Leading Strategically

Over the past several years of working for the Baltimore-based consulting company, Maryland Creative Solutions, LLC, you have seen quite a bit of growth in the agency. The organization’s recent expansion, led by CEO Jillian Best, to incorporate clientele in need of digital strategy consultation has led to another boost in company revenues as well as a promotion for you. As a part of your new leadership role, you have been asked to attend the Future Directions Conference in Chicago, Illinois, to further your knowledge of best practices in business leadership, trends in the field, and project management.

Additionally, Jillian has already emailed all MCS conference attendees requesting follow-up activities upon your return: (1) a discussion with other MCS attendees about strategic leadership, and (2) a report on current strategic management and leadership theory and practice.

As you prepare for your trip to the conference, you receive an email from MCS Human Resources requesting that you submit a new skills gap analysis, which will serve as a reminder of your current leadership skills and experiences and direct your focus for the conference.

This project invites you to expand your knowledge of the principles behind strategic leadership to cope with the emerging challenges and steer the organization to greater heights and to consider those principles in a discussion with your classmates and in a final report.

Click Step 1: Complete Your Skills Gap Analysis to get started. In Step 1 you will submit the analysis.

Competencies

Your work will be evaluated using the competencies listed below.

· 1.2: Develop coherent paragraphs or points so that each is internally unified and so that each functions as part of the whole document or presentation.

· 1.3: Provide sufficient, correctly cited support that substantiates the writer’s ideas.

· 1.4: Tailor communications to the audience.

· 1.5: Use sentence structure appropriate to the task, message and audience.

· 1.6: Follow conventions of Standard Written English.

· 2.1: Identify and clearly explain the issue, question, or problem under critical consideration.

· 5.1: Develop constructive resolutions for ethical dilemmas based on application of ethical theories, principles and models.

· 5.3: Create, implement, and evaluate a personal leadership development plan.

· 6.3: Analyze an organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses for strategic value.

· 6.4: Develop and recommend strategies for an organization’s sustainable competitive advantage.

· 9.2: Evaluate how human capital serves as a source of competitive advantage.

Step 1: Complete Your Skills Gap Analysis

Select the Project 1 worksheet in the bottom left of the file to complete this request. When you have completed your self-evaluation, use the text box at the bottom of the worksheet to write a reflection of 400–500 words describing two to three gaps you will work to reduce, why you selected them, and the activities you will pursue to develop your selected competencies. Please note, you will need to return to this file later to complete a final gap analysis.

See Attachments: Skills gap analysis instrument

Proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Expand Your Knowledge of Strategic Leadership

The focus of the Future Directions Conference is strategic leadership, and you capture some notes from each presenter as you attend various sessions throughout the weekend.

Notes from Future Directions Conference—Chicago, IL

Sarah Emerson, COO of Digital Blitz

· Keynote: Why Leading is Strategy

· Notes on strategic leadership

Jeffree Daily, Digital Strategist for Pyle Force

· Session 1: Deep Roots: Theories and Research Still Apply

· Notes on perspectives in leadership theory and research

Carson Sizemore, VP of Human Resources for Enterprise Today

· Session 2: Spare Change

· Notes on management of change and trust

· Note on Resilience

· Note on Circular Economy

Johanna Gillmont, President of Continental Shift

· Session 3: Quite the Contrary

· Notes on managing ambivalence

Jarrell Faust, Entrepreneur and Founder of SOURCE3

· Session 4: Pulling in the Pieces

· Notes on shared and distributed leadership

Catherine Condorro, Director of Leadership at Parsons Institute for Finance 

· Session 5: Connecting on Another Level

·  Notes on relational leadership 

Nina Orenstein, Experience Engineer at Hefler-Miller Systems

· Closing Keynote: Complicated Yet Sophisticated

· Notes on complexity theory of leadership

The conference concludes and you are exhausted—there was a lot of information to digest. After the conference reception, you grab a bite to eat while reviewing your notes in depth. You know that the CEO, Jillian Best, expects you to not only report out on these materials, but also to discuss many of the highlights with your peers and other attendees from Maryland Creative Solutions, LLC.

Please review all materials in the links above and then proceed to the next step.

Step 3: Discuss Conference Materials

Your first day back in the office, Jillian Best has requested that you participate in an open discussion with your peers about some of the takeaways from the recent Future Directions Conference you attended in Chicago as well as your professional leadership experiences outside of the company. Now that you have returned to the office, it’s time to get the discussion underway.

Based on your reading, research, and analysis, respond to the two discussion questions below and adhere to Jillian’s discussion requirements:

· Your two main postings, one each for topic 1 and topic 2, should be completed by the end of Week 1.

· The titles of your two main postings should indicate the discussion topic number (e.g., #1, #2).

· For the choice of your organization, you can choose your current employer, past employer, a supplier or customer that you are very familiar with, or an organization where you volunteer.

Discussion

Discuss the two topics listed below:

· Discussion Topic 1: Drivers of Change

What are the major external and internal drivers of change in your organization?

· Discussion Topic 2: Strategic Leadership

What is, or should be, the role of the strategic leadership in your organization to meet its performance objectives, develop a resilient organization and respond to the challenges of environment and sustainability?

After the discussion, proceed to the next step, where you will write a report on strategic management and leadership.

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