The ability to build and leverage relationships that matter is one of the most important skills for succeeding in business. The power of these relationships was the crux of Stuart Bunderson’s lecture on The Power Base Pyramid, presented to EMBA 46 on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
Traditionally, the use of power and influence has been viewed as “bad practice and an inauthentic way of leading” says EMBA 46 student Andy Bridgeman. “We were challenged to look at influence as a means to change your environment for the positive.” Having a strategy at the beginning of a major change in handling business makes sense. It is also helpful to reflect on what networks can be leveraged to influence a major change inside of a corporation throughout a project.
“We were challenged to look at influence as a means to change your environment for the positive.” -Andy Bridgeman, EMBA 46
Students were also pushed to utilize their leadership skills through a case study that examined the success of polarizing New York-area city planner Robert Moses. His ability to understand the rules, work within the structure of an organization, and receive buy in earned Robert Moses the name “the master builder of the mid-20th century.”
Teams worked together during the case study to challenge their beliefs, ethics, and leadership style based on Robert Moses’ career—specifically, his development of five miles of beachfront property into the Jones Beach State Park. These learning laboratories highlighted challenges that may arise when enforcing change for the greater good, which may come in conflict with the interests of individuals. This was the case during the development of Jones Beach State Park, when single families were forced to sell their property. The case helped illuminate some of Robert’s ingenious strategic solutions, including reducing dependence on other state offices, building in control of key resources, and leveraging networks strategically to bring about change.
Hands-on experiences like those found in this case study are designed to lead future managers to develop a holistic view of managing change outside of traditional silos.