In my first post for the Kenan-Flagler Blog, I discussed the Leadership Initiative and Leadership Day. On Friday, February 5th, I completed 4 points towards the 12 points required for the MBA Leadership Scorecard, by participating in The Game of Leadership, a series of interactive leadership role playing scenarios. The “simulation” is limited to 21 first-year students per session and is facilitated by Professor Lynn Setzer.
During the session from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM (with lunch provided!), my classmates and I practiced our leading and managing skills by responding to real-world business situations. Each of us took on personas of executives at a privately held software shop that develops, manufactures, and sells financial accounting software to Fortune 500 companies. I was an executive in the accounting department of the company, for example, and I had to convince my colleagues to cease using FedEx for shipping and start using a more cost-efficient method.
Sounds like a piece of cake, right?
Not as easy as you might think, especially when each person in the room was given an additional “attitude” to layer onto their persona, such as “suspicious of authority,” “invites confrontation,” and even, “answers cell phone calls during company meetings.” My classmates took pleasure in grilling me with difficult questions regarding the new shipping policy and its implementation.
During the morning and early afternoon, each of the participants practiced their ability to influence others. Real-world scenarios included a manager asking her boss for a new compensation structure for her team of customer service representatives; a sales executive informing his team about a cut in travel expenses; and a human resources executive requesting that an employee dress more appropriately at work.
After each “simulation,” feedback was provided by professors Alison Fragale and Tim Flood (Professor Flood is leading my GIE to Dubai and Morocco this May!). It was really nice to be able to practice the techniques that Professor Fragale taught us in Leading & Managing (a course taught during Module I of the MBA core curriculum) in a safe environment where no one was too worried about embarrassing himself/herself.