Senior Executive

Daniel Klein
Lecturer in Management

Sarah Soule
The Morgridge Professor of Organizational Behavior

Enacting a Growth Mindset

Psychologists have long distinguished two fundamentally different mindsets that profoundly influence our behavior: our relationship with success and failure; and our capacity for happiness. A “growth mindset” sees failure as the root of growth and an opportunity to stretch existing abilities by affording the chance to learn and improve. A “fixed mindset” assumes that intelligence and creativity are innate abilities and failure should be avoided at all costs. Research shows that people with growth mindsets achieve more success and are generally happier people. In this session, we will learn about the fascinating research on growth mindsets. We will also experiment with ways to build a growth mindset through simple and fun exercises designed to help train us to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, learn from our failures, and find inspiration in the success of others.


Building Psychologically Safe Teams

A critical dimension of leadership today is the competency to foster psychological safety in the workplace. This session will discuss psychological safety and why it is linked to team performance. We will also determine why psychological safety is crucial in building inclusive work cultures in which people feel like they belong and can contribute their best selves. Finally, we will work together to generate concrete behaviors we can embrace to create psychologically safe teams and organizations.

Adina Sterling
Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior

Equity By Design: How To Build Diverse and Inclusive Organizations

Employees desire to work for companies that have fair and equitable employment practices. But many diversity initiatives can prompt the opposite—a sense of unfairness and a “zero-sum” mentality whereby employees feel as if they are either winners or losers. This means at best, leaders have little to show for their diversity and inclusion efforts, and at worst their organizations are left more fractured than when they began such efforts. We’ll consider how to consistently infuse core equity-based principles into systems related to people, processes, and culture. Using various real-world examples, we will think about how leaders can effectively “go to the mat” via merit, accountability, and transparency to make equity a bedrock of strategic execution.

Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao
The Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources

Leading When You Don’t Know—The New Psychological Contract

In an era of uncertainty, leaders are often in the position of leading in uncharted waters. A challenge, therefore, is to become resilient and adaptable when leading in the unknown. In these two modules, we will think of the pandemic as a shot to the world of work and get participants to explore what the implications are for the relationships between the boss and the subordinate. We will discuss how the former psychological contract between the boss and subordinate is likely to be replaced by a new, more progressive psychological contract. We will review research on the topic and provide an actionable framework for participants to think about when forming their psychological contracts—be it with superiors or subordinates.

Brian Lowery
The Walter Kenneth Kilpatrick Professor of Organizational Behavior

The GSB Leadership Model and Leadership in Context Parts I & II

Successful leadership in today’s fast-changing and challenging work environment requires leaders who are intentional about developing their key competencies. Today’s most successful leaders must not only be exceptional, they must also clearly articulate their values and build successful support systems. These learning modules will cover the competencies and values that comprise the renowned Stanford GSB Model of Principled and Purposeful Leadership.

Naomi Bagdonas
Lecturer in Management

A New Type of Leader – Anchored on Purpose, Fueled by Humor

YOU, oh fearless leader, are very important. You will make critical and far-reaching economic, political, and social decisions in your quest beyond to change lives, change organizations, and change the world. That’s serious stuff. So why humor? The late journalist Eric Sevareid said, “Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor.” Our goal is to pin you down and not let you leave this session without a healthy dose of humanity, humility, and intellectual perspective that only humor can bring. Drawing upon the behavioral science of humor and laughter, this portion is about the power (and importance) of humor to help leaders be more authentic and influential, cultivate more meaningful and productive relationships, produce more innovative ideas, and build more nimble and resilient teams and organizations. We will explore the science of humor, play with techniques from comedians for (re)discovering humor in your stories and life, and share cases from leaders who are harnessing humor to be more effective. By the end of this segment, you will gain tools for harnessing humor safely and effectively in business, as well as for cultivating a culture of levity in your teams and organizations. Welcome to your (re)introduction to humor.

George Foster
The Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Management

A Stanford GSB Professional Profile: Rick Welts—leader, advocate, inspiration 

Rick Welts has been one of the most successful and lauded business executives in professional sports. He made remarkable contributions to the NBA league office and was president of three NBA teams that won seven championships during his tenure. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, a rare distinction for a business-side executive who was not an owner or commissioner. In 2011, he became the first openly gay high-level sports executive in U.S. male professional team sports. He subsequently became an advocate for, and inspiration to, gay youth. This case describes Welts’s career, from his days as a ball boy for the Seattle Supersonics, through college, and the NBA. It includes transcripts of interviews with individuals who shed light on Welts’s career, leadership style, and impact.


A Stanford GSB Case Study: Revisiting Zola in 2022

Shan-Lyn Ma co-founded Zola in 2013. The company grew quickly in the wedding registry space. As the company achieved significant traction and looked to scale, CEO Ma and her team had to choose a strategic growth path to pursue, as well as decide whether and how to raise capital in the context of this strategic decision. Fast forward to 2022, as Ma continued to navigate the impact of the pandemic, pivoting lines of business to drive revenue lost when the wedding industry came to a sudden halt. She also worked to broaden her management team, assessing the roles and responsibilities that she as CEO, and other leaders, should have as they looked to continue their growth plans for the company.