Mini-MBA: Team Management Essentials Curriculum

Strategic Thinking and Planning

This module provides a framework to formulate a strategic plan for long-term organizational success. As competition intensifies, and organizations increasingly operate under greater resource constraints, the ability to clearly articulate how one will generate value-added takes on greater significance. By focusing on the different tradeoffs involved in strategic choices, this session will equip you with concrete tools that will help you chart and communicate the long-term vision of your organization.

Key Takeaways:

  • Strategy is an integrated set of choices about what you want to accomplish, where you will focus and how you will focus.
  • Value is created by either increasing the willingness-to-pay of customers, or by reducing the willingness-to-sell of suppliers.
  • To gain competitive advantage, you must have a clear differentiation on value creation and capture compared with your alternatives.
  • Strategy implies tradeoff; articulating who and what you are not is crucial to the long-term success of the organization.

Training and Development

The training and development module is an interactive session designed to ground professionals on key principles in adult learning, training, and development. It will blend research on adult learning theory with best practices in the design and delivery of both training and development opportunities for professionals participating in the mini MBA and the staff with whom they work. Expect some practical tips, thoughtful discussion, and opportunities for reflection on your own training and development in this module.

Key Takeaways:

  • Develop competence in adult learning theory
  • Understand and contextualize both training and development
  • Reflect on your own training needs and development interests
  • Understand key factors and test out best practices in adult training & staff development processes

Relationships: Directing and Influencing

Relationships are critical to the success of any organization. In this module, we will explore the distinction between management and leadership, and discuss strategies and approaches for building, strengthening, and repairing relationships in organizational life. Drawing on key concepts related to social influence, communication, and emotional intelligence, this interactive module will provide participants with an opportunity to reflect on current strengths and areas for improvement, and begin to apply the concepts to their experiences in one’s current organization.

Key Takeaways:

  • Describe the distinction between management and leadership.
  • Identify the different ways in which one might most effectively influence others to achieve shared goals.
  • Discuss strategies for building, strengthening, and repairing relationships in organizational life.
  • Reflect on current strengths and areas for improvement in becoming a more emotionally intelligent leader.
  • Apply the concepts introduced in the module to one’s current organizational experiences.


This foundational module is geared toward giving the learner an opportunity to understand more about their individual communication styles. By exploring your unique approach to communication and interaction it opens the possibility for learning how to be more effective with others. Just because we are talking, texting, or emailing we should not presume that we are being effective and understood.

Key Takeaways:

  • All participants will complete the NBI Thinking Preferences Assessment prior to the program; this will allow for robust debriefing and interaction in the class.
  • Highly interactive program that encourages deeper understanding of how learners process information and what our minds choose to do with that information
  • Learn valuable tips on how to increase your communication flexibility with others so that you feel understood and at the same time you have demonstrated your desire to understand

Conflicts: Management and Resolution

Conflict in teams is inevitable and can be healthy or unhealthy, depending upon its focus and whether it is managed effectively. This module will introduce and provide an overview of how and when conflict manifests itself in teams, how it shapes other important team processes and outcomes, different approaches one might adopt in handling it, and best practices for managing it so as to capture its upsides and constrain its downsides. While conflict at work may be unavoidable and anxiety provoking, by learning to diagnose it and manage it effectively, employees and managers put themselves and their teams in a better position to thrive and realize their full potential.

Key Takeaways:

  • Accept that conflict in teams is common and inevitable
  • Understand when conflict can be healthy (productive) and when it is unhealthy (unproductive)
  • Be aware of your own and other members’ default conflict handling style (s) and select styles strategically
  • Anticipate and plan for stressful conversations rather than entering into such encounters blindly
  • Design teams to promote interpersonal trust, cooperation, and collaboration, as opposed to mistrust, competition, and animosity.
  • Foster openness to and an appreciation of healthy conflict, dissenting views, and minority opinions to establish productive conflict norms

Problem Solving: Individual and Group

Problem solving is a fundamental and complex skill for managers, involving related skills of leading others to generate creativity and follow through, among others. Problem solving skills are sought after in both entry-level & senior managers. Managers who bring problem solving skills to the workplace are valued and trusted with increasing levels of responsibility. Generating innovative ways to solve problems and better processes can result in significant benefits to the enterprise.

Key Takeaways:

  • Generate more self-knowledge about your own problem-solving skills and style
  • Identify obstacles that get in the way of sound problem-solving
  • Practice techniques to enhance your problem-solving
  • Prepare to address people problems in the workplace

Goals: Personal and Organizational

The purpose of this module is to review organization goals and the effect on controlling behaviors in a corporate setting.  We will explore the importance of having goals and setting goals using the S.M.A.R.T. technique. We will explore various opinions of goal setting from reading multiple articles and discuss the difference between corporate goals and our own personal goals.  Once this module is completed you will have a better understanding on why it is important to have goals, but also understand how it affects your life in both a corporate and personal setting.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding goals vs dreams
  • Personal Goals vs Organizational Goals
  • Using S.M.A.R.T to set goals
  • Learning from others

Performance Management

This Performance Management course is designed to assist managers in identifying the overall effectiveness of individual employees. Specifically, it will provide background and guidance in determining the optimal levels of "coaching" and "feedback" for various categories of employees. As stated by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management): “The main strength of an organization is the quality of the employees. Managers must choose them carefully and make sure they are satisfied in their job from both a personal and material point of view. Each individual must be encouraged to develop himself so that he can use his capabilities to optimum effect and thus feel a sense of achievement.”

Key Takeaways:

  • Identify and utilize the activities involved in performance management
  • Understand the purpose of performance management systems
  • Able to define the criteria for measuring the effectiveness of a performance management system
  • How to minimize the various types of rating errors
  • How to give performance feedback effectively
  • Able to guide employees to improve unsatisfactory performance

Cultivating Inclusivity in the Workplace

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) efforts are now a business imperative for organizations all over the world. While research shows that diversity efforts can enhance innovation upwards of 20$, diversity with inclusion is not enough. Organizations with inclusive cultures as 2x as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, 3x as likely to be high-performing, and 8x more likely to achieve better business outcomes. While there are many factors that affect how people feel included within an organization, the biggest influence comes from what leaders at all levels of the organization say and do. On average, teams led by inclusive leaders experience a 17% increase in team performance, a 20% increase in decision-making quality, and a 29% increase in team collaboration. In this program, you will learn what inclusion is, its relationship to diversity, and how to create it in everyday situations. You will analyze concrete tools and frameworks that enable leaders to create inclusive workplaces along with skills to practice effective communication and allyship.

Key Takeaways:

  • Uncover and discuss your own implicit or unconscious biases and how they may be
  • impacting your leadership abilities
  • Examine how implicit or unconscious biases influence attitudes and behaviors at work
  • Explore individual and organizational best practices, competencies, and responsibilities to foster a culture of inclusivity
  • Listen, respond, and speak up using inclusive communication skills

Teams: Cross-Functional and Informal

Much of the work done in organizations these days is through teams, and increasingly through cross-functional teams. Unfortunately, the research shows that the vast majority of cross-functional teams fail. In this module, we will learn what the key success factors for such teams are, and how you can contribute. Team effectiveness is defined not only by results delivered, but also by the development of teamwork skills among team members and by individual growth and satisfaction.

Key Takeaways:

  • All groups do not need to be managed like a team, and it’s important to understand the differences among the different types of teams (cross-functional, virtual, self-managed, informal, etc.) to be able to manage each well.
  • Becoming aware of your own team player style, and those of others’, is key to your effectiveness and that of your team’s.
  • Team leaders need to be especially skilled in managing team processes to build a productive and “safe” team culture.
  • Making cross-functional teams work effectively requires paying attention to several key success factors.

Personal Development Plan

This module will wrap up the entire MiniMBA with faculty-facilitated discussions about applying the learnings to real world situations in the most effective manner possible.

Program Overview

Learn more by reviewing the overview of our Mini-MBA: Team Management Essentials program plus program benefits and outcomes.