Posts Tagged ‘Company culture’

Should company culture be a primary or secondary concern in the business world?

March 6th, 2013 by hhoran

Day 2 of the 2013 Executive Leadership Workshop focused on the importance of business culture in creating a sustainable business. Tom Brennan ’86, CEO of Goshido, ran the students through a series of group exercises to get them thinking about whether or not a company’s leadership team should make company culture a primary or secondary priority.

The students engaged in two debates: the first debate was focused on the question of whether company culture should be primary or secondary. However, it was the secondary debate that really got the students going! This debate was based on a Harvard Business School case study about a crisis on Northwest Airlines where customers were stranded on a grounded plane for 8+ hours due to inclimate weather. There were three teams: the customers, the CEOs and the Board of Directors.

Their challenge? The three groups had to try to appease one another – the customers wanted a settlement, the CEOs wanted to keep their jobs and the Board was worried about publicity.

Tom Brennan’s goal was to get the students thinking about the challenges that emerge in companies, particularly between different groups of constituencies, and to understand how communications need to go in order for a company to be sustainable. Tom was pretty clear that in his opinion company culture had to be a primary focus. However, after getting all riled up in the debate, I’m not sure all of the students were complete sure that they agreed.

Today’s topic: Business Ethics. The students are currently mid-discussion of whether or not it’s ok to take a pen home from work. Is that stealing? Or, is it ok…after all, it’s just a pen? Check back tomorrow to see how ethical this group really is!

Ideas for new apps created on Day 1 of the 2013 Executive Leadership Workshop!

March 5th, 2013 by hhoran

Yesterday kicked off the 2013 Executive Leadership Workshop and one of the things the students definitely learned was that working a full day (they started at 8:30 am and were busy until 7 pm) is challenging!

Peter George ’81 started off the week talking about how to start and build a business. He was accompanied by Geoff Oblak and Gary Kramer. The students’ challenge for the day: work with their teams to come up with an educational app and then pitch it to the day’s three executive teachers who were acting as Venture Capitalists.

While all the teams came up with interesting ideas, two teams were ultimately rewarded funding: Michael Biggins ’16, Claudia Bechtold ’15, Maggie MacMullin ’16 and Michael Tucker ’14 came up with the idea for BookChat, an online database for professors to post excerpts of readings and where students can engage in online discussions. Nolan Kiernan ’15, Matt Devine ’15, Brendan McGill ’14 and Sophie Haggerty ’16 came up with the idea for SyncroNote, an online note taking software with an audio recording technology. I’m not going to include too many details, in case any of these teams decide to really run with the idea, but the judges were all impressed.

Stay posted for updates on the rest of this week’s workshop. Today’s topic is “Using Culture and Values to Build a Sustainable Business”. Currently the students are split up in groups prepping for a debate on whether culture should be a primary or secondary concern in companies. We’ll see who comes up with the most persuasive argument…