People, Culture, and Performance: Strategies From Silicon Valley

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford Graduate School of Business


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Who should attend

  • Senior leaders who have a stake in their company's talent strategy, culture, and overall business performance
  • Business leaders, functional heads, HR leaders, or entire teams who are inspired to bring new ideas and perspectives to talent management — from any size company, any industry, and any country
  • Those with SVP, VP, and director titles who have responsibility for human resources, talent management, talent development, or other functional areas such as engineering, sales, R&D, etc.

About the course

Gain a competitive advantage using Silicon Valley models and mindsets to recruit, retain, and inspire people for performance and growth.

Talented people are your company’s most valuable asset and, bottom line, your key to success. Silicon Valley companies have proven this again and again. People, Culture, and Performance: Strategies from Silicon Valley helps you rethink, reinvent, and retool your approach to talent management, using a startup mindset and models for scaling up performance.

There’s no better place to learn about innovative talent management than on the Stanford Graduate School of Business campus, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Apply design thinking principles and processes to re-imagine how jobs and organizations can be structured. Learn how to create an ownership culture that drives top performance and innovation. Explore how diversity can be leveraged as a competitive advantage. And discover how data and people analytics can impact everything from hiring to incentives.

This one-week people-centric program brings world-class Stanford GSB faculty together with Silicon Valley leaders, founders, and funders. You’ll also collaborate with other senior executives like you who are inspired to improve their company's talent strategy, culture, and performance.

Key Benefits

Reinvent the way you attract and empower your people based on cutting-edge research and a Silicon Valley approach to talent management.

  • Gain insights, strategies, and tools to think more creatively and holistically about talent management — beyond headcount, legal, liability, and compensation issues
  • Discover best practices on talent growth, culture, and performance by looking at some of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley
  • Experience how the design thinking process can drive innovation in all aspects of talent management
  • Learn how data analytics can inform management’s thinking regarding hiring, performance, incentives, and talent development
  • Discover why diversity enhances performance and helps you compete
  • Develop a personal action plan to implement what you’ve learned
  • Network and exchange ideas with like-minded peers and Silicon Valley practitioners


Immerse yourself in all aspects of talent — from hiring, growth, and performance to design thinking, data analytics, and diversity.

People, Culture, and Performance is academically packed with experiential learning, design thinking, cutting-edge research, guest speakers, and panels. Stanford GSB professors also collaborate with Stanford’s Clayman Institute on diversity, and with Silicon Valley founders and funders on best (and worst) practices. At the end of each day, the capture-your-learnings sessions will help you develop a personal action plan to implement what you’ve learned.

The curriculum focuses on five key themes over the course of five days, all with the goal of giving you informed perspectives and a broad set of tools to implement change:

  • Growth and performance
  • Design thinking
  • Data analytics
  • Diversity
  • Implementation and personal action plan

Program Highlights

Connecting the Talent Brand to the Customer Brand

Companies compete in markets for customers ... and talent. In both cases, they have a brand. Unfortunately, the connection between the customer brand and the talent brand is missing at many organizations. Using a real-world business case as a springboard, you’ll evaluate whether or not the company organized its talent to execute on a customer value proposition.

Design Thinking

Stanford is one of the principal educational institutions driving the paradigm shift in the design field today. This session offers the chance to learn design thinking: a human-centered, prototype-driven process for innovation that can be applied to products, services, and business and organizational design. Participants will have a hands-on experience with the design thinking process and some practical discussion of its application to talent management.

Scaling up Excellence

Leaders are in a race to build organizations that are not only bigger but better. A problem, however, is how does one restore the soul of a startup in large companies. We draw on award-winning research and Silicon Valley case studies to present practical tools to avoid scaling traps, and to create domino chains of excellence in organizations as they strive to sustain scale.

Overcoming the Knowing-Doing Gap

Many organizations — maybe most — recognize the importance of culture, know that people matter for success, and see the crucial link between employees and customers in the service-profit value chain. But very few somehow manage to translate that knowledge into action. In this session participants will consider some of the barriers to turning knowledge into action and how to overcome them.

People Analytics

The Valley is data driven, and the discipline of data based decisions extends to people operations. We provide tools from research and from leading exemplars to help you think through the people analytics relevant to your firm.


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...

Sarah Soule

Research Statement Sarah A. Soule's research examines state and organizational-level policy change and diffusion, and the role social movements have on these processes. She has recently published papers on how protest impacts multi-national firm-level decisions regarding divestment in Burma, and ...

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...

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...

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People, Culture, and Performance: Strategies From Silicon Valley at Stanford Graduate School of Business

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