Executive Education in Focus

Research and Thought from Executive Education Faculty

Kellogg Executive Education’s mission is lifelong learning. Our on-site programs create an immersive experience that broadens participants' perspectives and introduces new frameworks, while faculty research and writing explores ideas in greater depth. Here, we present that thinking, which spans the wealth of subjects and themes that make up the Executive Education portfolio.

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Value Trust Over Transactions for Strong Customer Relations

A laser focus on sales may appear to be the most effective method for growing your business. But when times get tough, and your usual way of doing things isn't possible, try solving problems for your customers instead. They'll appreciate and remember it.

Attitude and Agility

Use Attitude and Agility to Survive a Crisis

When things go wrong in any business, its leaders’ initial impulse is to shift into defensive mode, cutting costs and curtailing activity in order to ride out the storm as safely as possible. However, choosing the cautious approach is often the wrong way to go.

Toxic employee

Managing Two Common Types of Toxic Employee

When talented or experienced labor is scarce, even the best companies may find themselves facing two separate-but-similar types of toxic employee: the solid performer who causes problems and the former star who's no longer productive. Both need to be dealt with.

High-Energy Zoom Meetings

High-Energy Meetings: The Cure for Zoom Fatigue

Dull meetings were already a problem in the in-person era. Now, with COVID-19 forcing a shift from room to Zoom, they’re a virtual issue, too. However, that needn't be the case, according to Sanjay Khosla, who offers some simple techniques for raising engagement.

Angel punching devil

How Leaders Develop the Strength to Do the Right Thing

Developing resilience can help leaders build a decision-making skill set and determine the right thing to do in a difficult situation. It's called moral toughness, and it can provide crucial guidance when navigating the kind of ethical labyrinth presented by a crisis.

Tips for leadership communication in a crisis

10 Principles of Leadership Communication in a Crisis

How you say it is as important as what you say: Michelle Buck presents ten recommendations for effective leadership communication that help at any time — but are even more important and potent during periods of uncertainty, challenge, change and anxiety.

Hand reaching for the sun

In a Crisis, Don't Chase Shiny, Bright Objects

When periods of disruption and challenge arise, too many organizations brainstorm a plethora of ideas and divide resources chasing shiny, bright objects, says Sanjay Khosla. Instead, leaders should focus on what matters right now and plan carefully for the long term.

Businessman running

Business Processes Must Catch Up to Data Science

Data science is very advanced and good at what it does, say Florian Zettelmeyer and Eric Anderson. But in order to take advantage of its strengths and capabilities, companies must now adapt their business processes so that they can operate in this new environment.


Moral Leadership: What’s Important in a Crisis

Even with difficult decisions to be made in a crisis, people are far more likely to remember how leaders made them feel and whether their decisions reflected a strong moral compass. Here's what's important for executives to keep in mind in terms of how they'll be judged.

Forecast graph viewed through binoculars

Battle Rhythm: a Blueprint for Crisis Leadership

Mike Tyson once said, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." Likewise, regular practices are only effective while normal circumstances hold. When things turn fluid, organizations would do well to employ this military system.

Coronavirus map

Coronavirus Crisis Management for Leaders

Navigating the landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic makes for challenging times. To help support you and your organization, Kellogg Executive Education presents the latest thought-leadership content from our faculty and experts.

Family Business Storytelling

Storytelling: a Family-Business Educational Tool

Family businesses are very complex, so passing on information and understanding about their history, vision and values, operations, structures, and practices to the next generation can present a challenge. The answer to that dilemma? A good story.

Vintage photos

Learning Leadership from Life Experience

We don’t think of some of our significant life events as stories in the moment. It’s just life happening. But effective leaders generate resilience when they are able to extract insights, particularly from a challenge, and apply them to another situation in the future.

Open doors

Family Business Boards in Times of Crisis

In the best of times, business leaders must trade off various forms of risk against one another, financial risk often being chief among them. But in a time of crisis, leaders must often make difficult trade-offs between the multitude of risks a situation presents.

Next-generation leaders

Next-Generation Family Business Leaders

The next generation of business leaders seek more than a paycheck. Millennials want to know their company is contributing to society. So how do you engage tomorrow’s executives? If you’re running a family business, you may already be doing it.

Worried Marketer

Are Account-Based Marketing Platforms For You?

Many B2B marketers may already feel overwhelmed by the proliferation of marketing-technology vendors and applications. But account-based marketing platforms could help you scale your ABM programs. Should you consider implementing one of them?

Difficult conversations

Difficult Conversations in Family Business

Few people enjoy confrontation in their personal or professional lives. Family business is a mix of the two worlds, so the prospect is even more daunting. However, dealing with conflict constructively is a valuable skill, so tough conversations are a learning opportunity.

Amazon pick-up location

How Consumer Disrupters Affect B2B Marketers

Disruptive consumer brands such as Amazon, Starbucks and Netflix have changed expectations about customer experience. That has ramifications for the business-to-business arena as well. So what should business marketers consider doing differently?

How to choose a professional development program

How to Choose a Professional Development Program

Most professionals who join executive development programs want to build capacity with guidance from the instructor and members of the class. Given the choices in the marketplace, it's important to understand which program will be the best fit.

Got a Competitive Advantage? Here's How to Get One.

It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the most useful things executives can learn about their company’s competitive advantage is that they don’t have one — and there’s nothing wrong with admitting it. That’s true of many firms, including successful ones.

Glasses and eye chart

The Secret to Leading Family Firms Across Generations

Business-owning families are often blindsided by the complexity created when family members are called upon to run businesses together, especially when parents, adult children or adult siblings are involved. What's the answer to the problem? Clarity.

Perfectionism: three darts in bullseye

The Dark Side of the Drive to be Perfect

Striving to be perfect? Perfectionism can keep you from achieving the high levels of diligence and superior work quality you seek. Moreover, there is a big difference between embracing high standards and harboring a crippling desire for perfection.

Three Reasons Family Businesses Need Education

Many of the inevitable challenges associated with running a family business would be managed much more constructively if the owning families were well informed about the best ways to tackle them. Education makes a difference — a big one.

Bushwhacking in forest

The Ever-Changing Nature of Leadership

Outdoor adventurers know the benefits of clearing your own trail, but it can also be a key part of your leadership tool kit — not the “in the woods” kind, but the kind that requires you to think on your feet, to marshal your best critical thinking skills and more.

Burning pallets

The Dual Mindset of Supply Chain Risk

There are two kinds of general supply-chain risk, according to Professor Sunil Chopra — recurrent and disruptive. And a properly designed supply chain will address both. It can make all the difference the next time the earth shakes or something catches fire.


Leading in Times of Uncertainty: AI and Teams

Just when you think you've found your footing, another “new normal” avalanche buries your hard work to stabilize business practices. The bad news? It’s always going to be something. The good? You can develop your team so that it's able to roll with the changes.

Patagonia Marble Cathedral

Brand Purpose: The New and Higher Order of Branding

Positioning has long been a linchpin of any branding campaign, but more recently it’s been dethroned by what Professor Alice Tybout terms a “higher order”—brand purpose, which is a way of making a brand stand out from its competition.

Compass and map

Creating Your Leadership Philosophy

Aspiring leaders face many challenges, but nearly all obstacles are more easily overcome via the guidance of a basic leadership philosophy. A key aspect of such a philosophy? It’s a tether — a guiding principle and a touchstone as well as a North star.

Deep dive

Looking for a Growth Market? Think Deep, Not Broad

When seeking opportunities for growth, many companies follow a common-sense rule that's all too common but flawed: they make the size of the market their priority when they ought to target the segment they have a claim to. Instead of going broad, they should go deep.

Staff Wanted Sign

Got Employee Commitment? Time to Get Personal

Companies face a dilemma when dealing with difficult employees in today's tight labor market. Those searching for the holy grail of employee commitment and performance are going to have to go beyond the basics of employee motivation and start getting personal.

Thumbtack and tag

Negotiate, Differentiate: Build Your Advantage into the Deal

If there's one mistake people make when cutting deals, it's that they don't negotiate terms around their differentiators — the things that make them a better choice than a competitor, according to Professor Victoria Medvec. And differentiating is critical.

Leadership story

What Leadership Story Are You Telling?

What’s your leadership story? Though you may not realize you have one, you do, according to Kellogg Clinical Professor of Leadership Michelle Buck. And as a leader, you’re conveying it to those who work with you, even if it’s not the one you’d like to communicate.

Demoralized employee

Boards, Company Culture and Necessary Assessments

One of the most difficult things for a board to assess is the culture of the company. Since culture is a key factor in the success or failure of any enterprise, there are two types of assessments boards need to make with respect to it. Here are the three places to get started.


How Women Can Negotiate What They Want

Women often don't negotiate in situations where men do — and don't achieve the same results under similar conditions. But it doesn't have to be that way. Professor Leigh Thompson offers women three tips for effectively addressing the negotiation gap.

Increase Your Learning Power via the Noah's Ark Method

Is there a measurable benefit to be realized when managers take a class together versus participating as individuals? Research shows that to maximize the classroom-to-boardroom impact, companies should send at least two executives.

Product-management cycle

What Makes an Awesome Product Manager?

Product management is one of the first general-management jobs that many people will take on in their careers. For those looking to accept that challenge, it’s important to answer the question: what qualities make for great product managers?

Unleash your people's potential with blank checks

Giving your people free rein — within the right framework — helps them develop their potential. Prof. Sanjay Khosla explains how he has given “blank checks” throughout his career, creating a legacy of enormous gains, and how it can drive growth in your organization.

Business maze

Three Ways to Avoid Becoming Too Complex

Company complexity has run amok in today’s business landscape, says Kellogg Prof. Mohan Sawhney, who identifies the three main reasons excessive complication creeps into a business's structure and operations. Avoiding those can help simplicity take hold.

Heart and mind

Mastering Emotions When Making Decisions

We make very different choices depending on what takes the dominant role in decision-making: the head or the heart. It’s time to learn some methods for taking control and improving our track records when it comes to thinking vs. feeling in making decisions.


Understanding Your Career Motivation

What's your motivation? Are you in the right position for your motives to fuel your professional advancement? What drives you? If you don’t know those answers, you may well find yourself in a situation that’s a bad fit for you and your company — and your career could suffer.


Three Key Things for New Leaders to Do

If stepping into a new leadership role has you feeling a little nervous, multiply by ten to estimate the apprehension rippling through your new team. While you may be wondering whether you are up for the challenge, the people anticipating your arrival are wondering, “What’s going to happen to me?”

Change Management

The role of advocates in change management

Why do some advocates for change management succeed where others fail? They seem to share one characteristic: they are skilled influencers. They can successfully make a case for change to potential sponsors or to those who can influence sponsors.

The Power of Knowing Yourself as a Leader

Every journey starts with a map. For leaders, it's a mental map — one that helps them understand where they've been, where they are, and where they want to be. However, on its own, a mental map is not enough. The true power in developing a plan is to write it down, creating a living document.

Marketing Tech

What to Ask About Any Marketing-Tech Initiative

How do you ensure that your company benefits from investments in marketing technologies? What are the right applications, technologies, vendors and expectations? Before you launch a major marketing-tech project, you need to start with two questions.


The Power of Advanced-Marketing Connections

Personas. Machine learning. Disruptive business models. Social and mobile. Customer journeys. Marketing automation. Content strategy. New paradigms. Behavioral economics. Design thinking. The list goes on — what’s a marketing leader to do?

Asking for Feedback

Asking for Feedback

Feedback continues to be a hot topic in leadership and management circles because it's a very powerful tool for improvement. If you’re a leader, are you asking for feedback? If so, you’re leading by example and demonstrating to others that you have a growth mindset and genuinely care about getting better.

Executive judgment

The Three Dimensions of Executive Judgment

Of the many skills required to serve effectively at the highest levels, none is more important than judgment. The judgment required to lead effectively and to act thoughtfully, beyond instinctual reactions, is a uniquely human capability. Neuroscientists call this competence, “executive function.”

Disapprove or approve

Three Factors of Surviving Brand Scandals

You’re an executive at a company that’s just been featured in a headline-level scandal. How will your brand weather the scandal with consumers? According to research by Kellogg’s Alice Tybout and Wake Forest’s Michelle Roehm, the answer depends on at least three factors.

To Bond or Not to Bond?

In August 2017, Tesla Inc. issued a $1.8 billion high yield bond. The issue, which carries a 5.3 percent coupon, matures on August 15, 2025, and is callable after August 15, 2020, at 103...The interesting question is why a corporation such as Tesla would decide to issue debt and convertible debt as the optimal financial policy.

Balancing stones

How Can Boards Coexist with ISS and Glass Lewis?

If you ask experienced directors about their biggest complaint about the changes in the boardroom over the last 20 years, I think many would grumble and then say something about Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis. To some, these entities have taken the fun out of being a director, as creativity has been replaced by an increased focus on compliance.

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