The MBET Experience

The University of Waterloo – Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Program

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Leadership Development Days

July 19th, 2007 · No Comments

One of the courses in the MBET curriculum is BET 611 – Applied Leadership Development. During the summer term, Thursday’s have been reserved for 611 days. We’ve had a number of great speakers and great sessions. Over the next few days, I’ll try to post a few of the highlights.

Last week, we had two three hour sessions: the first on Corporate Governance, and the second on Business Ethics.

Corporate Governance

The Corporate Governance session talked a lot about the role of boards in organizations. The key point I took away from this session was that the job of the board member is to supplement and enhance management thinking. The board should add knowledge and experience to help guide managers.

We were also presented with a decision making framework for the board to use when making decisions:

  1. Is this issue a board priority?
  2. What is the objective? What are we trying to accomplish?
  3. What are the facts? Do we have the information we need?
  4. What are the decision options?
  5. What are the criteria?
  6. What is the decision-making process? Consensus? Majority vote? Another methodology?

Another key point here: when going through these decisions, make sure you stay focus on the goal – don’t get sidetracked with the details of “how” to do something, before you know that it will achieve the objective.

Business Ethics

The session on Business Ethics contained a fascinating overview of six theories of morality, from Aristotle and the ancient Greeks through to Feminism and Cadbury in modern times. While each of these “theories” proposed that it provided the true definition or morality, we combined them all to give us six questions to ask to help guide our actions when in a moral dilemma:

  1. Teleology: What would a virtuous do? What would a moral expert do?
  2. Deontology: Are there any important duties / obligations I have to follow?
  3. Consequentialism: What are the results of my action going to be? Will my choice produce the greatest net pleasure amongst the options I have?
  4. Rights-based: Am I going to violate anyone’s rights?
  5. Feminist: What would a good mother do?
  6. Cadbury: Will my choice survive the glare of publicity? If everyone knows, can I live with that?

By going through these questions, you usually come to some sort of consensus as to the right action! I found this session quite interesting, to hear of the various view of morality and ethics. As well, this list of questions gives us a practical way to help determine “the right thing to do.”

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