Boston as Leadership Learning Lab | MLD-618 Leadership, Social Change, and its Challenges with Chris Winship and Ira Jackson

Throughout history, Boston and Massachusetts have been progressive leaders in social change: the first public school, the Revolutionary War, the first public library, the Abolitionist Movement to eliminate slavery, Women’s Suffrage, Universal Health Care (almost), and Marriage Equality, to name of a few.

Yet, Boston has had, and continues to have, serious challenges. Today its economy is booming; some talk about this being Boston’s “Golden Age.” That said, Boston has one of the highest levels of income inequality of any city in the U.S. Its history of difficult race, ethnic, and class relations issues continue to this day.

In their fall course, MLD-618: Leadership, Social Change, and its Challenges: Focus on Race, Class, and Social Justice, Christopher Winship and Ira Jackson of Harvard’s Sociology Department explore a range of challenging issues facing Boston through a leadership lens. Examining cases like Boston’s school busing crisis, the Catholic church child sex abuse scandal, the Boston Harbor cleanup and Seaport development, and Boston policing, this course focuses on the analytic aspects of leadership: the careful assessment of a situation and the potential for individuals or groups to create change.

Winship and Jackson posit that social change, for better or worse, often occurs, at least in part, because of individual or group leadership. But what makes for effective, or ineffective leadership? Is it the quality or skills of an individual? Do ethics matter? A good match between what is needed and who is in leadership? Or is it making the right strategic choices based on a thorough understanding of situation?

Answering these questions requires someone to be a good social scientist – to have a sophisticated understanding of the manifest and latent dynamics of a situation and the potential leaders within it. Importantly, different situations require different types of leadership and individuals differ in their leadership skills and resources.

Through MLD-618 students have fantastic opportunity to deeply examine local issues and actually interact with the key individuals who are, or were, the protagonists in the cases being studied.

Students can ask these special class guests how they understood the situation(s) they were in, why they made the decisions that they did, and if now, in retrospect, they would have done anything differently. A few examples of guests in the course are:

The core learning goal of this course is to give students the tools to rigorously analyze and evaluate situations where leadership is an issue and social change is the goal. You will learn how to do this by using a specific framework consisting of a series of steps:  analyzing a situation, determining what options are available, and then evaluating each option in term of its consequences and its ethics. In addition, many cases in the course are interrelated. What is possible to do in any situation will often be constrained by what happened in previous situation(s). It is important that the cases we examine be understood in context, not as isolated situations. The local focus on Boston as a community allows students to do this. The course also provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about Boston and its environs. Through three different trips to explore Boston: one as a class (Museum of African American History), and two on your own (The Black Heritage Trail and the Ella J. Baker House) give students concrete experience of the city in which they are studying, and to see the city as a learning laboratory.

MLD-618 is also listed at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Sociology 1119. It will be taught in Fall 2022 on Mondays 3:00-5:45 in William James Hall.  The course makes a good complement to other MLD courses in Leadership, Strategic ManagementUrban and Civic Innovation, and Organizing Civic, Political, and Social Action. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator

Female doctor attending to male patient

MLD-636: Managing Transformations in Healthcare with Thomas Glynn

Learning from practice is a hallmark of the Harvard Kennedy School, and our faculty includes numerous talented individuals who have spent significant portions of their careers in public service.  Perhaps the best example is adjunct lecturer Thomas Glynn.

Glynn’s long and distinguished career has spanned across the public-, private- and non-profit sectors, and covered an array of public policy domains, including public health, labor, transportation, and urban development. From 1983 to 1988 Glynn served as Deputy Commissioner of Public Welfare in Massachusetts which included oversight of the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program. From 1989 to 1991, Glynn was the General Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority which includes subway, trolley, bus, paratransit and commuter rail services for Greater Boston. In 1991 the Mayor of Boston, Raymond Flynn, tapped Glynn to chair the Mayor’s Healthcare Commission with a focus on improving the performance of neighborhood health centers. Then, in 1993, Glynn was nominated by President Bill Clinton to be U.S.  Deputy Secretary of Labor. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent and served through April 15, 1996. HKS adjunct lecturer Tom Glynn

Subsequently, from 1996 to 2010 he served as COO of Partners Healthcare (now called “Mass General Brigham | Integrated Health Care System”), a network of Harvard hospitals, clinicians, and neighborhood health centers. Stepping down from Partners in 2010, Glynn joined the Harvard Kennedy School for the first time, teaching MLD-101, then the introductory public management course in the MPP core, and serving as the faculty chair of an executive program for new State Commissioners for Public Health.  Called into public service again, Glynn left HKS to serve from 2012-2018 as CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority which includes Boston’s Logan International Airport, four maritime businesses in the Port of Boston and significant real estate portfolios in the South Boston Seaport and East Boston Waterfront. In 2018 Glynn returned to Harvard, becoming Chief Executive Officer of the Harvard Allston Land Company, overseeing the University’s non-institutional development of its Enterprise Research Campus in Allston, MA. In Fall of 2019, Glynn stepped back into the HKS classroom as an adjunct lecturer teaching courses in on strategic management for public service organizations.  Glynn continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Pine Street Inn, an agency that serves the homeless, the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions, and several other non-profit healthcare organizations.  For his exceptional service, Glynn was named a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Bringing his wealth of experience into his course MLD-636: Managing Transformations in Healthcare Glynn focuses on how to successfully manage transformations in the U.S. healthcare system. Transformations in healthcare include changing reimbursement models, initiatives to improve quality, and projects to redesign the care delivery system. Unsurprisingly, given his experience, this course will work across sectors – non-profit, private, and public sectors, including federal, state and local levels.  Using primarily the case-method pedagogy, this course will begin with a focus on diagnosing specific contextual, organizational, and cultural challenges faced by organizations delivering healthcare.  Then the course will turn to management tools that can transform the healthcare delivery system. These tools include: 1) managing silos, 2) enhancing the role of clinicians, 3) goal setting and monitoring, and 4) public health campaigns. Glynn also plans to bring into his class several distinguished guest lecturers who are in the heart of current practice.

MLD-636 will be offered at Harvard Kennedy School in the fall semester. If you have any questions about this course, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator.

MLD-412 MBTA student site visit

FAB in MLD: Finance, Accounting, and Budgeting are Central to Organizational Success

Budgeting, accounting, and financial management are central to the successful operation of government, nonprofit, and for-profit organizations.  MLD offers a sequence of three courses for students seeking to boost their understanding how “FAB” concepts and techniques can be powerful management tools.

 

MLD-401M: Financial Analysis of Public and Nonprofit Organizations taught by Brian Iammartino is an introductory, general-audience course intended for students with no background in accounting or financial analysis. By the end of the course, students will be able to: 1) Understand commonly-used accounting and financial analysis terminology, concepts, tools and processes; 2) Evaluate financial statements in order to ask probing questions, identify risks and/or opportunities, and think critically about financial performance; and 3) Recommend and justify courses of action based on analyses of accounting and other financial data. Specific topics covered include an overview of the financial reporting landscape and governance; accounting principles and concepts; a detailed review of the major financial statements; and the analysis of major financial topics such as organizational liquidity, solvency, operations, funding, and benchmarking.  Main focus will be on features of public and nonprofit accounting, but many of the topics covered are applicable to all types of organizations. Students completing MLD-401M will be well prepared to take the the following course.

 

MLD-411M: Introduction to Budgeting and Financial Management also taught by Brian Iammartino is a rigorous introductory course aims to demystify FAB topics for a general audience of students, even those lacking any related background. Iammartino will, step-by-step, help students understand the entire budgeting process, including budget formulation and execution, variance analysis, budget strategies such as activity-based costing, revenue forecasting, and capital budgeting. Accounting topics include an overview of the financial reporting and governance landscape, accounting principles and concepts, and a detailed review of the major financial statements.Linda Bilmes, Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy The course will build on these budgeting and accounting principles to progress to financial management techniques such as the Balanced Scorecard, financial benchmarking, and the analysis of organizational liquidity, solvency, operations and funding.

 

Students successfully completing MLD-411M may apply for Linda Bilmes’ spring course MLD-412: The Greater Boston Applied Field Lab, an advanced, field-based, experiential learning course in which students work on challenging urban management and financial projects. A comprehensive video about the course is available here.

Of MLD-412 , Mid-Career MPA (’20) and recent program fellow Will Eden says, “No course at the Kennedy School I’ve taken has been as thoughtfully composed, incorporated as much feedback, or offered such a valuable hands-on learning experience.” Real world course projects in the past year included a detailed estimate on the financial viability of plans for building a performing arts center in Gloucester, MA; an analysis for the town of Hingham, MA about funding federally mandated storm water runoff infrastructure; rethinking energy supply and demand options related to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority‘s (MBTA) the South Boston Power Station; and, for the Massachusetts Port Authority (MassPort), an assessment of threats/opportunities for the Boston seafood cluster in the global supply chain.  Past projects have included a number of meaningful collaborations with the City of Somerville, MA, documented on video here. For more details, read the AY21 Report on the Applied Field Lab.

 

MLD-401M and MLD-411M will be offered at the Harvard Kennedy School in Fall semester. MLD-412 will be offered in the spring semester. For questions about these courses, or any other in the MLD curriculum, email Greg Dorchak, MLD Area Administrator. You may also contact Greater Boston Advanced Field Lab Program Director Susan Krusell (susan_krusell@hks.harvard.edu)

Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative Launches Mayoral Program

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative has launched the pilot of its year-long Mayors Program on City Leadership.  Program Faculty Director Jorrit de Jong of the HKS MLD Area says, “We have a great cohort of 40 mayors who are excited about the opportunities we are offering them and have high expectations. This year will be a pilot year and we put systems in place to enable rapid learning, in depth evaluation as well as ongoing impact assessment.”  In the course of this year-long program, mayors will be asked to identify a single priority to apply their learning to: a problem to be solved in the city, an opportunity to realize, or an organizational capability to improve.

Harvard's Jorrit de DeJong addresses city mayors
“Local government is close to the people. Mayors are most immediately held accountable when something goes wrong,” said Harvard Kennedy School Lecturer Jorrit de Jong, the initiative’s faculty director. © Bloomberg Philanthropies

For example, a mayor may choose to make her approach to reduce homelessness more data-driven, run experiments in the city’s effort to reduce obesity, or create a multi-sector approach to creating jobs. The priority may also pertain to organizational development: strengthen teaming efforts across city hall, engage front-line staff in innovation, or introduce a new performance leadership strategy. In the closing session later this year mayors will reflect on what they learned and how they would like to apply that going forward.  A subsequent program for the mayors’ senior staff will build on this innovation priority and will zoom in on the challenges of making change and delivering on the mayor’s agenda. BHCLI will follow up with several supports, including HBX Live sessions on topics that are most relevant and helpful to the greatest number of mayors, and bespoke assistance in the form of research, coaching or regional or thematic workshops.

After the Mayors Program, mayors will meet with the senior staff participating in the Senior Staff program and discuss their innovation priority. As the Senior Staff program focuses on making organizational change and strategy within and across organizational boundaries, program faculty will learn where the cities are coming from and what they are working on. Participating mayors and their staffs will benefit from this model by anchoring their learning in – and applying it to – concrete challenges in their work. Finally, the priority serves as a reference point for faculty follow ups and impact assessment. Our hope and expectation is that cities will be working on an innovation priority of their choice during their year-long engagement with the City Leadership Program.

For further details on the program launch, also read the Harvard Gazette article linked here.