Spring 2015 Certificate in Leadership Gets Off to Great Start

The opening session of our Spring 2015 Certificate in Leadership program, held last night at the Collins Center, was insightful, interactive – and fun. Don Vandewalle, Fisher Research Fellow and department chair of the SMU Cox Management and Organizations Department, led the examination and discussion about the “Foundations Leading for Success.” Participants discussed video examples, a movie clip, stories from Don’s corporate experiences, as well as their own, company best practice examples and a case study about a boss and employee conflict that resembled a confrontation between X-Men Wolverine and Sabretooth.

One of the key insights shared was a list of some of the influence tactics used by successful leaders to enhance their employees’ success, including:
• Ability – identifying employee’s abilities and enhancing them through training
• Situation – creating a situation that makes it easier to change behavior
• Motivation – encouraging behavior through identifying purpose
• Expectations – setting and communicating expectations without bias
• Feedback – creating regular and consistent opportunities for feedback
• Social influence – encouraging a culture that rewards specific behavior

The discussion about using motivation to improve employee performance and success included several organization examples, such as:
• Whole Foods encouraging associates to be purpose driven, as their mission states, “Whole Foods. Whole People. Whole Planet.”
• University of Michigan asking current student scholarship beneficiaries to make calls to alumni asking for funding support by telling those called their college stories.
• Radiologist organization providing the radiologists with a photo of the patient whose X-ray they are examining.
• Hospital management encouraging all employees to see how they are helping people, such as the custodians whose work cleaning the rooms, opening the window blinds and placing chairs near the beds enhances the patients’ experience and welfare.
• John Deere helping tractor manufacturing employees meet with farmers.

It was a productive and enjoyable learning session and we look forward to nine more sessions with Cox faculty and highly experienced subject matter experts. Next sessions will be:
• Operating with a Global Perspective
• Strategic Thinking
• Leading Change
• Understanding & Leveraging Culture
• Leveraging Human Capital Resources
• Coaching for Improved Performance
• Authentic Influence
• Leading Innovation
• Mind of the Leader

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