Executive Education



Tailoring Your Program

Participants in our custom executive education programs can choose from any of the modules below for the design of their program.

Leadership & Human Capital Management

Assessment Debrief

What Kind of Leader Are You: Seeing ourselves as others see us is the age-old prescription for increased self-awareness and personal improvement. It’s also a very good way for managers to develop their leadership skills. Once the assessments are debriefed, managers will be supported in creating an Individual Development Plan with actionable steps and measurable benchmarks.

Creating and Sustaining a Learning Organization:

Peter Senge’s vision of a learning organization as a group of people who are continually enhancing their capabilities to create what they want to create has been deeply influential. This session looks at the five disciplines central to learning organizations and examines elements of culture, structure and process that must be present to sustain the practice of learning organizations.

Emotional Intelligence and Executive Derailers:

This session will focus the learning on emotional intelligence, the individual, and his or her own leadership strengths, weaknesses, and potential “executive derailers.” Executive derailers are strengths that, when over-emphasized, can become liabilities in the workplace. For example, diligence when carried to an extreme, can lead to perfectionism and over criticality, a negative in the workplace.

Increasing Organizational Capability Through Diversity and Inclusion:

Organizations which tie diversity and inclusion to their business strategy increase performance, productivity and customer satisfaction, bringing together a wide range of perspectives, skills and experiences to innovatively solve problems. How can an organization leverage diversity to increase organizational capability? After this session, participants will be able to 1) Understand diversity and its role as a business and individual success factor, 2) Recognize individual frames of reference and filters and understand their impact on meeting business objectives, and 3) Work more productively with team members, leveraging skills and experiences to meet goals.

Leadership Development

Making Your Organization a Talent Factory: Effectively identifying and developing talent are critical levers for establishing a strong leadership pipeline. Research suggests that while organizations use multiple strategies for developing high-potentials, the processes used to identify key players remains largely subjective. This workshop will enhance participants’ knowledge of practices for developing bench strength and highlight challenges and biases that leaders face when developing and implementing talent management practices.

Leading Change:

Feeling overwhelmed by the weight of work? Daunted by the challenges of public service leadership in this fast-paced world? This session examines the importance of psychological resilience in the success of planned organizational change. Explore the role that resilience plays in both executives' and their employees' critical change attitudes and behaviors, and discover how resilience can be developed and managed more effectively in both parties.

Leading Through Effective Communication:

The ability to communicate clearly and convincingly to employees, peers, customers, and executives is a critical part of leadership. This course explores best practices in internal and external communication and the role of communication as a leadership tool to convey information, motivate employees, and influence upper level management. At the end of this module, participants will be able to: 1) Manage interpersonal communication to achieve goals, 2) Create communication strategies for building effective relationships and 3) Advance careers by communicating their personal brands.


This highly experiential workshop will improve participants’ negotiation skills and capacity to acquire and effectively use power. By using assessment tools, skill-building exercises, and exercise debriefings, the workshop will increase participants’ negotiating self-confidence and improve their capacity to achieve win-win solutions to individual, team, and organizational problems. In addition, this experiential session will enhance participants’ analytical skills, interpersonal skills (e.g., attending to social and emotional cues and adjusting accordingly), creativity (e.g., identifying creative solutions to conflict), risk-taking, and persuasive abilities. As a result of taking this course, participants will be able to(1) diagnose their own negotiation and conflict style tendencies (e.g., their strengths and development needs in various negotiation areas), (2) better understand the negotiation process, bargaining strategies, tactics, and their effects; (3) analyze conflict situations and effectively prepare for a variety of individual and team negotiations; (4) develop and implement a plan for improving their negotiation skills; and (5) improve their ability to negotiate desired outcomes in work situations while developing partnering relationships.

Organizational Culture and the Empowered Voice:

Organizations where team members are encouraged to talk about mistakes and share observations about improvements are positioned to provide greater learning. This thought-provoking session will provide participants with an opportunity to consider the culture at their organization and to come up with their own ideas for empowering their teams to speak out.

Strategic Human Capital Management:

This session focuses on developing the concepts, frameworks, and skills that are important to be effective leaders and to successfully manage human capital. Using exercises, cases, role plays, and classroom discussion, this session will cover a range of topics including: 1) Strategic management of human capital, 2) Specification of the skills and competencies requisite for job success, 3) Recruiting and selecting employees to fit the job and the organization, and 4) Appraising, providing feedback, coaching and improving performance. All of the topics selected for discussion are critical ones that every professional needs to know, regardless of functional area (not just HR professionals). These issues will be examined from both a strategic and a tactical level and should be relevant to all practicing managers and leaders.

What Makes a Leader:

How is leadership different from management? What kind of leadership is called for in your workplace? How do you define your own leadership style and how can you learn to calibrate it to match different challenges? At the end of this module, participants will be able to: 1) Identify key features that improve leaders’ effectiveness, and 2) Understand their own personality characteristics and talents and how these affect the way they interact with others.

Finance and Economics

Financial Management:

For managers to contribute fully toward achieving the organization’s financial goals, it’s imperative that they understand the financial metrics that are used. This session examines how the decisions that individuals make impact financial metrics. This session will link the participants’ day-to-day decisions to their organization’s strategic and financial goals, using examples relevant to the organization.

The Global Economic Environment:

To be successful, firms must align their actions and strategies with the external environment. The national and international macroeconomic environment, with its complex fluctuations of outputs, interest rates, prices and exchange rates is of great importance to virtually every business. Moreover, the global economy is highly dynamic, as witnessed by key players such as the EU, Brazil, Russia, China, and India. Finance leaders must be aware of changes in this environment and the implications of these changes for their own companies. In addition, they must be able to analyze the impacts of national policies (including fiscal policy, monetary policy and trade policy) on their companies. This module is intended to provide the participant with the tools necessary to intelligently interpret the national and international economic environment, including the impact of economic policies on the economy and the firm. More specifically, our objectives are to go over the key elements in the global economic environment most relevant to the industry and discuss the effects on companies from past, present and future changes in the global economy.

Strategy and Innovation

Creativity and Innovation:

In this session, participants will be exposed to and will apply the concepts of Idealized Design to explore new strategic possibilities and transform the current way of solving problems. Upon completion of this session participants will be able to 1) Reduce some of the barriers to creativity in the workplace, 2) Challenge daily business routines and processes and explore new ways of doing business, 3) View old problems from a different perspective and generate unexpected solutions.

Strategic Thinking:

To be a successful manager, you need to master the skills that characterize strategic thinking--from examining situations to interpreting information--and know how to apply those skills on the job. This course will highlight the importance of utilizing strategic thinking and methods within a holistic, collaborative perspective, one that recognizes a balance between efficiency, and effectiveness; between planning and action; between problem solving and problem dissolving; the voice of the process and the voice of the customer; and between short-term and long-term implications for the organization. This approach is not only relevant; it is essential to organizations and individuals in seeking to create a viable future.

Strategy and Innovation for Customer Value Creation:

Today’s complex and challenging world demands that leaders continuously assess and adjust how they see the world and how they interpret it. The ability to adopt different perspectives, operate with multiple mindsets, be nimble and responsive is at a greater premium than ever before. In this session we explore practices to adopt a disciplined process to innovate continuously, by identifying, and helping remove the obstacles that prevent innovation from flowing freely, and by keeping the company focused on continuous customer value creation that results in new value for the customer and in sustainable profitability.

Systems Thinking:

This module delineates ideas and methods executives need to overcome operational and strategic complacency and how to deal with the complexity and uncertainty associated with the future. Foundational components of “systems thinking” will be presented. Participants will be able to translate key concepts into practical applications within the organization.

Experiential Learning

Introduction to Action Learning Projects:

This session will establish the framework and guidelines for a successful Action Learning Project. Participants will receive best-practice advice on how to decompose their “problem statement”, and begin the process of delving into tasks that will need to be completed prior to their final presentation at the end of the program. The tools and techniques taught in this session are valuable not just for the immediate completion of the project, but also for future projects they may undertake.

Leadership Lessons from Gettysburg:

The Smith School and the Gettysburg Foundation have partnered to co-develop leadership programs that integrate the lessons from Battle of Gettysburg, on the battlefield in Pennsylvania. The Battle of Gettysburg was a pivotal moment in American history. Communication, decision-making under pressure, innovation, influence and persuasion—all of these were employed with varied results during the conflict that served as the turning point of the Civil War. Ordinary men were placed in extraordinary situations. Some led effectively. Some did not. Your organization faces many of these issues today—empowerment, accountability, adaptability, strategic thinking, vision, execution and team building.

Site Visit to the Capitol:

Visit to the U.S. Capitol with former Rep. Jim Moody (D-WI), including individual meetings with Members of Congress, visit to hearing and briefing on committee work. Participants will gain insights from our network of Public Affairs professionals about best practices for inquiry and advocacy on Capitol Hill.