Executive Development Blog

Become a Better Leader this Fall at UNC

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 29, 2017 10:46:50 AM

For over sixty years, UNC Kenan-Flagler has offered leadership development and business education programs designed specifically to help individuals reach their full potential. Our programs prepare business professionals at all levels with the knowledge and skills they need to think more strategically, make better decisions, and lead more effectively.


We have a busy calendar of programs this Fall and registration is now open.  Upcoming programs include:

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Topics: leadership, leadership development

Developing Millennial Leaders

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 27, 2017 11:32:33 AM

The millennial generation is not just about to enter the workforce. They are already there. In fact, the oldest millennial is already 37 years of age, yet employers and HR and talent management professionals act like the entirety of this generation is still living in their parents’ basements. While it is true that many millennials are recent college graduates still green behind the ears when it comes to their careers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that they hold about 20 percent of all management jobs, up from just 3 percent in 2005. And as baby boomers retire, the number of millennials needed to assume leadership roles will rise exponentially—but employers struggle to accelerate their leadership development programs to properly prepare millennials to assume leadership positions.

_K3_0145.jpgThere is no shortage of studies that highlight why this ethnically diverse generation are technical natives, continuous learners, and excellent team players and collaborators. There is also no shortage of written work that highlights how millennials may disrupt the workplace. All of this research in the quest to discover how this generation will behave as a whole has led to the notion that all millennials share the same values and will likely behave in the same way in the workplace. This is simply not the case. Just like not all baby boomers will retire at age 65, not all millennials will be good team players. In fact, as millennials age, notable differences among them are emerging. One common thought about millennials is that they are serial job hoppers, yet there is evidence that millennials who have been in the workforce for a couple of years begin to form more conventional attitudes about work than millennials of the same age who are still in college.

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Topics: leadership, millennials, leadership development

Steps HR Can Take to Improve the Success Rate of a Change Initiative

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 22, 2017 3:02:47 PM

There are many different change models and approaches to change management that HR leaders can choose to implement in their organizations.  Many of these models have commonalities.  The following steps borrow from a few of the most popular change models (Kotter’s model, Blanchard’s model, etc.) and hope to ensure a successful change initiative in organizations.changeman.jpg

Step 1: Obtain executive sponsorship.
A change initiative, no matter its scope, needs a senior-level champion to support and lead the change. HR should identify the right person or people to champion the change initiative. The champion(s) should not only be at a high level in the organization, but also should have credibility among employees.

Step 2: Identify the right change agents.
Change agents are your difference makers and should be chosen carefully. Think of them as a bridge—they will be responsible for engaging the stakeholders, which will involve a lot of two-way communication (as much inquiry as advocacy), communicating the change initiative vision, providing feedback up the management chain, and modeling the new behaviors and processes.

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Our Approach to Partnership

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 20, 2017 1:30:20 PM

The UNC Executive Development team enjoyed sponsoring The Conference Board’s Annual Leadership Development Conference in Chicago this month. We were pleased to have the opportunity to share the success story of our partnership with Owens Corning to develop the company’s future leaders and to drive business results across the organization. If you’d like to read more about our work with Owens Corning, you can do so here


UNC is an internationally recognized leader in custom executive education, ranked #1 in the world for Value of the Money by the Financial Times. For more than 60 years, UNC has partnered with organizations to design, develop, and deliver customized leadership development programs, both at our executive campus in Chapel Hill and at client sites around the world.

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Motivating Today's Workforce

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 8, 2017 3:58:48 PM

Motivated employees outperform unmotivated peers in productivity, innovation, creativity, customer service, engagement, and retention—all of which gives an organization a competitive advantage that is vital in today’s high speed, hyper-connected business environment. Neuroscience has provided new insight on how motivation is processed in the brain. Frameworks like Lawrence and Nohria’s Drivers of Human Behavior model and Rock’s SCARF model combine motivation theory and neuroscience and offer roadmaps for how HR and talent management professionals can help shape their organizational culture and environment to motivate employees, spur engagement, and boost the bottom line. Motivated employees can a transform business.


We’ve packaged up our research on the topic of motivation and applying the neuroscience of motivation in the workplace into a white paper. This paper covers what motivation is and the importance, where motivation comes from, frames the science behind motivation, and finally offers tips for how talent management professionals can improve their organization’s motivation.  Download the paper below.

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Are You Working With Saints or Sinners?

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 6, 2017 1:34:06 PM

Most of us do our best to act ethically – right? Turns out, it depends on the situation.

Research by Sreedhari Desai, an organizational behavior professor at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, shows that behavior is influenced by factors beyond our intrinsic morality.

Desai-articleimage.jpgEnvironmental cues, how work is structured, stress and anxiety influence how we behave. Some factors prompt people to be more moral, some less so.

“One of the primary assumptions of economics is that all human beings are rational, utility maximizing agents,” Desai says. But voluminous research — and day-to-day observations — show that other factors influence our decisions.

“People don’t just behave self-interestedly,” she says. “They give money to charity, for instance. Clearly there is something apart from self-interest that motivates human behavior.”

Companies have long relied on monetary incentives — such as pay raises, bonuses and commissions — to motivate employees. And a quick review of news headlines reveals many cases where monetary motivations won out and people crossed ethical and legal lines.

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4 Ways Leaders Can Retain Women in the Workplace

Posted by UNC Executive Development on Jun 1, 2017 2:40:41 PM

Women have much to contribute to the workplace, and HR and talent management professionals should take steps to ensure their workplaces attract, retain, and develop them and that key leaders understand that doing so is a strategic priority.  Below are some ways leaders can do this:


1) Offer flexibility.
Offering flexibility is essential in today’s workplace, and not just for women. A recent Moms Corp survey found that 79 percent of working adults agree that flexibility is now one of the most important factors they consider when looking for a new job. Flexibility comes in many different shapes. Flexibility can be offered at the micro level—allowing employees to work core hours (between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., for example), with remote and flexible hours beyond that. It can also be offered by the day, week, or month. Another form of flexibility is having the ability to ramp down and then ramp up again. Flexibility is a key component in making Working Mother’s top 100 list. Some of the top companies on the list go above and beyond daily and weekly flexibility.

2) Offer family-friendly benefits and encourage all employees to use them.
Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies excel at offering family friendly benefits. All of the top companies named to the list offer flextime and telecommuting to their employees, versus slightly over half of all U.S. companies. One hundred percent of Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies offer paid maternity leave, versus 16 percent of the rest. Top companies also offer adoption assistance (94 percent vs. 11 percent of the rest), job sharing (85 percent vs. 10 percent), paid sick leave (96 percent vs. 34 percent), back-up childcare (85 percent vs. 4 percent), and paid paternity leave (83 percent vs. 15 percent). Best companies also offer paid adoption leave, on-site lactation rooms, and lactation services.

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UNC’s Adam Mersereau on Marrying Analytics with Human Judgment

Posted by UNC Executive Development on May 30, 2017 3:19:09 PM

Adam Mersereau likes to joke that Spanish fast-fashion retailer Zara has two sets of fans: young fashion-conscious consumers and operations management professors like himself.

Mersereau-900x600.jpgMersereau has taken a keen interest in the retail world since joining UNC Kenan-Flagler, where he is an associate professor of operations and a Sarah Graham Kenan Scholar. Much of his research focuses on retail operations management, inventory optimization and supply chain management.

He’s found Zara to be a particularly rich source of insight on the movement of inventory in the retail world because of its fast rollout of apparel and use of local production. He’s made several visits to the company’s headquarters to understand how the firm approaches the retail process. The experience was illuminating.

“The appeal of a fashion design can be hard to quantify, so some decisions there are necessarily made based on experience and gut feel. This has served them well – they’re the world’s largest fashion retailer,” says Mersereau. “But it’s not the way I’m wired as a stats professor. I can’t build my fantasy football team without a spreadsheet.

I’ve learned the power of marrying analytics with human judgment. It doesn’t need to be an either-or proposition.”

Mersereau and collaborators ultimately developed a decision-support system for Zara designed to roll out new items more efficiently at its 2,000 stores, improve sales revenue and reduce the amount of unsold merchandise.

Projects like these excite Mersereau, who has a keen interest in data-driven dynamic optimization – a line of research into how decision makers who have uncertainty about their business environment can both use existing data now, as well as gather new data for the future.

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Why Integrity Pays Off

Posted by UNC Executive Development on May 25, 2017 3:09:55 PM

In simple terms, integrity is doing the right thing. Integrity in a business setting pertains to how ethically one behaves toward co-workers, shareholders, stakeholders, and the environment. There are definite costs to organizations found to lack integrity including:integrity-1.jpg

  • Erodes shareholder confidence;
  • Damages the organization’s reputation in the marketplace;
  • Lowers brand equity;
  • Decreases consumer support, and;
  • Often results in costly attorney’s fees and government fines.

All of these factors can place an organization’s future at risk. These costs, however, occur after the lack of integrity has gone public. Studies involving organizations that operate with high levels of integrity show that there is a considerable bottom-line return to acting ethically. Other studies have found that organizations with high trust levels are 2.5 times more likely than those with low trust levels to have superior revenue growth. Overall, high trust organizations outperform other organizations in achieving business goals, offering excellent customer service, and retaining employees. They also have improved competitive market positions.

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UNC Ranks High on Financial Times Executive Education Rankings

Posted by UNC Executive Development on May 16, 2017 3:23:52 PM

For over 60 years, UNC Executive Development has partnered with organizations and individuals to create unique, customized executive development programs focused on solving business challenges by combining powerful program content with real-world experience. We’re proud of our work and pleased to share the latest Financial Times rankings with you.

In 2017, the Financial Times ranked UNC Executive Development No. 12 overall in the world and No. 4 in the United States among customized executive education providers. UNC Executive Development also ranked highly in many individual categories, notably No. 1 in the world for value for money and No. 3 in the world for program design.

UNC Executive Development ranked among the top 4 customized executive education providers in the U.S. based on the following criteria:FT-Logo-1.jpg

• Value for money (No. 1)
• Aims achieved (No. 2)
• Program design (No. 2)
• New skills and learning (No. 3)
• Teaching methods/materials (No. 3)
• Facilities (No. 4)
• Faculty (No. 4)
• Preparation (No. 4)

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