding the pitfalls of teaming are discussed to help leaders maximize their performance. Participants will talk about the critical elements of accountability, trust, followership, reward and recognition as they relate to effective teams.

Recommended Books/Articles:
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Creating Teams with an Edge The Complete Skill Set to Build Powerful and Influential Teams by Harvard Business School Publishing

Seminar #5

Motivating, Engaging and Retaining Employees – Using both classic motivational theory and real world examples, this seminar deals with motivating and engaging employees so the organization has the best talent at its fingertips is one of the most challenging and critical jobs of a leader. Establishing a receptive environment, leaders must be in regular communication with their employees. Leaders must also assess performance and work with the employee to affirm solid career expectations. Most importantly, leaders must communicate that employees are valued and appreciated so as to prevent their most talented people from becoming flight risks.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Results-Based Leadership by Dave Ulrich; Jack Zenger; and Norm Smallwood
Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

Seminar #6

Conflict Management and Resolution – In any work situation, there will be conflict. This seminar discusses how to manage and resolve conflict in a way that continues to encourage future discussion and exchange of ideas while leaving co-workers able to communicate productively. Concepts of active listening, clear explanations, asking and answering questions, working across generational and cultural differences, having difficult discussions while maintaining a professional demeanor are all key skills taught through discussion, role playing and exercises. This seminar is an especially good for teams for whom conflict has become a barrier to productivity and achievement of goals.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Leading Through Conflict – How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities by Gerzon

Seminar #7

Coaching Individuals and Teams – A critical part of getting the best performance from an individual or a team is to understand how to coach. Many leaders have strong management skills, but maximum performance comes through engaging the individual or team to look for and develop their own specific talents that move them forward. Class discussions center around the key differences between managing and coaching as well as applying practical examples of coaching from personal lives; the lessons from which can be directly applied in the professional arena. This is an excellent seminar for those who are both first time leaders and managers and those who have challenges getting their team to perform at a high level.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Coaching for Performance by Whitmore

Seminar #8

Assessment and Feedback – How does a leader assess the actions, behaviors and results of his team and how can feedback be given so it is constructive and results in changes and improved outcomes? This seminar deals with holding individuals and teams accountable to each other and to the organization in a way that keeps people motivated and interested in continuous improvement.

Recommended Books/Articles:
The Execution Premium by Kaplan and Norton

Seminar #9

Change Management Change is constant and strong leaders need to be able to prepare their teams to continue to perform despite changes in leadership, corporate policy, market pressures, team members, economics and positions. This seminar uses communication tools learned in the Communication for Leaders and Organizational Communications seminars to promote healthy transitions to new ways of doing business. Class discussions will focus on the resistance to change, why it is natural and how it can be overcome.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson
Leading Change by John Kotter

Seminar #10

Leadership, Strategy and Strategic Planning – Strategic leadership is challenging. In order to be truly strategic, you have to think outside the tasks that present themselves as urgent everyday and focus on the long-term planning that will position an organization to properly succeed. In addition to taking a longer term view, much strategic planning is centered around biases, pre-conceived notions, group-think and ‘we’ve always done it that way’ types of thinking. It is very difficult to get an entrenched group of upper-level managers to roll back their thought processes and focus on what really is important to the future of the business. This seminar will challenge leaders to really look at their organizations and ask the right questions in order that they can lead to a place of growth, success and stability.

Recommended Books/Articles:
The Four Disciplines of Execution by McChesney and Covey
Essentials of Strategic Management by Hunger and Wheelen

Seminar #11

Marketing and Managing Messages Reaching your audiences and earning trust is an important part of keeping and growing your customer base. This seminar deals with the kinds of questions you must ask yourself to understand the framing of your external message. Audience analysis, message framing, message distribution; all of these are elements of effective communications with your publics. This seminar deals with framing your message and using the optimal mix of communication channels to bring that message to your audience. Topics include: public relations, social media, advertising, printed material, direct mail, websites and word of mouth as well as how to optimize the useage of all the media together for maximum effect.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Light Their Fire by Drake et al

Seminar #12

Total Customer Service – Is it just a department that is responsible for customer service or is it the responsibility of everyone in the organization to ensure excellent customer service? The seminar deals with how good leadership has a strong role to play in a solid customer service mentality that runs throughout the organization. Other topics include the definition of a customer (anyone that needs something – whether internal or external to the organization – that you can provide) and a discussion on the limits of a customer’s power. What is a customer-centered organization and how can a leader instill that kind of customer-first attitude that gives some organizations a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace?

Recommended Books/Articles:
How Great Leaders Get Great Results by John Baldoni

Seminar #13

Cultural Adaptation – We tend to think of cultural adaptation in a narrower context of communication across national boundaries. But the kind of cultural adaptation that leaders need in today’s more complex world goes beyond physical borders. Issues such as cultural adaptation across language, generations, professional disciplines, knowledge bases, regions, plant locations and even departments can threaten the health of a team and increase leadership challenges. This seminar deals with identifying all the ways that culture changes and how to adapt, learn and lead with a complex variety of variables.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Intercultural Business Communication by Chaney and Martin

Seminar #14

Gender Relations in Organizations – Gender relations in the workplace are as old as the human race. We tend to take them at face value without understanding different perspectives and why they may exist. This seminar examines socio-cultural norms and compares those to how we guide our behavior both around the same and different genders. In order for leaders to be effective, they must understand how to work with these differences to communicate in a positive and meaningful way. Also incumbent on a leader is the responsibility of ensuring the team feels communicated and included. Differences between men and women are discussed in the following areas: communication, power structure, negotiation and leadership styles.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Different But Equal by Kay E. Payne
Leadership and the Sexes by Gurian and Annis

Seminar #15

Ethics – This model offers an exploration of ethics on a variety of different levels. It defines business ethics and discusses how that differs from personal and societal ethics. How do you ensure that you think ethically and how do you encourage ethical behavior from the people within your organization? In defining ethics, discussions focus on the five ways to think ethically 1) the greatest good, 2) rights and duties, 3) fairness, 4) virtue and 5) the common good. How do organizations manage ethics to ensure that everyone is following the corporate standard? And finally, what is a leader responsible for in the guiding of the organization? How far can a leader go to impose a value system and where are the boundaries?

Recommended Books/Articles:
Just Business by Sternberg

Seminar #16

Financial Management Anyone who is not an accountant, financial planner or bookkeeper is intimidated by business finances declaring that they ‘don’t DO balance sheets’. This seminar works with participants to deconstruct the tools of the financial world so that leaders can make sense of the reports and numbers coming out of accounting. Reading a balance sheet, income statement and statement of cash flows are all part of this refresher course in understanding the importance and the messages behind your business’s numbers. This seminar is an excellent way to help foster confidence and clarity for non-financial students.

Recommended Books/Articles:
How to Read a Financial Report by John Tracy

Seminar #17

Project Management Ensuring a project is completed on time, on budget and managed to a quality standard is a critical skill needed in leadership. Marshalling all of the talent necessary to achieve a single goal requires a variety of different skills and abilities. This seminar helps leaders to understand the risks and rewards of project management. It will also address how to manage scope creep, how to keep projects on time and how to balance the resources involved in the completion of the project.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Extreme Project Management by Doug deCarlo

Seminar #18

Human Resource Management Leaders need to understand the value of effective recruiting, developing and retaining crucial talent. This seminar will challenge leaders to consider strategies to develop and maintain enough people with crucial skills, now and in the future. The seminar will help talent-focused leaders understand basic HR principles and practices and provide insights into how to get more from HR.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Retooling HR by John Boudreau

Seminar #19

Negotiating – Many situations leaders face call for effective negotiations. This model will help the leader learn strategies for negotiating effectively. The leader will also be give specific tactics to use to outline an agreement or counter an attack. How to prepare for negotiations, how to negotiate to claim and create value and how to reduce biases and make proposals more appealing will be addressed.

Recommended Books/Articles:
Getting to Yes by Fisher and Ury
Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman

Seminar #20

Forecasting – The seminar will help leaders understand the value and limitations of forecasting. It will look at why highly significant yet unpredictable events need to be understood and how leaders can see misleading patterns in data. Various forecasting techniques will be introduced along with important forecasting concepts such as correlation and causation.

Recommended Books/Articles:
The Future of Everything – The Science of Prediction by David Orrell
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Department Information

Office of Graduate Studies
PURI School of Business--Lower Level
5050 E. State Street
Rockford, IL 61108
fax: 815-394-3706
Michele Mehren, Assistant Director

Mon-Fri - 8:30 am to 5:00 pm

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