Executive Program in Leadership: the Effective use of Power

Stanford Graduate School of Business

How long?

  • 6 days
  • in person

Stanford Graduate School of Business


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Who should attend

  • High-potential leaders preparing to take on increasing levels of responsibility and challenge as they move into more senior leadership/management roles
  • High-impact executives with a proven track record of success and seven to ten years of management experience — from any size company, any industry, and any country

About the course

Develop a leadership style and an action plan tailored to your personal objectives that inspire innovation in your team, your company, and the world.

Power. Influence. Collaboration. Mastering all three is the goal of Executive Program in Leadership. This one-week transformative program explores the sources and uses of power and teaches influence strategies to help you become a more collaborative and successful leader. Whether you’re a high-potential leader preparing to take on more responsibility or a high-impact executive with a proven track record of success, you’ll learn the essential communication, collaboration, and coaching skills you need to empower and inspire your teams.

Executive Program in Leadership begins with a pre-program questionnaire on leadership style sent to your team. Throughout the week, you’ll use this input and new insights to create a personalized 100-day action plan to keep you accountable and increase your success.

Key Benefits

Explore the dynamics of power, learn strategies for influencing others, and become a more collaborative and successful leader.

  • Learn how your personal leadership style impacts those around you
  • Develop strategies for using personal power to build strong mutual-influence relationships within your organization
  • Build a strong, cohesive team by leveraging the leadership potential of all members
  • Create a personalized leadership action plan to make you more effective and accountable back at work


How does your personal leadership style impact others? How can you apply influence without authority? How do you manage upward and downward within your organization?

The Executive Program in Leadership curriculum is all about power. It focuses on the personal and the practical. You’ll learn strategies for using your personal power to build strong, mutual-influence relationships within your organization. And you’ll develop practical tools you can implement right away to manage and inspire teams.

In addition to thought-provoking lectures, group discussions, and visits with guest speakers, the curriculum includes:

  • A pre-program leadership style questionnaire sent to everyone on your team
  • An on-campus debrief of your questionnaire to guide your learning throughout the week
  • Development of a 100-day action plan tailored to your personal objectives, new insights, and the needs of your company

Program Highlights

Leading Change

As a leader, you will sometimes come into a new situation — a new district, school, or business unit — in a leadership role. The evidence shows that outside succession in senior positions is frequently a failure, and even coming into a new unit within the same organization poses challenges. You are an outsider, unknown to many or most of your new colleagues.

Moreover, if you are expected to lead change and improvement efforts, you will need to have people do new things in new ways — moves that challenge the status quo and the history of the unit. To be successful, you must develop credibility and, most important, the power and influence required to be successful.

Building Power and Influence

Leaders have and use power, and when your power and influence wanes, you will soon lose leadership roles. Nonetheless, the topic of managing organizational dynamics is one that makes many people uncomfortable. In our first session together, we will see explore some of the fundamental behavioral principles of influence and see two video examples of leaders talking about their “lessons in leadership.” At the end of the session, we will have a brief opportunity for you to do some peer coaching on which aspects of your approach to building and using power you might think about changing to become even more effective and successful.

The Challenge of Change

Why do industry leaders often lose their innovative edge, and how can they retain it? Based on research and consulting over the past 10 years, it appears that short-term success may actually increase the chances of long-term failure. To avoid this “success syndrome” managers must be effective at managing incremental change and leading revolutionary or discontinuous change.

The purpose of this module (two sessions) is to explore how you as leaders of your organization can balance the tension between the short- and long-term, with particular attention to the use of culture in their organizations as a potential source of competitive advantage — or disadvantage. Our emphasis will be on providing you with a framework and set of tools for thinking about culture as a social control system, especially in the face of disruptive change.

Team Engagement Through Vision: The Power of Stories

Successful innovation creates a new normal, a new way of being for individuals or businesses. Successful innovation disrupts industries; it drives success. We all want to innovate, but how do we do it? To innovate, you not only need a big idea; you also need people to create it and people to buy into it. Story fuels innovation. Stories have long held the power to transform the listener, to take listeners on a journey that changes how they think, feel, or act.

In business, stories can drive innovation and impact by painting a clear picture of what is and what could be for everyone from employees to customers to investors and the media. In these two sessions, we discuss the following: What does it mean to tell stories in business? What makes an effective story in business? And when can you use stories in business? We will focus on innovation, but also explore other applications of story.

Coaching Talent

Coaching is among the most powerful and yet undeveloped or underutilized skills at a leader’s disposal.

These two sessions will introduce you to coaching fundamentals (listening, inquiring, reframing, and setting up experiments) as well as provide an opportunity to practice and further develop these competencies.


Jeffrey Pfeffer

Research Statement Jeffrey Pfeffer has published extensively in the fields of organization theory and human resource management. His current research focuses on the relationship between time and money, power and leadership in organizations, economics language and assumptions and their effects on ...

Hayagreeva Rao

Research Statement Professor Rao studies collective action within organizations and in markets. His research and by implication, his teaching, revolves around scaling up mobilization, innovation, and talent in organizations. Teaching Statement Professor Rao teaches courses on Scaling up Excellenc...

Shelley Correll

Bio Shelley Correll is professor of sociology and (by courtesy) organizational behavior at Stanford University. She is also the Barbara D. Finberg Director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the founding director of the Center for the Advancement of Women’s Leadership. Professor Cor...

Nir Halevy

Research Statement My research is in three main areas: conflict and cooperation, interactive decision making, and hierarchy in groups and organizations. I investigate how individuals and teams make decisions, manage conflicts, and cooperate to achieve joint goals. Research Interests Conflict and...

Charles O'reilly

Research Statement Professor O’Reilly’s research spans studies of leadership, organizational demography and diversity, culture, executive compensation and organizational innovation and change. Teaching Statement Professor O’Reilly has taught courses for MBAs and executives in organizational innov...

Brian Lowery

Research Statement Professor Lowery's research seeks to extend knowledge of individuals' experience of inequality and fairness. His work suggests that individuals distinguish between inequalities framed as advantage as opposed to disadvantage. This finding affects how individuals perceive inequal...

Benoît Monin

Research Statement Using the methods of experimental social psychology, Professor Monin's research investigates the interplay between self-image and morality. He seeks to understand for instance when individuals behave unethically, and how they live with it; the consequences of high or low moral ...

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Executive Program in Leadership: the Effective use of Power at Stanford Graduate School of Business

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