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Introduction to the Capstone Project

Learn more about the Capstone Project.

This course is the final assessment for the Leading People and Teams ExpertTrack, and learners will get the most from it if they have already completed the previous four courses. We strongly suggest that you complete the first four courses before completing this

Introduction to the Capstone Project

Imagine you are interviewing for a new job or a leadership position, and you want to demonstrate your leadership capabilities in the interview. Within the context of this interview, your primary objective for the capstone assignment is to use content from the specialization to demonstrate your knowledge of key leadership skills. In the next step, Professor Maxim Sytch will introduce the course.

Applying the Content of the Specialization

Interviews in organizations constitute a cornerstone of talent selection and promotion practices. One of the key goals of the interview process is to understand how you would approach a variety of leadership challenges at work, given your knowledge, expertise, and prior work experience. In responding to these questions, we ask that you be guided by and apply the content of the specialization.

For example, in responding to the question “What motivates you at work?”, you may choose to discuss the work motivators we covered in the specialization such as job autonomy, learning, and purpose. Using the course concepts will not only demonstrate your learning, but it will also help you provide a well-structured and more complete response to the interview question. Similarly, your knowledge from the specialization related to optimal team structures and processes can provide you with specific points of reference in describing how you would manage teams or handle a particular team leadership challenge.

Just like in a real interview, you should avoid overly lengthy responses filled with scientific jargon. In other words, it may not be necessary to talk about “valence,” “equity,” or “Folly of Rewarding A while hopeing for B” using these exact terms. If you are asked a question about addressing a demotivated individual, instead of using the scientific terms, you could explain how you would consider multiple strategies, including those related to the person’s needs in relation to the offered rewards, his/her perceptions of fairness with respect to the offered rewards, and whether the offered rewards are aligned with the desired behaviors.

Benefits for You

The benefits of incorporating the specialization content into your interview responses extend well beyond the Leading People and Teams Specialization. Thinking about your past work experiences using the concepts, tools, and frameworks you learned in the specialization will enable you to reflect more deeply on your past actions and their outcomes.

Research on leadership development is unambiguous that such systematic reflection is critically important for your past experience to help you grow and develop into a better leader (e.g., DeRue and Wellman, 2009; DeRue et al., 2012). Similarly, applying leadership tools, concepts, and frameworks to potential (future) leadership challenges is the central pillar of leadership education worldwide. In this sense, you will also develop your analytical skills by thinking through these hypothetical challenges.

Furthemore, we selected questions for the mock interview from actual job interviews. In other words, in your future interviews, it is likely you will be asked similar questions. Thus, by working through the capstone, you will be investing in your own interview preparation and increasing the likelihood of performing well in your future interviews.

References

DeRue, D. S., Nahrgang, J. D., Hollenbeck, J. R., & Workman, K. (2012). A quasi-experimental study of after-event reviews and leadership development. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(5), 997.

DeRue, D. S., & Wellman, N. (2009). Developing leaders via experience: the role of developmental challenge, learning orientation, and feedback availability. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(4), 859.

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