By: Michelle Massa, Tuck School of Business Posted: Jan 28th, 2014

At Tuck, the business of learning is personal. Some of you may have seen that as our tag line on our website or in our marketing materials. If you’ve attended a Tuck program or event, then you know we deliver on that promise and take great pride in creating a highly personalized experience. But if you are new to Tuck’s culture, then we’ll share an example from a recent event that brings this idea to life.

The GDS HR Summit is an annual forum for human resources executives from global companies to share best practices and get answers to some of their most vexing questions. For the second year in a row, Tuck played a key role at the event, with Associate Dean for Executive Education Sydney Finkelstein, giving the keynote talk. With so many human resources industry events, how do you decide which ones to attend? For us, it’s about scale and having high-level conversations that focus on solving key business challenges.

Around 65 delegates from top global companies attended the HR Summit, where the focus was on developing relationships, exploring new ideas, finding solutions, and learning from peers. The format of this forum is unique in that HR delegates are matched up in advance with the providers whom they are most interested in meeting with, and vice versa. So in our quest to learn more about a potential client’s needs, a meeting is arranged and the right people are at the table, making it an incredibly efficient use of time. One delegate – Andrew Lavalle, Managing Director of HR worldwide at Time Warner – shares those sentiments, and are captured in this video testimonial from his experience at the Summit (video player in middle of this page).

In his keynote address, Syd Finkelstein talked about the 4 characteristics of great leaders, and asked of the HR execs, “Are our leaders developing the qualities needed to be the great leaders we need them to be?”

Based on years of research, he’s distilled top leader’s attributes into these four capabilities:

  1. Intellectual Honesty: the capability to adapt to new realities
  2. Accountability: the capability of motivating teams to deliver world-class results
  3. Self-Awareness: the capability to understand why we make the decisions that we do
  4. Talent Magnet: the capability to attract and develop great people


During the forum, we saw a few themes emerge from our conversations with HR executives.

  1. Talent – How do we develop our high-potential leaders most effectively?
  2. Big Data – What role does it play in identifying talent gaps and in developing leaders?
  3. HR as a strategic partner – HR has a seat at the business strategy table, but is their voice being heard about developing talent as a key business imperative and competitive advantage? How to optimize that opportunity?
  4. Impact – How do we best evaluate learning initiatives and drive impact from the investment in learning?
  5. Blended learning – What role does online learning play, and do we need to think of everything as a blended learning experience– surrounding the high-impact in-person experience with efficient online learning opportunities?


Attending the HR Summit is an opportunity for Tuck to connect with human resources executives in a meaningful way; it’s not about volume, but rather about the quality. And at Tuck, that aligns perfectly with our own philosophy.

More Resources

Read our blog post on evalutating program impact and measurement

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Four Capabilities of Great Strategic Leaders


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