Learning Communities: Office Hours

The Professors are in

Learning Communities Office Hours is a show where faculty discuss relevant topics for leaders and answer questions posed by the audience. In the often one way online learning world learners need to be able to ask questions and receive clarification on content. Practical use cases, examples and tools can be helpful to make an impact. During Office Hours faculty are accessible to answer your questions and help you gain a better understanding of the content.


Office Hours Episode 15: Managing Extreme Uncertainy

Systems thinking experts discuss McKinsey’s article on Managing in Extreme Uncertainty. Extreme Uncertainty is defined in terms of novelty, magnitude, duration, and the rapid pace of change that generates a difficult operating environment for managers and organizations. Key Issues: Operating Models Fail, Sensemaking Challenges and Active Crisis Response are discussed.
Sensemaking Challenges
    1. Bias
    2. Information availability
    3. Wrong answer
    4. Paralysis by analysis
    5. Organizational exhaustion

Office Hours Episode 13 – The Evolving Role of Boards

Dr Richard Leblanc the author of The Handbook of Board Governance discusses his experience in the evolving focus on boards.  ESG and Diversity have become critical topics for boards.  He also discusses the needs to develop directors and have the board compensation committee become a human capital committee.  He also provides tips for boards that are now running meetings online.

Office Hours Episode 12: The Science of Engagement and Retention – Beyond Fear and Greed

This episode of Office Hours addresses the Science of Engagement and Retention. One of the models discussed is the importance of how a leader responds when an employee provides input.  The MAPP team explains the four types of responses and and the importance of creating an Active Constructive Response (ACR) to Amplify the employee rather than a Passive Deconstructive Response that Steals attention.  The concept of Flow is also explained and specific tips on how to drive Flow in the team.
The panel includes Lisa Samson, Chad Thomas and Ken Schainman as well as host Joe Perfetti.

Office Hours Episode 11: There is no I in Team

Productivity is a team sport. Individual achievement is secondary to team performance. How do Agile Teams create the environment to be successful? In this episode Bob Parker shares his lessons from a team exercise in Canada in the time of Covid. We also discuss the importance of Trust and Incentives as conditions of Agile Teams.

Office Hours Episode 9: Avoiding Decision Traps

On this episode we discuss tools to avoid common decision traps when facing uncertainty. You must first determine the problem and course of action: Are you trying to Absolve? Resolve? Dissolve? or Solve the problem? What are your goals? What are your assumptions? How do you define success? Are you aware of your bias?Jim Austin, Scott Koerwer and Joe Perfetti talk through the process.

Office Hours Episode 10: The Superpower of Hope

On the latest #officehours our experts explain the science of Hope and its relation to #grit and #resilience. Resilience is a combination of Realistic Optimism, Agency and Hope. Hope involves having Goals, Willpower and Waypower. These elements work together to drive individuals and organizations forward in a productive manner. Leaders need to understand how to balance these factors in creating hope. Authority is not enough to move the team forward sustainably. Our expert panelists on this show are all graduates on the University of Pennsylvania Masters in Applied Positive Psychology Program. They included Lisa SansomChad ThomasAndrew Soren and Ken Schainman.

Office Hours Episode 6: Resilience and Grit

Our guests:
John Holloway, Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Penn Law Quattrone Center for Fair Justice Administration
Chad Thomas of online coaching platform BetterUp
Ken Schainman the Executive Director of the American Positive Education Network
Andrew Soren CEO of Eudaimonic By Design
All are graduates of the Penn Masters in Applied Positive Psychology Program whose research was highlighted in Angela Duckworth’s Grit

On the show we discuss the definition of positive psychology, what is resilience and how is it measured, how to manage stress, the need for connection, the importance of optimism and meaning and the benefits of a safe space.

Our experts ended with Simple Rules:
Ken Schainman – “Threats scream and opportunities whisper, [so listen carefully and] start to counter-balance.”
Chad Thomas – “What does the best version of myself look like in this situation?”
John Hollway – “Courage to change what I can”
Andrew Soren – “Listen to the voices in your head – is this helpful or hurtful?”
Joseph Perfetti – “Be present”

Office Hours Episode 7: Executive Education in a Covid19 World

On this Office Hours we discuss with Exec Ed leaders how demand for online learning went up by 400% in April 2020 at some large schools in response to Covid19. Overnight, education shifted 100% online and our experts feel this shift will be long lasting. The shift also caused some changes in delivery as new types of instructional design are required in an online environment. Our experts discussed the importance of micro learning, interactivity and edutainment as corporate education needs to be reimagined in an online world. They described some cutting edge experiments using virtual reality. These leaders modeled the agility that is being taught in the classroom.

Guest Experts: Greg Marchi the Assistant Dean at Texas A&M University – Mays Business SchoolChristine Lomer Thompson the Executive Director at the University of Maryland – Robert H. Smith School of Business and David Heckman who ran the Advanced Management Program and Executive Development programs at 

Office Hours Episode 8: Applying Cynefin and Managing Complexity

On this episode of Office Hours we discuss frameworks to manage complexity. Cynefin by Dave Snowden is a useful tool to understand the state you are in and what type of decision process is appropriate.  We also discuss the application of the Heifetz model for situational leadership.  If your organization is going through a severe disruption, the leader needs to assemble the right team, admit they do not know the answers, allow the team to admit and learn from mistakes and be adaptive.  Examples of the 737 Max, schools and baseball are discussed.

The panel included Dr Larry M. Starr and Dr John Pourdehnad of Thomas Jefferson University, Dr Harry McCloskey, DBA, FACHE of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals and Dr  of Geisinger.

Office Hours Episode 1: Agile Teams

Joe Perfetti, Scott Koerwer, Bob Parker and Lauren Hirshon discuss Agile Teams during this live show. Listeners are encouraged to interact with the Subject Matter Experts to share their thoughts and ask their questions.

Office Hours Episode 2: Culture in a Virtual Environment

This episode of Learning Communities Office Hours will focus on creating and changing culture in an Agile environment. As companies go virtual – how do they manage culture? As new employees are hired – what do companies need to do to maintain culture? As companies need to be more agile and nimble – what are the implications for leaders. Join our faculty to hear about best practices and ask questions.

Office Hours Episode 3: Agile Strategy

To be Agile organizations must make decisions under uncertainty. On this episode we will discuss frameworks to make decisions with imperfect information, how to create scenarios and The Art of the Con (how to be objective and fact based).

Office Hours Episode 4: Moving Online

Dr Judy Frels of the University of Maryland, Scott Koerwer of the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Jeff Weiss of Tott Labs and Keep Me Certified join host Joe Perfetti to discuss lessons learned in moving education online. Key insights include

1. Focusing on learning objectives when designing sessions
2. Leverage assets rather than constantly recreating
3. View online as edutainment and limit session times to 90 minutes with 30 minute designs
4. Flip the classroom
5. Take advantage of data in design
6. Drive interactivity and don’t just recreate stand and deliver content online

Office Hours Episode 5: Interacting with Complexity: Leadership during a Global Pandemic

Four Ideas that define Leadership:
1. Great ideas – leaders inspire with ideas
2. Traits – they can be authentic, good communicators, etc.
3. Relationships – they can connect people and organizations
4. Context – they can set the context for direction and decisions
Leadership is a process between a person and group to influence the organization to reach a goal. Leadership is also emergent from the interaction amongst stakeholders. It is dynamic. In a complex world it is also important to build sense-making skills and understand the environment that you are in. This follows the Dave Snowden #cynefin framework.
Great conversation with Dr Larry M. Starr of Thomas Jefferson University, Dr Scott Koerwer of Geisinger and Joseph Perfetti of  on Complexity and Leadership.


Office Hours Episode 16: Understanding the Concept of Spread

Would you borrow at 6% and invest the money to make 4%? I hope not. That is the core concept of spread – a key cornerstone of value creation. Currently that is the situation in the automotive industry that is borrowing at 9% to make 0%. Pharma is borrowing at 6% and making 18%. 50% of the spread is based on the industry that a company is in.
Learn the fundamental concept of valuation and the language that is used in a simple online special edition of Office Hours. Join award winning faculty member and executive educator Joe Perfetti for this special session.