In today’s rapidly evolving business environment, the only company that doesn’t need some type of management coaching or development is the one that’s already out of business. At the Center for Management Development (CMD) at the Indiana University Northwest School of Business and Economics, director Bill Gregory and the school’s accomplished business and management faculty are dedicated to providing Northwest Indiana businesses, municipalities and non-profit organizations with top-to-bottom training and strategies for succeeding in the diverse, technology-driven, information-rich marketplace of the 21st century.
Gregory, an Ogden Dunes resident who operated his own management-consulting practice for 25 years before joining the CMD earlier this academic year, said today’s top management concerns include finance, leadership, workplace diversity, and information management.
“Finance for non-financial managers is always a big thing,” he said. “I spoke with the president of a company in Valparaiso shortly after I came in here. It was a family-run business. He said, ‘The very first thing I did when I took over as the family manager of the business was to hire somebody who knew finance and knew how to do long-term strategy planning and that kind of thing, because I couldn’t do it well.’ He said a lot of businesses, especially family-run businesses, flounder on that. As he put it, they manage from the heart rather than the head.”
As Gregory explained, there is an important distinction between management and leadership. Each role has its place in a successful organization, he said, but it’s possible to pay too much attention to one at the expense of the other.
“Leadership is providing the vision and holding forth to that vision even when things aren’t particularly going well,” Gregory said. “Management is more doing the day-to-day things. ‘Let’s make sure that we don’t die.’ But leadership takes you to a different place. If you spend all of your energy just making sure your business doesn’t die, that’s not a very good way to ensure growth.”
Gregory, 67, is a graduate of Miami University in Ohio, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in sociology. That may seem like an odd pairing of disciplines for a business consultant, but Gregory said the social-science aspect of his education has served him and his clients well.
“It’s essentially all about people in groups, so it’s been a very important part of my background, certainly with the training and consulting I’ve done in the area of diversity, which is where I’ve really focused a lot of my attention over the years,” he said.
Gregory, whose wife, Carolyn Saxton, is director of the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, said the CMD directorship appealed to him, in part, because of the reputation of the business school, which is accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, and its faculty.
“I didn’t know anybody personally here, but I knew the reputation of the faculty,” he said. “They’re AACSB-accredited. And I knew the range of activity that came out of centers like this. And from what I knew of comparable centers of management development, and what I knew of the reputation of this school, I thought I could make a contribution.”
In the months since he joined IU Northwest, Gregory has worked hard to spread the word about CMD’s services, attending Chamber of Commerce functions and speaking with economic-development folks across the region. The CMD has successfully maintained working relationships with major clients like U.S. Steel over the years, and Gregory is hoping to strengthen existing relationships while creating new ones with companies of all sizes.
Gregory said he also aims to reestablish the CMD’s year-long certificate program for municipal managers, something the Center offered to the city of East Chicago several years ago. Municipal employees take a variety of training courses in management and leadership topics and receive an IU Northwest certificate demonstrating their successful completion of the program.
“The area has a great need for the kind of leadership training and management-development things that the Center can offer,” Gregory said. “The first thing we can do when you call us … is come out and give you a free consultation on your training needs. Maybe you don’t even know what you need. But if you’re willing to sit down with us for a while, we will consult with you.”
To contact Gregory at the IU Northwest Center for Management Development, call (219) 981-4257, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the CMD, visit the Web at http://www.iun.edu/center-for-management-development/.