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Proud to be featured in the NYU SPS SHRM Chapter "HR Spotlight"

As my students know from my many horror stories, I worked for way too many horrible bosses earlier in my career. Figuring that there had to be a better way to manage and lead people than through tyranny and abuse, I dove head-first into studying the world of management and leadership, and have since made it my personal mission to do my part to rid the world of bad bosses…thereby “Helping to make the world a better place…one leader at a time.”

So, in addition to running a leadership consulting, training, and coaching firm called BigBlueGumball, for the past seven years I’ve also been an adjunct professor at NYU in the HRMD Master’s program where I co-teach with Jeff Schwartzman a popular graduate course entitled “Leadership and Team Building.” One of our primary goals is to teach HR professionals how to put the “humanity” back into “Human” Resources; and one of the ways we do this is by providing our students with a variety of classic and cutting edge management and leadership tools, tips, and techniques designed to help them each to maximize their performance, their productivity, and their potential.

As we believe that “The true value of knowledge is not in its accumulation, but in its application,” and that “Wisdom is where Knowledge and Experience meet,” we try to set our students up for success by showing them how what we do in the classroom translates into the outside world, and encourage them to always look for ways to connect the three corners of the learning triangle between our class content, the external world, and their own lives – past, present, and future.

What makes our approach unique (and, we think, fun!) is our creative methodology called VisuaLeadership®, which is all about leveraging the power of visual imagery, mental models, metaphors, and storytelling to manage and lead ourselves and our people. For example, in one early classroom exercise, when we ask students to call out the first word that comes to mind when they hear the word "leadership," many immediately blurt out, "Vision!" And when we ask them to define what they mean by "vision" in the context of leadership, it tends to be all about a leader having a mental image of the future: a picture, that they see in their "mind's eye" of an idealized future state that is different from -- and better than -- the current reality. And, so, with that description in mind, equipping, empowering, and inspiring our students to turn their own visions into reality lies at the heart of what we do and how we do it.

The French novelist Marcel Proust famously wrote that “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” Similarly, our hope is that through our teaching, our students’ eyes will be opened to a whole new world of possibilities.

For more of Todd’s thoughts on “leadership and learning,” please check out his blog column on LinkedIn.

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