I always come back from the New Year festivities, having had ample time to reflect on the year gone by, feeling re-energized and ready for a fresh start. I’m anticipating the trip back to Ithaca today in the same way; time to start fresh with a new semester, new teams, and new classes, now a little wiser perhaps (I hope!) to the CEMBA life.
I made some EMBA New Year’s Resolutions: (1) to take even more advantage of all the opportunities to get to know my awe-inspiring classmates, professors and program staff; (2) to start finding more ways to put the lessons in the classroom into practice at work; and (3) to spend more time “enjoying the ride.”
Taking action towards my first goal, I recently set out to get more acquainted with Professor Elizabeth (Beta) Mannix, the new Johnson Associate Dean for Executive Education. We first met Beta during our first trip to Ithaca; she welcomed us to the program through her courses High Performance Teams and Managing and Leading in Organizations (MLO). Commemorating that first trip and the successful completion of our first semester, it feels appropriate to share some comments from her today. Enjoy!
Laura: We learned in your MLO class about the importance of those first several weeks and months for establishing yourself in a new role. What did you plan to accomplish in your first weeks on the job as the new Johnson School Associate Dean for Executive Education?
Beta: First, I focused on pressing and immediate issues (such the CEMBA and CQEMBA residence week, and some of our non-degree Executive Education programs that needed attention) and made sure that anything that needed my attention was getting it. Then I let all Directors and staff know that after the Winter Break I wanted to meet with everyone one-on-one to discuss longer term objectives and issues. I have a personal set of objectives, but I am open right now to modifying that based on what I hear in the next few weeks. My goal is to have a set of objectives clarified by the end of January, and then have a Team meeting to discuss them and get moving forward!
Laura: We can all read your resume...what's one accomplishment we won't find on there?
Beta: Well, I have probably seen every noir film ever made, and love seeing and talking about old B&W films of any genre, including the silent, films with anyone.
Laura: What is one of your more recent academic projects, and what makes it interesting given today's business environment?
Beta: I just wrote a paper with some colleagues called “Managing Uncertainty in Multi-party Negotiation.” In this paper we address multiple types of uncertainty and how they affect 3 types of multi-party negotiations (intra-team, multilateral and marketplace negotiations). The point is that negotiators always need to recognize and manage many types of uncertainty – for example, uncertainty about who they will negotiate with (for example – who is actually on the team, or in the market), their true underlying interests (which may be masked in large, multilateral negotiations), and who will actually be included in the final deal (in the case of coalition formation, for example). So many negotiations that take place in organizations, communities, and nations involve multiple parties, and uncertainty creates threats as well as opportunities – if effectively managed. We suggest several ways for doing so in the paper.
Laura: We recently had a Ladies Lunch at Palisades, where I know all the CEMBA women certainly had a lot of valuable takeaways. What was a personal takeaway for you?
Beta: I was so impressed the level of accomplishment, and the tremendous generosity of the women to share their experiences with each other. Everyone was respectful – I really appreciated that. My take-away, personally, was that being your authentic self is tremendously important, yet can be terribly difficult. It is something to strive for every day.
Laura: What most motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
Beta: Well, as most people know – I get up pretty early! I love getting up. Those first few hours of the day are fantastic, when most people aren’t up – my favorite time of day. I know, it’s not really an answer to your question, but I just like seeing what the day will bring and being part of it.
Laura: What keeps you up at night?
Beta: Like most people, unfinished business, or the knowledge that I just didn’t do something as well as I should have – that I didn’t give it my all. That feeling will nag at me.
Laura: Who inspires you, and why? Beta:
I get inspired by people who are passionate and excited enough to make something interesting happen. It is the people who stop accepting the status quo, have an idea and vision for change (like we discussed in class) and then work hard to make the follow through happen. It means mustering a lot of resources, gathering political capital and coalition building, spending time motivating and communicating, and often failing (more than once!) on the way to success.