Perspective Program reveals view from the summit
Kellogg offering brings leaders together for 'transformational
there is an innovative way to help senior leaders understand
the world from the vantage point of their chief executive
new offering at the Kellogg School presents challenges facing
CEOs as they advance enterprise-wide objectives by leveraging
frameworks that drive success. It provides a unique leadership
development experience that has top executives talking —
to each other — with remarkable results.
program is an exclusive one developed in partnership with
Corporate Leadership Center (CLC), a Chicago-based
nonprofit created by Sheila Penrose and Cheryl Francis.
It brings leaders from across industries to Kellogg for six
intensive residential modules at the James L. Allen Center.
Participants benefit from each other's insights, as well as
lessons from Kellogg School faculty and CEO guest speakers.
this time of increasing complexity and change, our purpose
is to augment and accelerate the development of leaders running
major businesses," says Kellogg Dean Dipak
C. Jain. "By integrating the perspectives of prominent
CEOs, Fortune 100 board members, leading academics and participants,
we have built a powerful forum to advance the discussion and
practice of leadership."
program, launched in 2005, welcomes its third participant
group in January. It is meeting the needs of an elite market
by "creating an atmosphere of trust and interchange,"
offering is unique in its combination of practical experience,
cutting-edge ideas and the networking opportunities of participants
themselves," says Penrose, who sits on several corporate
boards, including McDonald's and Jones Lang LaSalle, where
she is chairman. She also served as the first woman on Northern
Trust Corp.'s management committee.
and Francis, former executive vice president and CFO of R.R.
Donnelley and director of various Chicago-area boards, including
Morningstar, met with Dean Jain in 2002 to discuss concepts
for what became CEO Perspective. Early on, several chief executives
expressed interest in the idea, says Raj
Gupta, Kellogg adjunct professor and the program's executive
instance, John W. Madigan, former Tribune Co. chairman
and CEO, joined the program's board when asked just as he
was retiring. "I was able to reflect on my own experience,"
he says. "You always think you're ready for [leadership],
but I wished that I had had more preparation [for my professional
roles]. You can always have more."
is one reason he is a strong advocate of the CEO Perspective
can learn so much from being in a high-powered peer group,
and hearing from outstanding academicians and CEOs,"
says Madigan, a Northwestern University trustee.
program distinguishes itself in several ways, Gupta says.
The curriculum is built around the CEO's agenda, those items
that the chief executive and management team cannot delegate
but must own, such as interdisciplinary issues like growth,
customer focus, culture and others.
offering challenges executives to think broadly, says Francis,
"to set aside a narrow agenda and take on the corporate
agenda. The idea was to accelerate people's ability to do
that quickly and efficiently."
senior Kellogg School faculty who lead the experience, the
program emphasizes interactive discussions, rather than lectures.
"The executives all have deep operational understanding
of their industries," Gupta notes. "They are co-creators
make this format work, Kellogg has designed the program for
senior executives nominated by their CEOs or board chairs.
Each must have either a profit-and-loss responsibility of
at least $1 billion or "enterprise-wide responsibility
for a major function, like finance or legal," Gupta says,
and each must report to the CEO or COO.
format gains further power through the expertise of chief
executives brought in as guest speakers. "The CEOs, our
faculty and the participants themselves form three parts of
a triangle," says Gupta. "It becomes a transformational
experience for these folks."
program schedule fits a busy executive's life. The curriculum
spans six two-day modules about six weeks apart with a longer
break during the summer. The modules link the dimensions of
thought leadership, team leadership and civic leadership and
include: "Creating the Market-Focused Organization,"
"Driving Organic Growth and Innovation," "From
Risk to Opportunity," "Expanding Boundaries,"
"Executing Visions" and "Leading in Turbulent
they get in the classroom and experience this opportunity,
they realize it is invaluable," says Nicole Schneider,
product manager for Kellogg Executive Education.
Diermeier, the IBM Distinguished Professor of Regulation
and Competitive Practice, serves as academic director. He
says faculty must bring all their creativity to bear in the
program's classroom. "It needs to be very fresh,"
he says. "It requires a faculty member who can think
on his feet."
says faculty must use their presentations to focus on the
most important insights. Instead of spending the whole session
teaching from published cases, they moderate discussions about
events occurring in real time, as told by key actors.
executives gain experience, they often have a desire to share
these insights with their peers who have been in similar circumstances.
This program is about exchange and interaction, rather than
merely sitting to absorb a lecture," says Diermeier.
"The learning points are the same, but how the content
is delivered has changed — a crucial innovation that
delivers value for our participants."
CEO Perspective program brings executive leadership together.
From left: Sheila Penrose, chairwoman of Jones Lang LaSalle
and co-founder of Corporate Leadership Center; Gail Boudreaux,
executive vice president of external operations for Health
Care Service Corp.; Professor Raj Gupta, executive director
of CEO Perspective; Judith McCarter, guest of John McCarter
Jr., president and CEO of The Field Museum Photo
© Mary Hanlon
practically never talk about cases, per se," Gupta adds.
"We talk about what is happening today — emerging
issues — but also with respect to the participants and
how their businesses are dealing with current challenges."
interchange is "remarkably candid," says Gupta,
thanks to an understanding that what happens in the program
stays in the program. "Even though, in some cases, for
instance, we have senior executives from Northern Trust and
LaSalle in the same room. They know what subjects they can
get into," he says.
Rein, president and CEO of Walgreen Co., has experienced the
program's benefits himself, and was so impressed that he is
enrolling two more of his firm's senior executives.
best thing about the CEO Perspective Program is that you share
common issues, issues that you may not think are common,"
he says. "Then you find out that everyone there has the
same issues, problems and opportunities. Everyone is looking
for how to increase sales, increase profits, increase education
and communication. You hear your peers' thoughts on how they
are solving their problems, because in most cases the answers
are applicable to you or your industry, just in a little different
senior executives have networking opportunities through groups
like the Business Roundtable, and other executives, like CFOs,
can network within their silos, nothing this cross functional
exists elsewhere, Francis says.
says he appreciated this networking benefit. While participants
would know the reputations of companies such as McDonald's
or The Northern Trust, they would not necessarily travel in
the same circles as those firms' leaders. "Without this
experience, you would never have these discussions with them,"
you get one layer down in an organization, that opportunity
to network isn't there," Francis says. With the CEO Perspective
Program, however, "all of the sudden you have 25 peers
just as successful, in different industries, in different
functional backgrounds." What's more, the networking
continues after the program concludes, she says.
many companies who participated have returned the following
year with the next set of rising executives, about one-third
of slots have turned over to new organizations, "which
meant that the diversity of the participant pool got even
better," Gupta says. This mix of industries gains an
added perspective from the inclusion of two not-for-profit
executives, who receive scholarships through a grant from
the McCormick Tribune Foundation. "They've been very
rich in terms of their contributions," says Gupta.
Rein, the program has lived up to its name by offering perspective
on a host of strategic situations. In particular, he says,
the discussions he and his peers enjoyed considered leadership's
lot of times we do things and think something's going to go
one way, and then something else happens," he says. "CEO
Perspective helps you to think about the possible curveballs."