Executive KnowledgeWorks
Consulting:
Leveraging Executive Education and Leader Development For Strategic Planning, Action Learning, Customized Executive Education and Enhanced Business Meetings - all supported by a philosophy of Breakthrough Centered Development.
Research and Publishing:
Eight National Benchmarking Reports.

Published and internal manuscripts that provide a perspective on Action Learning, Executive Education and Development, Corporate Universities and Breakthrough Centered Development


A Letter To The CEO Regarding Action Learning

By Anthony J. Fresina, President, Executive KnowledgeWorks

I have some thoughts that might prove helpful to your organization as you consider harnessing the power of action learning. My observations are born out of 20-plus years of experience in executive and organization development. And, for good or bad, those years have produced almost as many disappointments as unqualified successes. However, when there were successes, they have served the organizations well, by providing accelerated development and powerful breakthroughs. However, with the possibility of those breakthroughs come a number of significant but manageable risks. The purpose of this memo is to detail the ways in which you can reduce those risks and increase the likelihood of obtaining a strong return on your investment.

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A Story About Action Learning

By Anthony J. Fresina, President, Executive KnowledgeWorks

Action learning is a developmental process that is being embraced by an increasing number of trainers and education professionals. The practice of combining individual development with solving critical business problems is gaining wide acceptance in today’s corporate environment. This essay tells a story about how a multibillion-dollar financial services company implemented a successful action learning initiative and what they (and EKW) learned from that process. The essay includes our definition of action learning and covers the fundamentals and benefits of action learning.

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Five "Don’ts" and Five "Do’s" in Creating High-Impact
Executive Development

By Executive KnowledgeWorks

It’s no surprise that leading companies take executive development so seriously. While leadership is needed throughout an organization, mission failure at the top of the organization is hard to surmount.

But what does executive development look like in your organization today? Perhaps your strategy is intelligent, your last initiative featured good presentations and won polite and positive reviews, one or more senior executives remain vocal champions, and you are feeling pretty good about things. But, even though most executives in your company may readily admit having gotten real value from the last such initiative, do they seem to regard development as an interruption of their work? During executive development engagements, do their faces seem to be saying, "I’d rather be golfing?"

At Executive KnowledgeWorks, we think it’s possible to change that. At the end of this essay you’ll find a very different picture, a picture of how people might instead react to executive development in your company. Between here and there, we highlight some things to do—and not to do—along the way.

The essay goes on to discuss five common pitfalls in executive development today, followed by five elements of high-impact design and development.

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Don’t Just Treat the Symptoms!
Alternative Medicine for Business—Lessons From Motorola

By Anthony J. Fresina, President, Executive KnowledgeWorks

Although alternative medicine and holistic healing approached to treatment vary considerably, they have at least one thing in common; they identify the cause of the illness before prescribing a solution. This philosophy differs from conventional medical wisdom which perpetuates a this-for-that mentality, i.e., if you have a headache, take an aspirin; if you have an infection, take an antibiotic; if you are overweight, exercise and diet. Critics of conventional medicine complain that often a diagnosis is made without a comprehensive, integrated picture of one’s true physical condition. These critics claim that all too often insufficient data are collected, too little time is taken and too little discipline employed for the processing of those data, resulting in costly, premature prescriptions that rarely deliver the desired results.

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The Three Prototypes of Corporate Universities

By Anthony J. Fresina, President, Executive KnowledgeWorks

A version of this article appeared in The Corporate University Review, Jan/Feb 1997

Corporations such as Wal-Mart, Federal Express, Motorola and Disney excel, in part, because they are focused. Their focus is built on economic and other models—models that help capture critical assumptions about the company, its environment and its strategies for succeeding in that environment.

That our premier corporations have such models or frameworks has become conventional wisdom. Wal-Mart has a perspective or framework for dealing with its vendors; Federal Express for thinking about logistics; Disney regarding business synergies.

The development of an organization and its people is at least as important as the organization’s business strategies; some would argue more so. Fail to develop the people and the strategies remain bright ideas that might have been.

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Executive Education Program Challenges Top Executives

By Executive KnowledgeWorks

Used by permission of ACC Communications, Inc./Personnel Journal (now known as Workforce), Cosa Mesa, CA. All rights reserved.

They were sinking. Even though they weren’t far from dry land, it was obvious that the barrels that kept their makeshift raft afloat were coming untied—and the raft was falling apart. To reach their destination, they know that they all needed to work together.

But this wasn’t a crew with much rafting experience. Rather, it was a group of executive from Miami-based Knight-Ridder, Inc., racing across a swamp in the Florida Keys. The hands-on outdoor experience was helping to create a team environment and establish trust among participants for the remainder of Knight-Ridder’s four-week Executive Leadership Program.

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Strategic Decision Making: Technology vs. Your Brain

By Anthony J. Fresina and Meg Kerr, Executive KnowledgeWorks

From Handbook of Business Strategy

Companies today have to make more decisions more quickly. To do so, they’re relying on fewer people with access to more information than ever before. They’re developing programs to harness information technology, build "learning organizations," and reengineer systems and processes so that information flows more smoothly and quickly. But more information obtained faster does not necessarily result in better decisions. The quality of decisions continues to rest on the decision-making and problem-solving skills of individual manager.

Even in well-managed companies with smart people and effective tools and processes, there is still room for improvement in the quality of decisions made at both the individual and collective levels. Individuals and organizations often lack the skill, discipline, and, they may believe, the time to thoroughly process information as part of their approach to decision making and problem solving. There is, however, a successful method for teaching senior managers critical practices for effectively processing information. The method also provides discipline for using the practices, convinces senior managers that they do have—and must take—the time to thoroughly process information, and, as an added benefit and payoff, helps the organization attack critical business issues.

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Abraham Lincoln Offers Executives Lessons in Leadership
New "Leadership Through History" Service Delivers Dramatic
Lessons for Winning the Business War

By Executive KnowledgeWorks

After earning advanced business degrees and participating in myriad executive training and professional development programs, where can today’s corporate executive go for fresh insights and thoughtful direction? Probably to Abraham Lincoln.

Palatine, Illinois-based Executive KnowledgeWorks (EKW), a leading authority in executive education, has teamed with Fort Wayne, Indiana-based Lincoln Museum, the world’s largest museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, to offer a new service called "Leadership Through History." The partnership grew out of "The Gettysburg Experience," a highly successful programs developed by EKW for their client, Lincoln Financial Group, earlier this year.

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Breakthrough Centered Development

By Executive KnowledgeWorks

Over the past three decades corporate America has been attracted to, in turn, a series of directional philosophies and organizing frameworks for its human resource development efforts

Each of these organizing frames helped contribute to the growth and evolution of their host corporations. Each of them was in some sense timely and appropriate. Each of them was, not surprisingly, limited in range and, in most instances, duration.

Our belief is that, as useful as these organizing frames were, most of them fell short of their potential of helping to lead the corporation through increasing and sometimes traumatic change. We feel strongly that the true potential of human resource and organization development is nothing short of the most powerful of the corporate functions. We also know that that potential has rarely been realized.

Link To The Brief Article

 

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