Sarah Phalen, Susan Koch and Timothy KilleenPictured: INB President and CEO Sarah Phalen thanks the University of Illinois network with a donation to the University of Illinois Springfield/U of I Foundation for partnering with us on INB’s inaugural Executive Perspectives Program. With Sarah is UIS Chancellor Susan Koch and University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen. 

When prominent experiences and expertise converge, you’ll see creativity and innovation stimulate new growth in many areas. We’ve seen this firsthand thanks to an exciting, original program pioneered by INB, University of Illinois Springfield (UIS), and executive business leaders in the local community.

INB’s new Executive Perspectives program was adapted from the few similar programs around the country, and over the months of planning, it evolved to become a course about important business topics that business owners and executive leaders could integrate into their companies to benefit the entire central Illinois community.

With UIS and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign being nearby, we have access to some of the top business minds in the country. These experts custom-designed our Executive Perspectives course for the small, 24-person class.

For our attendees, Executive Perspectives became a retreat from routine, enabling them to step away and gain new perspectives on the big picture of their companies. Through lessons, group activities and social experiences, each component of the course prompted innovative ideas and encouraged participants to implement those ideas within their business structure.

New Topic Each Session

The four topics for our course included process improvement, strategic management, emotional intelligence and enterprise risk management.

One of the activities we took part in examined how to use emotional intelligence to manage others. It included a self-assessment performed by our course participants. Several of the executives requested additional questionnaires to take back to their staff members so they can compare self-assessments to staff analysis of their leadership traits and behaviors. This will help the executives better identify their own strengths and weaknesses.

We also explored ideas to incrementally improve one’s leadership qualities, which will result in incremental improvement of the organization. Each of our participants was challenged to purposefully improve one small aspect of life, such as a negative daily habit, which is intended to cause noticeable change in both themselves and their companies, improving morale.

Working Together to Avoid Complacency

Executive Perspectives joins together the communities of business and academia. Thanks to programs like Executive Perspectives, business leaders can apply academic principles to their companies to test theories and report back to the institution of higher learning.

Through the extensive relationships INB has with the local business community, we’ve seen that one of the main pitfalls of business is complacency. By constantly seeking educational opportunities, business owners remain at the forefront of innovation.

The course was far more robust and advanced than what each participating organization could offer individually. Through cutting-edge programs like Executive Perspectives, local executive leaders will be able to vastly improve the overall business climate in central Illinois.