Tag: leadership

In its inaugural year, The George and Carol Bauer Leadership Center has hosted a number of events in which accomplished leaders have shared their wisdom and experience with our students, faculty, and alumni. One example is our Defining Moments signature course that features exemplary leaders from a range of industries sharing their defining leadership experiences. A common theme was the importance of personal values and ethics in a career and in the success of a company. We are documenting these stories in video vignettes that can be used to inspire students, researchers, and the business community.

The Bauer Leadership Center at Olin Business School develops values-based leaders—leaders who measure their success both by the results they achieve and the values they demonstrate.

We have spent much of this first year reaching out to different people to understand how we can work together with like-minded others to advance our mission. For example, we developed a proposal for a “community of practice” that brings together faculty and administrators engaged in leadership development across the Washington University campus. We are learning best practices from one another and discovering the potential for collaboration on common goals.

SAVE THE DATE: September 20, 2017
“The Value of Values for Founders and Entrepreneurs”
The Bauer Leadership Center is partnering with the Entrepreneurship Organization (EO) and the Executive MBA program to kick off the Values and Leadership forum series.

In the fall, we will unveil an exciting and unique program called “Bauer Fellows” in partnership with Olin’s Center for Experiential Learning. Students leading consulting teams across the globe will be working on their leadership capabilities at the same time they are delivering value to clients. We are currently exploring other ways to build values-centered leadership into Olin courses and programs.

Finally, none of this would be possible without the generous support of George and Carol Bauer. Their vision, example, and energy for our mission have been, and will continue to be, an inspiration. We offer our sincere thanks to the many people and organizations that are working with us—together we can change the way we teach and practice leadership!

For more information or to join our mailing list, contact Marcianne Gagliardi at mgagliardi@wustl.edu or 314-935-2943  Link to website.

 




One of the most-explored and desired processes of today’s global business marketplace is innovation.  In this highly digitized age, where entrepreneurship and start-up ideas are encouraged and often fostered, traditional organizational hierarchies can be brushed to the side.  The power of a game-changing idea has the ability to transcend this traditional structure, leaving room for equal places of contribution to the table.

The most recent broadcast of the Executive MBA program’s “Live from Olin Business School” webinar series challenged the common notion that a leader should not be involved in the innovation process.  Stuart Bunderson, Associate Dean & Director of Executive Programs, the George & Carol Bauer Professor of Organizational Ethics & Governance and Co-Director of the Bauer Leadership Center, presented the webinar.  In “Leading Innovation without Getting in the Way,” Bunderson broke down just why innovation does not work effectively without the involvement of a strong leader.

By citing the famous example of the 1999 IDEO shopping cart video, in which an IDEO team redesigned the standard shopping cart in just five days, Bunderson showed how innovation is a process buffeted by the contribution of members from each level of a hierarchical system. IDEO, a Palo-Alto, California based invention company, had not formally defined hierarchy of its shopping cart team. Team members were encouraged to contribute ideas equally in the short five-day due date.

Buoyed by this timeline, key members of the team did help drive the process forward, each with a specific role to play. Narrowing down the best idea meant that contributions from the group facilitator, company founder and more experienced members led the team to a revolutionary approach to the shopping cart.

Bunderson emphasized that a social hierarchy helps innovation. Hierarchy is a natural occurrence because of differences in expertise, education, and other characteristics within groups of people. It contributes to the function of groups, most particularly where there is a problem that needs to be solved in a specific amount of time, such as the IDEO shopping cart proposal. These types of “problem parameters” encourage creativity, because time and resource restraints often can produce the most skilled outputs from group members.

Because of this organizational behavior, leadership develops. Leaders become moderators of sorts, making sure that voices are heard and the ideas of team members are not drowned out. This is not for the leader’s professional benefit, but for the guidance of the team and its product output. If there are disagreements, a group can be sidetracked from its goal and its organizational structure. A leader, produced from a social hierarchical system, will settle these disagreements and achieve coordination. In other words, keeping the eyes on the prize – a group or organization requires leadership to encourage direction over conflict, move things forward and foster innovation.

The ancient quote from Lao Tzu, from the Tao Te Ching, best sums up what Bunderson conveyed in his research findings:

“A leader is best when people barely know he [or she] exists, when his [or her] work is done, his [or her] aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

Please visit www.olin.wustl.edu/EMBAevents to register for the next “Live from Olin Business School” event and to learn more about the Executive MBA program.




Jackson Nickerson, Frahm Family Professor of Organization & Strategy, has developed a series of training seminars to help business school faculty develop leadership skills. Developed in conjunction with the AACSB International, Leading in the Academic Enterprise® (LAE) is providing training that many business school deans say is needed for faculty who are asked to take on leadership roles.

Jackson Nickerson

Nickerson who is also a Brookings Non-resident Senior Scholar in Government Studies and Associate Dean and Director of Brookings Executive Education, developed the training series after extensive interviews with business school deans and administrators, and a survey of more than 400 experienced and new deans.

In an article in the current issue of BizEd, Nickerson outlines the areas identified in the survey where faculty require training before taking on leadership roles:

  • ability to lead organizational change
  • ability to think strategically and solve problems creatively
  • ability to develop new leaders and communicate effectively

“These themes appeared whether their schools were public or private; large or small; in Europe, the U.S., or anywhere in the world,” according to Nickerson.

Too often faculty are thrown into the deep end of the pool and expected to swim or sink in the turbulent waters of leadership—an expensive way to develop new leaders. — Survey Response

Leading in the Academic Enterprise® (LAE), the three-part series developed by Nickerson and offered by AACSB International, was launched in the summer of 2014. Nickerson says the need for effective leaders within academia is crucial at this time and attainable.

“Perhaps the most important lesson we learned from our research is that while many academics do not have the skills to lead successfully in challenging environments, this does not mean they cannot develop them. Our interviewees agreed that schools that invest in training, mentoring, and development are likely to see great returns, both for their leaders and the larger academic enterprise.”

Link to article.




Mike Matheny was a speaker at Olin’s “Defining Moments: Lessons in Leadership and Character from the Top” course. 

“Leadership and high-level achievements go hand-in-hand,” began Mike Matheny during his presentation at Olin’s Defining Moments course in January. Mike is the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, a role he’s held since 2012. Mike was a professional baseball player, playing as catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, St. Louis Cardinals, and the San Francisco Giants before hanging up his gloves in 2006. After his stint as a professional catcher, he became involved in youth sports, coaching Little League, publishing a book on youth sports, as well as starting a non-profit, the Catch Twenty-Two Foundation, before following the infamous Tony La Russa in becoming the Cardinal’s manager. Mike has won numerous awards and accolades, both as a player and as a coach. He is a four-time winner of the Gold Glove award as well as the youngest and most winning manager in recent history.

Mike Matheny is a high-performer, having achieved the pinnacle of baseball by playing in the Major Leagues. It’s not his position, but his performance that Mike says makes him to be a leader—and he believes that high performers are leaders because others want to follow them. Mike shared with us five attributes that separate the highest performers from the rest. He believes that living a lifestyle of learning, having the discipline and focus to do the right thing, being inherently tough with grit, having positive energy, and selflessness are the hallmarks of high-performing leaders. Matheny goes further to say that showing up with energy and enthusiasm are non-negotiable for any leader, quoting his mentor, Willie McGee: “Some people light up a room when they enter, some when they leave.”

Guest blogger: Tony Nuber is a 2017 MBA Candidate in the Full-time MBA Program at Olin Business School. 




“Systems don’t win, players do.” “Adversity is an opportunity for heroism.” “What it takes to win is simple, it’s not easy.”

If you had asked me which Defining Moments speaker would present his or her leadership philosophy through quotes from former Buffalo Bills head coach Marv Lewis, my first guess would not have been Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum. But Sue McCollum brought her true self to the Defining Moments classroom, and Sue’s true self is a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan.

Sue McCollum holds two advanced degrees, an MBA from American University and a JD from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a force in the St. Louis community, sitting on countless boards, including Forest Park Forever, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the Regional Business Council. She is the mother of two accomplished young men.

But what specifically brought Sue to our Defining Moments classroom in February was Sue’s role as Chair and CEO of Missouri-based Major Brands. Sue is the only female CEO of a national wholesale liquor distributor posting more than $500 million in yearly revenue, and her story of how she came to hold that position is humbling and inspirational.

Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum visits Olin's Defining Moments course in Feb. 2017.

Major Brands CEO Sue McCollum presents to Olin’s Defining Moments course.

In 2010, McCollum was living in St. Louis, starting her first year of law school and raising two sons with her husband Todd Epsten, then-CEO of Major Brands, a company that had been in his family for three generations. But when Todd passed away after a short and unexpected illness, McCollum took over as the company’s CEO. Shortly after, several of Major Brands’ biggest customers attempted to break their contracts with the company, the legality of which was questionable.

At this point, McCollum had to make a decision: should she fight and lose the lawsuits, fight and win the lawsuits, or give up? McCollum decided to fight, and stressed the importance of decisiveness in leadership. There was no turning back; she had made a commitment not only to herself, but also to Todd’s legacy, to her employees, and to the community. To flinch or back down would not only guarantee a loss, but also would be a betrayal of the trust and belief that these various stakeholders had in her.

This recognition of the importance of relationships in leadership was a theme McCollum echoed throughout her speech. She pinpointed Major Brands employees as the key to the company’s success, noting that strong communication and common values were essential to keeping spirits high during the court trials.

McCollum also credited clarity of purpose and “embracing your inner badass” for her success, encouraging listeners to push forward toward the things they are afraid of, and reminding the audience to embrace discomfort, because those are the moments that change you. McCollum zeroed in on the power of adversity to help people grow, and mentioned how she challenges herself to not shy away from these types of situations, because there is always some good that comes of them. The idea that the hardest situations we face are also those that most deeply shape our character resonated strongly with me.

As McCollum finished relaying her remarkable story to the class, we were all left promising ourselves that we would face our own defining moments with the same integrity, grace, and courage as McCollum.

Written by Cassie Galante for the Bauer Leadership Center