Mini-MBA: Sustainability-Aligned Leadership and Strategy Curriculum

Day One

Module 1: What is Sustainability, CSR, and current global context?

This module sets the tone for the five-day program by engaging participants in a conversation to frame the intertwining of sustainability and CSR in the context of global operating conditions. Reinforcing the critical need for an integrated and holistic approach, it will inspire and motivate participants from every function to see how they can make a contribution to the triple-bottom- line (People – Planet – Profit) that is so essential to creating long-term value and prosperity. Foundational topics help participants understand resource constraints, along with economic, ecological, social, and technological impacts from a business perspective, to reduce risks and open new avenues for generating revenue and profitability.

Module 2: Purposeful Leadership

Leaders who embody emotional intelligence and social consciousness find greater job satisfaction and develop more effective working relationships. Leadership founded on a sustainability-aligned purpose, and ethical principles that reflect triple-bottom-line realities, engage and inspire people around them to contribute their best efforts. In this session leaders will gain insights through self and team assessments to better coordinate their personal and corporate purposes, as well as fine tune their own people management skills and emotional intelligence for enhancing employee engagement and commitment.

Introduce GlobStrat and Practice Round

GlobStrat, a triple-bottom-line strategic business simulation is introduced here and cross- functional teams of participants are formed. Teams participate in a guided practice round. The purpose is to develop participants’ ability to run a sustainable company for the short-, medium-, and long-term. GlobStrat takes a 3-dimensional perspective on business that integrates Profit with Planet and People into successful strategies and operations.

Day Two

Module 3: Taking a Systems Approach to Strategy

This module opens participants’ mindsets to include new mental models and ways of thinking about the business of sustainability based on cutting-edge research and practice. Participants learn about new business models such as: how the circular economy converts waste to wealth; exciting cases from the sharing economy; and successful examples of doing business for good in the purpose economy. Participants discover attitudes, practices, and technologies that significantly advance sustainability goals, such as Big Data and Internet of Things, and learn about science-based strategies to drive “strong” sustainability goals and outcomes.

Module 4: Effective Teamwork, Collaboration, and Transformational Change

New business models are transforming the way work gets done. Seeing the larger, complex system we are operating in will lead to smarter actions, such as managing paradoxes versus attempting to solve problems that are seemingly impossible to solve. The module explores enterprises as complex systems operating in dynamic and increasingly unpredictable environments that include ecological disruption and social change. While increased collaboration enables business leaders and managers to address complex issues more effectively, business success demands that leaders find a dynamic balance where cooperation and competition each have a place. Focused sustainability and CSR initiatives can be incubators for these new kinds of transformative teamwork.

GlobStrat Round 1

Participants put business experiences and new learning into practice using a realistic, global business simulation where teamwork counts. Round 1 represents the first of three years running a company from the triple bottom line. A debrief with learnings is completed immediately after the first round.  

Day Three

Module 5: Financial Literacy/Green Accounting

This session reviews traditional financial practices and introduces tools, exercises, and case studies that can better support prosperity and thriving within Earth’s planetary boundaries. Topics include: Financial and Multicapital Accounting and Reports, Cost Accounting and ROI. Participants are introduced to Profitability Modeling, which will be adapted and customized for each participant’s company throughout the course. It will provide valid benchmark data based on companies that have already successfully implemented sustainability initiatives and reaped the financial benefits. Participant companies will use the model to make their own estimates regarding potential risks, cash flow, or profitability impact measures for these four areas of sustainability opportunities: eco-efficiency, employee productivity; innovation & revenue growth; and risk reduction.

Module 6: Performance Measurement and Reporting

Leading stage companies are pioneering multicapital and science-based goals and measurement systems, and collaborating to devise context-based allocation schemes that are ethical and fair. These companies are starting to advance their enterprises and industries holistically to contribute to a thriving, flourishing society and world. Sustainability-related accounting and reporting frameworks (e.g., GRI, IR, SASB) and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board are challenging traditional accounting and financial reporting practices. This module helps participants understand the current state-of-the-art related to business transparency, performance measurement and integrated reporting. Participants learn about and explore the impact of financial and nonfinancial metrics, strong sustainability and science based goals.

GlobStrat Round 2

Building on the learning from Round 1 and the course content, participants work in teams to go through Round 2 representing the second of three years running a company from the triple bottom line. A debrief with learnings is completed immediately after the second round.

Day Four

Module 7: Sustainable Globalization: Risks and Opportunities in an Interconnected World

This session helps participants understand the complex and interconnected nature of the challenges facing the world today. We introduce a tool called the six lenses of sustainable globalization to provide fresh perspectives on global issues. Related topics include the latest information and trends from the 2018 World Economic Forum and the 8000+ companies participating in the UN Global Compact. New market business opportunities presented by the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are estimated to be over $12 trillion. Learn how companies are growing their corporate value by aligning their business with SDGs and industry sustainability initiatives to create business for a better world.

Module 8: Sustainability Models for Collaboration, Technology, and Community

This module focuses on ways we can invent our sustainable future, with particular attention to the importance of collaboration, technology, and community. We explore enterprises as complex systems operating in dynamic and increasingly unpredictable environments that include ecological disruption and social change. Building on our understanding of global system risks and opportunities, participants develop new ways of thinking that are trans-disciplinary and even trans- organizational. The program drills down into how sustainability affects and is affected by various functional perspectives such as supply chain, sales & marketing, product development, manufacturing & operations, finance, and human resources.

GlobStrat Round 3

Building on the learning from Rounds 1 and 2 and the course content, participants work in teams to go through Round 3 representing the third of three years running a company from the triple bottom line. A debrief with learnings is completed immediately after the second round.

Day Five

Module 9: Debrief GlobStrat, Team Learnings and Team presentations

This module begins with a debrief of participants’ GlobStrat experience over the course of the four days. Each team works together to distill key learnings and present to the class. This includes how well the team worked together, how they developed their strategies and made their decisions, and what lessons learned they are taking away from the experience relative to sustainability-aligned leadership and strategy.

Module 10: Individual Capstone Plan Presentations

Throughout the course, participants capture their learning and applications to their companies in an “Action Planner.” In the final module, students work individually to synthesize their learning into a Capstone Project Presentation. This involves: creating a high-level outline of their respective company’s business sustainability plan and roadmap; selecting critical performance measures to assess success of different opportunities; screening, evaluating, and prioritizing major opportunities through a high level materiality assessment; assessing and documenting financial and nonfinancial risks; creating an implementation and integrated tactical plan for stakeholders and employee engagement; and developing and practicing presenting next-step recommendations and action plans.

Program Overview

For an overview of our Mini-MBA: Sustainability-Aligned Leadership and Strategy program plus program benefits and outcomes, please click here.