My Experience at Carnegie Bosch Institute's Executive Program

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in Carnegie Bosch Institute’s Executive Leadership Program, “Leadership as a Daily Challenge“, at Carnegie Mellon University.” It was the best professional development program that I have participated in.

I enjoyed the program for a lot of reasons. One reason was that I loved being surrounded by high-level leaders from all over the world and having the ability to discuss real world leadership issues in a group setting.

Another thing I loved about the program was all the different ways we learned throughout the week. There was world-class instruction, case studies, role-playing, simulations, group discussions, games, and the ability to work through specific issues that you are going through right now in a small group. I’ve shared some of my key takeaways from each session below. However, not matter how good of notes you take, nothing can replace the interactions that take place in the classroom.

Perhaps the greatest value in going through any of these programs are the relationships formed. If done right, you make a few friends who you can go through life with and continue to bounce ideas and issues off of throughout your leadership journey.

If you are responsible for sending your staff to training programs or if you are interested in growing as a leader, interacting with other high-level leaders from all over the world, and learning some of the best content on the subject of leadership available, I would highly encourage you to go to or send your people to one of these programs. You can get started by contacting the Carnegie Bosch Institute, here.

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My Key Takeaways: 

Opening night: 

  • Leadership and learning are indispensable from each other.
  • Hierarchy can help, but it can also hurt, it does not define leadership.
  • Leadership is the ability to mobilize resources to achieve a common goal
  • Giftedness is an advantage, but not forever
  • Some people love being individual contributors
  • Wherever there is friction, there is value to be had. Challenge each other!
  • When evaluating what you focus on each day, ask the question, “Would I tell my board I spent hours doing this?”

Day One, Creating Star Performers with Robert Kelley:

  • Give your employees the gift of a good start
  • If companies can’t measure and define your value or your departments value, you will be gone.
  • Job rotation is good for exposure, but at some point you have to choose something to master
  • Always focus on your top performers, they are often your most neglected people
  • Managers have to realize that they’re not doing the work anymore
  • Top 10% leaders see their #1 job as recruiting and producing star performers
  • Star performers are made, not born
  • Initiative is taking on extra work above and beyond your job description, not merely doing your job well
  • Star performers make their own ideas happen
  • Be the person who knows who knows!
  • It is your responsibility to become more valuable to your organization
  • Star performers are great #2’s
  • Horrible assumption to make: Bosses always make great decisions!
  • Good followers help the boss self-correct
  • When you’re the leader, you’re a hero maker! It’s your number 1 job!
  • Followers are not always passive, often they have the power to transform, reject, subvert, or exit the leader!
  • As a leader, your destiny is determined by your followers
  • The quality of your leadership is best reflected by the quality of your followers

Day Two, Informational Organizational Networks with David Krackhardt:

  • Power is the ability to mobilize resources to get things done
  • Power accrues to the people who had the best picture of the informal networks in your organization
  • Information has a lot to do with power – how long does it take for juicy information to get to you?
  • Power is dependent on what you need to get done
  • Friendships are a critical part of the organization
  • Do everything you can to gain the influence you need to execute
  • Our job is to have a clear picture of the network in our organization and to know hot to manage it
  • When it comes to power, it doesn’t matter what we think about us, it matters what others think of us
  • Networks are a balance sheet of the history of our interactions
  • Everyday you have an opportunity to be remembered well or remember poorly

Day Three, Conflict Management with Laurie Weingart:

  • Task conflict is more likely to turn into relationship conflict when there is no trust.
  • Conflict is an event, negotiation is a process
  • A position is what you want, an interest is why yo want it
  • Before you throw offers out, figure out what each side wants
  • Naive negotiators believe everything is sum-zero
  • How strongly someone is reacting is an indicator of what is important to them
  • When someone reacts extremely, identify the behavior. Ask why.
  • Set goals – know when you will walk away.
  • The best threat is one you will never carry out.

Day Four, Change Management with David Lassman:

  • All cultures are dysfunctional, the goal is to be less dysfunctional than your competitors
  • Culture always starts at the top
  • Is debate acceptable at all levels of the organization? It needs to be!
  • People expect you to fix issues as a leader
  • If you’re going to change the culture, don’t make yourself an exception!
  • As a leader, what you do and don’t do sets the foundation
  • Great cultures produce great stories
  • Not everyone moves through change at the same pace
  • #1 job of a leader: Right people in the right seat and get everyone else off!
  • Negativity with a reason is feedback, negativity with no reason is an unwillingness to change
  • We first see if we think someones intentions are good or bad, then we determine if they are competent or not
  • Face to face meetings are always extremely effective in communication and making change

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