By taking academic principles and putting them in real-world scenarios, the Ken Blanchard College of Business at Grand Canyon University (GCU) is helping companies enhance the level at which they are operating. It does this through leadership programs that help busy executives work more collaboratively and with a constant eye on the big picture.
“Companies are looking for ways to enhance their competitive position, identify new opportunities and foster the development of their people,” says Ken Blanchard College of Business Dean Kim Donaldson. “We’ve developed programs that can help enterprises accomplish great things.”
The Corporate MBA Program offers companies an opportunity to identify and train a select group of promising future leaders with content similar to that found in the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA program.
“This program is in direct response to what is happening in the economy,” says Don Fraser, senior manager of the Ken Blanchard EMBA. “Though they might have cut expenses, such as tuition reimbursement, companies still face important issues such as succession planning. We can help companies grow their internal teams.”
The Corporate MBA program includes a four-hour, in-person kick-off presentation by Ken Blanchard.
“Ken Blanchard is such a motivator, and the opportunity for companies to have him come on-site and share his philosophies with their executives is priceless,” Fraser says.
GCU has staffed the program with top-notch faculty who will come to a place of business for two in-person sessions, while monitoring students throughout an eight-week course. There are a total of 10 modules over a 20-month period.
Since the cost can be spread over two years, it can be conducted completely tax-free for employers.
“We have priced this so that with more students enrolled, the tax benefit for businesses just gets better, and if 14 students are enrolled it can be a complete write-off,” Fraser says.
For executives who desire a more intensive experience, the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA Program offers students a 12-month program covered both in-person and online, in a class that includes students from a variety of industries and disciplines.
Known for the best-selling “One Minute Manager” and as an entrepreneur heading the San Diego-based Ken Blanchard Companies, Blanchard partnered with GCU to offer the one-of-a-kind, “leadership-first” program for executives. The residency curriculum, taught face-to-face by Blanchard and some of the nation’s top business leaders, is based largely on his writings, “Leading at a Higher Level” and “One Minute Entrepreneur.”
The 12-month program of study consists of three intensive four-day sessions facilitated by Blanchard, both in Phoenix and in San Diego, while students take the remaining coursework online. It is based on principles Blanchard has honed with Fortune 500 companies over the last 40 years. Underpinning it all, the Ken Blanchard Executive MBA places a strong emphasis on character, ethics, values and identifying a higher purpose and vision for a company.
“We constantly hear from students that they learn something one day and use it the next day, often with measurable results,” says Taylor Carr, director of the Ken Blanchard EMBA. “The impact can be immediate and profound, especially since our participants are in leadership roles and already have a mindset for leading positive change.”
One of the program’s recent graduates experienced this first-hand. As the person responsible for the training, policy and procedures for the 8,000 flight attendants with US Airways when Flight 1549 went into the Hudson River, Scottsdale resident Sherri Shamblin was able to immediately incorporate lessons learned from her executive MBA classes into the crisis situation.
“I had to lead by serving them, and surprisingly enough, that’s what many executives tend to forget. Rather than being a self-serving leader, you need to be a serving leader,” Shamblin says.
The Ken Blanchard EMBA program is highly rated for its participation by respected business leaders. Its advisory board members include former Southwest Airlines President Colleen Barrett, author of “Nuts! and Guts” Kevin Freiberg, nationally syndicated columnist Harvey Mackay and former Senior Vice President of Corporate Governance for Tyco International Eric Pillmore.
As Ken Blanchard EMBA graduate and Avnet executive Fred Cuen experienced, the program’s curriculum can be customized for internal teams to help businesses work smarter. Cuen brought one of his favorite marketing exercises, led by Grand Canyon Professor Kevin McClean, to his colleagues at Avnet Technology Solutions to help them understand the interrelationship of the marketing mix.
“The exercise is designed to emphasize important concepts such as the value of consumer research, innovation, financial performance, market performance and, most importantly, customer satisfaction,” McClean said.
Cuen, who is a senior vice president and general manager at Avnet TS in the Americas, adds: “With a large company like ours, it is critical for our leadership team to gain real-life experience through education. In this case, we took a group of managers through a computer-simulation program that focused on running a business. Giving them hands-on experience in running a business prepared them for their future leadership positions. This exercise went a long way in helping our executives keep that big-picture perspective.”
Arizona Business Magazine