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LEAD 3010 Leadership Skills & Development
Innovation Challenge

Introduction to the Assignment

The Leadership Challenge introduces change and innovation in the third practice, Challenge the Process. Change has
become an everyday way of life for most of us and addressing change is a complex task required of all leaders in today’s
rapidly changing world.

Managing change effectively is the simple most important element in organizational success.
There is always room for improvement and challenging the status quo, experimenting with new processes, and taking
risks are just a few of the Challenge the Process leadership behaviors.

The purpose of this high-impact learning assignment is to connect with a business leader to learn more about the
innovation process in the “real world” and analyze some concepts associated with Challenge the Process.

Interview an Innovative Leader

For this assignment, interview a formal business leader. This should be a working professional in a leadership role in
their organization that has had experience with leading change and innovation. Parameters and tips for your interview:

• To be successful with this assignment, formulating good questions is key. Watch the TED Talk “The Value of Asking
Questions”with Karen Maeyens to assist you with this. You will reflect on this video as a requirement for your
paper. https://www.ted.com/talks/karen_maeyens_the_value_of_asking_questions

• Do NOT interview a relative. This is an opportunity to network by interviewing someone you do not know or by
interviewing someone you would like to get to know better. Also, do not interview a professor.

• The interview should be in-person or Zoom (or another video platform). About one hour should be enough time for
the interview.

• Formulate your questions in advance to be sure that you stay on target for the purpose of this paper. You may ask
questions for your own benefit that is not related to this assignment (and not include this information in your
paper).

• PRO TIP: Record your interview. You’ll be glad you did when you write your paper because taking notes during this
process will be difficult. You can use your phone to record. Be sure to get your interviewee’s permission to record.

• PRO TIP: Think of this as an opportunity for you to “get your foot in the door” by interacting with someone that may
be able to help you with finding an internship or a job after graduation. Do not be afraid to request a meeting.
Introduce yourself via email and let the individual know that you are a student in a leadership class and that you
would like to know more about their experiences with leading change and innovation. Most people are happy to
meet with students – if they are given enough notice to get you on their calendar.

Grading

Write your paper in essay format (double-spaced), with headings for each section, and a 1,500-word minimum. Do not
rewrite the questions. (Note: meeting the minimum word count does not guarantee a perfect score.)

Criteria Good Satisfactory Unsatisfactory

Introduction/Set the Stage 5 4 3

Analysis of Innovation & Challenging the Process 15 12 9

Reflection 10 7 4
Writing must be appropriate for upper-division course.

Points will be deducted for grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation errors, not citing the textbook, etc.

Part 1: Introduction/Set the Stage (5 points)

Briefly describe who you interviewed, their leadership role, organization, and innovation challenge.

Part II: Analysis of Innovation and Challenging the Process (15 points)

Analyze the innovation scenario and corresponding leader behaviors. Your analysis will be graded on:

• Application of textbook information in your analysis (cite your textbook appropriately)

• Analysis of leader’s responses to questions about innovation and Challenging the Process. IMPORTANT: The
leader’s positive or negative outcomes do not impact your grade. In fact, when leading others we often learn
the most from what went wrong. Your grade is based on your understanding and analysis of the topics.

Some concepts to explore in your interview are listed below. You will need to figure out which topics are most
applicable to your interviewee (both in advance and during your interview). In other words, being familiar with the
topics and formulating good questions is important prior to your interview.

o Vision for Innovation/Change (from Inspire a Shared Vision practice)
o Experimenting and Taking Risks
o Outsighting
o Modeling Innovation/Change Mindset/Behaviors (from Model the Way practice)
o Challenging the Status Quo
o Generating Small Wins
o Resilience/Grit
o Lessons Learned and Learning from Mistakes
o Leading though Change/Adversity
o Creating an Organizational Culture of Innovation
o Making Something Happen/Seizing an Opportunity
o Dealing with Resistance to Change or Criticisms
o Encouraging Creative Thinking
o How they would rate themselves on the SLPI questions associated with Challenge the Process as areas of

strength and weakness

Part III: Reflection (10 points)

Reflection allows leaders to be more self-aware and is important in learning. Respond to the following:

• What did you learn from the TED Talk about asking questions? What were you able to take away from the TED
Talk and apply to your interview?

• Share at least one new insight about leading innovation that you gained from your interview. How might you
build on what you learned?

• Should you consider your interviewee to be a potential mentor? Why or why not?

• What changes do you need to make in your capacity to lead others to better Challenge the Process (be
innovative, get outside of comfort zone, put yourself in new situations where you can learn, challeng yourself to
improve, etc.).