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Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

Nano Tools for Leaders III

In Executive Education, Leadership, Nano Tools, Wharton on October 28, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Managing the Older Worker

Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.

Contributor: Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Human Resources.


The Goal:

Maximize the use and performance of older workers.

Nano Tool:

Older workers (defined in the United States as 55+) are a rapidly growing segment of the workforce, and research shows that their job performance is superior in nearly every aspect to that of younger cohorts. They offer the “just in time” skills employers say they want and are willing to work the flexible schedules modern businesses require.

Yet this older workforce poses a unique challenge for younger supervisors, who have difficulty handling subordinates with more experience than the supervisors. This challenge translates into management problems as well as a resistance to hiring older workers. The goal is to develop a new way to manage older workers that eliminates these challenges. Read the rest of this entry »

Student Stories: Nonprofit Board Fellows

In Leadership, MBA Students, Student Stories, Wharton on October 21, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Periodically, the Wharton Leadership Program blog likes to bring you stories straight from students’ own experiences with our programs.  We’ve interviewed one of our Nonprofit Board Fellows, David Adelman, a 2nd year MBA student majoring in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management and serving on the board of SquashSmarts, a nonprofit that uses squash to inspire and educate under-served urban youth in Philadelphia.  The Nonprofit Board Leadership Program places MBA students on boards of local nonprofit organizations to both help advance the mission of the organization and teach students about the realities of board governance and the nonprofit sector.

WLP: What is your role on the SquashSmarts board?  How did you define this role? 

DA:  I’m a visiting board member for the year. More specifically, I am working on a project to establish a Young Leaders committee to get people in their 20s and 30s to learn about how incredible SquashSmarts is and become more active in the organization.

WLP:  How have you attempted to forge relationships with board members/the ED right away?

DA:  I met the Executive Director at his house shortly after starting, which gave me a great background on the organization and helped us build our relationship early on. Since then, we’ve met a few times and I’ve gotten to know him well. He’s a strong leader who brings an incredible amount of passion and energy to the organization. I met several of the board meetings at a fundraiser that SquashSmarts hosted last year, and met the rest at the first board meeting 2 weeks ago. I’m lucky to be working with such an active and inspiring group of people. Read the rest of this entry »

Nano Tools for Leaders II

In Nano Tools on October 7, 2010 at 10:57 am

Strategic Communication: Making Your Point

Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes – with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.

Contributors: Richard Shell, Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, and Mario Moussa, Academic Director, Wharton Executive Education programs; co-authors of The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas (Portfolio/Penguin, 2007) and co-directors of Wharton’s Strategic Persuasion Workshop.


The Goal:

Communicate your ideas so that others understand your most important strategic priorities.

Nano Tool:

Management theorist Nitin Nohria famously identified communication as “the real work of leadership.” Yet Professors Shell and Moussa’s research shows that communication at work is surprisingly difficult – and mistakes are expensive. One study found that misunderstandings cost companies nearly $40B annually (the actual figure is probably much greater).

Shell and Moussa identified key psychological barriers, including belief bias and self-interest, that distort communication and stand between your ideas and your co-workers, superiors, and subordinates. They found that effective communicators avoid these barriers while making their intentions clearly understood. Specifically, they:

  1. communicate ideas in simple terms,
  2. support them with the right kind of evidence, and
  3. make them memorable.

Read the rest of this entry »