Friday, March 1, 2013


A brand new blog has been launched to better address your leadership, career and productivity needs.  Please visit and register to receive our informative blog posts. 


Over on our new blog you will find the following:


ONLINECAREER CLUB: We’ve created a career club – Advance Your Career Today (ACT).  It will launch on March 4th, 2013.  Visitthe site now to get all of the details and  then register to participate.

ONLINE BOOK CLUB: We’ve initiated an online book club which will also launch in March.  Visit the site now to get all of the details and then register to participate.

WEBINARS: You'll be happy to know that our webinar series on personal effectiveness will continue to be free in 2013.  Visit the site and register now.

Friday, January 18, 2013

How To Lead Change In Your Organization

Change before you have to. - Jack Welch

Benjamin Disraeli once wrote “Change is inevitable. Change is constant." We’re experiencing this more and more in our lifetime. Within the last 50 years, we have witnessed more change across the world, than perhaps at any other period since World War II. We’re in the midst of a revolution, a period of fundamental change that is transforming the world of business. There are a lot of forces which are constantly driving change – globalization, our knowledge based economies, the convergence of information communication and technology, and customers who are more knowledgeable, and thus more discerning and demanding. These changes are exhausting, inescapable and coming at us faster than ever.

These many forces are consistently driving change in the contemporary workplace, and when you think about it, an organization depends on its environment for survival. If it is to succeed, its leaders must monitor the environment and align the organization with the changes that occur. The organization itself must therefore change as its environment changes.

Change can be difficult. It is difficult when it is a personal endeavor, and it is even more difficult to enact in an organization, particularly when people are ever so comfortable with the status quo. It’s hard to get them moving. But it can be done. To create a change ready organization we have to embed in the DNA of our organizations that change is constant. It’s quick and happening all around us. We will not survive if we don’t learn to adapt and be proactive about it.

To do this, you need to employ a new kind of leadership, one that is not about command and control, but about motivating, growing and empowering your team. You want to embrace a change mindset and promote and instill it in your team. You want to sensitize people to the pressures for change that are around you, emphasizing that we cannot afford to stay still or we will be left behind and cease to exist – like Borders, Compaq, or Enron.

You cannot wait until you have to a change initiative to sensitize people to these pressures. This must be a continuous process – try to disrupt people’s comfort zones and continuously work on getting rid of that business as usual approach in your organization. To do this, start with yourself. Never underestimate the power of setting an example. That’s always the best way as a leader to start making changes in your organization. Walk the talk.

  • First, immerse yourself in the changes that can and are affecting your organization/industry – read blogs, books, magazines, gather insights from your customers. Know what is happening and about to happen. 

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    A Top Military Friendly School

    Duquesne University through the School of Leadership has once again been recognized for 2013 as a top Military Friendly School by both 'Military Advanced Education' and 'GI Jobs' magazines. Don Accamando (pictured above), Director of Military Programs proudly displays the award plaques in his office.

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Quality Matters at the School of Leadership

    Mark Prestopnik (left) and David McGeehan (right) working on Quality Matters

    Online education changes daily. E-books, video libraries, cloud-based storage, sophisticated communication and collaboration tools, the list goes on. These technological advancements coupled with a dynamic student population offer great promise for the future of higher education. To fully realize these benefits it is necessary to design and plan for their use in a manner that supports the intended course learning objectives.

    How do we best accomplish this? How can we make the student experience simple, engaging, and consistent? And what about all of the other non-technology issues such as course materials, exercises, communications, assessment, and so much more? These are some of the challenges that the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement (SLPA) faces in designing and conducting online and hybrid courses. To meet these challenges and to provide online courses of the highest possible caliber, SLPA has bolstered its existing course improvement process with a nationally recognized program to evaluate and improve course design.

    The program is called Quality Matters (QM). Quality Matters is a faculty-centered, peer review process that is designed to certify the quality of online and blended courses. At the heart of the QM process is a rubric of over forty points of focus. SLPA's technologists David McGeehan and Mark Prestopnik have developed a multi-year plan and acquired the national certification (through extensive training) to become peer reviewers and key team members of the QM course review process.

    A pilot QM review of a single course was conducted in the fall of 2012 which yielded very positive results. The QM peer review team that participated in the pilot consisted of an internal course reviewer and two additional external reviewers; one from the University of Central Missouri and another from Ashford University. This team, working in conjunction with the faculty member completed the review. Course improvements were identified and integrated, resulting in a course that will both meet the student learning objectives and improve the overall student experience.

    Moving forward, SLPA will conduct QM reviews of all of its courses perpetuating a cycle of improvement for many years into future.

    Friday, January 4, 2013

    Great Leadership Exercise for the New Year

    Our leadership journey is a continuous and very personal undertaking. Discovering and refining this journey requires a commitment to developing ourselves. Like musicians and athletes, we need to devote ourselves to a lifetime of realizing our potential.  The most important key in this journey is becoming more and more aware of who we are so that we can be authentic in our leadership.

    The start of a new year is a convenient time to pause, reflect and determine how to go forward in becoming a better leader. Here at SLPA we advocate that leadership is not about the position you hold, but about the influence you have. So, everyone, regardless of the title you hold can be a leader and should take the time to reflect on any limiting mind-sets you held in the last year that weakened your results.  For example, were there moments when you told yourselves
    - 'I never get recognized for my work so why bother', 'I'm just fed up with this job', 'I can't do this', or 'Every time I try to do something the powers that be stop me'.  Now resolve not to bring them into this new year, resolve to catch yourself every time you fall into that trap and consciously bring yourself to a more positive mindset. It will get easier as you go on, trust me.

    I came across an exercise in the book Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen (2012) written by David Novak. He outlines what he calls the '3x5 exercise:grow yourself' that asks the following two questions:

    What am I today?

    Where are you in your career or personal development? Write down four or five descriptions that best capture how you are perceived by others today. Be honest with yourself. Think about feedback you have received from others or insights you have previously discovered about yourself. 

    How can I be even better tomorrow?

    Where do you want to be in the future?  How can you leverage your strengths more? How can you adjust or compensate for those less-than-powerful areas?
    The exercise uses a 3x5 index card to answer these two questions. You can carry the card with you, or post it in a place where you can see it everyday. In the book, David posted his own card from 2011, which I copied below.

    This is a powerful exercise, and I recommend you add it to your to-do list and complete it sometime this month.  By the way, all the profits from this excellent book are donated to the United Nations World Food Program.   Every book sold will help feed children; yet another reason to buy it.

    Have a wonderful New Year! 

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    The Best Student Services Team

    Congratulations to our Student Services Team. They received the highest ranking at Duquesne University in the latest Academic Advising Student Expectation Survey (AASES). Looking at the results of the survey, associate provost for enrollment management, Paul-James Cukanna said that "it is clear that our students expect both a high-touch and high-tech approach to advisement”. That's what you get when you come to SLPA - a strong personal connection with your advisor and a high commitment to graduating from Duquesne.