This course was first developed over a five year period at the University of Rochester Simon School of Business, USA (2004 – 2008).   Since 2004 Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen, Steve Zaffron and Joe DiMaggio (and Jeri Echeverria since 2014), have been working on the development of this leadership course. We recognize and thank colleagues who contributed to versions of the course, Allan Scherr (2005-2008) and especially Kari Granger (2008-2015).

The first five years, Dean Mark Zupan of the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester courageously provided them with a classroom laboratory within which to do the research and development required to create a course that would actually leave students being leaders and exercising leadership effectively as their natural self-expression. Dan Struble provided critical support.

During the five years the course was taught at the Simon School, it was conducted variously from 3 to 5 full days during the orientation period at the beginning of the school year, to students, and some faculty and administrators from the university and some Simon School alumni.  Enrollments ranged from about 20 in the beginning to 120 in the last year. Since then some material from the course has been taught at the Simon School by Dan Struble, Candy Obourn, and Bob Maddama.

The course (or the course with variations or parts of the course) is already being taught by local professors in more than 22 universities around the world – from the United States Air Force Academy to Rutgers University to the medical school at Dartmouth College.

As a part of ongoing research and development of the course, and to introduce it into new universities, Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen and their colleagues personally deliver the course twice a year. When they teach the course, instead of doing it over a semester, they do the course in six full days (with two days off in the middle where the participants deal with personal and small group assignments from the course). These courses are open to non-university people so that research can be done on the impact not only on students and professors but also on managers, executives, and other people with a commitment to leadership.

When they deliver the course in an academic institution most of the participants are students (ranging from undergraduates, through MBA and other Masters students, to PhD candidates) along with professors, administrators, and alumni from that institution, as well as professors and administrators from other academic institutions.

When as a result of taking the course as a participant a professor chooses to personally teach the course, each year we conduct the “Creating Course Leaders Workshop” to: 1) train those professors committed to teaching the course to discover for themselves the content of the course, 2) to powerfully deliver the content of the course, 3) to effectively handle participant’s questions and challenges, 4) and, in what it takes personally to actually deliver on the promise of the course.

Sands Leadership Lecture Series
Jensen and Erhard discuss the creation of the leadership course.

Bios of the Founders of the Initiative