American map with some state lit up in yellow
Thursday, June 3, 2021
By Tom Snee

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had an idea they hoped would not only improve patient care in its hospitals and clinics but also save taxpayer dollars. To find out, they looked for help from the Tippie Leadership Collaborative at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business.

The Tippie Leadership Collaborative is the college’s new resource hub for companies and nonprofits looking to develop talented leaders and solve business problems using the vast expertise of the college’s management faculty. It’s home to some of the most sought-after experts in the world on topics around leadership, team development, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, and talent management.

The collaborative provides clients with numerous resources to help them improve their operations, including expert speakers, research partnerships, and custom executive education.

“We are rethinking how business schools do lifelong learning,” explains Stephen Courtright, who oversees the Tippie Leadership Collaborative and is a Henry B. Tippie Research Professor. “First by offering a variety of opportunities for organizations to connect with our experts—as speakers, research consultants, and/or executive educators. And second by adopting a client-centric model focused entirely on addressing their specific needs. Collaborative, innovative, nimble, and constantly looking for ways to add value. That’s the Iowa way of doing things.”

The VA partnered with Greg Stewart, professor of management and entrepreneurship and the Mary H. Bell Chair in Leadership, and Eean Crawford, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship. What would happen, they wondered, if patients were assigned long-term interdisciplinary teams of doctors, nurses, and clerks that would coordinate each veteran’s care from start to finish, instead of random assignments of health care providers for each visit? Would that improve health care while making it more efficient?

Working with operational partners throughout the VA, they analyzed patterns of data. The research partnership ultimately demonstrated assigned teams provide stronger, more efficient health care to patients.

“We showed that assigned teams were able to know and serve their patients better,” says Stewart.

Another client, the Mississippi Valley chapter of the Association of Talent Development, was looking for an expert to help members learn more about organizational leadership and turned to the collaborative’s list of speakers for help. Here, the college’s internationally recognized thought leaders share their knowledge and expertise with leaders and staff, either in person or virtually.

Jennifer Nahrgang, Palmer Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship, talked with the group about “Why Capable People are Reluctant to Lead.” The engagement was based on one of her studies that was recently published in a leading scholarly journal.

“Her facilitation style was the perfect blend of presenting content and encouraging attendees to actively participate in the learning experience,” says Jon Sexton of the Mississippi Valley chapter of the association and senior vice president of culture and leadership development at Iowa City-based Vibrant Credit Union. “Our members deeply appreciated the opportunity to learn about the topic at hand, as well as about other resources and opportunities available through the Tippie Leadership Collaborative.”

The collaborative also provides custom executive education, designing a development experience that challenges and excites future leaders. Executive education programs range from half-day workshops to year-long programming.

Brad Stoefen, training and development manager at Muscatine-based HNI Corp., admitted that he wasn’t sure an institution as large as the University of Iowa would be agile enough to provide the services they needed. But when Tippie’s service providers started asking questions to learn more about the company, exactly what their needs were, and how to design programming that would have an impact and be utilized by team members, his concerns soon evaporated.

“Our experience has been nothing but great,” he says. “We view the University of Iowa as a trusted partner who takes an inquisitive approach to developing customized programs. Through collaboration with faculty experts, the content is aligned to topics HNI, as a company, is prioritizing. The facilitators do a nice job of drawing out the participants so it's not a one-way lecture.”

Whether in person or virtual, the Tippie Leadership Collaborative can come to you. Past and current clients, locations highlighted in yellow on the map above, are found all over the United States. Tap into the resources of Iowa’s top-ranked business school to solve your company’s most pressing business challenges at an affordable price. Learn more and start a conversation.