Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Capitol Class

By Neil Watson
MSBA Class of 2013

The US Capitol
When we talk about capital in business school, it is usually in relation to economics.  However, for CUA’s MSBA Class of 2013 discussion last night, that was not the case.  Our discussion was less on capital and more on Capitol – Capitol Hill that it is.

Jeff Fortenberry
(R-Nebraska 1st)
Of the many incredible professors that teach us here in the MSBA program, few have a better view from their office than Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.  It is a privilege and an honor to have a US Congressman for a professor – an experience unique among business graduate programs.  It is an especially great opportunity because his work on the Hill exemplifies the aims of this program – using a specific skill set in service to society.  Beyond the explicit lessons of his lectures, it is easy to learn from him because he “walks the talk.”

Congressman Fortenberry
with the author in his
Longworth Building office
From his office in the Longworth Building (complete with a sweeping view of the Potomac River), the Congressman welcomed the Leadership class he co-teaches with Prof. Brach for a lecture on several various topics ranging from American political philosophy to family life.

I was personally struck by our discussion on how and why a leader must communicate his vision in a compelling way.  The topic came up as we discussed the results of the recent election (an inevitable topic when you are meeting a Congressman on the Hill so shortly after an election).  Regardless of what side of the aisle my classmates and I sit on, we all agreed that one of the reasons the GOP did not perform better in the election was an ineffective communication of their vision.

A non-traditional classroom-MSBA
students met their professor,
Congressman Fortenberry
at his Capitol Hill office

To illustrate the point, the Congressman gave the example of a Republican leader who tried to make his point on economic growth with charts, graphs, and formulas.  His Democratic counterpart instead told the story of a young woman and her child living in a car.  Despite the logic of the Republican leader’s vision and strategy, the Democrat’s vision – communicated through a heart-rending story – will always win over the people.

From that conversation, I took away that being a leader requires more than just having a vision.  To lead effectively, one must be able to communicate his or her vision in a compelling way that moves the intended audience towards the right goal.  

Whether you are a politician trying to convince the electorate to vote for you or a CEO trying to grow your company, the ability to communicate a compelling vision is absolutely essential.  It is one of many lessons from our classes with Congressman Fortenberry that I think many of us will remember long after we leave CUA.

MS in Business Analysis graduate Student
November 18, 2012

1 comment:

  1. Great post! And I agree completely with the conclusions of you and your colleagues regarding the election results.