Applying new knowledge to real problems for measurable results.

Leading in Complex Organizations

This program is one in a three-course series on Leadership and Strategy created to help leaders acquire an integrated approach to leading strategy formulation, implementation, and organizational performance. Completion of all three programs leads to a Leadership Certificate in Strategy and Organizational Performance from Penn State Executive Programs.

As you grow in leadership responsibility, you must understand your larger role in implementing strategic plans in support of your  organization’s goals. This requires both expansive thinking and increased leadership skills to engage a team that is focused on results. This executive program provides the strategic mindset and tools for execution  to accomplish just that.

Program Objectives

Leading in Complex Organizations provides a highly integrated approach to strategic implementation and performance management. Participants will significantly increase strategic thinking, decision-making, personal leadership, and influence skills while maximizing the use of management systems to increase their ability to create organizational performance and growth.

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for those charged with creating and implementing strategy and developing organizational capability. It is ideal for those with functional and general management responsibilities who seek to enhance their strategic leadership effectiveness. The participant may or may not have direct reports but is in a position of strategic influence in the enterprise or business unit.

Note to Government Professionals:  This program fulfills much of the Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ) required for Senior Executive Service.

Program Benefits

Leading in Complex Organizations provides practical knowledge and tools for:

  • Creating and implementing business unit strategy
  • Aligning business unit initiatives with enterprise direction
  • Increasing results in strategy execution through the use of major components of strategic alignment
  • Creating systems to generate and measure performance
  • Developing your personal management/leadership style

Program Content

Beyond lecture and deep engagement with faculty and peers, content is tied together through a “management simulation” which gives participants the opportunity to apply learned skills directly and immediately each day.  Feedback on simulation performance is provided daily.

Strategic Leadership

  • Translating the Competitive Environment
  • Developing Strategic Capabilities
  • Implementing Strategy from the Enterprise to the Operating Departments
  • Working Within New Organizational Models

The Leader's Role

  • Leadership Styles
  • Using Emotional Intelligence to Enhance Leadership and Influence
  • Shaping an Effective Organizational Culture
  • Strategy Implementation: Process, People, and Purpose

Managerial Leadership

  • Communication and Relationship Management
  • Performance Management
  • Motivational Techniques
  • Encouraging Employee Commitment

Capability and Culture Building

  • Shaping Social Operation Systems and Processes
  • Creating Solutions to Complex Situations
  • Creating an Effective Value Chain
  • Increasing Organization Effectiveness

Decision Making

  • Decision-Making Techniques
  • Organizational Impacts on Decision Making


Value for You and Your Company

Application is a key element of program design. In a risk-free environment, participant teams test implications of complex, long-range decisions in running their own company. Key concepts are driven home by:

  • developing strategic thinking,
  • building competitive awareness,
  • demonstrating the overall interaction of various parts of a business; and,
  • measuring the effectiveness of team-based decisions.

This program also features a 360 assessment plus follow-up executive coaching on a project or leadership challenge.


The program is taught by faculty leaders with extensive backgrounds in research, consulting, and educating executives.  Each brings to the classroom best-practices and implementation processes for achieving world-class results.

Faculty Director

Mr. Charles J. Ninos, President, C. Joseph Ninos and Associates

Faculty Leaders

Dr. Dennis Gioia, Department Chair, Robert & Judith Auritt Klein Professor of Management,  Department: Management and Organization, Smeal College of Business, Penn State

Ms. Maria W. Taylor, Managing Director of Executive Programs, Penn State Executive Programs, Smeal College of Business, Penn State


The program fee of $4,750 includes all instructional materials, private room accommodations, meals, and access to recreational facilities.

Active military personnel, PSU alumni, and teams of three or more attending this program from one company are eligible for a 20% program discount. 


Our enrollment coordinator will be happy to hold a seat for you in this program. A reservation does not commit you to the program until you submit the registration form online. Please call 814-865-3435.

Related Programs

Strategic Leadership provides senior leaders with the perspective to develop strategy and lead change in the organization. You will examine your business environment, determine opportunity, and enhance organizational capability to innovate and impact performance. Note: This program is a requirement for the Leadership Certificate in Strategy and Organizational Performance.

Finance for Strategic Decision Making provides critical accounting and financial knowledge for making decisions that positively affect the performance of the business unit and profitability of the organization. This program covers accounting basics, financial analysis and planning, strategic finance, and corporate valuation. Note: This program is a requirement for the Leadership Certificate in Strategy and Organizational Performance.

Essential Negotiation Skills:  Foundations for Performance increases your personal effectiveness with this two-day program that builds your core negotiation skills.  Content focuses on the theory, art, and practice of negotiation in a variety of settings with considerable emphasis placed on simulation and cases. Note: This program is a requirement for the Leadership Certificate in Collaboration, Influence, and Negotiation.

Building and Leveraging Professional Networks introduces key concepts and tools for diagnosing your social networks and provides strategies for building an maintaining your network in a way that creates value for you and others. This program is a requirement for a Leadership Certificate in Collaboration, Influence, and Negotiation.

Program Dates
October 20 - 22
Executive Education Center, University Park Campus
April 19 - 21, 2016
Executive Education Center, University Park Campus