The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2014 participants recently learned factors critical to sound business decision making. The “Business Decision Making” seminar, sponsored by John Deere and held at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, included presentations by five of the University’s world-renown faculty covering five business topics. The IALP is sponsored by the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation (IALF).
Over a two-year period the class is attending 14 seminars covering current social, political, business and economic issues in the agriculture industry. The “Business Decision Making” seminar began with Stephen Burnett, Ph.D. and Professor of Management and Strategy, leading the class in a discussion of Strategic Thinking as a business practice. He used case studies from major corporations to demonstrate ways to create customer value through situation analysis and development of differentiating factors in the marketplace.
On the second day, the class explored leadership development in a seminar presented by Michelle L. Buck, Ph.D., Clinical Professor of Management and Organizations. She worked with the class members on developing their leadership stories that demonstrate their vision and values. Mitchell A. Petersen, Ph.D., Director of the Heizer Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital at Northwestern University, discussed aspects of risk management in business strategy. He outlined objectives of risk management programs, risk exposure and evaluating success.
Two John Deere executives joined the class for an evening dinner and discussion. Cory Reed, Sr. Vice President, Intelligent Solutions Group, and Nick Block, Director, Marketing-Global Crop Care Platform, spoke about the business decision process in the global market.
On the final day, the class learned how to interpret financial statements in a session taught by Marian Powers, Ph. D., Adjunct Professor of Executive Education. She has co-authored several college accounting textbooks and featured case studies from the world’s leading companies to help develop skills in asking questions about key numbers and indicators on financial statements.
The final speaker of the seminar was Mohanbir Sawhney, Ph.D., the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation Clinical Professor of Technology and Director of the Center for Research in Technology & Innovation. He gave perspectives on business innovation by looking at patterns of innovation across industries. He focused on creating a corporate environment for innovation and developing resources and human capital to create “bandwidth” for innovation.
“The Business Decision Making seminar is an important part of our leadership training program,” said IALF President and CEO Don Norton. “Through the world-class resources of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, our class is exposed to a new breadth and depth of research in business practices. We appreciate John Deere as a sponsor and a participant in this seminar.”
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation provides a two-year seminar series that develops knowledgeable and effective leaders to become policy and decision makers for the agricultural industry. It is a non-profit educational corporation under Illinois law. A board of directors, comprised of recognized leaders in agriculture and business, oversees the program. Candidates for the leadership program are selected during a competitive application process which is currently underway for the next class. Men and women 25 to 49 years of age working full-time in production agriculture or agri-related occupations are encouraged to apply. More information is available at www.agleadership.org.