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Course Goal and Game Plan

Course Goal and Game Plan
[FOREIGN] My name is George Siedel. I’m a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Welcome to our course on the Three Pillar Model for Business Decisions. In this session, I’m going to provide an overview of the course, and this is going to be our agenda. First of all, I’d like to discuss the goals of the course, then cover a little bit of my background and how that relates to the course. We’ll look at the course game plan, the course format. And finally, I have a few words to say about the importance of our course discussions. So what are our goals in the course?
Well, our number one goal in this course is to make you more competitive. Whether you’re starting your own business as an entrepreneur. Whether you’re working in a lower level position in a large corporation and you’re seeking career advancement, whether you’re already in a leadership position in a company, I want to make you more competitive because we live in a competitive world. More than ever before the world is built on competition, especially in our global economy. So from a business perspective and from your personal perspective this is a course on competition. If you’re not competitive, if you’re not interested in competition, I suggest you stop watching right now because that’s my ultimate goal in the course.
Now, how can I make you more competitive? Well, my goal is to give you a decision making model that will provide you with a great source of skills to make you competitive. This Model is based on the famous Harvard Business School leadership course. And this course originated several years go. I happened to be a visiting professor at Harvard, and I was a part of a teaching committee that worked on an earlier version of the course. But the Harvard leadership course is based on three pillars. And those pillars are economics, law, and ethics. This course is an expanded version of the Harvard Leadership Course in that I have replaced economics with strategy.
By doing that, the model becomes useful not only in business decision making But also in making nonbusiness leadership decisions. So here is the basic focus of the course. When we focus on a strategy pillar, a law pillar, and an ethics pillar this course allows you to, number one, become legally savvy. So that you can use the law to minimize business risk. So in other words, this is not a course of memorizing legal rules and listing legal rules. It’s a course on actually how you can use the law as a practical matter in making day-to-day decisions.
And second, the focus of the course is on linking the Strategy Pillar and the Law Pillar to create value for business owners and for other stakeholders, your customers, your employees and society at large. Whether you’re starting a small business or whether you’re working for a large corporation, value creation, of course, is a major goal of your business. And then, finally, the focus of the course is on how you can play a leadership role in making ethical business decisions. So just in summary, how can I minimize business risk and create value while also acting in an ethical manner? Little bit about my background. I teach at the University of Michigan.
Michigan, if you’re from outside the United States, is located near the center of the United States. I do a lot of teaching around the world. And when I travel abroad and I ask people, do you know where Michigan is? Sometimes I receive a blank stare until I mention, well, Detroit is a part of Michigan. Or better yet, when I mention that Chicago is very close to Michigan. If you think about a map of the United States, with Chicago right in the center. Michigan is a little bit to the right of Chicago. So I teach at the University of Michigan, but I was born south of the border in a state called Ohio.
And I spent the first 18 years of my life on a farm in Ohio. I finally escaped from the farm and went to a small college, down the road from the farm, called the College of Worcester. I didn’t even have to turn to get from the farm to the college. I just drove out the driveway, turned right, drove for 30 miles and there was the college. After I finished my undergraduate education at Worcester, I then attended the University of Michigan Law School. And after law school I had a fellowship to do research at Cambridge University for awhile so I did my research at Cambridge returned to the states and practiced law for a couple of years.
And at that point I started my teaching career, and I’ve spent most of my career in Michigan although I have been a visiting professor elsewhere. I have gone back to Cambridge three times as a visiting fellow. I’ve been a visiting professor at Harvard, a visiting professor at Stanford and a visiting scholar at Berkeley. But for the most part, I’ve been hanging around the University of Michigan. Teaching at the university although I spent 5 years as Associate Dean where I was in charge of executive education and yet a lot of opportunity to interact with business leaders and with businesses around the world.
So during my career, I have had a chance to look at the business environment in many different parts of the world, Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Australia and Africa. I’ve taught and worked with business leaders in all of those places. And even on campus, my courses have a very global focus, because in our MBA program, one-third of my students are from outside of the United States. And so, in terms of my research and teaching, it’s very global.
And I’d like to make this course as global as possible, so in teaching the various modules in the course and start with the US approach and then I attempt to apply the model globally, so that if you’re from outside of the United States this course is going to be a very good introduction to the US business culture. But on the other hand, if you’re from the United States, the course is also an introduction to the global business culture. Now, one word of caution, given the global nature of the learners in the course.
Typically learners in books are from countries all over the world. For example, in my earlier book which was called Successful Negotiation, Essential Strategies and Skills, there were hundreds of thousands of learners and 75% of them were from the outside of the United States. And as a result, when I teach MOOCs, I try to speak in a very slow and clear manner, assuming that for many of the learners English is not your second language. Now, if English is your primary language, my slow manners speaking might become a little bit annoying. So I highly encourage you to set the speed to at least 1.25 and that will be a speed the teamwork has custom to.
But generally, my goal is to speak in its slow and clear manner. So what’s the course game plan? Well, these are the topics we cover in the course. This first module includes this overview, and also an introduction to the University of Michigan. You don’t have to watch the introduction to the University of Michigan, it’s not part of the official course. But for those of you from outside the United States, if you’re unfamiliar with how a US university operates, I’ll give you a little background into the university and the town in which it’s located, Ann Arbor Michigan, which is classic college town.
We then turn to module two which is a very important and somewhat technical model but it gives you an introduction to the three pillar model for making business decisions. And then, we dive in to applying the model to the key issues that face anyone who is interested in business or who is in business. How do you attract and retain the best talent? In other words, how do you find the best employees? How do you develop successful new products? How do you create business opportunities from government regulation? This is an angle on government regulation that many people overlook. And it’s a tremendously fertile area for business opportunities. How will you create and use intellectual property profitably?
Everyone today should understand the fundamentals of intellectual property that we’re going to cover and not only what is intellectual property, but how do you protect your intellectual property and how do you use it to create profits? How do you create value through your contracts? How do you make contracts much more than a legal document, but something that benefits both sides to the contract? How do you resolve disputes with your stakeholders? And finally, how can you, as a leader, create and lead an ethical organization? So that’s our game plan for the course. What’s the course format? Well, these are the elements in the course format.
You’ll be watching a series of videos which are roughly 5 to 20 minutes, they vary in length. And we’ve picked videos of this length based on research that focuses on our attention spans nowadays. And generally, anything more than 20 minutes is difficult to watch. So you can watch these in short segments. Unlike some books, I made my books very interactive. So as you watch this periodically, I’ll ask you a question as I do in class and I’ll ask to hit parts and write down your answer and then I’ll discuss the correct solution. So this is a way for you to test your understanding of the material. How do you want to watch this course? Well, you have some options.
It’s set up for you to watch over a nine week period, the modules are divided by weeks, but if you want to you could binge watch the videos. You could set aside one weekend or a holiday weekend or whatever. And watch all 12.5 hours of the videos. Some of the people who took my earlier MOOC on successful negotiation indicated that they really enjoyed binge watching, and they compared it with other shows that they had binge watched such as Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones. There are some readings with the course but I’ve try to make this readings very practical, non academic, and concise.
Even though they are concise, the readings due at additional contact that we don’t have time to cover in the course. And so, highly recommend that you look at the readings. How are you evaluated? Well, there will be quizzes connected with each module. But these are not graded. They are to test your understanding of the material. They aren’t part of your final determination of success. There will be a mastery exam at the end of the course. And if you’re successful in that exam, then you’re eligible for a University of Michigan Certificate. Now, what do I mean by Mastery Exam? Well, in a traditional on campus course we might give a final exam and either you pass or fail it.
And if you pass you’re given a grade A, B, C, D. With the Mastery Exam, the exam is actually part of the course learning. It’s not to separate students into A, B, C categories. The purpose of the Mastery Exam is to help you continue learning, so that if you fail a particular question, then you’ll have a chance to continue taking the exam until you understand the material, until you pass the exam. So that’s the format of the course. And finally, course discussions.
These are a very important feature the course, you’ll have a chance in the course discussions to ask questions about the material, you’ll have a chance to provide comments about the material, you have a chance to make friends with people around the world. Because, as I mentioned earlier, hundreds of thousands of people will probably be taking this course from every country in the world and so you can establish contact with them. And finally, you’ll have a chance to share your experiences. I strongly recommend that you discuss your own experiences with the material covered in the course. This is a great way for others to learn from your experience.
I might say something in the course that doesn’t exactly jive with your experience, and I’d love to hear that. If your experience differs from what I recommend. But it’s a great way for people to learn about how the material can be applied in real life and with my other course, I especially enjoyed hearing how people benefit it from taking the course, here’s an example, the name of the course was Successful Negotiation. This person’s saying basically he’s a CEO with a manufacturing company in Singapore and his negotiating with a key supplier and he decided to practice what he learned in the negotiation course.
So he filled out a planning checklist I recommended in the course called the supplier and he explains here they had a great meeting, they expanded the pie that they were negotiating over. They learned about each other’s interests, they renegotiated everything. And then, he describes some of the details, pricing reduction, pricing schedules, etc. And bottom line, it was a win-win, meaning both his company and the other company benefited in the projected savings over the next 5 years of $4 million, US. So I strongly recommend that you share your experiences whether they’re successful in this case or whether you find it some of the concepts do not apply. That would be valuable learning as well. So that’s the plan for the course.
I’m really glad that you’re taking the course. I’m looking forward to working with you. And at the end of day, how will I know that this course is successful or not? Well, my success as a teacher depends on your success. In your career and in your business. So I’m very invested in your success and I hope that this course will make you successful in the competitive world in which we live.
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Making Successful Decisions through the Strategy, Law & Ethics Model

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