Executive Education


Joyce Russell

The Leadership for Sustainable Growth program is designed to provide executive and management teams with an educational foundation and practical tools for identifying and evaluating growth opportunities, making difficult decisions, and leading the company into the future.

The program begins with an exploration of core principles in strategies for growth and practices for cultivating innovation and creativity using real-world business challenges. This will set the ground for a hands-on, applied workshop on creating the future, where Smith faculty will work with Executives to chart an innovative strategic path for the company. After the path is created, the program shifts its focus to the leadership skills needed to achieve sustainable results. Participants will learn and practice strategies for building connections, managing conflict, and leading change, further developing skills in business strategy execution.

Program Topics (Customizable Five-Day Program)

Creativity and Innovation for Business Leaders*

There are many benefits to employing creative problem solving in management: Cutting project time by redesigning established processes, better employee motivation and retention when individuals are part of a creative process, better career opportunities for creative managers due to more challenging (and creativity requiring) assignments and beating the competition more soundly.

But creativity can’t be switched on and off on demand. It is essential for business leaders to understand obstacles to creativity and how to overcome them, learn and practice creativity techniques, and learn from best practices at what point creativity has the most impact on the outcomes. In this session, participants will learn and then apply specific tools, processes and techniques that help them to utilize practices with a real-life example.

Strategies for Growth

This session will introduce concepts related to sustainable growth and start a strategic discussion that will explore growth opportunities applied within the context of your organization.

Focusing on the critical importance that foresight has for companies in fast changing business environments, participants explore real-world examples in which an established foresight process has helped organizations to anticipate critical (both positive and negative) trends and outsmart competitors. Learning from a blend of theory, real-life examples, and proven methods to evaluate opportunities, executives will build the foundation to initiate and sustain an organization-wide strategic reorientation and competitive revitalization.

Creating the Future: Facilitated Workshop

In this session, executives will build on the foundations set in the first two sessions and learn how to apply interactive strategy planning frameworks, idealized design and the use of decision enhancing and strategic exploration tools to begin to design the future.

This course will highlight the importance of utilizing strategic thinking and methods within a holistic, collaborative perspective. In addition, participants will be exposed to and will apply the concepts of Idealized Design to explore new strategic possibilities and fundamentally transform the current way of doing business and solving problems. This process will follow an interactive planning approach known as Idealized Design. There are two general constraints that we will use as a framework. The first constraint is that the Idealized Design must be feasible and second, that it must be capable of surviving in the current environment if it were to come into existence. During this session, executives will spend some time developing some of their ideas for the company and take some first steps in designing a vision for the future.

Collaboration and Leading Change

In this session, participants explore key considerations and practices for collaborating effectively and leading change in order to keep the company moving forward.

This session introduces a four-component model of planned change and illustrates its features through the use of both case studies and experiential exercises. Participants will learn to use the model in overcoming major obstacles to successful change and build skills in planning, leading, and sustaining large scale organizational change. Participations will also learn about a framework designed to better understand team effectiveness and minimize team dysfunctions in order to move from idea to implementation, evaluation and improvement without losing momentum.

Empowered Accountable Leaders

To achieve sustainable results for the strategies generated, executives need to be empowered and accountable leaders. It will be important to recognize the difference between productive and unproductive failures and to translate this knowledge into action. Making things happen sometimes requires challenge, change and even conflict. Learn how to work out what really matters; how to gain buy-in from others; how to have a “good” fight; and how to move past decision-making bottlenecks as you work to realize the company’s future.

*Includes an optional pre-workshop questionnaire to identify the critical issues at the company to incorporate into the session.