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  • Prof. Arnoldo Hax


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Strategic Leadership: The Essential Skills

  • Paul J. H. Schoemaker,
  • Steve Krupp,
  • Samantha Howland

The storied British banker and financier Nathan Rothschild noted that great fortunes are made when cannonballs fall in the harbor, not when violins play in the ballroom. Rothschild understood that the more unpredictable the environment, the greater the opportunity—if you have the leadership skills to capitalize on it. Through research at the Wharton School and […]

Reprint: R1301L

The more uncertain your environment, the greater the opportunity—if you have the leadership skills to capitalize on it. Research at the Wharton School and at the authors’ consulting firm, involving more than 20,000 executives to date, has identified six skills that, when mastered and used in concert, allow leaders to think strategically and navigate the unknown effectively. They are the abilities to anticipate, challenge, interpret, decide, align, and learn. This article describes the six skills in detail and includes a self-assessment that will enable you to identify the ones that most need your attention. The authors have found that strength in one skill cannot easily compensate for a deficit in another. An adaptive strategic leader has learned to apply all six at once.

The storied British banker and financier Nathan Rothschild noted that great fortunes are made when cannonballs fall in the harbor, not when violins play in the ballroom. Rothschild understood that the more unpredictable the environment, the greater the opportunity—if you have the leadership skills to capitalize on it. Through research at the Wharton School and at our consulting firm involving more than 20,000 executives to date, we have identified six skills that, when mastered and used in concert, allow leaders to think strategically and navigate the unknown effectively: the abilities to anticipate, challenge, interpret, decide, align, and learn. Each has received attention in the leadership literature, but usually in isolation and seldom in the special context of high stakes and deep uncertainty that can make or break both companies and careers. This article describes the six skills in detail. An adaptive strategic leader—someone who is both resolute and flexible, persistent in the face of setbacks but also able to react strategically to environmental shifts—has learned to apply all six at once.

  • PS Paul J. H. Schoemaker is the former research director of the Wharton School’s Mack Institute and a coauthor of Peripheral Vision (Harvard Business Review Press, 2006). He served as an adviser to the Good Judgment Project.
  • SK Steve Krupp is Senior Managing Partner at Decision Strategies International, Inc.
  • SH Samantha Howland , a senior managing partner at DSI, leads its Executive and Leadership Development Practice.

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Strategic Management

(15 reviews)

strategic management and leadership assignments

Kennedy B. Reed, Virginia Tech

Copyright Year: 2020

ISBN 13: 9781949373950

Publisher: Virginia Tech Publishing

Language: English

Formats Available

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Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Jiwon Suh, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Arlington on 3/7/24

This book covers core topics that should be included in a strategic management textbook. I particularly like that the book has a chapter devoted to corporate governance, ethics, and social responsibility. I hope to see that vertical and horizontal... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

This book covers core topics that should be included in a strategic management textbook. I particularly like that the book has a chapter devoted to corporate governance, ethics, and social responsibility. I hope to see that vertical and horizontal alignment within an organization is highlighted at the beginning of the book. I see it in Chapter 10.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

This book contains core and major models, concepts, frameworks, and theories that should be included in a strategic management textbook. Especially, this book also explains a balanced scorecard and its linkage with organizational mission and vision.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

The main content is highly relevant. The concepts and frames that are included in the book are not fast-changing. This book uses a variety of examples to explain concepts to help students understand. These examples are a good mixture of timing (old and relatively new) and I believe such examples should be aged well to evaluate.

Clarity rating: 5

This book was well-written. This book uses clear language so that students including undergraduates can easily follow.

Consistency rating: 5

This book is consistent with all the structures and contents that are expected in the strategic management textbooks.

Modularity rating: 5

The topics in this book are well divided into 11 chapters so that faculty members can easily develop a semester-long course. On page 2, the authors also provide 6 modules on how these chapters can be used in a shorter course.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

The way of chapter sequencing is easy to follow: understanding strategic management -> external analysis -> internal analysis -> strategy development -> implementation. Every chapter provides ‘Learning Objectives,’ ‘Key Takeaway,’ and ‘Exercises’ from which students can effectively learn about the topics in the chapters. Also, figures, pictures, videos, and other sources are very helpful.

Interface rating: 4

External sources were hyperlinked with the original sources. This book also provides enough space between paragraphs and the next sections. This helps readers. It would be very helpful if the book included an Index at the end of the book.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

I didn’t find any grammatical errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

This book uses examples from different cultural backgrounds, such as an example of ancient China and wars on Russian soil on pages 18-20 and an example of Starbucks in Korea on page 33.

I'd like to use this book for my Strategic HR management course in the public and nonprofit sectors. Although this book doesn't 100% fit my course, I can use this book to explain and provide core/major concepts of strategic management.

Reviewed by Sergiy Dmytriyev, Assistant Professor of Management, James Madison University on 9/10/23

The textbook covers all key topics in the strategic management such as overall strategy, business- and corporate-level strategies, the analysis of external and internal environments, international strategy, organizational design, innovation, etc.... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

The textbook covers all key topics in the strategic management such as overall strategy, business- and corporate-level strategies, the analysis of external and internal environments, international strategy, organizational design, innovation, etc. Each sections ends with the reference list of the cited sources, and the Glossary of key terms is provided at the end of the book.

The book is well-written which makes it an easy read.

The content is up-to-date, with plenty of contemporary business situations and examples. At the same time, these examples are of general nature and can be used in a classroom for many years ahead, without become obsolete. Having said that, the textbook also has a number of historical examples which is a must to have in order to learn from strategic successes and failures.

The text is written in a more informal way than in some other strategic management textbook. This makes this textbook better perceived by undergraduate students, who are rather more excited by its interesting and accessible prose.

Consistency rating: 4

The textbook utilized common terminology and frameworks used in the strategic management field, and is consistent throughout the whole text. The only thing, sometimes I could have a feeling that there were many interesting narratives and examples, but some of them might not be well connected among themselves, which could make the reading slightly less coherent, though it wasn't a big deal.

Indeed, the text is readily divisible into smaller reading section since many of them start and end in a similar fashion making them standalone pieces. I didn't find many self-references which serves the modality purpose well.

The book is well organized in terms of the sequence of introduced topics and the transitions between them.

Interface rating: 5

The textbook offers an easy-to-follow navigation structure such as a numeration for each section/subsection as well as consistent headings' styles and the use of colors and graphical designs.

I didn't find any grammatical errors or typos in the text which speaks to its high quality.

Cultural Relevance rating: 3

The textbook is full of various examples from different countries which helps keep the reader's mind open to insights from different cultural environments. Yet, I wish there would be more examples with female and minority managers - I realize that today those groups are still underrepresented in leadership roles, but the author could have considered purposefully selecting those stories/backgrounds which may appeal to and inspire different audiences.

Most sections in the textbook end with discussion questions (often provoking ones) which can help with kicking off interactive discussion in class. The key information is summarized in the form of tables or graphs that make it easy to review the summarized learnings. There are also many videos throughout the book which can help break the monotony of reading with interesting visual experiences.

To sum it up, the textbook offers a typical content for a strategic management textbook (in terms of key strategic topics, terminology, theories and frameworks, etc.), yet it does it in a more appealing way compared to some more "formal" available textbooks in the market. In addition to offering discussion questions and exercises at the end of each section, the textbook also utilizes a more accessible prose for undergraduate students, as well as provides many illustrative or summary tables and graphs, as well as short business stories and videos done in an interesting way.

I really like the textbook and this year I started using it in my Strategic Management course.

Reviewed by Jeffrey Gale, Professor Emeritus of Strategic Management, Loyola Marymount University on 4/10/23

[Note: I used the book in my Strategic Management class in Spring 2023 semester. I have, in the past, used the open textbook, Mastering Strategic Management on which this one is based as well as a commercial version of the text which was picked up... read more

[Note: I used the book in my Strategic Management class in Spring 2023 semester. I have, in the past, used the open textbook, Mastering Strategic Management on which this one is based as well as a commercial version of the text which was picked up by a pubisher.] The coverage in the book is pretty standard for Strategic Management texts. It's a little light on implementation/execution particularly on reward systems, strategic leadership and a bit on culture. Like most of the texts, it really doesn't cover the online world. Because it was done in 2020 and used some of the materials some of the materials need newer examples--and to reflect lessons of the pandemic and de-globalization (in Chap. 9) There is a glossary but no index.

The coverage of the book is accurate in the concepts handled.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

All strategic management textbooks suffer from obsolescence--it is the nature of the subject matter and the need for ongoing revision of relevant examples. The concepts change more slowly. Use of the book requires instructors to fill that in to make the material relevant. The prior book (from 2020) was not updated for years which made it hard to use. Hopefully this one will be.

The book was extremely well-written and edited. This is remarkable since there was a team who worked on it at VPI. Kudos for doing a good job.

It is consistent. The framework used is very standard in strategic management texts.

The book is well done with coherent chapters and headings and subheading breaking up the text. I was able to use some of the materials out of order.

Strategic management textbooks lend themselves to a logical organization based on the analytic process common to the topic. This book is consistent with that. I did find that references and credits, which are listed in the chapter sections, are a bit distracting and would be better, in my opinion, at the end of the chapters. Likewise, I would prefer that the Exercises be at the chapter end as well. Learning Objectives at the beginning of each chapter are useful as well as the Takeaways in the sections.

My students and I used the PDF version of the book which is pretty standard with only limited jumps for Table of Contents. .

I didn't find any grammatical errors.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

I did not see anything culturally insensitive or offensive in the book. There is, as is typical in the texts in the field, not a lot of cultural variety. There are no Black or Hispanic business in the examples.

The book did what I wanted it to in the course. I thought that Chapter 7 on Innovation is a bit of a hodge-podge of topics and doesn't flow all that well. The Powerpoint slides that the author made available are very uneven and I wasn't able to really use them--though I didn't really need to since I have taught the course for so long. They are not the equivalent of what commercial publishers provide with their texts. I did not use the text bank that is also available.

Overall, a good quality textbook that is usable with the caveats I raised earlier.

Reviewed by Stephen Horner, Associate Professor, Allen Community College on 6/9/21

Chapter one is a good an example of the type of comprehensiveness that I like. The text addresses most of the major models and concepts within the strategy domain. It also includes examples of strategy and strategic management from antiquity and... read more

Chapter one is a good an example of the type of comprehensiveness that I like. The text addresses most of the major models and concepts within the strategy domain. It also includes examples of strategy and strategic management from antiquity and classic military history encompassing ancient, modern, and postmodern eras. In addition, the critique of strategic management is refreshing to see in an introductory textbook chapter.

I find no glaring inaccuracies.

The cross disciplinary relevance of the text is demonstrated by allusion in chapter one to strategy throughout history. The text also has relevance in terms of relating the topic to contemporary issues.

This text is written at a basic level easily accessible to the common reader and especially suited to today's college senior.

The text uses the A-F-I framework consistently throughout.

The chapter topics are organized following the traditional analysis-formulation-implementation (A-F-I) framework allowing the course to be easily divided into modules. In addition, the authors have developed their own modular framework overlaying the A-F-I model.

The text uses the traditional analysis-formulation-implementation framework while taking a critical asssessment of the use of that framework.

The layout and flow of the text are satisfactory. In addition, I appreciate the smaller chunks in each chapter supplemented by references cited only in those specific chunks.

The writing demonstrates no systematic grammatical difficulties. The use of the Engish language is proper and acceptable.

The authors recognize changing sociocultural values and demonstrate sensitivity of the theory and practice of strategic management to such changes.

I found the text to be quite readable. It spawned in me new ideas for ways of reaching my students.

Reviewed by Yuan Li, Assistant Professor, James Madison University on 5/29/20

The text covers all major topics discussed in a standard strategic management textbook. Some topics that could be included or discussed more in detail are strategic leadership, innovation management, and corporate entrepreneurship. The pdf version... read more

The text covers all major topics discussed in a standard strategic management textbook. Some topics that could be included or discussed more in detail are strategic leadership, innovation management, and corporate entrepreneurship. The pdf version of the text does not include an index or glossary, which can be an enhancement to the book.

The content is accurate, error-free, and unbiased. However, there are a few typos in the book. Some of the labels are incorrect. For example, Level 3 of Table 10.4 is labeled incorrectly.

The content is up-to-date. For the most part, the examples are classic and do not need to be updated frequently. However, some of the examples, especially those related to movies are dated. Nevertheless, necessary updates can be easily implemented.

One of my favorite things about this text is its clarity. The text is written in a language that is accessible to all undergraduate students, including freshmen. Jargon and technical terms are explained in layman’s terms using real-world examples.

The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.

The chapters of the text are self-contained and can be individually assigned to students or used as additional readings to supplement a different text.

The structure of the text is clear and follows the structure of a standard strategic management textbook. The only difference is that international strategies are discussed before corporate-level strategies. Many of the tables and the text repeat each other. I think some of the tables can be eliminated.

There are no significant interface issues in the text. There are no hyperlinks in the pdf version of the book. All navigation is done through the search and find function of the pdf reader. The text in the examples and vignettes is too small and hard to read, at least for the pdf version I have. Overall, I would describe it as a no-frills text.

The text contains no grammatical errors.

The text is not culturally offensive in any way. The examples include both American and non-American firms mostly competing in the US market.

This is a great book for an introductory level strategic management class. Students do not have to be a management major to understand the book. Instructors can easily supplement the book with examples that are relevant to the background and major of their students. I find the book an interesting and enjoyable read. The authors did a great job in making strategic management interesting to students.

Reviewed by David Flanagan, Professor of Management, Western Michigan University on 12/12/19

This book covers all the major topics needed in a strategic management course plus a few other useful topics. read more

This book covers all the major topics needed in a strategic management course plus a few other useful topics.

First rate book. Easy to read with no errors (conceptually or grammatically).

All the conceptual information is up to date. I do have students do assignments where they research more recent examples.

Students comment that it is straight forward and easy to read. Key concepts are defined.

The text flows well from start to finish.

The chapters break up the material well as do sections within chapters.

good structure

easy to interface with

Well edited and credibly written

I detected nothing that could be insensitive

The authors are outstanding in their field. Can't find more credible sources.

Reviewed by Jason Kiley, Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University on 5/21/18

Overall, the book has very good coverage of the topics typically included in a strategy textbook. To be more specific, I reviewed the book against a commercial book that I have used in the past. I looked at 43 topics that is a union of the content... read more

Overall, the book has very good coverage of the topics typically included in a strategy textbook. To be more specific, I reviewed the book against a commercial book that I have used in the past. I looked at 43 topics that is a union of the content I would use across the two books. The commercial book covered 41 topics, and Mastering Strategic Management ("MSM") covered 39. Of the discrepancies, three topics in the commercial book and one topic in MSM were topics that were probably timely when written but are less relevant now. Excluding those, each book had one topic that I would have liked to have seen in the other.

Across a number of topics, the exposition that fit my expectations about the material covered, explanations of the material, and examples that fit the material. Strategy covers a number of models that have been around for some time, and the authors seemed to do a good job of thinking about which models are reasonable to describe as they were conceived and which ones should be adjusted a bit to better reflect the underlying mechanisms or modern circumstances.

One small exception (shared in most strategy books) is the description of the BCG matrix using market share (as originally conceived). That notion is very sensitive to specification of markets, and I've seen more helpful formulations that describe it a little more generally as having dimensions that reflect using and generating cash.

The main content is fine and highly relevant. However, there are some examples which have not aged well. This is not so much the fault of the authors, as the business-relevant content is fine, but an example using Jared from Subway reads very differently in light of subsequent revelations. That is perhaps the most glaring, but there are a few others that have not aged well (e.g., the AppleTV has become reasonably successful in subsequent iterations). That said, this book is well within the norms of example relevance over time.

The book is written directly and clearly. In terms of style, it is more approachable than some alternatives, in part because I never got the sense that the authors were lowering the information density to produce more text.

Terminology and approach are generally consistent. Strategy is at the intersection of other disciplines, so there is often a change of perspective, but that comes with the content. That said, the authors have combined those well into a logical, consistent narrative.

For the most part, this book would be easy to use out of order or as selections. The chapters have numbered subdivisions that are logically coherent, and, in my view, it would be clear to students to assign selections. My initial read suggests that the brief motivating examples to begin chapters and the conclusions of chapters would be helpful to include even if the middle sections are selected from or reordered.

Overall, the organization and flow are consistent and logical, and it generally mirrors that of most strategy books. In a couple of places, the ordering is a bit different (e.g., international strategy before corporate-level strategy), but the broader logic may actually be more linear that way.

I used the epub 3 version of the book. The table elements tended to be built with markup instead of images, so they rendered nicely on a high-resolution display. Cross references were often done with links, and many text boxes were also done with markup, so the book takes advantage of the technology it uses for distribution. Given the prevalence of mobile devices among students, this is a strong positive for this book compared to others.

The writing is clear, error-free, and straightforward, including the consistent use of active voice.

Though the book (like many strategy and business textbooks) has a somewhat US-centric presentation, there are plenty of examples that include diversity along a number of dimensions where that kind of diversity is not the topic of the example. That broad level of inclusiveness is a positive for the book.

Overall, I found the book to be consistently high in quality, coverage, and consistency with other books in this area. Using it as an alternative or replacement for other books should be straightforward. The anonymous authors have done the field and our students a real service in writing this book.

Reviewed by Jiyun Wu, Associate Professor , Rhode Island College on 5/21/18

The book covers key areas of strategic management, much like other strategic management textbooks. read more

The book covers key areas of strategic management, much like other strategic management textbooks.

The content is accurate, though there are a few typos.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

The examples are a few years old and need to be updated.

The book is very lucidly written. I think it is one of the best written textbooks.

The book is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework.

The text is easy to follow.

The topics are organized well and easy to follow.

I didn't encounter any problem with navigation.

I did not detect any grammar errors, although I did find a few typos.

The book is culturally relevant.

Please update the examples and correct the few typos in the text.

Reviewed by Edward Ward, Professor, Saint Cloud State University on 2/1/18

Relative to the other textbooks I have used in my strategic management course, this textbook is comprehensive. Topics include analyzing the environment, leading strategically, selection of business level strategies, ethics, organization design,... read more

Relative to the other textbooks I have used in my strategic management course, this textbook is comprehensive. Topics include analyzing the environment, leading strategically, selection of business level strategies, ethics, organization design, and more. However, it does not have a separate chapter about small business strategy.

This book is accurate as evidenced by the frequent references from both research journals and practitioners' publications. There is little in the way of the author's opinions, rather facts are emphasized.

The relevance of the book is excellent in that historical examples are often used, which by definition will not need to be updated. The examples of recent strategy uses (e.g. a goal by Coca-Cola on page 40 is for 2012) are in need of only slight modifications.

This is the paramount strength of the book. When the vocabulary (i.e. jargon) of strategic management is used, facile explanations and examples are used to clarify the term. An example is Figure 2.5, which explains financial performance measures for students who did not major in finance or accounting.

What is admirable as to the book's consistency is it's sequence of chapters, such as starting with "Mastering Strategy" as chapter one, through "Selecting Business Level Strategies" in the middle of the text, and concluding with corporate governance and ethics. There is also consistency in terms of the key takeaways and exercises throughout the book.

This is another strength of the book. For example, in clarifying "Entrepreneurial Orientation" sections such as "Autonomy", "Competitive Aggressiveness", and "Innovativeness" are presented in small sections that in total describe the term. This is done consistently in the book, such as in chapter eight the terms vertical integration, backward vertical integration, and forward vertical integration.

The topics are presented in a deductive order, starting with a superordinate term such as "Strategies for Getting Smaller", followed by retrenchment and restructuring. By describing a construct by its dimensions, the construct is more readily understood by students.

I don't think there are any such problems.

There are not any grammatical errors. I do think the reading level is for undergraduates rather than MBA students.

The photographs and examples are varied in terms of surface characteristics.

It is superior to my present textbook in terms of being written in a conversational style, which is complemented by useful tables such as 8.7 on page 293. These tables and other graphics will assist students with a visual learning style. The only negative that comes to mind is if this textbook is to be used for a MBA course, outside readings will need to be assigned.

Reviewed by Jorge Zazueta, Adjunct Professor, American University on 2/1/18

The book covers all the standard topics in Strategic Management in a well-structured and cohesive manner. The table of contents provides detail on contents and the interactive PDF version is an excellent way to navigate the text. Electronic... read more

The book covers all the standard topics in Strategic Management in a well-structured and cohesive manner. The table of contents provides detail on contents and the interactive PDF version is an excellent way to navigate the text. Electronic versions are searchable, obviating the need for an index.

I didn't find any inaccuracies or biases in the text (although I ran into a few minor typos). Each concept follows a critical discussion inviting the reader to reflect on the topic, rather than being dogmatic.

The topics covered are well established Strategic Management ideas with direct application in actual business practice, making the content both relevant and time enduring.

Clarity rating: 4

The book is clearly written and enjoyable. It provides straight commentary on the ideas discussed and is very easy to read. A minor drawback is that it lacks memorable design around many of the classic frameworks. For example, when discussing the diamond model in chapter 7, its elements are defined in the form of a table--rather than in a diamond shape.

The narrative is consistent throughout both in depth and style.

While the content follows a logical path, chapters are concise and mostly stand-alone, making it easy to use individual chapters or to tailor content for a class.

The topics follow a standard order of ideas in a consistent and logical flow, while maintaining modularity.

The interactive PDF version is clean and easy to use. A comprehensive table of contents is always available without being intrusive and the book is fully searchable. Making it convenient for student research or review. A keyword search results in a list of references to different chapters in the book, with a short summary of the content discussed.

Grammatical Errors rating: 4

Other than a few minor spelling typos. I found no errors.

The nature of the book is mostly transparent to cultural issues. Examples are business focused and do reflect a wide world view.

It is a great introductory text to Strategic Management. It covers all the standard material in a concise, easily accessible way. I would have enjoyed a bit more quantitative material, such as basic formulas from economics or discussions about how to quantify market competitiveness for example. Perhaps, that´s the material for a second book….

Reviewed by Bill Rossman, Instructor, Penn State University on 2/1/18

The book covers the major topics expected to be covered in a strategic management textbook. read more

The book covers the major topics expected to be covered in a strategic management textbook.

The material covered in the textbook is accurate and error-free.

Th material is up-to-date, however, some of the examples in the book could quickly become outdated. For example, there is an example referencing a 2001 movie which students may not understand. The book could easily be updated to keep examples up-to-date.

The book is clearly written without unnecessary jargon. Definitions for key terms could be emphasized to help students identify key terms and concepts. Additionally a glossary would be beneficial for students to quickly reverence the definition of key terms.

The book is consistent with other texts on the topic of strategic management.

The book is modular and chapters could be reorganized without issue. Instructors could assign chapters or subsections as they see fit without loss of educational value.

The book flowed well, the only change I would make is to move the corporate-level strategies to follow the business-level strategies. The instructor could easily make this change when assigning chapters in the textbook.

I did not encounter any issues with the interface of the textbook. The location of charts and images were appropriate and supported the material.

The book was free of grammatical errors.

The text was not insensitive or offensive.

Supporting material such as glossary, online assignments or self check exercises could be included. Overall, the book is well thought out and easily adaptable for instructors to use.

Reviewed by Sam Cappel, Professor, Southeastern Louisiana University on 6/20/17

I found the book to be comprehensive, covering in detail important parts of strategic management. read more

I found the book to be comprehensive, covering in detail important parts of strategic management.

I found the book to be accurate and well referenced. Examples were used which were most instrumental in helping students to understand important concepts.

The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement. Many of the examples used are classic or very timely. It would require little work to update concepts and examples.

The book is written without unnecessary jargon. Terms commonly used in the study of Strategy are fully explained.

The framework of the book allows for easy transitions from one topic to another. Throughout the book there is consistency in the straight forward approach to topics. There is a consistent attempt within this book to explain complex concepts in such a way as to allow undergraduate students to master them easily.

Modularity rating: 4

The text is well divided into a logical sequence of intuitively developed reading sections. Sections within the book serve to reduce confusion which can occur when learning a subject area with the diversity and complexity of Business Strategy

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

I like the flow of the text but prefer a flow which started by simply following the strategic management process step by step.

I had no issues with the interface of the textbook. Navigation was simple and charts were well placed and clear.

I found no grammatical errors i the text.

Culturally the book was sensitive in dealing with issues such as ethics and the role of diversity in the workplace.

With the current push for on-line offerings I feel that it is now imperative that offerings include test banks, power-points, on-line readings, films and perhaps simulation tools that can be used on-line. I love the book for in-class use but feels that it does not offer enough support to be viable for extensive on-line offerings,

strategic management and leadership assignments

Reviewed by Cynthia Steutermann, Multi-Term Lecturer, University of Kansas on 8/21/16

This book does a somewhat good job of covering many aspects of strategic analysis. For instance, the discussions relative to cost leadership, differentiation, and focused strategies were good. However, I found this book to be lacking in critical... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

This book does a somewhat good job of covering many aspects of strategic analysis. For instance, the discussions relative to cost leadership, differentiation, and focused strategies were good. However, I found this book to be lacking in critical discussion areas, such as the importance of evaluating a firm's internal financial assets. While it mentioned current ratio, debt to equity ratio, and net income .. it does not show how to calculate those ratios. And, there are many, many more financial ratios that should be covered in great detail to effectively analyze an organization's internal financial capabilities. This was an area I would consider to be seriously lacking in content.

Other critical areas missing from this textbook were the discussion of entrepreneurial strategy and competitive dynamics, as well as managing innovation and corporate entrepreneurship. Likewise, this textbook did not include any strategic management cases which greatly supports a student's ability to apply concepts to a multi-page case of an organization they may be familiar with.

Also, while there was included on the website a table of contents, no such table of contents exists in the .pdf version that students would actually use. In general, this book is not written at the level of sophistication and comprehensiveness I would expect to use for college students, particularly since a strategic analysis course is often taught as a capstone course (undergraduate senior level of student). In my opinion, this textbook is written more at the senior in high school or college freshman level.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

The book's accuracy is adequate, although there are many areas of strategic analysis which I would consider to be missing in this textbook.

The one area of relevance and longevity I found to be questionable was the various references to "At the Movies". Some of the movies are quite dated and students may not have even heard of them. Or, if they have heard of the movie, they may not have seen it. While the intent seems to be a creative way to illustrate basic concepts, the use of movies is not (in my opinion) the most relevant way to accomplish this, at least to the extent that this is repeated throughout the textbook.

The book is written clearly, although not at the college reading level I would expect it to be written at.

Consistency rating: 3

The text is inconsistent since it references certain figures that actually do not exist. For instance, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix is referenced to be in figure 8.7. There is no BCG matrix figure, nor any figure 8.7. In fact, there are very few figures in the book. There are some pictures (unidentified mostly) but no figures that illustrate important concepts.

The book's modularity is done well. Within each chapter there are several smaller reading sections.

The book's organization/structure flow is generally good. I believe the organization and flow would be better if corporate-level strategies followed business-level strategy, and then the chapter about international markets would follow after that. This textbook, instead, has business-level strategy, international markets, then corporate-level strategy.

The images are generally not distorted, although on page 172 the Arby's graphic and text are out of proportion. Page 177 includes some type of graphic that is only shades of grey. I don't know what that is intended to represent.

The text contains no grammatical errors that I observed.

The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way that I observed.

Reviewed by Daniel Forbes, Associate Professor, U. of Minnesota on 6/10/15

The book covers most of the chapters commonly found in a strategy textbook, and the content within each chapter is also similar in terms of the key topics & models addressed. One exception is strategic entrepreneurship, which is not covered as... read more

The book covers most of the chapters commonly found in a strategy textbook, and the content within each chapter is also similar in terms of the key topics & models addressed. One exception is strategic entrepreneurship, which is not covered as a separate chapter as is often the case but is instead partially covered under "Entrepreneurial orientation" within Chapter 2, "Leading strategically". Another exception is that there is only one chapter on corporate strategy, whereas many books have a second chapter on strategy alternatives (M&A, etc.). However, some of this content has been folded into the corporate strategy chapter. The PDF I reviewed did not contain a glossary or index.

The book provides an accurate introduction to contemporary strategic management. The authors' perspective is consistent with mainstream scholarly views in the field.

Most strategy textbooks tend to gravitate towards concepts and models that have a relatively long "shelf life," and this one is no exception. The book contains current examples and timely content. The book also does a good job presenting strategy in ways that undergraduate students, in particular, will find relevant. It does this through an emphasis on familiar, everyday brands (Facebook, Redbox) and through cultural references, such as its "Strategy at the movies" segments, which link concepts in the book to recent popular films.

The book is written in clear and accessible prose, and it carries a sense of humor. At times I would have liked to see clearer definitions that were easier to find in the text (e.g., highlighted or placed in sidebars). For example, the concept of "cost leadership" is introduced with good examples, but a concise definition seems lacking. Having clear definitions on key concepts is helpful to students studying for exams and for faculty who want to check concepts for consistency across materials without re-reading entire sections.

The book is internally consistent. It provides a framework for understanding strategy that is coherent and, at the same time, generally consistent with other major texts.

The text seems modular, and reorganizing the material is unlikely to pose a problem. It would be easy to rearrange the materials within a strategy course - provided, of course, that foundational concepts (e.g., "capabilities") have been established early on, as would be required in working with any major strategy text.

The book's flow is logical and it adheres to a structure that is common in strategy texts. One slightly unusual sequencing is the presentation of international strategy before corporate strategy (the reverse is more common), but these two chapters remain adjacent and there is a reasonable case for doing this. Given the overall modularity of the book, moreover, instructors can rearrange chapters as they see fit without much difficulty.

The interface reflects the thoughtful and creative selection of accompanying visual materials, especially photos and illustrations. There are fewer charts and tables than in the average strategy text. Some instructors and MBA students might find the text easier to navigate with fewer visual interruptions overall and perhaps more data or charts included in addition to the pictures. Overall, I think this interface that would be well received by undergraduate students, in particular.

The book's grammar is fine.

The book does not appear to be culturally insensitive. Examples are drawn primarily from the U.S., as is common in many major strategy texts, but there are also many examples drawn from outside the U.S.

Overall, I think this book is a very solid and worthwhile contribution to the set of available strategy textbooks. A particular strength of the book is its accessible writing style and its selection of "user-friendly" illustrations and examples. I think the book would be especially well-suited to first-time students of strategy who seek a general introduction. I also like that the book avoids delivering long, arbitrary lists of items in presenting material (e.g., "the nine reasons firms do acquisitions"), which is a common weakness of strategy textbooks. Instead, this book is generally succinct and reasonably comprehensive. At the same time, instructors & students seeking a more advanced treatment of strategy may find coverage of some topics to be relatively light. For example, limitations of the 5 Forces model are only briefly addressed and issues of industry evolution do not seem to be addressed.

Reviewed by David Try Ph.D., Instructor , Northwest Community College on 10/9/13

I found this text to be well-written and high quality, with up-to-date material, examples and case studies. In my experience, both as an instructor and retired practitioner, this textbook covers all basic concepts and topics at an appropriate... read more

I found this text to be well-written and high quality, with up-to-date material, examples and case studies. In my experience, both as an instructor and retired practitioner, this textbook covers all basic concepts and topics at an appropriate depth for an Introduction to Business Strategy/Policy course. The backend - index, glossary, on-screen reader and search engine - were accurate and faultless.

Diagrams, tables and case studies were up-to-date, professional quality and accurate. I found the text well supported by the supplemental teaching resources (quizzes, PowerPoint's, teaching notes, etc.) As with any USA based textbook, and to be fair hardly unique to this one, the content is USA-centric. Examples and in-text case studies do tend to examine issues through the lens of USA companies, and occasionally USA laws/regulations. Within this caveat, all material was well-edited, error-free, unbiased and including appropriate supplemental instructor material.

As with most introductory courses, the basic components of Business Strategy tend not to change rapidly. New tools, techniques, occasionally fads, as well as the inevitable rebranding (i.e. Management by Objectives [MBO] becomes Outcome Based Key Performance Indicators) are adopted by Business relatively slowly. The textbook covers certain recent advances in strategic and policy, as appropriate for a textbook at an introductory level. Looking forward, advances to this textbook would tend to focus on maintaining current and timeliness of in-text examples, update trends and data, and incorporate emergent strategies which could emerge in response to changing economic, business or global events, such as a global recession.

The textbook to be quite readable and engaging, and makes good use of current business examples. Terms and business jargon are properly defined, both within the text and by using small ‘call-out' (?) boxes on the side of pages and through the use of examples.

The concepts and ideas in the textbook are presented in a clear and logical order. Terminology is used consistently. As well, I found the ‘readability' of the textbook to be internally consistent – with no sense that different authors/editors had writte

The material is covered in 12 chapters, with 2 to 4 sections each, making it easy to assign weekly readings and cover the content within one semester. Chapters are fairly consistent in length and complexity. Instructors have the option to re-organize the course / subject order prior to students downloading the textbook should they wish. The text is not overly self-referential.

The flow or order of idea/concept presentation is consistent to most Strategy texts, and appropriate for an introductory textbook. Within Chapter layout is consistent; each chapter begins with "Learning Outcomes" and concludes with "Key Takeaways" and exercises, which can be assigned as homework.

Neither I, nor any of my students, experienced any interface issues at all. The underlying technology appeared faultless. The navigation process is logical and all images and text were clear and high quality, even on smaller e-reading devices. As well, color use is consistent, assisting in overall navigation. Interestingly, as the first e-textbook for NWCC Business, my students appreciated the ability to perform in-text searches and hyper-link to external electronic references (in text URLs), as well as textbook's cost of course!

I found zero (0) grammatical errors, or ‘broken' URL links. Well edited

This text is not culturally or sexually insensitive, or offensive. Overall, examples are based on business culture with limited applicability on cultural relevance. One chapter focuses on Ethics and Social Responsibility and examines these issues from a strategic perspective, with examples. However, the focus is principally from a business perspective, as compared to social, legal or moral perspectives. As the text is fairly USA-centric, Canadian students may feel that Canadian and possibly Asian business strategies should receive greater emphasis.

Overall, I was very impressed with the quality and professionalism of the text. A ‘newbie' to e-textbooks, I was surprised by the usefulness of additional features available with electronic textbooks (searching, imbedded URLs, etc.). As noted above, the textbook content is somewhat USA-centric. Examples and in-text case studies tend to focus on USA companies, and occasionally USA laws/regulations. However, given the highly integrated nature of Canadian and USA business environments, there is some value in this. And, it was certainly not difficult to incorporate Canadian examples into the Lectures. This review originated in the BC Open Textbook Collection and is licensed under CC BY-ND.

Table of Contents

  • I. Chapter 1: Mastering Strategy: Art and Science
  • II. Chapter 2: Assessing Organizational Performance
  • III. Chapter 3: Evaluating the External Environment
  • IV. Chapter 4: Evaluating the Internal Environment
  • V. Chapter 5: Synthesis of Strategic Issues and Analysis
  • VI. Chapter 6: Selecting Business-Level Strategies
  • VII. Chapter 7: Innovation Strategies
  • VIII. Chapter 8: Selecting Corporate-Level Strategies
  • IX. Chapter 9: Competing in International Markets
  • X. Chapter 10: Executing Strategy through Organizational Design
  • XI. Chapter 11: Leading an Ethical Organization: Corporate Governance, Corporate Ethics, and Social Responsibility

Ancillary Material

  • Virginia Tech Publishing

About the Book

STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT  offers an introduction to the key topics and themes of strategic management. The authors draw on examples of familiar companies and personalities to illustrate the different strategies used by today’s firms—and how they go about implementing those strategies. Students will learn how to conduct a case analysis, measure organizational performance, and conduct external and internal analyses. In short, they will understand how organizations operate at the strategic level to be successful.

An older version of Mastering Strategic Management  (2015) by University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing can be found here:

About the Contributors

Reed B. Kennedy, Associate Professor of Practice, Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech

Reed B. Kennedy is an Associate Professor of Management Practice in the Management Department, where he teaches management courses. He began his career as a naval officer before entering his primary career in healthcare administration, where he served in senior executive roles in various hospitals for over 20 years. He then worked as a business consultant for the Small Business Development Center for the New River Valley at Radford University. His education includes a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy, a Masters of Healthcare Administration from Medical College of Virginia / Virginia Commonwealth University, a Masters in Public Health and a Graduate Certificate in Global Planning and International Development from Virginia Tech. Reed served as the chief textbook reviser on this project. He worked with the contributor and editorial teams from project start to completion.

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Assignment for Leadership and Strategic Management (Enterprise)

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The purpose of the present study is to provide a critical review of the relation between transformational leadership and the levels of job satisfaction experienced by bank employees. An organization's or institution's leadership refers to its leader's style of providing direction, implementing plans and motivating employees. Transformational leadership is a specific leadership style applied by superiors who motivate their subordinates to perform at a higher level by inspiring them, offering them intellectual challenges and paying attention to their individual needs. Job satisfaction refers to the employees' perceptions of their working environment, relations among colleagues, earnings and promotion opportunities. The review shows that contemporary job-related phenomena like job satisfaction are related to employees' relations with colleagues and superiors, performance and perceptions of their organization's specific culture. In addition, the employees' preference of leadership style is likely to be affected by several factors, including demographic characteristics. Therefore, the reciprocal relation between organizational culture and transformational leadership in job satisfaction in the banking field is revealed in the review, and several conclusions and suggestions are formed.

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Women in leadership and decision-making roles influence the policies and directions of organizations (Ahuja, 2002). Women in leadership value supports from their organizations. Pro-social outcomes of relationship competence are mediated by the development of empathy, collaborative approaches to conflict, self-disclosure, and social interest (Jogulu & Wood, 2006). Decision-making perspectives have uncertainty as the sole reason for organizational leaders to search for additional relevant information to solidify or clarify the information at the leader's disposal. A phenomenological qualitative research study which explored the preferred style of leadership based on three leadership and decision-making styles is presented in this paper 1. The researcher gathered insights into the lived experiences of like-minded sample of respondents from the research population as they described their leadership and decisionmaking experiences within their organizations.

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ABSTRACT This study investigates organizational leaders’ discourses and how they are embedded in organizational and national structures and relate to leadership and communication in two Swedish organizations. This study has social constructionist aspirations and invokes qualitative, discursive, and interpretive perspectives. The findings, based on 27 interviews with leaders at various levels in the two industries, indicate that leaders’ discourses are affected differently by national and organizational cultural structures and are related to the circumstances affecting the construction of communicative leadership in these organizations. In a strongly established organizational culture national, context has less influence because members are loyal to the communication and leadership views of the organization in question. Discourses of commu- nicative leadership and Swedish leadership are relevant to the organization that work to make its leaders more communicative. However, notwithstanding the predominance of national or organisational leadership and communication views, leaders remain viewing themselves as the main leadership actors. The study also seeks to extend the knowledge of the concept of communicative leadership contributing to the understanding of its definition in relation to characteristics of national and organizational cultures. Keywords: communication; leadership; communicative leadership; discourse; national culture; organizational culture. RESUMO Este estudo investiga os discursos de líderes em duas organizações suecas e como esses estão envolvidos em estruturas organizacionais e nacionais associadas à liderança e comunicação. O estudo tem um enfoque social-construtivista e evoca perspectivas qualitativas, discursivas e interpretativas. As conclusões, baseadas em 27 entrevistas com líderes de diversos níveis hierárquicos, indicam que, nas ditas indústrias, os discursos dos líderes são influenciados de formas distintas por estruturas organizacionais e culturais. Também indicam que esses discursos estão circunstancialmente associados à construção da liderança comunicativa. Em uma cultura organizacional fortemente estabelecida, o fator nacional possui menos relevância, uma vez que os empregados das organizações estudadas aderem mais às visões de comunicação e liderança das próprias empresas. Discursos sobre liderança comunicativa e o estilo próprio de liderança sueca são relevantes para uma organização que objetiva investir no aperfeiçoamento comunicativo de seus líderes. Contudo, a despeito de os padrões de comunicação e liderança serem nacionais ou organizacionais, os líderes ainda se concebem como os principais agentes do processo de liderar. Esse estudo também procura expandir o conhecimento do conceito de liderança comunicativa e contribuir para a compreensão de sua definição em relação às características das culturas nacional e organizacional. Palavras-chave: comunicação; liderança; liderança comunicativa; discurso; cultura nacional; cultura organizacional. RESUMEN Este estudio investiga los discursos de líderes de dos organizaciones suecas, cómo estos se involucran a los sistemas organizacionales y nacionales y cómo describen las nociones de liderazgo y comunicación. El estudio tiene un abordaje socio-constructivista y utiliza perspectivas cualitativas, discursivas e interpretativas. Las conclusiones, basadas en 27 entrevistas con líderes de diversos niveles jerárquicos, indican que en las industrias suecas citadas los discursos de los jefes son afectados diferentemente por la cultura organizacional y nacional. Además, esos discursos circunstancialmente colaboran para la construcción del liderazgo comunicativo en sus respectivas compañías. En una cultura organizacional fuertemente establecida, el con- texto nacional tiene menos influencia, ya que los empleados obedecen más a las visiones de liderazgo y comunicación de las mismas empresas. Los discursos de liderazgo comunicativo y el estilo sueco de liderar son relevantes para las organizaciones que anhelan desarrollar las competencias comunicativas de sus líderes. Sin embargo, independiente de que las visiones de comunicación y liderazgo sean organizacionales o culturales, los líderes aún se consideran como agentes principales del proceso de liderar. Esta investigación también busca ampliar el conocimiento acerca del concepto de liderazgo comunicativo, comprendiéndolo a partir de sus características culturales y organizacionales. Palabras clave: comunicación; liderazgo; liderazgo comunicativo; discurso; cultura nacional; cultura organizacional.


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OTHM Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership

Qualification Number: 603/2181/7

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Entry requirements

Equivalences, qualification structure, duration and delivery, assessment and verification, progressions.

The objective of the OTHM Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership qualification is to develop strategic management and leadership skills for managers who have the authority and personal attributes to translate organisational strategy into effective operational performance. This qualification reflects current practice in Strategic Management and Leadership and allows learners to develop and expand their high-level understanding of strategic management and leadership in the workplace. This qualification is suitable for mature learners with a background in academic study or industry. The qualification has a clear work-related emphasis on practical skills development alongside theoretical fundamentals. Successful completion of the Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership qualification will equip learners with the key skills and capabilities to become an effective strategic manager. The qualification also allows learners to progress into or within employment and/or continue their study towards an MBA with advanced standing.

  • An honours degree in related subject or UK level 6 diploma or an equivalent overseas qualification
  • Mature learners with management experience (learners must check with the delivery centre regarding this experience prior to registering for the programme)
  • Learners must be 21 years old or older at the beginning of the course
  • English requirements: If a learner is not from a majority English-speaking country must provide evidence of English language competency. For more information visit English Language Expectations page in this website.

The OTHM Level 7 diplomas on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) are at the same level as master’s degrees. However, they are shorter (120 credits) and learners will have to proceed to the dissertation stage (60 credits) with university to achieve a full masters programme.

Mandatory units

  • Strategic Management (20 credits)
  • Strategic Leadership (20 credits)
  • Strategic Human Resource Management (20 credits)
  • Advanced Business Research Methods (20 credits)

Optional units: Choose any TWO

  • Strategic Financial Management (20 credits)
  • Supply Chain and Operations Management (20 credits)
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation (20 credits)
  • Globalisation and Corporate Governance (20 credits)
  • Strategic Change Management (20 credits)
  • Strategic Marketing (20 credits)

The qualification is designed to be delivered over one academic year for full-time study, but it is also flexible in its delivery in order to accommodate part-time and distance learning. The qualification is delivered face-to-face, through lectures, tutorials, seminars, distance, online by approved centres only.

All units within this qualification are internally assessed by the centre and externally verified by OTHM. The qualifications are criterion referenced, based on the achievement of all the specified learning outcomes. To achieve a ‘pass’ for a unit, learners must provide evidence to demonstrate that they have fulfilled all the learning outcomes and meet the standards specified by all assessment criteria. Judgement that the learners have successfully fulfilled the assessment criteria is made by the Assessor. The Assessor should provide an audit trail showing how the judgement of the learners’ overall achievement has been arrived at.

Successful completion of OTHM Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership qualification enables learners to progress into or within employment and also join MBA Advanced Entry route at London Graduate School. As this qualification is approved and regulated by Ofqual (Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulation), learners are also eligible to progress to an MBA top-up with advanced standing with many universities in the UK and overseas. For more information visit University Progressions page in this website.

Quality, Standards & Recognitions

By complying with our regulators and meeting university progression requirements we ensure the high-quality standards of all our qualifications and assessments.

The local and global recognition has enabled our graduates to enhance their employability skills as well as to join degree and master top-up programmes.

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39 best leadership activities and games

strategic management and leadership assignments

Good leaders can make or break a team. While more and more people are being asked to step into leadership roles, the path to becoming a good leader is long and not always straightforward . This is where leadership activities come in.

Leadership activities are a great way of developing the skills and competencies needed to be an effective leader . It's not easy to learn these skills, especially when so many leaders don't receive effective training or support. In this article, we'll explore the leadership activities you should master in order to lead a high-performing team and become a better leader!

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Learning the why and how of being a great leader alongside practical techniques and frameworks is one of the easiest ways to become a better leader.

Anyone in a leadership role has both a big influence and responsibility for their team. Some of the aspects they need to pay attention to in order to be a good leader are:

  • Setting the climate of a workplace
  • Making decisions
  • Inspiring team members
  • Setting values for their team
  • Improving team spirit and cohesion
  • Being responsible for their team’s communication and wellbeing
  • Developing leadership skills in other team members

There are a number of tools to help you with leadership development. Coaching, peer support circles, and leadership development workshops can all help one to become a better leader.

Leadership activities such as those featured here are also effective at introducing leadership concepts and learning how to solve common leadership challenges . You might run these leadership training activities during a workshop, add them to an ongoing learning program or simply introduce them to managers as needed.

In this guide, we’ve grouped leadership activities by these core competencies, so you can choose the right activity to help yourself or others develop their leadership skills. Let’s dive in!

What are leadership activities?

Leadership activities are exercises designed to help develop leadership skills and enable leaders to be more effective in their roles. They can include activities that help train new leaders and improve core leadership skills like problem-solving, active listening, or effective group management.

You’ll also find that the best leadership development activities give leaders tools and techniques they can use on the job. It’s one thing to know that leaders need to be good listeners, but quite another to be given a framework and toolkit that means you are a great listener who always helps their team feel heard and understood.

The exercises below are not only great to use when training leaders, but they are practical techniques leaders can use with every team member immediately, whatever their leadership style.

strategic management and leadership assignments

What are leadership activities used for?

While managers might approach tasks differently based on their leadership style, there are skills and competencies that all leaders should learn in order to best service their team. Learning how to be a good leader can be difficult, so using exercises and activities to improve leadership skills in a safe, experiential environment can help leaders be more effective in their role.

If you’re running a leadership development program, you might use these activities during the training program. For example, after conducting a self-assessment and deciding how they want to develop as a leader, participants might work on improving their leadership skills with these activities.

Whether you’re running such a program and developing managers internally with workshops or simply want to brush up on your own leadership skills, these exercises are a great place to begin.

A bespoke leadership development workshop (like the one featured in this leadership template! ) is also a natural place to include these activities.

In SessionLab, it’s quick and easy to design a leadership workshop fit for your needs. Start by dragging and dropping blocks to design your outline. Add minute-perfect timing and instructions to each activity to refine your agenda.

When you’re ready to share with collaborators or participants, export your workshop agenda in PDF, Word, Powerpoint or invite them directly to the session.

A screenshot of a leadership development workshop designed and built in SessionLab.

Leadership training activities for building a positive work climate

Leaders are role models to their colleagues and organization. Their leadership styles, principles, and values determine the culture that drives their organization’s behavior.

That is why a competitive, paranoid leader can easily create an organization where team members are similarly competitive and less open to collaboration. While a leader who is open and inclusive will create a climate of openness and inclusiveness. How they behave, and what they consider the norm, also affects which kinds of behaviors are enforced and celebrated and which behaviors are punished.

The following leadership activities can help you in recognising important leadership behaviors that result in a productive workplace. They can also be used by leaders to set the stage for team bonding and a great workplace environment with their team. A must for all leaders!

Leadership Envelopes

Leadership games like this help groups translate abstract leadership principles into practical on-the-job behaviors. Participants work in groups to come up with real-life applications of different leadership principles.

The groups conduct multiple rounds of discussion to build upon each others’ ideas, and in the end, evaluate the best ideas to identify the most useful behaviors. This is also a great activity to run with all your team members. Seeing how they consider and respond to different leadership styles can help you focus on the right approach as a leader!

Leadership Envelopes   #leadership   #issue analysis   #thiagi   Leadership exercise in groups, working with practical leadership principles. This activity helps groups to translate abstract leadership principles into practical on-the-job behaviours. Participants work in groups to come up with real-life application of leadership principles. The groups take multiple rounds to build upon the ideas of each other, and in the end, evaluate the best ideas to identify the most useful behaviours.

Your Favourite Manager

In this activity, participants take on three different employee personas and list the behaviors of a positive leader or manager and a negative one from the perspectives of those employees. After some individual reflection, participants compare their lists, first in pairs and then in groups. Finally, they collect the ultimate do’s and don’ts for managers and leaders.

Any activity that encourages deep reflection on your own leadership style and those of your role models is a wonderful way to grow. I’ve been especially inspired by how some of my old bosses approach problem solving while I was a team member working beneath them.

My Favourite Manager   #management   #leadership   #thiagi   #teamwork   #remote-friendly   Participants work individually, assuming the roles of three different people and brainstorming their perceptions of three most favourite managers and three least favourite managers. Later, they work with a partner (and still later, in teams) to prepare a list of dos and don’t-s for improving employees’ perception of a manager’s style.

Leadership Pizza

This leadership development activity offers a self-assessment framework for people to first identify the skills, attributes and attitudes they find important for effective leadership, and then assess their own development in these areas. This framework is also a great tool to set individual leadership development goals in a coaching process.

We love activities that allow team members to reflect on different leadership styles and assess their own skills and preferences. The visual format makes it easy to share and reflect on leadership styles later too!

Leadership Pizza   #leadership   #team   #remote-friendly   This leadership development activity offers a self-assessment framework for people to first identify what skills, attributes and attitudes they find important for effective leadership, and then assess their own development and initiate goal setting.

Playing with Status

The best leadership training activities often allow managers to work on their leadership skills while also providing an opportunity to reflect on their leadership style and how it might affect other employees.

Playing with Status is a role playing game where pairs enact a job interview or coaching session and enact different versions of the conversation based on whether each person has high or low status. By experiencing the effect of status on the relationship, would-be leaders can consider how they interact with other members of their team and create a more positive workplace culture.

Playing with Status   #teambuilding   #communication   #team   #thiagi   Participants are given a short script of 8-10 lines of neutral dialogue. The scene may depict a job interview (see the sample below) or a coaching session. Pairs take turns enacting the scene, playing with the status relationships through non-verbal behaviours.

Heard Seen Respected

Standing in the shoes of others, practicing empathy and ensuring that everyone on a team is able to be heard is a necessity for great leaders and your team in general. In this activity, participants shift between telling stories where they were not heard, seen or respected and then being listeners who do not pass judgment. 

Remember that leadership training should often start with the fundamentals of respect and empathy. If you can’t respect and empathize with your team members, how can you expect them to do the same for you? Keeping things simple with an activity like Heard Seen Respected can be an especially effective option whether you’re working online or offline. 

Heard, Seen, Respected (HSR)   #issue analysis   #empathy   #communication   #liberating structures   #remote-friendly   You can foster the empathetic capacity of participants to “walk in the shoes” of others. Many situations do not have immediate answers or clear resolutions. Recognizing these situations and responding with empathy can improve the “cultural climate” and build trust among group members. HSR helps individuals learn to respond in ways that do not overpromise or overcontrol. It helps members of a group notice unwanted patterns and work together on shifting to more productive interactions. Participants experience the practice of more compassion and the benefits it engenders.

strategic management and leadership assignments

Team building leadership activities

Every leader has an integral role in the formation of the teams they work with. Whether you are consciously working on it or not, your attitude and actions as a leader will significantly influence team cohesion, communication and the team spirit of the people you work with.

This comes through in small everyday actions, the way you share responsibilities, the way you empower colleagues, and the way you foster a cooperative work environment as opposed to a competitive one.

Sometimes, it can also be effective to run team building activities with your company that are expressly focused on helping teams come together and bond. Try using the following leadership team building activities with new teams, or groups that need to spend a little time getting to know each other better.

Marshmallow challenge

The Marshmallow Challenge is a team-building activity in which teams compete to build the tallest free-standing structure out of spaghetti sticks, tape, string, and the marshmallow that needs to be on the top. This leadership activity emphasizes group communication, leadership dynamics, collaboration, and innovation and problem-solving.

It’s a wonderful game that allows participants’s natural leadership qualities to shine through, and it helps teams have a lot of fun too!

Marshmallow challenge with debriefing   #teamwork   #team   #leadership   #collaboration   In eighteen minutes, teams must build the tallest free-standing structure out of 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. The marshmallow needs to be on top. The Marshmallow Challenge was developed by Tom Wujec, who has done the activity with hundreds of groups around the world. Visit the Marshmallow Challenge website for more information. This version has an extra debriefing question added with sample questions focusing on roles within the team.

Blind Square Rope Game

This activity is a tried and tested game that asks teams to communicate well and solve a problem as a team. Not only is this a fun team building activity, but it’s a great way for potential leaders to step up and help their team win! Start by tying a length of rope into a circle and then instruct participants they will have 20 minutes to turn it into a square, with fifteen minutes to plan their actions and five minutes to implement. Here’s the catch – no one may touch the rope until you begin, and every team member is blindfolded during implementation. This is an effective leadership game that is great with both small groups and larger teams separated into breakouts.

Blind Square – Rope game   #teamwork   #communication   #teambuilding   #team   #energiser   #thiagi   #outdoor   This is an activity that I use in almost every teambuilding session I run–because it delivers results every time. I can take no credit for its invention since it has existed from long before my time, in various forms and with a variety of names (such as Blind Polygon). The activity can be frontloaded to focus on particular issues by changing a few parameters or altering the instructions.

Tower of Power

All leaders need to work closely with other members of their organization in order to succeed. This leadership game encourages groups to work together in order to build a tower with specific (and sometimes tricky!) rules before than reflecting on what worked, what didn’t and what they would do next time.

It’s a wonderful activity for leadership training, as it provides an experiential way to explore leadership concepts, all wrapped in a fun game!

Tower of Power   #team   #teamwork   #communication   #leadership   #teambuilding   #skills   This teamwork activity requires participants to work closely together to build a tower from a set of building blocks.  The players need to coordinate their actions in order to be able to move the wooden blocks with the crane they have, and this can only be solved by precise planning, good communication and well-organised teamwork. You may use this exercise to emphasise the following themes and outcomes: In Leadership training : identifying interdependencies in systems, leadership communication, dealing with risk, giving feedback In Team building : communicating effectively, cooperating, being an active listener, maintaining the balance, working with values In Project management : simulating strategic planning, working under time pressure In Communication training : meta communication, facilitating, dealing with different perspectives

When teams work together well, something magic happens. But what elements constitute a high performing team? As a leader, how can you help ensure those conditions are met? In this leadership game, participants must work together to get every team member across an obstacle while blindfolded.

It’s a simple concept that creates a perfect space for exploring how teams operate and the role leaders have within them. Bring plenty of fun obstacles (squeaky toys are best) and encourage groups to think strategically for best results!

Minefield   #teampedia   #teamwork   #action   #team   #icebreaker   A fun activity that helps participants working together as a team while teaching the importance of communication, strategy and trust.

Crocodile River

The Crocodile River is a team-building activity in which group members need to support each other in a task to move from one end of a space to another. It requires working together creatively and strategically in order to solve a practical, physical problem. It tends to emphasize group communication, cooperation, leadership and membership, patience and problem-solving.

Crocodile River   #hyperisland   #team   #outdoor   A team-building activity in which a group is challenged to physically support one another in an endeavour to move from one end of a space to another. It requires working together creatively and strategically in order to solve a practical, physical problem. It tends to emphasize group communication, cooperation, leadership and membership, patience and problem-solving.

This is a simple game to help team members learn how to work together (better). It can also focus on the group’s understanding of communication, leadership, problem-solving, trust or persistence. Participants stand in a circle, close their eyes and put their hands into the circle to find two other hands to hold. Then they open their eyes and the group has to try to get back into a circle without letting go, though they can change their grip, of course.

Human Knot   A physical-participation disentanglement puzzle that helps a group learn how to work together (self-organize) and can be used to illustrate the difference between self-organization and command-control management or simply as a get-to-know-you icebreaker. Standing in a circle, group members reach across to connect hands with different people. The group then tries to unravel the “human knot” by unthreading their bodies without letting go of each other people’s hands. As a management-awareness game to illustrate required change in behavior and leadership on a management level (e.g., illustrate the change from ‘task-oriented’ management towards ‘goal/value-oriented’ management).

Who are you? The pirate ship exercise

Every member of a group occupies a different position in the team. An effective team leader is one who considers their role and is aware of where employees also stand.

This leadership training activity is an effective method of getting a group to consider their roles with the metaphor of a pirate ship. Start by sharing the image and invite each person to consider which person on the deck they most identify with. Is it the captain, or perhaps is it the person repairing damage to the hull? What follows is an effective conversation on roles within a team.

Who are you? The pirate ship exercise (dinámica del barco pirata)   #team alignment   #team   #remote-friendly   #teamwork   #warm up   #icebreaker   This an easy but powerful exercise to open a meeting or session and get participants to reflect on their attitudes or feelings about a topic, in the organization, team, or in the project.

Collaborative leadership activities

Whether you’re leading a small group or working across a massive organization, part of your role of a leader is to help their team work together more effectively. Removing obstacles to effective collaboration and creating frameworks for better teamwork is something you’ll be doing as a leader.

Use the activities below to develop the skills necessary to facilitate better collaboration and working habits between team members.

Circles of Influence

Effective teamwork is often about identifying where each member of a team can have the most impact and use their skills best. Leaders often need to find ways to identify where to direct their team and consider how different skills and working styles fit together to make a cohesive team. This activity makes it easy to facilitate this process and encourage employees to reflect and be proactive too!

We love that this leadership exercise encourages every team member to take responsibility and action. When looking for leadership qualities in a group and considering who you might want to develop into a future leader, this is also a great place to start!

Circles of Influence   #hyperisland   #team   #team effectiveness   A workshop to review team priorities and made choices about what to focus on individually and collectively. The workshop challenges members to reflect on where they can have the most impact and influence. Use this workshop to refine priorities and empower ownership among team members.

Team of Two

Whether you’re leading a team of just a few people or hundreds, the reality is that many of your discussions and interactions with the people you will lead will be interpersonal and one-on-one in nature. Developing the skillset you need to solve issues in your team when they arise and finding ways to ensure these conversations are productive is one of the most important things you can do as a leader.

Use Team of Two whether working online or as part of an in-person session to help your working pairs and interpersonal relationships go from strength to strength. By articulating needs and consequences clearly, this leadership exercise helps people communicate efficiently and see the results they need – a must for anyone in a leadership role! 

Team of Two   #communication   #active listening   #issue analysis   #conflict resolution   #issue resolution   #remote-friendly   #team   Much of the business of an organisation takes place between pairs of people. These interactions can be positive and developing or frustrating and destructive. You can improve them using simple methods, providing people are willing to listen to each other. “Team of two” will work between secretaries and managers, managers and directors, consultants and clients or engineers working on a job together. It will even work between life partners.

What I Need From You

One of the most important leadership skills to cultivate is clarity: being clear in what you expect and need from others in your organisation or group is an integral component of high-functioning teams. With What I Need From You, each team member involved in the exchange is given the chance to articulate their core needs to others and respond in a structured way.

This kind of clear, direct action is great at unblocking conversational roadblocks in both large and small groups, and is something all leaders should have in their toolkit.

What I Need From You (WINFY)   #issue analysis   #liberating structures   #team   #communication   #remote-friendly   People working in different functions and disciplines can quickly improve how they ask each other for what they need to be successful. You can mend misunderstandings or dissolve prejudices developed over time by demystifying what group members need in order to achieve common goals. Since participants articulate core needs to others and each person involved in the exchange is given the chance to respond, you boost clarity, integrity, and transparency while promoting cohesion and coordination across silos: you can put Humpty Dumpty back together again!

Generative Relationships STAR

The relationships between the members of a team can make or break the work you do together. In this leadership training activity, leaders learn how to help a group understand their current working patterns and identify possible changes.

Each participant will individually rate the current performance of the group on the 4 points of the STAR compass tool included. Next, small groups will discuss their choices and find points of alignment and disagreement. Finally, the whole team will discuss the first steps they can take to improve relationships and performance for the group.

Generative Relationships STAR   #team   #liberating structures   #teamwork   You can help a group of people understand how they work together and identify changes that they can make to improve group performance. All members of the group diagnose current relationship patterns and decide how to follow up with action steps together, without intermediaries. The STAR compass tool helps group members understand what makes their relationships more or less generative. The compass used in the initial diagnosis can also be used later to evaluate progress in developing relationships that are more generative.

Team Canvas

When it comes to enabling true collaboration throughout your organization, it pays to involve your team members in helping shape the way you want to work together. Different leadership styles may call for a different approach to this process, but it’s always helpful to see a complete example of how you might define your team culture and working processes.

In this workshop template, you can see a complete agenda for a team canvas workshop. This will take a team through a process of co-creating and defining everything from your goals, values, assets, and rules. Effective leadership often means tapping into group intelligence and enabling your team to take shared ownership of their success. Team Canvas great way of achieving this!

Team Canvas Session   #team alignment   #teamwork   #conflict resolution   #feedback   #teambuilding   #team   #issue resolution   #remote-friendly   The Team Canvas is Business Model Canvas for teamwork. It is an effective technique to facilitate getting teams aligned about their goals, values and purposes, and help team members find their role on the team.

Inspirational leadership activities

Great leaders inspire others. However, there are many different reasons why someone will find a leader inspirational. Developing the skills to inspire team members and lead with this energy is important, whatever your leadership style.

In order to grasp what facilitates inspiring leadership, try the following exercises. You’ll be surprised at how thinking more deeply about your own role models or what your values can help you in all of your leadership interactions!

Leadership Advice from your Role Model

Everyone is asked to think of a role model they look up to and ask themselves: If a young person would ask these role models for leadership advice and what kind of advice that would be.

Facilitate a group conversation where these pieces of advice are shared and contradicting points are discussed and reconciled. Given diverse enough responses, this structured sharing activity might be a good introduction to the concept of situational leadership.

Leadership Advice from Your Role Model   #skills   #leadership   #thiagi   #role playing   This structured sharing activity provides a faster, cheaper, and better alternative to buying and reading a lot of books: You tap into the wisdom of the group—and of their role models.

Living Core Values

The core values of your organization are a great place to look when you want to inspire your team members. Leaders should be involved in defining and exemplifying their core values and also helping create space for the team to share how they’re living those values. The result is an inspiring leadership exercise that allows a leader to help the group celebrate their wins and also suggest places for improvement.

Start by choosing one of your core values and asking activity participants to share a story of how they have been practicing this core value. After sharing, ask the team to reflect on what inspired them from the story. As with any leadership development game, be the first one to share a story to help guide the discussion. Running this exercise will not only help inspire a team to greater heights but also surface any areas that need improvement – it’s a great method to have in your leadership toolbox!

Living Core Values   #culture   #values   #core values,   #connection   #inspiration   #virtual_friendly   #team   #team alignment   #energizer   #remote-friendly   For use with a team, organization or any peer group forum. Can be done in person or virtual This is designed to create a conversation that brings Core Values alive. This is great for a team that knows what values they stand for. Through this exercise they will celebrate their values in action and therefore be energized to magnify them further. It will also help bring along anyone that is new so they can understand that the group really walks the talk

Throughout human history, stories have been a consistent source of inspiration. Whatever your leadership style, finding time to share more about your own story and create space for others to share theirs can be massively useful as a leader.

In Campfire, start by creating a selection of 10-20 sticky notes relating to a concept you wish to explore with the group. Put these on the wall and then invite your group to review them and consider stories they might tell related to one of those words. Start the storytelling session yourself and think about how you might inspire and elicit further stories from the rest of the team before passing the torch to the next person around the campfire!

This is a great activity to run during leadership training or when team building. Creating safe spaces for people to share their experiences is a leadership skill you absolutely want to cultivate and practice!

Campfire   #gamestorming   #team   #remote-friendly   #storytelling   Campfire leverages our natural storytelling tendencies by giving players a format and a space in which to share work stories—of trial and error, failure and success, competition, diplomacy, and teamwork. Campfire is useful not only because it acts as an informal training game, but also because it reveals commonalities in employee perception and experience.

Letter from the Future

Leaders are often called upon to inspire their team members about the future of their product or organization. Employees who are excited about where you’re going are more likely to work together well and be energized to see results. This activity is useful for helping inspire a team, or even just to inspire yourself as a leader and get your vision for the future down on paper!

Begin by asking your team to speculate on what the world will look like in five years. Next, ask them to write a letter from the future detailing what the group has accomplished in that time and how they overcame any challenges.

Share the results to inspire the group for what you might accomplish and also start creating plans for how you’ll create your desired future. You might even find that running this activity solo is effective when thinking about how you want to develop as a team leader!

Letter from the Future   #strategy   #vision   #thiagi   #team   #teamwork   Teams that fail to develop a shared vision of what they are all about and what they need to do suffer later on when team members start implementing the common mandate based on individual assumptions. To help teams get started on the right foot, here is a process for creating a shared vision.

Leadership activities for personal development

A good leader is one who helps uplift and upskill the members of their team. These leadership activities are designed to help you encourage participants to be more autonomous, take initiative and work on their personal development.

If you’re new to a leadership role or trying on various leadership styles, these can also be great activities to practice on the road to leading a team. Growth and development is a vital aspect of employee happiness and fulfilment – be sure to bring ideas for enabling others to your leadership role.

Roles in a meeting

Learning by doing is an important aspect of effective leadership. Sometimes, you have to try something new and approach the task with an open mind while working to the best of your ability. This simple method is a great way of encouraging participants to take an important role during a meeting and also take part in developing and refining those roles.

If you’re running a leadership development program and want to start upskilling participants, this is a great way of delegating some simple leadership roles. Plus, it helps encourage the group to contribute and engage with how a successful meeting is put together too!

Roles in a meeting   #meeting facilitation   #remote-friendly   #hybrid-friendly   #skills   Organize the day’s meeting by co-creating and assigning roles among participants.

Alignment & Autonomy

One of the most impactful things a leader can do is get out of a team’s way and allow them to perform more autonomously. Doing so effectively means people can take ownership of their work, be more invested, and develop their skills too. But how can you do this without creating chaos or misalignment?

In this activity, you first help every team member align on your goals and then reflect on where they can take more ownership and be more autonomous in their work while still contributing to the goals of the team. Not only is this a great way to help your team develop, but it also takes work off your plate as a leader and can enable you to get out of the trenches if necessary.

Alignment & Autonomy   #team   #team alignment   #team effectiveness   #hyperisland   A workshop to support teams to reflect on and ultimately increase their alignment with purpose/goals and team member autonomy. Inspired by Peter Smith’s model of personal responsibility. Use this workshop to strengthen a culture of personal responsibility and build your team’s ability to adapt quickly and navigate change.

15% Solutions

One of the biggest barriers to personal development is being overwhelmed by what you need to do to achieve your goals. As a leader, you can help your team by enabling them to take the small, important actions that are within their control.

Start by asking participants to reflect on where they have the discretion and freedom to act and how they might make a small step towards a goal without needing outside help. By flipping the conversation to what 15% of a solution looks like, rather than 100%, employees can begin to make changes without fear of being overwhelmed.

15% Solutions   #action   #liberating structures   #remote-friendly   You can reveal the actions, however small, that everyone can do immediately. At a minimum, these will create momentum, and that may make a BIG difference.  15% Solutions show that there is no reason to wait around, feel powerless, or fearful. They help people pick it up a level. They get individuals and the group to focus on what is within their discretion instead of what they cannot change.  With a very simple question, you can flip the conversation to what can be done and find solutions to big problems that are often distributed widely in places not known in advance. Shifting a few grains of sand may trigger a landslide and change the whole landscape.

The GROW Coaching Model

The best leaders are often great coaches, helping individual team members achieve their potential and grow. This tried and test method is a wonderful way to help activate the development of everyone from a new start to an established leader.

Begin by teaching your mentee or group the GROW acronym (Goal, Reality, Obstacles/Options, and Will.) and guide them through a process of defining each section and collectively agreeing on how you’ll make progress. This is an effective leadership activity that is great for leadership training and is equally useful when it comes to help any team member grow.

The GROW Coaching Model   #hyperisland   #coaching   #growth   #goal setting   The GROW Model is a coaching framework used in conversations, meetings, and everyday leadership to unlock potential and possibilities. It’s a simple & effective framework for structuring your coaching & mentoring sessions and great coaching conversations. Easy to use for both face-to-face and online meetings. GROW is an acronym that stands for Goal, Reality, Obstacles/Options, and Will.

Decision-making leadership activities

An important aspect of leadership development is learning how to make informed and intelligent decisions while also ensuring you listen to your team. A leader who bulldozes their team into a decision without first listening to their expertise is not going to make their team feel valued.

The outcomes of uninformed decisions are often poor or frustrating for those involved too. While leaders are justifiably responsible for making final decisions, it’s integral to find methods to do so in a well-reasoned way.

These leadership activities are useful when it comes to making good decisions while involving your team members in the process and developing a leadership style that creates space for others.

When solving problems as a team, it’s common to have various options for moving forward. As a leader, it often falls to you to make the decision for which solution or direction to pursue. But how can you do that while also creating space for the opinions of your team to be heard?

Dotmocracy is a tried and tested facilitation method for making informed decisions with the help of your team. After presenting the available options, give everyone on your team a number of dots to indicate which option they prefer. You’ll want to adjust the number of votes based on the number of options there are to choose from. A good rule of thumb is to have fewer dots than there are options, giving just a few for every team member.

Leaders want to be on hand to break any ties and to facilitate discussion around what is chosen, but when it comes to making decisions with your team, this method is hard to beat.

Dotmocracy   #action   #decision making   #group prioritization   #hyperisland   #remote-friendly   Dotmocracy is a simple method for group prioritization or decision-making. It is not an activity on its own, but a method to use in processes where prioritization or decision-making is the aim. The method supports a group to quickly see which options are most popular or relevant. The options or ideas are written on post-its and stuck up on a wall for the whole group to see. Each person votes for the options they think are the strongest, and that information is used to inform a decision.

Impact and Effort Matrix

The hallmark of a good decision making process is transparency. Leaders should know why a decision is made and should be able to clearly explain their thinking to team members. As such, the best decision making activities make the process open and easy to understand.

Start this activity by creating a 2×2 matrix and then place possible options on the matrix based on the expected impact and effort it would take to achieve them. This makes it easy to prioritize and compare possible decisions while also including team members in the process.

An inclusive leadership style means bringing your own knowledge to the table while also listening to the opinions of the team. When running this activity, be sure to combine these aspects to ensure items are placed in the appropriate place on the matrix.

Impact and Effort Matrix   #gamestorming   #decision making   #action   #remote-friendly   In this decision-making exercise, possible actions are mapped based on two factors: effort required to implement and potential impact. Categorizing ideas along these lines is a useful technique in decision making, as it obliges contributors to balance and evaluate suggested actions before committing to them.

Level of influence

Making the right decision is often a process of weighing up various factors and prioritizing accordingly. While there are many methods for doing this, being an effective leader often means making this as simple as possible.

We love this decision making activity because it asks the group (and its leader!) some simple questions to narrow down possible options and makes it easy to prioritize too. Start by asking the level of influence a team has to make possible actions happen and ranking them accordingly.

Next, choose those items that you have the most influence on and then prioritize the ones you really want to happen. This simple, two-step process is a great activity for leadership development as it is something any leader can use with ease!

Level of Influence   #prioritization   #implementation   #decision making   #planning   #online facilitation   This is a simple method to prioritize actions as part of an action planning workshop, after a list of actions has been generated.

Fishbone Analysis

Making good decisions requires a complete knowledge of the problem at hand. For leaders who may no longer be on the frontlines of their department, it’s important to surface insights from their team and understand the root cause of any problem before making a decision.

In this leadership activity, start by choosing a problem area and adding it to the head of the fish. Next, brainstorm ideas that might cause the problem and add these as categories to the skeleton. Brainstorm on each of these categories and ask why is this happening in order to dive deeper and fully understand the issue at hand before making an informed decision as a group.

Fishbone Analysis   #problem solving   ##root cause analysis   #decision making   #online facilitation   A process to help identify and understand the origins of problems, issues or observations.

Leadership exercises for setting team values

Usually, the values of a leader are mirrored in the organization. If shortcuts are common practice for the leader, then she will see shortcuts made by her team members all across their projects. But if learning and self-improvement are important to the leader, then this will be a good foundation for these values in the whole organization, too.

To be more aware of your own values as a leader and then bring these ideas to your team, try these leadership exercises!

Explore Your Values

Explore your Values is a group exercise for thinking on what your own and your team’s most important values are. It’s done in an intuitive and rapid way to encourage participants to follow their intuitions rather than over-thinking and finding the “correct” values.

It’s a good leadership game to use to initiate reflection and dialogue around personal values and consider how various leadership styles might chime with some values more than others.

Explore your Values   #hyperisland   #skills   #values   #remote-friendly   Your Values is an exercise for participants to explore what their most important values are. It’s done in an intuitive and rapid way to encourage participants to follow their intuitive feeling rather than over-thinking and finding the “correct” values. It is a good exercise to use to initiate reflection and dialogue around personal values.

Your Leadership Coat of Arms

In this leadership development activity, participants are asked to draw their own coat of arms symbolising the most important elements of their leadership philosophy. The coat of arms drawings are then debriefed and discussed together with the group.

This activity works well with equally well with leadership and team members. Creating a visual representation of what you stand for in the form of a coat of arms can help create a memorable asset you can refer to and rally behind in the future.

Your Leadership Coat of Arms   #leadership   #leadership development   #skills   #remote-friendly   #values   In this leadership development activity, participants are asked to draw their own coat of arms symbolising the most important elements of their leadership philosophy. The coat of arms drawings are then debriefed and discussed together with the group. After the exercise you may prepare a coat of arms gallery, exhibiting the leadership approach and philosophy of group members

Team Purpose & Culture

Ensuring all group participants are aligned when it comes to purpose and cultural values is one of the jobs of a leader. Teams and organizations that have a shared and cohesive vision are often happier and more productive and by helping a group arrive at these conclusions, a good leader can help empower everyone to succeed. Even with multi-discipline teams and organizations with different leadership styles, this method is an effective way of getting everyone on the same page. This is a framework you’ll likely use again and again with different teams throughout your career.

Team Purpose & Culture   #team   #hyperisland   #culture   #remote-friendly   This is an essential process designed to help teams define their purpose (why they exist) and their culture (how they work together to achieve that purpose). Defining these two things will help any team to be more focused and aligned. With support of tangible examples from other companies, the team members work as individuals and a group to codify the way they work together. The goal is a visual manifestation of both the purpose and culture that can be put up in the team’s work space.

Leadership communication activities

Leaders are usually viewed as the parents of the organization. It is expected from them that they take care of their people and make sure that proper norms and rules are followed. One of the key areas where a leader has a large influence is the style and amount of communication between people.

strategic management and leadership assignments

Active Listening and giving effective feedback are critical skills to have as a leader but are also crucial for your team members. In fact, the issue that leaders rank as one of the biggest barriers to successful leadership is avoiding tough conversations, including giving honest, constructive feedback .

Develop good communication practices with the following leadership games and activities.

Active Listening

This activity supports participants in reflecting on a question and generating their own solutions using simple principles of active listening and peer coaching. It’s an excellent introduction to active listening but can also be used with groups that are already familiar with this activity. Participants work in groups of three and take turns being “the subject” who will explore a question, “the listener” who is supposed to be totally focused on the subject, and “the observer” who will watch the dynamic between the other two.

Active Listening   #hyperisland   #skills   #active listening   #remote-friendly   This activity supports participants to reflect on a question and generate their own solutions using simple principles of active listening and peer coaching. It’s an excellent introduction to active listening but can also be used with groups that are already familiar with it. Participants work in groups of three and take turns being: “the subject”, the listener, and the observer.

Trust battery

Every time you work together with someone, your trust battery – the trust you have towards a certain person, or the ‘emotional credit’ that person has in your eyes – either charges or depletes based on things like whether you deliver on what you promise and the social interaction you exhibit. A low trust battery is the core of many personal issues at the workplace.

This self-assessment activity allows you and your team members to reflect on the ‘trust battery’ they individually have towards each person on the team and encourages focus on actions that can charge the depleted trust batteries.  It also works great when promoting virtual leadership and working with online teams!

Trust Battery   #leadership   #teamwork   #team   #remote-friendly   This self-assessment activity allows you and your team members to reflect on the ‘trust battery’ they individually have towards each person on the team, and encourages focus on actions that can charge the depleted trust batteries.

Feedback: Start, Stop, Continue

Regular and constructive feedback is one of the most important ingredients for effective teams. Openness creates trust, and trust creates more openness. This is an activity for teams that have worked together for some time and are familiar with giving and receiving feedback. The objective of Start, Stop, Continue is to examine aspects of a situation or develop next steps by polling people on what to start, what to stop and what to continue doing.

For those in charge of online leadership, it’s vital to find ways of having difficult conversations in constructive ways virtually – try this method when working to resolve issues with your distributed team!

Feedback: Start, Stop, Continue   #hyperisland   #skills   #feedback   #remote-friendly   Regular, effective feedback is one of the most important ingredients in building constructive relationships and thriving teams. Openness creates trust and trust creates more openness. Feedback exercises aim to support groups to build trust and openness and for individuals to gain self-awareness and insight. Feedback exercises should always be conducted with thoughtfulness and high awareness of group dynamics. This is an exercise for groups or teams that have worked together for some time and are familiar with giving and receiving feedback. It uses the words “stop”, “start” and “continue” to guide the feedback messages.

Reflection: Team

All leaders know the value of structured and considered reflection. Teams that take the time to reflect and improve are those that can grow and by creating an environment of reflection, team leaders and managers can help their group move forward together. This method is effective for both offline and virtual leadership development. It helps a group progress from individual reflection through to full group discussion in a way that encourages constructive thought and minimizes potential frustration or antagonistic conversation. 

Reflection: Team   #hyperisland   #team   #remote-friendly   The purpose of reflecting as a team is for members to express thoughts, feelings and opinions about a shared experience, to build openness and trust in the team, and to draw out key learnings and insights to take forward into subsequent experiences. Team members generally sit in a circle, reflecting first as individuals, sharing those reflections with the group, then discussing the insights and potential actions to take out of the session. Use this session one or more times throughout a project or program.

Leadership conflict resolution activities

One of the most important leadership skills you’ll want to develop is the ability to mediate and resolve team conflicts. Even the most connected and effective teams can run into conflict and it will fall to managers and team leaders to help get things back on track.

Even for established leaders, navigating conflict can be difficult! These leadership development activities are designed to help groups manage and resolve conflicts more effectively.

Giving leaders a framework they can trust and use with their team right away is always a good use of time, and we’d recommend teaching these methods to all new leaders!

What, So What, Now What?

It’s easy to get lost in the woods when it comes to managing conflict. Helping a group see what happened objectively and without judgment is an important leadership skill, and this framework helps make this process easy.

Start by working with the group to collect facts about what happened before moving towards making sense of them. Once everywhere has been heard and given space to process these facts, you can then move towards suggesting practical actions. By following this kind of framework, you can manage a conflict in a pragmatic way that also ensures everyone in a group can contribute.

W³ – What, So What, Now What?   #issue analysis   #innovation   #liberating structures   You can help groups reflect on a shared experience in a way that builds understanding and spurs coordinated action while avoiding unproductive conflict. It is possible for every voice to be heard while simultaneously sifting for insights and shaping new direction. Progressing in stages makes this practical—from collecting facts about What Happened to making sense of these facts with So What and finally to what actions logically follow with Now What . The shared progression eliminates most of the misunderstandings that otherwise fuel disagreements about what to do. Voila!

Conflict Responses

All of us can be guilty of handling conflicts in a less than ideal manner. Part of developing as a leader is identifying when something didn’t go well before finding ways to do things better next time.

In this leadership activity, ask the group to provide examples of previous conflicts and then reflect on how they handled them. Next, ask everyone to reflect on how they might change their behavior for a better outcome in the future. As a leader, use this opportunity to lead the way and be honest and vulnerable. It’s your role to provide a model for interaction and its always worthwhile to see how you can do better as a people manager dealing with conflict too!

Conflict Responses   #hyperisland   #team   #issue resolution   A workshop for a team to reflect on past conflicts, and use them to generate guidelines for effective conflict handling. The workshop uses the Thomas-Killman model of conflict responses to frame a reflective discussion. Use it to open up a discussion around conflict with a team.

Bright Blurry Blind

Finding opportunities to reframe conflict as an opportunity to solve problems and create clarity is a very useful leadership quality. Often, conflict is a signifier of a deeper problem and so finding ways to surface and work on these issues as a team is a great way to move forward and bring a group together too.

In this leadership activity, start by asking the group to reflect on the central metaphor of bright to blind issues or topics, based on whether the problem is out in the open or unknown. Next, invite small groups to ideate on what issues facing the team are bright, blurry, or blind and then discuss them as a group. By working together to illuminate what is blurry or blind, you can create a one-team mentality and start resolving problems that can lead to conflict too.

Bright Blurry Blind   #communication   #collaboration   #problem identification   #issue analysis   This is an exercise for creating a sense of community, support intra and inter departmental communication and breakdown of “Silos” within organizations. It allows participants to openly speak about current issues within the team and organization.
The Art of Effective Feedback Workshop

All leaders will need to give effective feedback in order to help their team develop and do great work. The best leaders also solicit feedback from their direct reports and use this is an opportunity to grow. But how can you teach these feedback skills and help leaders develop this important skill?

Check out our Effective Feedback Workshop template for a complete agenda you can use to develop this leadership skill. You’ll find a ready-to-go workshop with a guide and PowerPoint presentation you can use to help anyone in a leadership role give and receive better feedback.

Workshop design made easy

Designing and running effective workshops and meetings is an important leadership skill; whether it’s staying organized and on time during your daily stand-ups or planning more involved sessions.

With SessionLab, it’s easy to create engaging workshops that create impact while engaging every member of your team. Drag, drop and reorder blocks  to build your agenda. When you make changes or update your agenda, your session  timing   adjusts automatically , saving you time on manual adjustments.

Collaborating with stakeholders or clients? Share your agenda with a single click and collaborate in real-time. No more sending documents back and forth over email.

Explore  how you and your team might use SessionLab  to design more effective sessions or  watch this five minute video  to see the planner in action!

strategic management and leadership assignments

Now over to you…

I hope you have found some useful tips for leadership development workshops above. Now we’d love to hear from you!

What are your favorite leadership workshop ideas and training exercises for leadership development? Did you incorporate any of them into your facilitation practice?

Have you tried any of the activities above? Let us know about your experiences in the comments.


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Thank you for sharing such great activity ideas. It is greatly appreciated and a perfect example of how the internet can and does serve the greater good!

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Thank you, Jeanne! Great to see that you have found some useful ideas here!

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Thank you this is very helpful in building new activities and revitalising teaching.

You’re welcome, Christine! Great to see that you’ve found the post helpful!

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Thank you for the magnanimity of sharing these activities. We will choose and run and I am sure they will be very effective.

You are welcome, Roofi – enjoy using these activities at your sessions!

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Thank you for sharing such great activity ideas. I will use in my leadership training programme

You are welcome man, happy to see that you’ve found some useful inspiration in this post!

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Awesome resources for leadership coaching. Thank you so much! Cheers Marion (From Australia)

You’re welcome, Marion! I’m happy to hear you’ve found interesting the techniques above :-)

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Thank you so much . I am really having a hard time thinking about what activities to include for my leadership training talk . This is of great help .

That’s nice to hear – I hope your training talk with go great! :-)

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These exercises sound great. Does anyone have any feedback as to how these exercises have worked with their teams? Thanks!

Thank you for the question, Jennifer. We’ve used some of these activities at our own team meetings at SessionLab, and I’ve used other ones earlier on at different training workshops. Which one would you be interested to hear more about?

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Thank you for these activities, I have used some of them already in my classes when teaching about leadership and leadership styles. Köszönöm!

That’s great to hear, you’re welcome, Réka! If you have any suggestion on how to tweak or run better these activities, we’d love to hear your thoughts :-)

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Thank you for these activities. I was struggling to find activities to work on with groups as small as 1-5, but this should work well.

You’re welcome, Albert – Indeed, most of these activities do work well in small groups as well. Wishing best with your next sessions!

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wow! this great! very helpful for trainers like me…. thanks you for sharing …

You’re welcome, I’m happy you’ve found these activities useful!

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Hi I am trying to find an online simulation for a course I am designing for a college in Ontario, Canada. I am hoping to find something like your Leadership Envelope but in a virtual format or game. The ’rounds’ aspect is particularly interesting as I would like the students to work with one team over 14 weeks and then submit assigned work based on their experiences related to the course concepts.

Please let me know if you provide something like this or can help in any way.

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Hey Rick! Thanks for your comment :)

Leadership Envelope is a great method! Sadly, there’s nothing quite like it in our remote-friendly section of the library currently, though there are a heap of virtual team building activities that could be adapted to go for multiple rounds.

We did have some thoughts on how you might perform the Leadership Envelope in a remote format, which I hope will help!

– Use breakout groups in Zoom for each group. – Have each team pass their virtual “envelope” with responses to the facilitator, either over Slack, PM or email – The facilitator then “passes” the leadership principle to the next team, though keeps the responses back – Play continues, with the facilitator collecting the responses under each leadership principle for later distribution – we’d recommend setting these up in an online whiteboard such as Mural or a Google Doc so teams can review them during the evaluation round – In the evaluation round, share the online whiteboard/Google Doc with the teams – they can then score them in the shared online space and present back to the group from there :) – For the final round, everyone returns to a single Zoom session, each team reclaims their cards (or the facilitator can distribute them back) and then you can debrief :)

Hope that helps, Rick! Using a shared online space such as Mural is also a great shout for an ongoing course, as you can collect and display artifacts generated by the teams throughout :)

Let us know how you get on!

' src=

Thank you for having the time and effort on sharing this amazing blog with us! I’ll probably read more of your articles.

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