What will it take to put the US and Europe back on track? The unique circumstances that created the Celtic Tiger of the 1990’s, with the challenges of
the 2000’s Great Recession, provides a tremendous opportunity for students to study
leadership and entrepreneurship at the hub of global expansion. Students will be immersed in the culture of the Republic of Ireland in Dublin with excursions to Belfast in Northern Ireland. Students will gain key insights on cultural differences; what they mean, where they come from, and understanding one’s own cultural characteristics. Students will work in teams on a specific project in either Dublin or Belfast.
Through real projects, students will gain a first-hand overview of key leadership principles for creating strategy and managing teams in new and international ventures. We will also introduce leadership concepts critical to gaining true organizational commitment, and focus on case studies relevant to international business
and entrepreneurial issues. With a project-based exploration of international entrepreneurial opportunities, students will examine the principles of strategic planning, and how visionary leadership is required to develop an organization that executes a global strategy through measurable goals and objectives. In addition, if health science center students participate (e.g., Doctor of Nursing Practice students), a healthcare focus would be emphasized through guest speakers, visits to healthcare providers along with a comparative analysis of US and government sponsored
healthcare and relevant opportunities for entrepreneurs (e.g., healthcare information technology).
CCO, 3t Systems & Adjunct Faculty at University of Colorado Denver – Bard Center for Entrepreneurship
Did you study abroad as a student?
Unfortunately, no. But I did travel to Germany as an Army Special Forces reserve officer when I was an undergrad. It was my first trip abroad, and it was an eye-opener with regard to my lack of language skills!
Why should students from your discipline go abroad?
My personal take-aways from the trip in May 2011: Every single leader we met focused exclusively on passion – not money. The leaders we met certainly appreciate a solid education, and support a lifelong approach to learning. However, the leaders urged our students to use experience as the best teacher at this point in their careers. You can’t do it alone. Every leader needs a support network for different purposes – i.e., emotional, knowledge, financial, etc. And those relationships need to be reciprocal in nature. Not a single leader said that keeping work-life balance is easy. It takes a lot of work, but work is never more important than family. If you lose out on key events with your family, you can’t get them back. You must know when to delegate, how to delegate, and how to follow-up without micro-managing. Almost every leader said that in hindsight, they would have taken more risks, and bigger risks earlier rather than later. The entrepreneurs cautioned against giving away too much ownership too soon. Leaders must stay focused, and say No to a lot of opportunities brought forth by subordinates. Part of focus is growing organically versus through acquisitions and mergers. Most of the firms we met had a core set of values that were remarkably similar – e.g., do your best, do what’s right, and treat others right. The key is to provide unique examples of behavior expectations for each value in a way that support the desired culture. And these behaviors need to be creatively repeated often, and can never be assumed to exist without reinforcement. Every leader was highly competitive with themselves, and many of them were most motivated when someone said, “You can’t.” Hiring the right sales people is absolutely essential, and very, very difficult. The organization needs to know that everyone is in sales, and that everyone is in sales support. In the beginning, middle and end, it is all about people. Period. The points above are a summary of many pages of notes based on over 35 people that addressed our class. In the end, I would have to say the past two weeks served as a significant learning boost for me. In addition, I was reminded that the successful leaders by any measure were those that have a balance of determination and humility. I think every person we heard speak said that a requirement of their organization was that egos get checked at the door.
What inspires you about Ireland?
The Irish are some of the friendliest people anywhere on earth! We learned a great deal about Irish culture, politics, business, and economics. In the end, there are more similarities than differences between us, and we’re similarly motivated to make a positive difference in the lives of others. My hope is that the students learn as much about themselves as they will the leaders we'll meet, and it will help in the future to lead, create, innovate, and develop others that come after them. I know we're also creating a bridge between Ireland and the great state of Colorado so that students and business people alike!
What was the most interesting thing that happened to you Ireland?
The Queen of England made a historic visit, President Obama visited, the wind speed on day set an Irish record, and the volcano in Iceland threatened to delay flights. Honestly, we couldn't have been in Ireland during a more historic two-week period in decades!
What was the weirdest thing that happened to you in Ireland?
When visiting the Dail (Irish Parliament), we were amazed at how American culture, and particularly Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Clinton were so revered!
What is your favorite Irish food?
The students would say Guinness, but I'd have to say the tea! You should know that you don't travel to Ireland for the food or the weather. You travel to Ireland for some of the best conversations you'll ever have!
What is one thing Americans should know about the Irish?
Friendliest people on the planet, period!
Why do you get excited about the subject matter of Leadership & Entrepreneurship in Ireland?
Reasons why you’d do business in Ireland: Nice people! It’s all about relationships here in Ireland. English spoken – no language barrier (except the slang!). Economic growth opportunities. Ireland is on the rebound. Ireland is a gateway to continental Europe. Scalability and “trialability.” As a small country of 4,000,000 people, it’s a great test market for exports and pilot projects. Stable climate – not known for natural disasters, and no nuclear power facilities. Favorable tax climate. Favorable employer laws and high employee satisfaction ratings. Educated and talented work force. Guinness.
What do you expect students to learn from your course?
This course provides the student with an overview of key leadership principles for creating strategy and managing teams in a new venture. It introduces leadership concepts critical to gaining true organizational commitment, and focuses on case studies relevant to common business issues. By exploring what entrepreneurial leaders actually do, and how they do it, the student will examine the principles of strategic planning, and how visionary leadership is required to develop an organization that is able to execute the strategy through measurable goals and objectives. Understand cultural differences; what they mean, where they come from, and understanding one’s own cultural characteristics. Develop a real ability to become more self-reflective, assess yourself, and create your own feedback loop.
Our favorite guest speaker was Bryan Keating in Belfast. Bryan has an absolutely extraordinary story, as his life really didn’t start until he was 30. He’s had a brilliant career, and currently sits on 5 boards, and is an angel investor, and mentor-extraordinaire. You don’t become a holder of the Queen’s lifetime award for enterprise promotion by not being productive and proliferative! Bryan gave a talk on risk taking in life in general, and I know he made us really think about our station in life. His bottom-line – “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” His definition of leadership: Confident Motivated Realistic Tenacious Courageous And have a bias towards action (with analysis) while taking calculated risks.