Becoming A More Efficient Project Manager

From Next Executive
By M. Filtz

For many managers, project management can be tricky. Mid-level executives may find themselves unexpectedly thrust into running projects, and not be adequately prepared for the challenges. In fact, even an otherwise experienced manager with an MBA might find himself a bit lost.

“Project management, in most business schools, isn’t a big part of the curriculum, but it’s a very important subject on the non-degree side,” says Dan Stotz, senior director of executive education at Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business.

Indeed, some motivated project managers may gloss over a lot of the prep work, such as project planning, in order to get right down to business. Many times, Stotz says, “what happens is a project manager will agree to a deadline without doing the proper analysis to determine exactly how long it will take.”

“So they’ll tell the CEO of the business, ‘that can be done this year,’” when in practice, the project will actually take much longer.

This is where executive education programs in project management come in: they can provide a framework for planning and managing projects so that managers can efficiently execute them. Often, these courses attract people who already have some project management experience, but need to skill-up before jumping into a big project.  Read More

To learn more about Texas Executive Education‘s Project Management courses, click here.

Networking Happy Hour with German EMBA Students

You’re cordially invited to a Networking Happy Hour with German EMBA Students. During the week of September 17 – 21, a group of EMBA students from Universität Mainz in Germany will be in Austin for a week long seminar titled Leadership in a Global Environment.

Event: Networking Happy Hour with Mainz EMBA students

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Location: Gabriel’s at AT&T EECC

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Attendees: McCombs staff and faculty; 17 Mainz EMBA students

Attire: Business Casual

Event Registration: send an email to [email protected]

About The Mainz Executive MBA Program:

  • Program Year: Students have completed their first year in their program.
  • Program History: Mainz has been a yearly client at McCombs with a one week program each September since 2004.  The program week Leadership in a Global Environment focuses on business strategy, cutting-edge leadership, communication practices and the U.S. economy.
  • The Mainz students will be in Austin from September 16 – September 22.
  • Professors include Britt Freund, Christopher Meakin, Rayan Bagchi, John Daly, Richard Grant, Doug Dierking and John Doggett.
  • Site visits consists of a tour of Whole Foods.

Cultivating Creativity: Get Out of Your Own Way

Via Texas Enterprise
by Tracy Mueller

Whether you’re a filmmaker or a financial advisor, some part of your job likely requires creative thinking and problem solving. Maybe you’re not trying to produce the next great action comedy, but managing a team, wooing new clients or finding fresh resources within a dwindling budget often calls for an inspired idea.

The trouble is, a lot can get in the way of thinking creatively. Social convention, established best practices, a pressure to perform. Even past success.

“Sometimes the barriers we face are from our past solutions,” says Gaylen Paulson, associate dean of Texas Executive Education and co-teacher of the class “Maximizing Mental Agility to Improve Creativity” (part of Texas Executive Education’s new Innovation Certificate).

In other words, when we experience success with a particular approach, it’s in our nature to return to that well with each new challenge. But that is a stagnant strategy that overlooks how the problem may be different, and it might prevent a new, better idea from developing.

He adds that sometimes—in an attempt at efficiency—our brains actually get in the way of more advanced thinking.

“Our brain is really good at seeing patterns and organizing things into manageable chunks,” Paulson explained during a McCombs Knowledge To Go webinar on the subject last year. “It does it automatically. But sometimes that restricts our solutions.”

So how can we guide our brains toward more imaginative problem solving?

Read More

Don’t miss: Knowledge to Go Webinar featuring Ethan Burris – August 21st

Don’t miss this month’s Knowledge to Go Webinar, featuring Executive Education’s Ethan Burris. He will focus on the topic of Innovation in the workplace. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, August 21 at noon – 1 pm. Dr. Burris will  also be teaching a new Executive Education course Leading Innovation within Existing Organizations this fall.

How to Capture Innovative Ideas (from Your Employees)
The pursuit and capture of innovation is challenging to say the least.  Employees must be invested enough to spend the time and effort to contribute their ideas.  Further, there are no guarantees that anything will be done once employees give their suggestions.  Once an organization develops a way to solicit employee ideas, executives may find it challenging to sift through them all and arrive at a set of strategic actions to which many constituencies agree and buy in.  Selecting the ideas that offer the most value, are feasible to implement and align stakeholder commitment is similarly daunting for senior leaders.  This webinar will focus on how organizations can foster an environment that encourages employees to speak up with ideas and develop a process for evaluating and prioritizing ideas once they are on the table.

To register, visit the Knowledge to Go page.

New Innovation Certificate Available for Fall 2012

Executive Education is proud to announce the new Innovation Certificate Program. The Innovation classes are launching the Fall of 2012. The Innovation Certificate focuses on strategies for business leaders to develop and foster innovative thinking to successfully create services or products to better meet and exceed your customers’ expectations. You will leave with tools and techniques to enable your organization and team to innovate and execute successfully.

Core Courses

Leading Innovation within Existing OrganizationsMaximizing Mental Agility to Improve CreativityStrategic and Business Model Innovation

Electives

*1 day classes are offered through the Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO) programs. For more information, visit the Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO) site

For more information, visit: www.mcccombs.utexas.edu/ExecEd/InnovationCertificate