Executive Development Blog

The Aging Workforce: 4 Steps to Maximize Older Workers in Your Organization

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 25, 2015 11:45:52 AM

The globe is aging at an alarming rate. According to a January 2014 study released by the Pew Research Center, the global population of people age 65 and older will triple to 1.5 billion by mid-century. World leaders are growing increasingly concerned about what the impact of the aging population will be to their country’s economies as they consider pension and health care systems, social security systems, and more. At a global level, many economists believe the aging population may actually slow the world economy. The world’s aging trend is creating a number of challenges—and new opportunities—with far reaching implications that will affect the workplace. Companies must understand and prepare for an unprecedented shift in their workforce populations, yet a recent survey on aging by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that most U.S. employers appear in denial and are woefully unprepared for the business realities of an aging workforce.


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Harnessing the Strengths of Millennials

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 23, 2015 10:43:01 AM

Millennials, commonly called Gen Y, are the group of young adults that represent 36% of the workforce today. By 2020, it is expected that this generation will represent nearly half of the workforce. It is essential for organizations to recognize the strengths provided by Millennials and gear up to develop these individuals for the leadership positions that will soon be vacated by older generations.

Understanding MillennialsGeneration Y- UNC Executive Development

The Millennial generation differs greatly from the current two generations that dominant the workplace, Gen X and the Baby Boomers. Unlike the members of the generations that preceded them, Millennials have grown up with technology. They have always been a part of the constantly changing world of technology and the Internet, and they are particularly tech-savvy because of it. Millennials also have a much different outlook on life and the workplace as well. They are collaborators by nature. They have a strong belief in open communication and teamwork. Additionally, they are constant learners. Growing up in a fast-paced environment with changing technologies and social media has allowed for a higher level of experience and access to information than previous generations have been exposed to. It will greatly benefit employers to accept the differences of this generation and position their organization to adapt to the ways of Millennials.

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Focusing on Employee Engagement: How to Measure and Improve It

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 18, 2015 10:26:58 AM

In recent years, there has been a decline in employee engagement. Research indicates that low engagement levels not only affect performance, they also result in increased employee turnover, lower customer satisfaction, and increased absenteeism. In today's competitive business environment, employers need to better engage employees for their organizations to succeed.

Employee Engagement- UNC Executive DevelopmentIdentifying Engagement Levels

There are three levels of employee engagement in the workplace: the actively engaged, the disengaged, and actively disengaged. Actively engaged workers demonstrate high levels of performance, a drive for innovation and efficiency, commitment to their roles and to the organization as a whole, and high-energy enthusiasm. Disengaged workers view their jobs as an exchange of time for a paycheck. They complete their tasks, but they do so unenthusiastically and put in little to no additional effort. Actively disengaged workers are damaging to the workplace. They are actively negative and voice their displeasure in the work place. Their negativity permeates the job place and often undermines the performance of other employees. Recent research by Towers-Watson indicated that only about 15 percent of employees are actively engaged, 65-70 percent are moderately engaged, and 15 percent are actively disengaged. 

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Identifying High Potential Talent Remains a Challenge

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 17, 2015 4:43:41 PM

Transparency about talent and performanceIn a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Marc Effron reflected on the difficulty many companies have in identifying high potential leaders and making tough talent decisions -  especially when hurt feelings and office politics come into play.  He recommends against what he calls the “everybody-gets-a-trophy mentality.”

“It’s a great way to run a Little League team,” he says. “I’m not sure it’s a great way to run a company.”

Effron, one of the leaders of UNC's Talent Management Institute, thinks this lack of transparency is counter-productive and cautions against it.

To read the article in full, click here.

To download UNC's 2013 research report, Identifying High Potential Talent, click here.

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Can You Teach Leadership in a Classroom?

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 16, 2015 10:16:40 AM

Leadership is a word that has many different interpretations. Some feel that it is a quality one inherently posseses while others feel that it is a trait which can be taught or learned through experiences. The idea behind leadership and what it stands for is different for everyone, but the importance of leadership is one thing that is agreed upon. Whether it is in the classroom or in the corporate world, effective leadership is essential to success.Learn to Lead - UNC Executive Development

The Emergence of Leadership

The top educational institutions worldwide have embraced the importance of leadership. The need for strong leadership has developed a need for the building of leaders, so in recent decades, business schools across the globe have adopted the idea that leadership can be taught. The emergence of leadership as a topic that can be taught came from the establishment of a clear difference between managers and leaders. Early in the 20th century, business educators focused on creating managers rather than leaders; however, in the 1970s, the nation turned on the members of elite management. A recession hit and big corporations began to fail – the blame was placed on poor management. This turn in the business world created the need for a new role and title, and business ‘leaders’ emerged. The difference between managers and leaders stems from the types of actions each takes. Leaders provide inspiration and motivation while managers complete tasks. “Leaders were visionaries who got the troops excited to march into battle. Managers were platoon sergeants who actually marched them into battle,” said Duff McDonald of the New York Times.

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Emotional Intelligence: What it is and what it can do for your company

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 11, 2015 10:30:40 AM

Increased productivity, higher engagement levels, lower turnover and absenteeism rates - and often increased market share - are all results that organizations with high emotional intelligence achieve.  Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to perceive emotions, use them in thought, understand their meaning, and manage them thoughtfully and intelligently. There is a strong case for why organizations should focus on improving emotional intelligence at all employee levels, and this case is strengthened by the successes of those organizations that embrace this concept.

Emotional Intelligence - UNC Executive DevelopmentWhat Makes Someone Emotionally Intelligent?

Emotionally intelligent individuals are known to have strong verbal skills, and they tend to be more open and agreeable than others. Some view emotional intelligence as a personality trait while others perceive it as a set of abilities, such as the ability to understand and reason while thinking and acting through emotions. This latter view means that emotional intelligence can be enhanced through coaching and training, and talent management professionals should have a role in developing the emotional intelligence of their workforces.

The Branches of Emotional Intelligence

When viewing emotional intelligence as a set of abilities, there are four branches that exist: 

  1. Recognizing emotions: This is being aware of one’s own emotions as well as others' emotions.  Emotionally intelligent individuals in the workplace understand that everyone’s emotions can individually affect work and productivity. 
  1. Facilitating Emotions: Leaders in the workplace who are emotionally intelligent will use that intelligence to boost the morale of workers and show empathy in certain situations.  They will increase positivity with an aim of also increasing productivity.
  1. Understanding Emotions: This ability goes beyond just recognition and involves being able to interpret emotions and actions that may occur because of said emotions.  Often one emotion triggers another and a chain reaction occurs.  Emotionally intelligent leaders will be able to better predict these outcomes.
  1. Managing Emotions: Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to take control of their emotions as well as the emotions of others in order to bring about inspiration and positivity within people. 
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The Need to Unplug

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 9, 2015 10:21:41 AM

In a world with constant access to communication, finding the right balance between work and personal life can sometimes be difficult. A recent article by Lauren Dixon of Talent Management discusses the downfalls of being plugged in 24/7. Here are a few of Lauren's tips for managing the need to be in constant contact: Excessive Emails

  1. Build relationships outside of work.
  2. Instead of sending emails within the same building, try face-to-face meetings instead.
  3. Have alerts for employees who seem to be emailing after hours – send a message (i.e. “You have accessed XX emails today”) alerting them to what they are doing.

Building a strong sense of self is reliant on allowing time for yourself to fully relax and take your mind off of work at times. UNC Executive Development recognizes the downfalls of being “too connected” and has written a white paper discussing how to be mindful in the workplace.

Click to Download Full White Paper

To read the Lauren's article in full click Excessive Emails

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Leadership, Collective Ambition, and the Path Ahead

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 4, 2015 11:32:31 AM

Charting a Course During Uncertain Times

What allows some organizations to flourish in tough economic times when so many others flounder? How do they use a crisis as an opportunity to transform their business models, to redirect their strategies and to build momentum during a downturn?

“Great organizations share a common thread,” notes Douglas Ready, Ph.D., professor of leadership at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.” It is, as Ready calls it, a well-honed collective ambition; a story that depicts an organization’s purpose, vision and plans on how to achieve their goals.

charting_a_courseSeven elements comprise an organization’s collective ambition: 

  1. Purpose: The organization’s reason for being; why it exists; its core mission.
  2. Vision: The position or status an organization aspires to achieve in a reasonable time frame.
  3. Targets and milestones: The metrics used to assess the extent to which the organization has progressed toward its vision.
  4. Strategic and operational priorities: The actions an organization will take (and not take) in pursuit of its vision.
  5. Brand promise: The commitments an organization makes to its stakeholders (customers, communities, investors, employees, regulators and partners) concerning the experience it will provide.
  6. Core values: The guiding principles that dictate what an organization stands for in good and bad times.
  7. Leader behaviors: How leaders will act, day-by-day and in the long term, to implement vision and strategy as they strive to fulfill their brand promise and live up to their values.

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Overcome Barriers to Reach Your Full Leadership Potential

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 2, 2015 12:41:08 PM

Even the most successful business leaders can find themselves in a rut. Routines and practices that have worked well in the past can actively work against you as you strive to reach new personal and professional goals. These routines and practices need to be reviewed, updated, and sometimes replaced as responsibilities and goals change. It is important to avoid complacency and challenge yourself to go beyond your comfort zone as you strive to achieve new leadership levels. Intentional leadership is a style of leadership that allows you to overcome these types of barriers, unleash your creativity, and reach your full potential as a leader.

It's important, that if you find yourself in a rut, you actively look to get out of the rut.  Have you ever heard of the term "burnout"?  Many think that the term refers to a busy schedule, or just too much going on. A recent Forbes article examines the research of Christina Maslach.  Maslach is the author of "The Truth About Burnout" and established the "Maslach Burnout Inventory" which identifies six mismatches which could lead one to the burnout state.  Read the full article here.  The six mismatches are:

1. Lack of Controlleadership-1
2. Insufficient Reward
3. Lack of Community
4. Absence of Fairness
5. Conflict in Values
6. Work Overload

To help today's leaders avoid burnout and reach their full leadership potential, UNC Executive Development is offering a two-day workshop titled, "Intentional Leadership: Overcoming Barriers to Reach Your Full Potential." This workshop is designed for high-potential and mid-level managers, directors, and senior executives who want to:

  • Become more deliberate and intentional in reaching their leadership potential
  • Overcome obstacles that are preventing personal and professional success
  • Develop practical tools they can apply to enhance their leadership effectiveness
  • Break-out of everyday routines and behaviors that limit success


Click to Learn More about Intentional Leadership 

To register to attend this program, click here.

To view a full calendar of UNC's open enrollment programs, click here.

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A Guide to Successful Career Transitions in Leadership

Posted by UNC Executive Development on May 27, 2015 3:34:53 PM

Landing a new executive job can be tough. Succeeding in that new job may be even tougher. There is currently an incredibly high rate of failure for executives that transition to their positions from outside of an organization. In the white paper How to Help Leaders Succeed:  A Guide to Successful Career Transitions, UNC Executive Development looks into the difficulties of career transitions and provides six steps that HR and talent management professionals can take with newly hired executives to ensure successful transitions into their roles and organizational cultures of a new company.

Career TransitionsThe Importance of a Proper Transition

The ramifications of losing an employee can cost as much as three times the person’s salary, according to estimates from the HR consulting firm The Wynhurst Group. The cost of losing an executive goes well beyond financial, however, and these costs may be more difficult to overcome. Employees can lose trust and confidence in their leadership teams which can affect morale, turnover, service, quality, processes, and much more. Too often, a newly hired executive’s assimilation to an organization’s practices, policies, and culture are left to chance and personal initiative. HR and talent management professionals can help new executives acclimate to their new roles and/or organizations by ensuring they have the knowledge and tools needed to succeed.


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