In today’s times, if you aren’t willing to change, you will be left behind. One thing we all know for sure is that Life. Will. Change. And you must be able to change with it. It can be hard, but people need to be willing to reinvent themselves and their organizations, building the resilience it takes to do it. Dreams, plans, businesses, and more can survive, thrive and come alive again if you learn how to pivot. Many times, and certainly recently--challenges and uncertainty require making changes quickly and strategically--which is what pivots can accelerate. Leaders who can pivot successfully are change agents. The mindset and skills of a change agent can be invaluable personally and professionally in organizations large and small, and these disciplines will be reinforced in this course.
Students come to business school to make important life and career transitions, and the decisions ahead may seem overwhelming. To be a successful change agent personally and professionally requires an awareness of mindsets that can pivot your moves in the right direction. In order to meet the needs of a rapidly changing global marketplace, entrepreneurs, senior managers and organizations of any size can benefit from knowing when to turn. Pivot mindsets and skills can inspire creativity, gain critical alignment and maintain momentum when competition is tough, timing is tight, or a crisis is looming.
According to Forbes, July 2020, “A pivot means fundamentally changing the direction of a business when you realize the current products or services aren't meeting the needs of the market. The main goal of a pivot is to help a company improve revenue or survive in the market, but the way you pivot your business can make all the difference.” Some pivots have been made for short term survival, other pivots have become permanent, and not all pivots have been successful. This course will address how pivoting can generate strategic, cross-functional and long-term business value, revenue, profits and market share.
The ability to pivot is a critical step in the innovation process that can be disruptive and industry changing. You cannot be a successful innovator without having significant pivoting skills. According to the 2021 Deloitte Innovation Study,"learning precedes earning." And, "those learnings made manifest in persistent pivots is the recipe for (eventual) superior profits." Consider this statistic from a 2022 McKinsey Innovation report: Over 80 percent of executives surveyed say that innovation is among their top three priorities, yet less than 10 percent report being satisfied with their organizations’ innovation performance. So, whether you desire to be an entrepreneur or work in management to drive innovation, studying the strategic art of the pivot can be a game changer. The goal for this course is to teach a universal system and a strategic process for pivoting that can be applied to any person and across any type of organization for success.
- Transform your thinking to the next level about how to pivot
- Leave with a strategic process for pivoting
- Have 10 Pivot Points you can use every day personally and professionally
The emphasis in this course is placed on identifying, analyzing, and solving pivoting issues and opportunities across a variety of business sectors. The course will provide frameworks to apply when opportunity is not present, uncertainty is prevalent or a crisis occurs. This will be an intensive and highly interactive course. Students will learn the best practices for pivoting, and in assuming the roles of upper management, they are expected to question, challenge, and discuss everything that is presented. You will assess historic and current business pivots and recommend pivots for companies from readings and case studies based on key learnings. Guest speakers from industry will share real life experiences about pivots for in-depth dialog. Requirements for this class are enthusiasm, engagement, work effort and creativity!
Course Learning Objectives
- Review and strengthen your personal/professional abilities and attitudes regarding change, reinvention and resilience
- Realize the importance of pivoting as a key organizational and life function
- Become proficient about strategic pivoting concepts, tools, obstacles, applications, and processes
- Understand how to communicate, sell and deploy pivoting strategies in team, cross-functional and stakeholder environments
- Enhance creative thinking by combining strategy and data with intuitive skills and observations for making pivoting decisions
- Address the implications of successful and unsuccessful pivoting activities -- financial, social and personal
The Pivot for Success course will provide the opportunity to study, discuss and learn from a number of unique avenues with readings, cases, multimedia content, guest speakers, role play and the professor's own deep experiences of pivoting corporately, as an entrepreneur and advising Fortune 500 clients to successfully do so. This course may not be for everyone--I expect students to bring their full selves to the course. Understanding your own personal and professional pivots and being willing to to share your learnings with the class to help others as future leaders is key.
Our speakers this quarter will be Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Meta/Facebook and Steven Rogers, businessman, entrepreneur, board director and award-winning former senior lecturer of finance at Harvard Business School and the Kellogg School of Northwestern University.
Previous Guest Speakers have included:
- Indra Nooyi, former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo
- Jerri DeVard, former CMO of Office Depot, Nokia, and Board Director of Under Armour, Dow, and cars.com
- Kevin Newell, former Corporate EVP/Global Chief Brand Officer for McDonald's
- Bozoma Saint John, former CMO of Netflix
- Hugh Johnston, former CFO of PepsiCo
- Lotika Pai, CFO of the Women's Business Development Center, a nationally recognized leader in the field of women's economic development
- Michael Hall, former EVP/Head of Strategic Planning for the Leo Burnett advertising agency and the former CEO of CMSG, the global sports management firm
- Marc Schulman, CEO of Eli's Cheesecake Company, a dessert company that distributes nationwide and internationally via foodservice
- Emilia DiMenco, CEO of the non-profit Women's Business Development Center, a nationally recognized leader in the field of women's economic development
- Case Studies