CIMBA Newsletter

February 2014

Read ABC
When I was first introduced to Daniel Goleman's latest book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, my System 1 reaction was that it was yet another book on self-regulation, --which has been variously labeled self-control, self-discipline, or willpower among others. Those of you who follow the ABC regularly, as well as those of you who have been active participants in our personal development system, know that we place considerable importance on developing an individual's self-regulatory ability. In the first chapter of the book Goleman paints a picture of what he means by "Focus" (He doesn't really define it), which when applied to a leader is perhaps best summarized by the following passage:


A leader tuned out of his internal world will be rudderless; one blind to the world of others will be clueless; those in different to the larger systems within which they operate will be blindsided.[Goleman, Focus, page 4, emphasis added]

Calendar of Events:
February 2014

March 8,9 - 15,16

MBA Marketing: Brand Management
Professor John Wong, Iowa State University

March 26
Brand Management Exam

March 29,30 - April 5,6
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Professor Dennis Schrag, University of Iowa

March 7-9 LIFE Italian Edition

March 14 and 15
Operations Management & Supply Chain Professor Simone Bigolin, University of Iowa 

March 6 CIMBA will be in Rome at the QS World MBA tour. For all of our CIMBA friends in Rome come and visit our booth!

March 27 - 6.30PM

MBA and Executive Certificate presentation
s in Padova
Please email to attend the event

Derek Kopke
MBA Class 1994   


Tell us a little about yourself:

I graduated from the MBA Class of 1994. I am from Montreal, Canada. After graduation, with some solid advise from Dr Ringleb, I joined a rapidly expanding retail company and considered my first year there "as your second year of your MBA". After several years in consumer electronics retail, I went to the vendor side and sold products into retail for almost 10 years before focusing more on the telecommunications business. For the past 10 years, I have been with a company called DataWind, helping "bridge the digital divide" by getting low cost PC hardware and low cost internet into the hands of the world's most disadvantaged. DataWind grew to international fame by winning the Indian government's educational tender for low cost tablet PC's. Our current tablets retail for as low as $37.99USD with some cellular embedded versions including 1 year of unlimited mobile internet selling for as low as $99.99USD retail. It is changing the landscape for the world's most disadvantaged and is extremely rewarding work.


tech4afica day 2  Derek Kopke datawind
tech4afica - Derek Kopke Datawind


What are some of the things that at CIMBA that changed your way of thinking?

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at CIMBA. The opportunity to spend a year with people from around the globe, learning different viewpoints from those without my experience bias and thinking outside the box is what has helped form the analytical way in which I break down new experiences.

What was your favorite moment in the MBA/CIMBA Program?

I enjoyed the marketing classes but my favorite moments were the extra-curricular activities which helped with team building. Italian classes, sports, company visits, the Croatia trip, cooking lessons, etc...

What advise would you give to a current or perspective students?

Take the time to learn from your fellow students as much as from your classroom. Understanding how others think will help you with people skills, which is one of the most valuable skills that you can have in the workplace.

Can you share a dream/future goal?

DataWind's sister company has developed a low cost touch panel technology (handy when you build low cost tablets) and is working on a unique Organic Light Emitting Diode technology which will revolutionize the way that large surface high resolution displays can be made at a fraction of the cost of current OLED and LCD displays. I hope to be able to help bring this new technology to the world shortly. 


What is your favorite movie? Favorite book? 

Movie:Good Will Hunting

Book:The Lord of the Rings Trilogy / most of John Grisham's work

What inspires you?

My family. My wife of almost 15 years, Annie spent several years in business and took a few years off to take care of the children. She has since decided to change careers and is back at school and a year away from completing her new degree in special education. Her hard work to achieve this new goal when all her fellow students are half her age, while balancing home life and the family is amazing. My 12 year old daughter, Mia started high school this year and on top of great results, has managed, with her cheerleading team, after several national titles, to qualify for the world championships in Orlando this coming April. My son Liam, 11, is also doing very well in school and sports and is destined for great things. 



Bernardo Medeiros, MBA class of 2009, is now Category Manager for maintenance at Virgin Galactic. Congratulations Bernardo! We are looking forward to seeing the CIMBA flag in space!



Marco Lamonato, part time MBA student Class 2012, just founded a start-up company named LEAF. The company is in the energy management field. Good luck Marco!  



Mritunjay Kumar, MBA class 2010, got married to Neha Trivedi Mishra on January 29th. Congratulations newlyweds!





Class of 1994

is planning its 20th reunion on June 27-29 in Prague. Please contact to attend the event! 


Class of 2004 

will have a reunion in Kansas City MO on March 21-23. Get in contact with Jorge Velez to attend. 


Class of 2003  

Margo and Michiel are planning a class reunion in Asolo, on May 24 - 26. Please contact them if you want to join the group. 




Take a read through the  CIMBA BLOGS, and see the UG's latest adventures in the videos below:


CIMBA Spring 2014 Carnivale and Event with a Professor! 
CIMBA Spring 2014 Carnevale and Event with a Professor!

CIMBA Spring 2014 
CIMBA Spring 2014 
Quick Links 
CIMBA Website
Like us on Facebook
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Dear ,  


We've had an exciting February here at CIMBA so we have lots to share!


You will meet Derek Kopke, a 1994 CIMBA MBA Graduate who is Executive Vice President of International Business Development at Canadian company DataWind, maker of the sub-$40 tablet computer for the developing world.  


We take you through descriptions of the six companies that our undergraduate students visited. A student from our Executive Program shares his experience in the Negotiations workshop. There is also an update on the latest course that the MBAs are completing.   


Don't forget to take a look at the videos that the undergraduates put together of their latest experiences - they are definitely making the most of their time here in Italy! 



The CIMBA Staff 


MBA Marketing class
MBA students during case discussion 
Participants thoroughly enjoyed the Marketing Management course taught by professor DJ Nayakankuppam, from the University of Iowa. In contrast with traditional text-book based classes, this course was structured around student research and case studies that truly enabled them to see the role marketing has played in real life companies in regards to profit and market share.

Students looked at how new companies approach entering markets and how established companies approach the need to grow when facing competition, as well as, how distribution channels, pricing, and other factors play a role in all of this.  Students also analyzed advertising and promotion concepts in consideration of market segmentation and positioning.

Powerhouses such as Coca-Cola, Snapple, Kodak, Kao and Black and Decker were some of the various companies that were used in order to help students understand these strategies. The accessibility and interactive qualities of this course allowed the many engineers in the group to have a better perspective into what they often think is "manipulation".
Cristina Turchet live on Telepadova - 7Gold presenting the 22nd edition of the MBA Program.
Cristina Turchet live on Telepadova - 7Gold presenting the 22nd edition of the MBA Program.

Thoughts from Kevin Zakorchemny, participant of this month's
Negotiation Workshop:

Through the negotiation workshop with Professor Siedel, we gained a broad overview of the methods used to deal with

Students during a negotiation round
Students in a negotiation exercise

different types of negotiations and disputes. From a management perspective, our awareness increased of potential dispute situations where managers can better gauge their involvement (and time) and at  the same time intrinsically build employee relations and productivity.  


For example, when Professor Siedel asked the class for our preferred negotiation method, we were quick to choose mediation (assisted negotiation). However, studies show that managers actually act in the exact opposite way by using  an inquisitorial process (think of a judge during litigation) when dealing with in-company issues, rather than playing more of a mediator role and allowing parties involved in disputes to come to their own agreement. This inquisitorial process allows the manager to flex their power and keep in mind their own interests, but can be rather time consuming and even cause employees to feel threatened, avoid disputes altogether, and reduce engagement and productivity. It's something to keep in mind the next time your employee comes to you with an issue.


We also participated in a variety of one-on-one and team negotiations during the weekend, learning about our strengths and weaknesses in different situations. For me, one key takeaway was in regards to the importance of knowing as much as you can about the opposition's BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement) when engaging in a negotiation. Likewise, the importance of proper questioning to learn of the other party's interests, including any potential mutual interests that may exist, is key to support a successful negotiation. Both tools are steps within a larger process introduced in the assigned reading, "Getting to YES" by Fisher & Ury.


Finally, we spent part of the workshop reviewing key tools and traps to be aware of during negotiations, such as anchoring and framing. These tools are examples of mindless assumptions our brains can make and reinforced the power of "System 1", habitual thinking on everyday decisions.


I highly recommend this workshop as it gives participants an outstanding set of tools to use that align perfectly with the CIMBA fundamentals of "trust the process", "ask the right questions", and have the "self-regulation" to control your potential assumptions.  This workshop will help you understand how to use these concepts in context and become an excellent negotiator!




As many of you probably know the undergraduate students participate in company tours during their semester in Italy.  They get to hear directly from local business leaders how companies were founded and how they are operated.  The students are able to take a tour of the factories to see the business processes and operations first hand.  Students cite this as a great learning opportunity to see and hear about some of the things they have been learning from those who are actually putting such knowledge into practice.   


This semester students visited the following companies: 


Steelco has become a reference point for the production of disinfection and sanitization devices in many professional areas. With a strong inclination for the foreign markets but still with  production 100% made in Italy, the company represents an excellence within the infection control industry and is able to provide its customers with solutions that go beyond market standards.

Zalf offers excellent furniture with innovative design, high-performance and functionality. Their goal is to build aesthetically pleasing emotional environments. Their unique design versatility is the result of the seamless integration of different construction systems. Zalf has seen a substantial expansion of  production, reaching 25,000 square meters of covered area. They have also inserted  CNC machines that have doubled daily production.

Olang SPA
Olang is considered one of the leading companies in the quality shoe sector. Their shoes are distributed all over Europe and in many other countries throughout the world. Olang designs, manufactures and commercializes good quality trekking and outdoor shoes which provides comfort and style to the wearer; they are light, durable and suitable for all types of adventures. A combination of Italian design, extensive knowledge and a strong passion for footwear, makes each pair of shoes a special and unique purchase.

Veneto Vetro
At Veneto Vetro they transform glass at the highest levels in every sector, specializing in the manufacturing of flat tempered glass, curved tempered glass, screen printed glass, glass with ceramic paints,  safety glass, and other various high- performance glasses.

Palladio-Zannini manufactures quality packaging products, guaranteeing clients an excellent service through expertise and technical know-how. Their optimum standards aim for nothing short of excellence, and  pay serious attention to innovation and the total sustainability of their processes. They have been engaged in packaging for more than 60 years and gained enormous experience, fine-tuned by working closely alongside multinationals within the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.

Favero HP
Favero Health Project's mission is to have an innovative approach to design and production. Their large-scale investment in research, new design systems and production technology has resulted in a line of products that combine the highest levels of functionality with world-class design so as to improve both patient service and the ward environment as a whole. They are particularly proud of their turnkey furnishing solutions for hospitals and care facilities which provide a comfortable, fully integrated environment and enable healthcare staff to deliver services based on the keen attention to detail and design of our products.

A-B-C's: Dr. Al's Book Clubabc 


When I was first introduced to Daniel Goleman's latest book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, my System 1 reaction was that it was yet another book on self-regulation, --which has been variously labeled self-control, self-discipline, or willpower among others. Those of you who follow the ABC regularly, as well as those of you who have been active participants in our personal development system, know that we place considerable importance on developing an individual's self-regulatory ability. In the first chapter of the book Goleman paints a picture of what he means by "Focus" (He doesn't really define it), which when applied to a leader is perhaps best summarized by the following passage:


A leader tuned out of his internal world will be rudderless; one blind to the world of others will be clueless; those in different to the larger systems within which they operate will be blindsided.[Goleman, Focus, page 4, emphasis added]


While this basic conceptualization would seemingly embrace the notion of self-regulation and self-regulatory ability, Goleman is clearly reaching beyond that concept and even beyond the psychological concept of attention. To those of you more familiar with our development system here at CIMBA, you will take note that the description Goldman proffers for "Focus" (I will use "Focus" to refer to the concept and Focus to refer to the book) is far closer to what we refer to as "Mental Complexity." Within our development system, Mental Complexity measures an individual's ability to effectively adapt to and manage social connections. The higher an individual's level of Mental Complexity, the more readily can that individual move purposefully in, between, and among social groups. It is a complex function of social, cognitive, and affective variables led by self-awareness, social awareness, and self-regulatory abilities. For a leader, it involves differentiating individuals on the basis of the relevancy of their behavior. The failure to distinguish relevancy from irrelevancy -- between more and less important social group members -- may lead to following deceptive advice or conforming with the unproductive, unconstructive, or unhealthy attitudes or opinions of individuals less likely to move the group forward. It involves more heavily weighting the preferences of key players when making group decisions, discriminating strategic actions from random behavior, and comparing oneself to more similar others among other things. At CIMBA, we see this interpersonal neurobiological ability as defining an individual's Wisdom.


To assist in drawing the parallel a bit closer, we have observed that most leaders will experience this sense of being "clueless", "rudderless", or "blindsided" during periods of social transition - changes in current, important social connections. In our experience, the author who best explains both the what of this social transition notion and, importantly, the how of going about addressing it is Dr. Dan Siegel, whose book Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain we will be ABCing next month. The obvious examples from a business leader's perspective would include taking a new job with managerial responsibilities or being promoted into the same; seemingly less obvious but equally as challenging in many cases would include a change in team membership (consider the inclusion of a new team member who then brings to bear both a different perspective and a strong personality) and a change in organizational leadership, both of which would involve important adaptations for affected leaders and followers. Dr. Siegel artfully exposes the depth and complexity of social transition as he shows us the growth in Mental Complexity demanded of all members of a primary social group as a member goes through adolescence -- something to which we can all relate.


To get a sense of this from a slightly different perspective, recall 10,000 hour claim Prof. Malcolm Gladwell made famous in his book Outliers: The Story of Success. He asserted that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something - a pianist, an athlete, or a video gamer. Goleman asserts further that 10,000 hours of focused attention towards a goal will lead to a measure of expertise, making it clear that the "expertise" so achieved may be proficiency at doing something poorly. Goleman's point is to make sure you "Focus" on the right thing. While it would certainly seem true, from a "Focus"/Mental Complexity perspective it may not be possible. In this sense, let's add the thinking of Prof. Matt Lieberman, who in his book Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect says the following after citing Gladwell for the 10,000 hour notion:



Although different people might put those 10,000 hours toward becoming a concert violinist, professional athlete, or Xbox superstar, the brain puts in the 10,000 hours and more to enable us to become experts in the social world. One study found that 70 percent of the content in our conversations is social in nature.Assuming that we spend just 20 percent of our time in general thinking about other people and ourselves in relation to others, our default network would be engaged at least three hours a day. In other words, our brains have put in 10,000 hours before we turn ten. The repeated return of the brain to this social cognitive mode of engagement is perfectly situated to help us to become experts in the enormously complex realm of social living. [Lieberman, Social, pages 20-21]


In bringing this thinking together, the strengths (think Gallup Strengthfinder) that individuals carry from their previous social group will likely be the consequence of 10,000 hours of practice with the goal having been adaptability to for the purpose of social survival in that social group. I am comfortable saying that all parties, and particularly Dr. Siegel, would have little difficulty with this line of reasoning.


With regard to both "Focus" and Mental Complexity, while those practiced strengths may have been fundamental to survival in the individual's previous social group, they may not be applicable or function in the same way in the social group to which the individual is transitioning. In making an effort to adapt to the new social group (meeting the human need for social conformity), social anxiety often arises from the misinterpretation of the cues that had previously activated those strengths to a beneficial affect in the former social group. This consequential social anxiety in the new social group is something we refer to as an Emotive System 1 Thinking Error (as opposed to a Cognitive System 1 Thinking Error which arises from the brain's tendency to jump to conclusions based on a heuristic arising from a basis, stereotype or preconceived idea). ABC readers may also see this as something Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz refers to as a "deceptive brain message" in his You Are Not Your Brain.


A leader's responsibility is not only to adapt to the new social group (a follower's core responsibility), but also to adapt or mold the social group so that it can thrive, so it can be more successful. The ability for the individual to make both adaptations is a function of his or her Mental Complexity. In that we will talk more about this in next month's column, let me just say that our development system - the "6- Columns" - works with the individual to identify those social anxieties, to uncover the assumptions upon which they are based, and to test whether those assumptions are in fact true (Recall the December ABC in which we discussed Immunity to Change by Profs. Kegan and Lahey).


In the majority of cases, it is not the failure of the leader to use his or her strengths but rather the consequence of their System 1 thinking using them inappropriately when confronting social stimuli to which they have had relatively little experience in interpreting. The brain's System 1 will deploy a habit that was effective in the prior social group in response to the perceived or real stimulus. However, in the new social environment the same habit is having an unproductive, unconstructive, or unhealthy result, bringing about social anxiety and stress. With the solution to stress being to take on more stress, we then encourage the individual to practice in those areas where they have little experience to build resiliency and bring about the social conformity that allows them to be successful - to build Mental Complexity, to build Wisdom (Notably, utilizing Dr. Schwartz's 4-Steps as outlined in You Are Not Your Brain). In Goleman's words, they achieve a degree of functionality in the three levels of "Focus" - inner, outer, and other. In this sense, Goleman's work provides an interesting description of the consequences of making such a social transition while our system (and that of Dr. Siegel) is directed towards doing something about it. In fact, the essence of our system is opaquely revealed in the story of Katrina introducing Goleman's Chapter 9, The Woman Who Knew Too Much. Katrina is set up with a personal development coach who assists her in making sense of her social transition - building her "Focus" or Mental Complexity.


In describing the ingredients of "Focus", Prof. Goleman relies on the research we have found to be credible in building and testing our development system with one notable exception. Whether you refer to it as willpower, self-control, self-discipline, or self-regulation, it is difficult to understand how the work of Prof. Roy Baumeister would not make the list. Importantly, the works of Profs. Mischel, Davidson, Langer, Kabat-Zinn, Siegel, and others who have made immeasurable impacts on our thinking did make the cut and make important contributions to Focus. With regard to terminology, while citing Prof. Dan Kahneman, Goleman rejects the use of "System 1" and "System 2" thinking, preferring instead the use of "bottom-up brain circuitry" for System 1 and "top-down brain circuitry " for System 2. Despite having tested that and a number of other labels over the years, our students have so gravitated toward System 1 and 2 that is becoming part of their everyday language (and arguably increasing self-awareness of their thinking processes). Goleman apparently also prefers to use "empathy" instead of "social awareness" but I cannot fully understand why. I did find his separation of empathy into the component parts of cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and empathic concern to be insightful [See page 98]. I also agree with this statement: "Our circuitry for empathy was designed for face-to-face moments" to be sadly true as we observe a steady decline in empathy in our university clients both through psychosomatic instrument measures and neurobiofeedback measures in experiential environments. Predictably, and we are in the process of measuring this empirically, there appears to be a close positive correlation between MICEIT's Understanding Emotions (a large number of students test as being at the "Expert" level) and Facebook usage. However, given that Facebook users essentially "label" the emotion being described (think wedding/happy, hospital/sad), those same students test at the "Improve" level in MISCEIT's Using Emotions. Making this a matter of considerable concern, the overwhelming majority of our students are majoring in business. Are these the (potential) leaders to whom Goleman refers?


Staying on the subject of business students, Goleman touches on a topic of major concern for us and it is, in fact, the primary motivation for building our development system. Given his emphasis on description as opposed to action, it is not surprising that his Chapter 20, What Makes a Leader is predictably weak. Still, if the academic business community finally comes to grips with his core point a large number of our concerns would have some hope of being addressed. We have long prescribed to the
knowing (Knowledge) - doing (Rational Process) - being (Behavior) model of leadership and personal development. We associate IQ with knowing, RG (Rational Quotient, a term coined jointly by CIMBA and Kepner Tregoe) with doing and EQ with behavior. We have consistently found that within relevant ranges, while RQ and EQ are correlated, they are not correlated with IQ: With this in hand, we often bring our students to this realization with the statement, "Smart people make dumb decisions and vice versa." and then add "You may be hired on the basis of your IQ, but you will be fired or promoted on the basis of you RQ and EQ." Citing the important work of Prof. David McClelland (noted for his work on the important differences between competency and intelligence testing - which has largely been ignored by the academic community), Goleman says the following:


McClelland argued that once you were in a given job, specific competencies like self-discipline, empathy, and persuasion were far stronger forces in success than a person's ranking in academics. ... [Organizations used] hard business metrics for success and failure, and knew that people's grades and the prestige of the schools they went to had little or nothing to do with their actual effectiveness. ... As the former head of a major bank told me, "I was hiring the best and the brightest, but I was still seeing a bell-shaped curve for success and wondering why." ... But [McClelland's] article was controversial among many academics, some of whom could not grasp that doing well in their classes had little to do with how their students would perform once in a job. [Goleman, Focus, pages 233-234]


We could not agree more. And our discussions with those involved in the NFL Combine (who employ our same Zephyer technology) and the Navy Seals would indicate that they do as well. While we have faced a similar resistance to our personal development system in the academic community, that resistance is beginning to slowly subside as (1) the business community makes their concerns known and (2) the use and measurement of emotions in research published in peer-reviewed academic journals becomes more accepted. Importantly, we are beginning to see a growing interest in developing students beyond traditional axioms, theorems, formulas, and principles to encompass the ability to actually do something with that traditional knowledge -- something that we at CIMBA refer to as "Fluid Intelligence." We are pushing our students to move beyond axioms, theorems, formulas, and principles to embrace critical thinking skills in the form of express decision-making, problem-solving, situation appraisal, and potential problem analysis thinking processes with the intent to bolster their resistance to brain's natural tendency to jump to conclusions - to reduce Cognitive System 1 thinking errors. Goleman makes much the same argument implicitly in Chapter 18 (Witness the interesting discussion on "Organizational ADD" on page 210). Still, Goleman, and the CIMBA personal development system, are intent in moving even further to embrace the important notions of "Focus" and Mental Complexity in that personal development equation.