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MBA 670 9041 Strategic Decision Making

Project 1: Leading Strategically
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Scenario

Over the past several years of working for the Baltimore-based consulting company, Maryland Creative Solutions, LLC, you have seen quite a bit of growth in the agency. The organization’s recent expansion, led by CEO Jillian Best, to incorporate clientele in need of digital strategy consultation has led to another boost in company revenues as well as a promotion for you. As a part of your new leadership role, you have been asked to attend the Future Directions Conference in Chicago, Illinois, to further your knowledge of best practices in business leadership, trends in the field, and project management.

Additionally, Jillian has already emailed all MCS conference attendees requesting follow-up activities upon your return: (1) a discussion with other MCS attendees about strategic leadership, and (2) a report on current strategic management and leadership theory and practice.

As you prepare for your trip to the conference, you receive an email from MCS Human Resources requesting that you submit a new skills gap analysis, which will serve as a reminder of your current leadership skills and experiences and direct your focus for the conference.

Introduction

This course is the final step in your MBA journey. In this course, you will develop your skills in strategic decision making, planning, and implementation. You will also have the opportunity to reflect upon your growth and accomplishments as a result of your participation in the MBA program.

This project invites you to expand your knowledge of the principles behind strategic leadership to cope with the emerging challenges and steer the organization to greater heights and to consider those principles in a discussion with your classmates and in a final report.

Project 1: Leading Strategically
Step 2: Expand Your Knowledge of Strategic Leadership

Now that you’ve downloaded and tested Microsoft Project for the IT department, you’re all set to travel. You pack your bags for the Future Directions Conference and put up your out-of-office email response. After a smooth flight into Chicago, you catch a ride to the conference center to get settled.

The focus of the Future Directions Conference is strategic leadership, and you capture some notes from each presenter as you attend various sessions throughout the weekend.

Notes from Future Directions Conference—Chicago, IL

Sarah Emerson, COO of Digital Blitz

  • Keynote: Why Leading is Strategy
  • Notes on strategic leadership

Jeffree Daily, Digital Strategist for Pyle Force

  • Session 1: Deep Roots: Theories and Research Still Apply
  • Notes on perspectives in leadership theory and research

Carson Sizemore, VP of Human Resources for Enterprise Today

  • Session 2: Spare Change
  • Notes on management of change and trust
  • Note on Resilience
  • Note on Circular Economy

Johanna Gillmont, President of Continental Shift

  • Session 3: Quite the Contrary
  • Notes on managing ambivalence

Jarrell Faust, Entrepreneur and Founder of SOURCE3

  • Session 4: Pulling in the Pieces
  • Notes on shared and distributed leadership

Catherine Condorro, Director of Leadership at Parsons Institute for Finance

  • Session 5: Connecting on Another Level
  • Notes on relational leadership

Nina Orenstein, Experience Engineer at Hefler-Miller Systems

  • Closing Keynote: Complicated Yet Sophisticated
  • Notes on complexity theory of leadership

The conference concludes and you are exhausted—there was a lot of information to digest. After the conference reception, you grab a bite to eat while reviewing your notes in depth. You know that the CEO, Jillian Best, expects you to not only report out on these materials, but also to discuss many of the highlights with your peers and other attendees from Maryland Creative Solutions, LLC.

Please review all materials in the links above and then proceed to the next step.

Project 1: Leading Strategically
Step 3: Discuss Conference Materials

Your first day back in the office, Jillian Best has requested that you participate in an open discussion with your peers about some of the takeaways from the recent Future Directions Conference you attended in Chicago as well as your professional leadership experiences outside of the company. Now that you have returned to the office, it’s time to get the discussion underway.

Based on your reading, research, and analysis, respond to the two discussion questions below and adhere to Jillian’s discussion requirements:

  • Your two main postings, one each for topic 1 and topic 2, should be completed by the end of Week 1.
  • The titles of your two main postings should indicate the discussion topic number (e.g., #1, #2).
  • Respond to a minimum of two postings from your classmates, one each for each topic 1 and topic 2, before the discussion area is locked at the end of Week 1.
  • For the choice of your organization, you can choose your current employer, past employer, a supplier or customer that you are very familiar with, or an organization where you volunteer.

Discussion

Discuss the two topics listed below:

  • Discussion Topic 1: Drivers of Change

What are the major external and internal drivers of change in your organization?

  • Discussion Topic 2: Strategic Leadership

What is, or should be, the role of the strategic leadership in your organization to meet its performance objectives, develop a resilient organization and respond to the challenges of environment and sustainability?

Review the MBA Discussion Guidelines for instructions on participation in discussions.

After the discussion, proceed to the next step, where you will write a report on strategic management and leadership.

Project 1: Leading Strategically
Step 4: Complete Your Project 1 Report

Following up on Jillian’s request, it is time to write a report that responds to the questions below. Your answers should demonstrate your understanding of strategic management and leadership theories. You should not only incorporate references to class discussions and learning topics but also cite at least two relevant scholarly resources on strategic leadership, such as many of those listed in the reference list of your course readings.

  • What values, traits and abilities do you think are most important in a CEO to meet its performance objectives, while simultaneously developing a resilient organization that can respond to the challenges of sustainability? Why are resilience and sustainability important?
  • Identify a CEO who has those values, traits and abilities. How have they played a role in the company’s success?
  • What are the major barriers to being an effective CEO?
  • Which theory or theories of leadership do you feel are relevant to your situation at work?
  • Describe an instance when you demonstrated leadership.

The report should be six to seven pages, excluding cover page, executive summary, reference list, and appendices. Any tables, graphs, and figures should be included as appendices. Your report should have one-inch margins and be double spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font. In-text citations and references should abide by APA format. The report should be organized using headings and subheadings to improve its readability.

Submit your Project 1 Report to the dropbox located in the final step of this project. In the next step, you’ll prepare for your next assignment by forming a work team.

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