The Spring Campaign

Last Sunday we put our clocks forward in Canada to reflect the return of the sun to the Northern Hemisphere and the possibility that winter might come to an end and give way to spring. It cannot come soon enough; it’s been a brutal winter by any measure. As of last week the ice in Toronto Harbour was up to 60 cm thick. The two city icebreakers had worked 80 days straight to keep the lanes open for the ferries that ply between the mainland and the islands a distance of two kilometres. All the Great Lakes are frozen over except for Ontario, which is much deeper than Erie and is further south than Huron, Michigan and Superior.

apples and oranges celemi

Apples & Oranges simulation

I am gearing up for my spring management education campaign. On March 21st I will be teaching a one-day course on the fundamentals of finance for decision-making as part of the executive education program for the De Groote Business School at McMaster University. In the past this course has been taught in lecture format with perhaps a short case thrown in. I will be using the Apples & Oranges simulation from Celemi to teach it. I have used Apples & Oranges for many years and it is one of the finest learning experiences that I know of. I have had graduates with MBAs come to me after the simulation and tell me that they learned more about accounting and finance in a few hours than they had in their semester-long courses at business school! Celemi have continued to update and improve the simulation and I am looking forward to using it in its latest version.

The week of March 24 I will be in Washington DC conducting a day-and-a-half long development program for thirty senior managers of a large global corporation. The day–and-half, which part of a one-week long development program, is built around my ecological framework, tailored to fit the circumstances in which the company finds itself.  The sessions themselves will be process-oriented and experiential, designed to encourage meaningful dialogue and a better understanding of the challenges that the corporation faces and how they relate to the firm’s leadership culture. I will be using the Visual Explorer from the Center for Creative Leadership as well as their new instrument, The Leadership Metaphor Explorer. I have worked with the Visual Explorer for a long time and it’s a great instrument for investigating complex issues of all kinds. Being based on images also makes it easy to work with across cultures and nationalities, which is essential for a global business. The Leadership Metaphor Explorer is a newer instrument but designed to zoom in more narrowly on leadership cultures and styles. It is a combination of visual and verbal descriptions that allow for great discussions about what the current leadership culture is and what it needs to become.

On March 31 I am back in Canada to be the opening speaker at the Conference Board of Canada’s Enterprise Risk Management conference. The meeting has been a grand opportunity to get up to speed with ERM and for me to apply ecological thinking to it. It’s also been an opportunity for me create a compelling presentation within some tight timing constraints. The next day I am doing a presentation on The New Ecology of Leadership for volunteers and community leaders at the United Jewish Appeal. This promises to be a lively group of professionals who volunteer their time to work with UJA.

The next week I am off to Kamloops in British Columbia and Thompson Rivers University. Here I will be doing three different presentations, one to a class of MBA students who have begun to read The New Ecology of Leadership, another to a Human Resource Conference with the theme of “Bridging the Generation Gap” and the third to the local Rotary service organization where I will talk about sustainability. My time limit on the latter presentation is 15-20 minutes, so I am planning a TED-style talk. I am particular looking forward to hearing what the business students have to say about the book and applying the ecological perspective to the generation gap.

My bookings for May are still tentative but one confirmed is a second round of corporate development for the global company, but this time in San Diego. So it promises to be an active spring. Now all we need is for the weather to get with the spring agenda!

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