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The Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group (GPSEG), now Beacon, one of the largest professional and networking associations in the PA-NJ-DE region, provides a unique environment for members to build trusted business relationships, to expand their knowledge and to advance their careers.

Dr. Larry M. Starr, Director and Dr. John Pourdehnad, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Doctor of Management in Strategic Leadership (DSL) Program at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) engaged with Diane James, Executive Director of GPSEG and Jane Frankel Director of Internships and Corporate Partnerships and Assistant Professor at the Temple University Fox School of Business (Sponsors) to discuss how DSL could help GPSEG to address a leadership challenge. The results of this conversation produced a contract, approved by the GPSEG Board, in which a set of new workshops would be designed informed by systems thinking and design methodology that would be offered to members of GPSEG. Four Phases were proposed to be carried out by DSL faculty and doctoral students:

1. Identify and Invite Participants to a Design Workshop
2. Engage in the Design Process
3. Design and Develop Member Workshops
4. Market and Deliver Workshops


This report is the result of a combined effort between Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group (GPSEG) and the Doctor of Management in Strategic Leadership (DSL) Program at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU). The objective is to utilize a four phase method, informed by systems thinking and design methodology, to successfully define, design, and develop workshops/educational experiences for leaders wherein they identify, gain, or enhance the necessary capabilities needed for not only today’s but tomorrow’s complex and dynamic business environment within our global knowledge economy. Key stakeholders were identified and invited to participate in a design workshop on April 14, 2016 at TJU. Human Resources employers and recruiters were asked to specify ideal competencies, skills, roles and capacities of the executives they would ideally hire for the C-Suite. The output data from this session, in conjunction with the literature research and one-on-one interviews conducted to identify workforce and leadership trends, competencies for 21st century leader, transition-related insights and barriers, and competitive landscape offerings, has produced the following recommendations as content for developing membership. A more in-depth description may be found in the Recommendations section of this report.

Executive intelligence: the ability to be self-aware, emotionally intelligent, credible and courageous, and allows a leader to pivot between collaborative and authoritative

Strategic Thinking and Complexity Awareness: augments critical thinking processes and are crucial to the elimination of myopic perspectives.

Executive Presence and Storytelling: allows the leader to provide a clear message and enrich personal relationships.

Building Bridges: through communication skills motivated by the mindset of value-added relational capital creates the conditions for a leader to recognize not all solutions must come from him/her.

Talent Awareness: is not just the acquisition but the development of human capital to ensure a support team focused on the collective vision and capable of making complex decisions.

Entrepreneurial Edge: is achieved through design thinking and the generation of creativity and technology/innovation ultimately improving internal and external customer intimacy.

These emerging themes represent the leadership content most relevant and useful to design curriculum with a holistic approach to leadership development. However, because the content is not easily separated, the DSL Team recommends that careful consideration be placed on the delivery method and integration of material. Further recommendations include a survey of GPSEG members and stakeholders to clearly define areas of importance based on these findings. This will advance the definition of concentrated capacities as well as the design methodology and assist in the formulation of recommended learning objectives and outcomes. Each of the Four Phases contributes to and guides the development of workshops/educational experiences that center on the importance of balancing cognitive strengths such as complex problem solving, complex decision making, critical thinking, creativity, technology skills/innovation with disposition skills recognized and enriched through being authentic, conveying a clear message, and focusing on relational capital.