Short Term Practicum: Leadership Development

Lead Instructor: Alexander Martin ’08

This practicum places students directly in the work of leading self, team, and organization, and equips them with the toolkit needed to lead in life and in the business, government, and non-profit worlds. A foundation of leadership research and organizational behavior theory is presented alongside deeply experiential learning methods that include MBA-style case method, simulations, games, peer coaching, and a 7-day NOLS field expedition in the Adirondacks. Deep personal reflection is a key part of the curriculum. Guest speakers, workshops, and organization site visits provide additional opportunities to learn and practice leadership skills. Zero prior leadership, business, psychology, or outdoor experience is required.

Class Times on Campus: M, T, W 10-12 & 1-4 NOLS expedition dates: May 4-11, 2018

Learning Objectives: 

Having completed this course, students will be able to transfer their learning from both in and out of the course to their current and future leadership challenges:

Lead Themselves

  • Articulate basic principles of effective 21st-century business, governmental, and nonprofit leadership, and the underlying theory and research
  • Work intentionally and continuously to build competence in this skill set (communication, decision-making, feedback, conflict resolution, peer leadership, self-awareness, goal-setting, etc.)
  • Articulate clear superordinate and subordinate goals, and motivate self to achieve them.
  • Identify and deploy situationally appropriate leadership and decision-making styles.
  • Identify their own bias and assumptions, and hone self-awareness

Lead Teams

  • Articulate basic principles of the effective leadership of small teams, and teams of teams; including team design, building, dynamics, and dysfunction diagnosis, transformation, and change, and the underlying theory and research
  • Effectively influence a team through a variety of means, and from a variety of positions
  • Effectively lead teams through change, challenge, and uncertainty. Deploy situational appropriate actions to help a team achieve its goals.
  • Demonstrate excellent team citizenship and followership behaviors.
  • Facilitate group decision-making and strategy sessions

Lead Organizations

  • Articulate basic principles of organizational behavior / industrial psychology, and the management, design, development, and transformation of complex systems.
  • Build a toolkit to analyze organizational needs / challenges, and design solutions.

Lead in the World

  • Discover and iterate on their guiding purpose, and match that with the leadership that the world needs today and in the future.
  • Articulate principles of ethical and inclusive leadership, and explore current global challenges and pervasive organizational needs.

Instructor Bio:

Alexander Martin ’08 has dedicated his life to provoking people to lead themselves, their teams, and their organizations. He designs experiences, teams, and organizations that sustain and accelerate this call to leadership.

For the last ten years, he has served as a Senior Faculty Member with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). NOLS educates 26,000 students a year across 13 global campuses; clients include top 10 business schools, the U.S. Navy, Google, NASA, and other industry-leaders.

Outside of his main work, he is a professional explorer, sponsored mountain athlete, speaker, consultant, and writer. Between 2009 – 2014, he circumnavigated the planet, a 545-day, 30,000 kilometer journey by ski, foot, canoe, and bicycle through 24 countries.

He is a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club, and was the 2011 Outside Magazine Adventurer of the Year, 2013 Polartec Challenge Grantee, and a 2016 TEDx Speaker. He holds a M.ED from Harvard University, with a focus on Leadership Development & Organizational Behavior, and B.A. in History from Bates College. He lives in Cambridge, MA.