I recently had the opportunity to spend a week at Harvard in the High Potential Leaders Program – a week long Executive Education program. I have always had high expectations of Harvard but I really had no idea. I was blown away by the level of teaching, the facilities and the logistics of the entire program. The class was made up of 99 executives from around the world (65% non-US). We had about 10 cases to read prior to the program and no idea what to really expect beyond that. The program started on Sunday night and we went through a small case. That evening we meet with our group for the week. We lived in the executive housing with our group. We stayed on the same floor and each group shared a common area that was as good as any conference room we had at work in addition to a kitchen and TV area. You can see my pictures from the trip here.
The next day we went through some more cases and I remember thinking – this lady sure knows a ton about this case. I soon realized that Linda Hill (one of our instructors) wrote the case. While the rest of the country’s MBA programs are teaching the Harvard case study method using Harvard cases, there is no substitute for learning from the best minds in business academics who also wrote the case.
The next day we spent with an acting group. Our living groups worked with one actor all day. It was an amazing experience that was a big hit with everyone. The intent was to make us better presenters and give us some skills that we may not have had. An amazing day.
The next day was spent with John Kotter. He is basically the godfather of leadership. I was not sure what to expect. I thought he might be a little full of himself and stuffy but boy was I wrong. If Linda was a 9-10 as a professor – Kotter was a 12. He was really amazing. His ability to teach through storytelling was something else. He was the most engaging and friendly teacher I have ever been around. After that day everyone walked around by themselves trying to absorb what just happened. It was a very powerful day.
Thursday we went through some more cases and one on Friday morning. It was such an intense week that I did not have time to reflect on it until the 6 hour plane ride home. When I did I had one of those ah-ha moments that happen very few times. I have long struggled with balancing all the priorities of my life and the way I actually live my life. I have a very strong ambition that drives me to work hard and neglect other areas. I came up with this concept that I call Complete Fulfillment. I have decided to use this blog to write about my thoughts on this subject and as a way to detail my journy in balancing my life and honing this principle. More to come on exactly what that means. I am also experimenting on using Posterous - my stream is at matthixson.posterous.com