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The Value of Failure

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Aug 29, 2017 11:13:40 AM

The value of failure is practically gospel in innovation-driven industries.

As Elon Musk has famously said, “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

But does failure really lead to more success?atulimage.png

Quantifying and assessing the relationship between the two is difficult. While anecdotes abound about failure preceding success, there hasn’t been much evidence.

To examine the question, UNC Kenan-Flagler researchers studied the role of small failures in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Atul Nerkar, professor of strategy and entrepreneurship and Allred Distinguished Scholar, and Isin Guler, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, and PhD graduate Rajat Khanna (PhD ’15), now of Tulane University, share their findings in “Fail Often, Fail Big, and Fail Fast? Learning from Small Failures and R&D Performance in the Pharmaceutical Industry” in the Academy of Management Journal.

The trio chose the drug industry because drug research patents provide a unique, and measurable, window into the role of failure in corporate innovation.

Their work has implications for any industry where innovation is important and outcomes are uncertain.

To read more about the research above click here.

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Learn More About the Executive Development Institute

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Aug 8, 2017 3:56:32 PM

Join us this fall at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School for the Executive Development Institute, October 23-27. Not only will you have a chance to learn from our world-class faculty, you’ll sit beside a diverse group of business professionals from various industries and organizations. Participants of this comprehensive general management program will learn to:owenscorningimage.jpg

  • See the business world from the senior executive perspective
  • Formulate strategic responses to increasingly global business challenges
  • Broaden perspectives on using innovation for competitive advantage
  • Understand and analyze financial information
  • Gain the competencies needed to drive organizational change
  • Enhance critical thinking and communication skills
  • Leverage human assets and accelerate performance
  • Put a Personal Business Challenge into immediate action

Program fee includes accommodations, instruction, materials, and breakfast and lunch at Kenan-Flagler’s top-rated, executive conference center.

Download More Information on the  Executive Development Institute

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There’s No “I” in team. Or is There?

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Aug 3, 2017 10:16:00 AM

Imagine you have a critical but complex business problem. You put together a cross-functional team — Harry from finance, Jane from marketing, Sydney from R&D, Patrick from HR and Catherine from sales – to address it.

You give the group three months to develop recommendations and report back to you.

i in team.jpgThey have a common goal, but the team could be derailed – or be less effective – if members fail to put team priorities ahead of their personal goals.

Harry is gunning for a big promotion in his department. Catherine is worried about whether her regional sales team is going to make its goal this quarter. Sydney is on the team only because her boss “volunteered” her for it, largely because no one else in the department wanted any part of the project.

To help the team coalesce around the challenge you gave them, you pay for the team to go to a mountain conference center for a weekend retreat where they’ll do a ropes course together and battle teams from other companies in a paintball tournament.

Will the bonding experience help the team be effective?

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The Business Case for Talent Development

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Aug 1, 2017 3:14:43 PM

There are a host of reasons why it makes sense for an organization to invest in the development of its existing talent. Perhaps the most persuasive argument is that it costs a lot more—some estimates put it at as much as 150 percent of an employee’s annual salary—to recruit new talent than it does to develop existing employees. The costs of recruiting a new employee include selection costs such as interviewing, reference checks, drug testing, on-the-job training, etc.

roi of talent-1.jpgInvesting in talent development is vital for employers because it directly affects employee retention, motivation, engagement, and productivity. Talent development investment reduces staff turnover because employees are more engaged and satisfied with their jobs and are less likely to leave the organization. Millennial employees, in particular, are interested in learning and have indicated that they are likely to look elsewhere if their employers fail to give them opportunities to learn and acquire new skills (See UNC white paper: Managing the Multigenerational Workplace).

The cost of turnover and its link to talent development investment should not be overlooked. While there are physical costs involved with turnover, like separation processing costs, overtime, the hiring of search firms and temporary agencies, there are also hidden costs. These hidden costs include lower productivity, lower employee morale, overburdened employees, lost knowledge, and training costs. These real and hidden costs of employee turnover can be significantly minimized when employers invest in their existing talent.

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Empowering a Mindset for Growth

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jul 26, 2017 1:54:18 PM

UNC Executive Development is dedicated to building long-term partnerships with our clients, and we work collaboratively with our clients to develop and deliver customized leadership development programs that meet organizational objectives and drive long-term change. The solution can take many forms and will depend primarily on the organization’s objectives, the target population profile, the timeline, the budget, and other variables that are client-specific.


In 2008, a worldwide recession threw the global economy into a tailspin. The housing industry, and notably a housing bubble built on a mountain of risky mortgages, played a major role. Nevertheless, while the great recession led to the genpic.jpgcollapse of some financial companies and others hanging onto government bailouts for dear life, one mortgage insurance company weathered the storm without stumbling. Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation (Genworth MI), a subsidiary of Genworth Financial, Inc., navigated the tumultuous recession years by making decisions and managing risks with great care.

“Through the housing market crash, private mortgage insurers were under immense stress,” explains John Collison, Global Director of Talent Development for Genworth’s Mortgage Insurance (MI) business. “The penalty for being wrong on a decision might have been existential. The focus at that point was on keeping the doors open and making smart decisions.”

By 2015, however, four years following the end of the recession, the housing market was once again experiencing solid growth, but Genworth MI was not taking full advantage of that growth. The reason, Collison says, was that the organization was still operating with the cautious, low-risk mindset that had been so valuable during the downturn. That same mindset was now holding them back.

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UNC’s Dave Stevens: Building a Legacy

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jul 20, 2017 11:09:22 AM

The C. Knox Massey Distinguished Service Awards recognize University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill employees each year for unusual, meritorious or superior contributions. In 2017, Chancellor Carol Folt is honoring six University employees with this award.  One of them very close to Executive Development, Dave Stevens.

dave stevens.jpgIn his 22 years of service, Stevens oversaw the construction of the McColl Building and was also deeply involved in the expansion of the full-time MBA program and the launch of [email protected], Weekend MBA, Global OneMBA and the UNC Executive Development Program.

In her nominating letter, longtime colleague Jennifer Conrad, the McMichael Distinguished Professor of Finance, documented the rise of the business school to the creation of the Rizzo Center, which allowed the school’s executive education program to blossom.

The revenues, she added, have furthered the school’s teaching mission with a range of corporate and government clients. At the same time, proceeds from executive education have also been used to provide research funding and to offer competitive hiring packages for faculty.

Stevens said winning the Massey, was a tremendous honor that, near the end of his career, matched the pride he felt in 2000 when he received the Weatherspoon award within the business school. One reason he values the awards so much is because they connect him to two families who have contributed so much to Carolina. It feels even better to know, Stevens said, that the people you have worked with for a long time appreciate what you do.

Congratulations to Dave Stevens on this award. You can read an entire article with much more insight into Dave’s contributions in the University Gazette here.

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Driving Results from your Sales Team

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jul 18, 2017 1:31:36 PM

Join us this fall at UNC Executive Development for our Sales Management program October 10-12. Not only will you have a chance to learn from our world-class faculty, you’ll sit beside a diverse group of sales management professionals from various industries and organizations.  Over the course of three days, we’ll answer the following:

  • sales-1.jpgAre you maximizing the sales performance and potential of your current team?
  • How do I drive sustainable results from my sales team?
  • What knowledge, skills, and experience do you need to be effective at driving sales?
  • What tools and frameworks will better manage my salesforce?

Learn More about  Sales Management

We look forward to seeing you in Chapel Hill this fall.

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Join Us for the Talent Management Institute

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jul 13, 2017 3:51:40 PM

Reserve your seat today for the October 16-19 Talent Management Institute at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. The Talent Management Institute is a four-day program developed to help human resource, talent management and leadership development professionals improve their talent management skills and capabilities. It is taught by two highly acclaimed and experienced Talent Management Practitioners, Marc Effron and Jim Shanley, who focus on the art of execution drawing upon their own professional experiences.

Enroll Now

Don’t miss the opportunity to join a network of professionals who are able to call themselves alumni of the Talent Management Institute.

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UNC Executive Development Welcomes New President

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jul 12, 2017 12:41:18 PM

margaret.png

UNC Executive Development–a top ranked provider of executive education–is pleased to announce Margaret Cording as president.

“Margaret Cording brings an amazing combination of experience–corporate, academic, executive education and global–and skills that make her the right leader for this strategically important role,” said Douglas A. Shackelford, dean and Meade H. Willis Distinguished Professor of Taxation at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “A seasoned professional in developing and managing an executive education business, her strategic and relationship-building approach will help us grow and innovate.”

Cording served at IMD as regional director for Southeast Asia and Oceania and professor of strategy in Singapore prior to joining UNC Kenan-Flagler. There she developed and implemented an executive education growth strategy for the region, establishing IMD’s first geographic expansion outside its home campus in Lausanne, Switzerland. She developed many programs to meet the needs of MNCs as well as executives in the region, and was involved in building and managing an executive learning center.

“I’m excited to join UNC,” said Cording. "Companies around the world are struggling to build the human capital necessary to excel in our complex world. UNC Executive Development is dedicated to building strong partnerships to effect change both for individuals and their organizations through our innovative designs and outstanding faculty. The field of executive education is on the cusp of significant change and UNC Executive Development is positioned well to lead that transformation.”

Cording began her career as an investment banker in New York after she earned an MBA in finance from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She rose to managing director at Chase Manhattan Bank, and decided to pursue an academic career.

She earned a PhD in strategy and business ethics from the University of Virginia and served on the faculties of Rice University and IMD. Her research focused on strategy implementation and change management, post-merger integration and stakeholder management, globalization strategy, and breaking the Asian glass ceiling.

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Top Ten Reasons to Hire Veterans

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jul 6, 2017 3:33:46 PM

Employers need employees with great technical skills, and while veterans certainly possess more than an ample amount of these much-needed skills, they also have some much-desired competencies HR and talent management professionals look for in job candidates. Through military experience, veterans have honed leadership, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and have learned how to work under intense pressure—all top-rated competencies sought by employers

veteran-1.jpgTop Ten Reasons to Hire Veterans

  1. Accelerated learning curve: Veterans have a proven ability to learn new skills quickly and efficiently.
  2. Leadership: The military trains soldiers to lead by example and through direction, delegation, motivation and inspiration. .
  3. Teamwork: Military duties involve the ability to execute both individual tasks and group endeavors.
  4. Diversity: Veterans have learned how to work with all individuals regardless of race, gender, geographic origin, ethnic background, etc.
  5. Performance under pressure: Veterans understand what it means to perform under difficult conditions and tight schedules and with limited resources.
  6. Respect for procedures: Veterans understand what accountability means. They also understand how policies and procedures help an organization function.
  7. Technology and globalization: Veterans are aware of international and technological trends, and how they apply to business and industry.
  8. Integrity: Veterans know the value of “an honest day’s work.”
  9. Health and safety procedures: Veterans are extremely conscious of health and safety standards, and have been trained to strictly adhere to them.
  10. Triumph over adversity: Veterans have shown time and time again that they can survive the harshest of conditions and succeed in mission-critical situations.

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