This introductory course will prepare students for the five modules of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. It focuses on discussing leadership theories, analyzing case studies, learning how to use an alignment model to identify problems within an organization and understanding the different organizational structures used by companies. Students will work in groups, learn team-building skills and gain a core foundation of leadership that will be expanded upon in each module.
Business organizations of all types face chronic management and leadership problems that pose significant challenges to them. These problems include the difficulty of designing organizations capable of coping with highly dynamic business environments, the challenge of developing strategies and structures for hyper-competitive conditions, the greater complexity of leading global enterprises, the difficult task of shaping a corporate culture, managing politics and conflict between individuals and organizational units, motivating employees who are more mobile than ever, designing attractive incentive systems, leading teams effectively, and so on. Perhaps most importantly, in today’s complex global economy, leaders face the challenges of how to foster and sustain creativity and innovation in their firms over time. Creative executives face additional challenges in this context, as they have often risen through the creative side of the business, but they lack some of the “hard” skills that make them balanced C-suite executives. This course introduces students to the key themes and concepts that will become an orienting framework throughout the program.
Conceptually, the course has three major components. The first is “macro” in nature. It focuses on organizational level issues and problems and how leaders should think about issues of organizational design, what strategies they should adopt, and how their decisions affect the culture of the organizations. The second part is more “micro” in nature. It focuses on employee-related challenges, such as how to a) get things done in politically sensitive environments, b) make effective decisions, and c) how to lead small groups and teams. The macro component is concerned with overall organizational performance, while the micro component is concerned with managing individual and group effectiveness. The third part of the course brings these two perspectives together through the lens of leadership and organizational change in different contexts.
This course will introduce you to some of the analytical frameworks in leadership and will help students understand how to apply those theories and frameworks to analyze and address real challenges of leadership. It will also provide you with a better basis for understanding and evaluating organizations and their dynamics. An understanding of organizations and their dynamics is also important for anyone who plans to work within an organization, as career advancement generally hinges on one’s ability to accurately read and respond to the organizational context within which one operates.
In addition to providing you with a framework for dealing with leadership challenges, a second objective of this course is to teach students skills in applying those theories and frameworks to analyze leadership problems and develop appropriate solutions. Leadership skills are most effectively developed through practice. Therefore, it is essential that students have considerable opportunity to work on actual leadership problems. In order to do this we will rely heavily on case analyses. Cases and various exercises will provide the material to practice analyzing and addressing leadership challenges. Students are expected to carefully analyze all of the cases, prepare their thoughts on them, and participate in the analyses in class. Students will leave the course more conscious of the consequences related to the choices they make as leaders in their organizations.