You know how they say art imitates life? Well, the timeliness of ISM’s academic course offerings certainly imitates work. More often than not, I find myself consuming knowledge from the rich course discussion and materials then find myself applying and practicing those lessons at work the very next day. Although my professional career has almost reached the twenty-year mark, I find that the contemporary and classical course offerings both reinforce my knowledge and prepare me to tackle the challenges that our team and organization face on a daily basis.
As someone who is passionate about business operations and organizing for readiness and efficiency, contemporary topics such as workforce planning have helped shaped my understanding of the necessary operating shifts in today’s digital age. The application of the Future of Work course, led by Dr. Simon Stoepfgeshoff during the fall of 2017, has been instrumental in helping me to lead cross-divisional discussions related to preparing our workforce with the skills they will need to ensure our continued success in the years to come.
Other course offerings are rooted in more classical readings which are brought to life through timely discussions and application. For example, the Dynamic Strategic Management course led by Dean César Baena has helped to solidify my understanding and application of how to lead strategic planning sessions at work. As many may have found in their own professional experience, leading a dynamic and experienced group of executives through a strategic planning exercise can be challenging given the diverse array of stakeholder opinions and lens’ of perspective. Oftentimes, more extroverted personalities can dominate strategic planning discussions, leaving more introverted leaders feeling frustrated and potentially even excluded from the process and plan. The materials and discussions in the Dynamic Strategic Management course allowed practice and application of leading such strategic planning discussions that are conducive to more inclusive, productive and healthy discourse. Further, the course also provided practical tools and tips, such as defining the roles and responsibilities for top and middle management during the strategic planning phase to ensure stronger alignment during implementation.
As with both of these examples, I think the applicability of these courses to contemporary workplace issues is a tribute to the professors on staff at ISM and their ability to ensure that they incorporate a practitioner’s mindset to our courses and their research. It is an honor and privilege to be in this program and I look forward to tackling the next set of issues and trends in the workplace with the support of ISM.