Alumni Newsletter: October 2014 
ABC: Al's Book Club
In taking a look at this very interesting book, I would like to begin by briefly describing the "Marshmallow Test" that Prof. Mischel undertook some 50 years ago at Stanford's Bing Nursery School. I would like to then discuss how we came to adopt Mischel's thinking with regard to an individual's self-regulatory ability, how we integrated it into our 6-Column personal development assistant, and then move on to a topic regarding self-regulatory ability which Prof. Mischel does not address in his book. Our observations at CIMBA, along with important discoveries in the research, strongly suggest that an influential group of employees with low self-regulation ability within an organizations may significantly inhibit the ability for such organizations to change relative to other organizations. It also may influence what kinds of training and development that may be necessary in such organizations to bring about change. 

Chris Ancona

CIMBA MBA Class of 2011


Chris Ancona, MBA Class of 2011, currently serves as an adjunct lecturer for CIMBA in the fields of international marketing, consumer behavior, and management. In particular, Chris oversees and manages the creation and implementation of the Neuroscience based leadership technology implemented in the MBA and Undergraduate programs . Enquiring minds may wonder how Chris went from being an MBA graduate of CIMBA and the University of Iowa to being such an integral part of the CIMBA Advantage Program.


Following his MBA graduation in July 2011, Chris undertook a position as a business and engineering consultant with SV&A Global, a business consulting firm specializing in product development and engineering services and has continued in this role during his time as a CIMBA staff member.  Having worked with Dr. Al on some independent business development after his graduation and hearing that a teaching role needed to be suddenly filled at the last minute, he jumped at the chance to return to the Treviso area. After seeing all the potential for advancements in personal development based on his experience with the program in 2010-2011, Chris arrived back in Asolo and Paderno del Grappa excited to propel the program into one of a kind territory.


Chris's second opportunity at CIMBA has proven to be extremely fruitful thanks to his development of leadership and technology tools on the personal development side of CIMBA. Over the last few years, he has been working with a team to build an advanced leadership development program incorporating the most advanced psychometric, bio-metric, and peer-based assessments in conjunction with a proprietary coaching and training program. The purpose? To create an advanced personal development system for high potential employees and students.If you're interested in checking out the web-infrastructure Chris has helped build to support this process, you can visit Another of Chris's projects includes which is one of several micro-peer feedback mechanisms that supports skill development. Used regularly at CIMBA during presentations, AboutMySpeech generates a unique presentation code that enables audience members to provide feedback to a presenter via a website so the presenter can gain actionable feedback for improvement.


Although Chris is always on the go, coordinating with various development teams around the world, he took the time to share some valuable insight regarding what his CIMBA experience meant to him and what he hopes it will mean for current and future students.


How has returning as part of the CIMBA team enhanced your own personal and leadership development? Being a lecturer has pushed me to become more curious and capable to synthesize all the latest science with my professional experience, and by teaching, I learn. Honestly, though I am responsible for providing the best growth experience to the students in my classes, I think that I learn more than they do through the teaching process.


What advice do you have for future and current CIMBA MBA students? Most people never have the time and chance to really have a look at themselves and discover both who they are and who they want to be and have support in orienting themselves with a team of classmates committed to the same goal. The year at CIMBA is a special, unique, and very personal opportunity. My advice is to take as much as you can from the year and take the time and put in the energy to be a part of someone else's special, unique, and very personal year.


What is one thing you didn't get to do during your free time as a CIMBA student that you've done since returning? As much as I love Italy, it took my return to visit the close neighbor Slovenia. Though it is a small country that few have heard about, it is amazingly beautiful.


What was the most important thing you learned during your MBA year at CIMBA? I learned about the value of diversity - not cultural diversity - since I already had lots of experience with that through my years of working, but diversity of personality. I learned the most from the people most different in personality from myself. And I built profound friendships that will last a lifetime with some amazing people.

Fall 2014 Expatriate Panel

Featuring a fresh cast of local expatriates from Europe, the US, and Canada, this semester's Expatriate Panel was hosted by CIMBA resident professor Dominic Standish on October 22nd. The event kicked off with short self-introductions by each panelist. Sean Finnegan of Ireland works as a technical director for a medical product manufacturing company and has been here in northeastern Italy for the past six years. Hailing from Canada and the US, MBA alumnus Scott Newton specializes in management consulting and strategic engagement and acquisition. Following stints in Dubai and Qatar in finance, Nathalie Salas of the UK now works as a boutique hotel consultant after finding her passion for hospitality in Asolo. Finally, American Cortney McDermott, CEO of Chime, is an internationally sought after sustainability and communications expert. At Chime, Cortney helps other to shape their reality through intention.


Following the series of brief introductions, students were encouraged to ask an array of questions and ask they did! When asked about culture shock and cultural assimilation, the panelists encouraged learning the language, food, and culture of the country and/or region and avoiding constant comparisons with your home culture. More than one advocated accepting things that cannot be changed, getting over being frustrated, and living without too many expectations. Students also enquired about the financial side of being  an expatriate. Panelists discussed the ability to often pay into a self-directed retirement plan, where to keep savings, and multiple pension plan options.


The informative and enlightening event ended with a dialogue on the advantages of being an expat. Both Sean and Nathalie stressed their ability in Italy to ask any question and bring something different to the table.  All four panelists highlighted the optimism and flexibility that comes with living abroad as an "anything is possible syndrome". Cortney explained that while there are going to be frustrating periods, you'll always be able to reset yourself. The group wholeheartedly appreciated the opportunities that came their way while living abroad despite challenges every now and again and encouraged students to do the same. As Scott put it, "Here, you can have a cappuccino, it's a sunny day, and no one's shooting at you."


The entire CIMBA Fall 2014 community was once again grateful to experience such a diverse and reflective panel of expatriates this past month! We look forward to seeing what all of them get up to over the next year and how many current and future CIMBA alumni join them in the expatriate life.

Alumni Updates
Lots of love in the air this fall..

Brandon Cusick, MBA Class of 2011 and Megan Barnes, Summer MBA Class of 2011, got married on October 11th in Scottsdale, AZ. Brandon and Megan met while attending MBA classes in Asolo. Here they are three years later, in this amazing sunshine. Congratulations, Brandon and Megan! We wish you a happy life together! 


Lori Dolinger, MBA Class of 2007, is engaged. She will be married to Robert in New York City in April 2015. Lori and Robert's honeymoon will be in Italy! We are looking forward to seeing you!

In Treviso --Save the date!
CIMBA Alumni Networking Event

On Friday, October 31st there will be a CIMBA alumni event in Treviso, organized by the CIMBA Alumni Association. If you will be in the area, don't miss this networking opportunity! Feel free
to bring friends and spouses. The event will be an Italian-style aperitivo and will take place in Treviso at 7:00pm at Abituč.


For more details on the event, feel free to join the discussion in the CIMBA Alumni Association group on Linkedin!


The most recent CIMBA Alumni event in May 2014. 

New job? Moving somewhere? Getting married? Other life changes? Want to volunteer your profile for the Meet the Alumni section?   

Keep your fellow alums in the loop! Send your news items to and they will appear here the following month!
Calendar of Events:

November 8,9,15,16
MBA Strategic Cost Analysis
Professor Roger Chope, Portland State University

November 18,19,22,23
MBA Production and Operation Management
Professor Kirk Karwan, Furman University

November 21-23
LIFE - Leadership Experience
Italian Edition 

Dear ,  


We hope you are enjoying all of the treats that come with autumn! Here at CIMBA, we have settled into the flow of the fall semester.


What have we been up to the past month? Students have been awash with a delight of academic and cultural experiences! From the Expatriate Panel semester highlight to olive oil tasting and olive picking in rolling countryside of Asolo to Monopoly in the MBA Accounting class, undergraduate and graduate students alike are taking full advantage of CIMBA opportunities nestled in Paderno.


In the midst of all this, students are, of course, actively travelling around Italy and the rest of Europe. To bring you back to your travels while at CIMBA, be sure to view the YouTube video featuring some snapshots from some students' recent trip to Paris and Brussels.


In this issue, we also catch up with Class of 2011 MBA alumnus, Chris Ancona, who is back at CIMBA teaching, coaching, and heading up the neuro-leadership and technology program for students.   


Lastly, check out the recent updates from your fellow alumni and a list of upcoming events. Please share your news with us - we thoroughly enjoy hearing from you!


See you next month,

CIMBA Undergraduate
On Thursday, October 23, a group of undergraduate  and MBA students were lucky enough to take advantage of a new opportunity offered through CIMBA: olive oil tasting followed by olive picking in the hills of Asolo! For a few hours that morning, students were able to put aside their studies and soak up the authentic Italian environs in which they live. The owners of Ca'Recantina, Asolo's Caffe Centrale, and Giovanni Berton, one of only 200 certified olive oil judges in all of Europe, collaborated to make this a truly memorable experience for students and guests!

Upon arrival, a picturesque Italian house surrounded by olive trees greeted undergraduate students, MBA students, and other guests. All guests were seated in a dining room with prepared apples, bread, fizzy water, and glasses to create the ideal olive oil tasting experience. Giovanni took all participants through the history of olive oil in southern Europe and Italy with CIMBA Associate Director Cristina Turchet translating his Italian into English to ensure all could understand. Giovanni guided his audience through four different extra virgin olive oils, which were blind-tasted, and explained the appropriate way to taste each one and cleanse the palette afterwards for the next olive oil. At the end, Giovanni revealed which olive oil each was and its approximate price.

Following the tasting, students and guests mingled outside in the garden area and took in breathtaking views of the vast Treviso landscape below. The Ca'Recantina hosts then served everyone a selection of meats and cheeses with red wine which were enjoyed outside in the sunshine. Lastly, the group walked down the hill to a cluster of olive trees and picked olives right off the trees themselves! Undergraduate students, MBA students, and staff family members alike joined in on the action. The trip ended with the group expressing their gratitude for such a unique opportunity. This olive oil tasting and olive picking trip is bound to be a highlight of their Fall 2014 semester!


CIMBA Fall 2014 students frolic around Paris and Brussels!
CIMBA Fall 2014 students frolic around Paris and Brussels!

If you are an MBA alumnus, there is a 100% chance that you attended the MBA Accounting class that consisted of corporate financial reporting and strategic cost analysis. There is also a great likelihood that Professor Tim Shaftel of the University of Kansas educated you in the finer details of financial accounting. We are happy to report that Professor Shaftel returned to CIMBA once again to teach the part-time and the full-time MBA students over the weekends of October 11-12th and 18-19th. 


Professor Shaftel was as energetic as always, bringing to life the concepts of accrual accounting and bond amortization. A highlight of the two weekends was playing the board game Monopoly in small groups to learn the accounting process. This task-based learning approach enabled students to reinforce the classroom lectures by purchasing Boardwalk, paying rent on B&O Railroad, and loading houses and hotels on depreciating property. Perhaps you remember playing your classmates and recording the transactions in the journal way back? 


After the second Saturday of accounting classes, a large group of MBA students went out for dinner and drinks together at Pizzeria Bella Capri in Bassano. It was a great opportunity for the first year and second year, full-time and part-time students to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting. The evening ended with a fun photoshoot on Bassano's quintessential bridge, Ponte Vecchio!



MBA Recruiting Activities
The 2014-2015 full time and part time MBA programs have just started but we are already engaged in recruiting activities for the upcoming year: we are working hard to select the best students for the Class of 2016!

This month, we were present at two important recruiting fairs in Padova and Udine. If you know of any noteworthy candidates for the program, please forward their names to us.

CIMBA representatives at the fair in Padova.
CIMBA Executive 

New ECIMS Class of 2015!

Welcome aboard to the new ECIMS Class of 2015! This group of talented managers and entrepreneurs had recently had their first weekend of class. This month's session was dedicated to team-building training and was followed by the Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making course taught by CIMBA Associate Director Cristina Turchet.

The ECIMS groups focusing on tackling the KT - Tamworth case.

Customized Team Building Activities for Barth-Italiana Group 

This month, we had the pleasure of delivering a two-day team building training for Barth-Italiana Group, a leading Italian company specializing in the logistic and integrated management of products. The Barth-Italiana headquarters is located in nearby Bassano del Grappa.


The Barth-Italiana team during the low ropes training: Here they are in the midst of deciding the best strategy to climb the wall. 


The participants attended a low ropes course and an in-class team building workshop specifically designed for the company's needs. This two days of group activities will be the basis of a more specific customized training and individual coaching sessions in November.  

New Book - Negotiating for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills

Many of you over the past years have had the pleasure to enjoy the Negotiation Strategy class offered at CIMBA by Prof. George Siedel. One of the many reasons for the class's success is that the participants leave the class with negotiation frameworks, concepts and tools that will enable them to immediately become more effective negotiators. His course is far more than a course on negotiation - it is a course on competing successfully.The popularity of his classes, has now brought Prof. Siedel to publish a book on the subject: Negotiation for Success: Essential Strategies and Skills. If you enjoyed the class, you will definitely enjoy the book!  Prof. Siedel will be at CIMBA teaching his class on January 24-25, 2015. 

Quick Links 
AbcABC:Al's Book Club

Those of you familiar with the CIMBA Leadership Development System know that it places The marshmallow test_book cover considerable emphasis on developing and building an individual's self-awareness and self-regulatory ability. You also know that our original interest in self-regulation was sparked by interactions with Prof. Matt Lieberman at UCLA. To briefly relate the history of those interactions, it began with a very interesting experiment that Matt and fellow scientist, Prof. Naomi Eisenberger (who is also Matt's wife) conducted, in which participants were subjected to social rejection while being observed through the use of brain imaging technology (fMRI). Prior to engaging in the cyberball videogame (which provided the basis for the social rejection), the participant was subjected to a thermal heat device so that researchers could get a sense of where participants' brains manifested physical pain. Upon being excluded from the cyberball game, the fMRI then allowed for a measure of social, or mental, pain to provide a basis of comparison. The study stands for the proposition that the brain does not distinguish between physical and social pain. As participants exited the fMRI, they could be categorized into three reasonably distinct groups: those that very quickly expressed their dissatisfaction with having been excluded ("expressers"); those who did not express their dissatisfaction but who were willing to do so with just a little prodding ("suppressors"), and those who exited the fMRI and stated something like "Your videogame must have malfunctioned. If you get it fixed, I would be more than willing to come back and participate" ("reappraisers"). Prof. Jeffrey Schwartz directed us to look more closely at the reappraisers, explaining that that particular group, while having the same initial social pain reaction as the others, utilized a more rational part of their brain to reappraise the situation in order to give it a more positive, more distant, perspective. Later, Prof. Lieberman would write an article entitled "Your Brain's Breaking System," in which he discussed the notion of the brain's self-regulatory circuitry. Discussions with Prof. Lieberman about that article introduced us to the work of Prof. Walter Mischel. After some initial investigation, and using both our data at CIMBA and our observations of students within our Leadership Development system, we saw that the social pain experience was a very interesting reflection of Prof. Mischel's famous marshmallow test. It is Prof. Mischel's new book, The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, that is the subject of this ABC.


In taking a look at this very interesting book, I would like to begin by briefly describing the "Marshmallow Test" that Prof. Mischel undertook some 50 years ago at Stanford's Bing Nursery School. I would like to then discuss how we came to adopt Mischel's thinking with regard to an individual's self-regulatory ability, how we integrated it into our 6-Column personal development assistant, and then move on to a topic regarding self-regulatory ability which Prof. Mischel does not address in his book. Our observations at CIMBA, along with important discoveries in the research, strongly suggest that an influential group of employees with low self-regulation ability within an organizations may significantly inhibit the ability for such organizations to change relative to other organizations. It also may influence what kinds of training and development that may be necessary in such organizations to bring about change.


Prof. Mischel's book provides a powerful narrative for taking the various aspects of his research over the years and showing us his thought processes as he worked to ferret out the various aspects of this important human characteristic called self-regulation. It begins in 1960, when Prof. Mischel and his students presented preschoolers at Stanford University's Bing Nursery School with a challenge. The preschoolers were given the choice of receiving one marshmallow now or two marshmallows if they were able to wait for Prof. Mischel to return, a wait of 15 minutes in most cases but as long as 20 minutes in others. He found that about one third of the preschoolers ate the marshmallow immediately; a second third were able to wait but not for the full 15 minutes; and, a third that waited the full 15 minutes and received the second marshmallow. By itself, Mischel's study was a brilliant study in delay of gratification, but it became much more than that. Mischel had two daughters in the school and on occasion he would ask them about how those original preschoolers were doing as they progressed through school. He saw an interesting pattern, and gathered as many of the original group together as he could to examine their development. He found that the length of time a preschooler was able to delay gratification was a very good predictor of their future lives. For example, the more seconds they waited at the age of four or five, the higher their SAT scores (an important college entrance examination in the U.S.) and the better their rated social and cognitive functioning as adolescents. As they aged further, those who waited longer during the test had lower body mass index, pursued their goals more effectively, and coped more adaptively with frustration and stress. Additional studies on other subjects found similar results, showing significant differences between those that delayed gratification and those who did not in rates of divorce, life satisfaction, ability to master their environment, and other variables consistent with a healthy, productive life.


After combining studies by Lieberman and others, we began to refer to the three groups as being an A, B, or C, with the designation indicating low, medium, or high self-regulatory ability respectively. We began to map in other studies, some of which were not intended to elicit information on self-regulation, and began to see consistent patterns. [Those patterns, in turn, often led to the puzzling question: "If we can measure self-regulation, shouldn't neuroscientists be controlling for it in much the same way they control for gender or right or left handedness?"] Our large database allowed us to see many of the same kind of patterns to which Mischel refers in his book. For example, and using his illustration, we very quickly pushed away from the traditional paradigm that said if a person measured psychometrically as being "conscientious" they should be conscientious in all situations. We saw that an individual could be very conscientious in those situations to which they preferred to be conscientious, and that they could "shut off" their self-regulatory ability in other situations. In fact, those situations could be the same situations but occurring at different times, with different people. In this sense, we began to see self-regulatory ability as just that - an ability, an ability that could be turned on or turned off depending upon the motivation of the individual. As many of you who read this ABC column on a regular basis will recall, we view Prof. Ray Baumeister's work on self-regulation with great favor. However, we were not able to embrace his notion of ego depletion (which states each additional demand on our self-regulation, leaves less and less energy to implement it the next time it is needed) as we saw in our observations that in many cases individuals were simply becoming bored with the experiment and lost focus; the reported results in such experiments had initially tied observed behavior to depletion of resources reserved for self-regulation.


Those who read Mischel's book will see that he uses the designation "hot" and "cool" brain systems instead of our System 1 and System 2. He provides several interesting illustrations of how important it is to learn about the situational behavioral triggers that activate our System 1 reactions, and then to use our System 2 self-regulatory ability to choose a more productive, constructive, healthy alternative. He saw the consequences of what we refer to in our development system as V-Codes (the cumulative effects of sleep, stress, exercise, diet, among others) on our ability to use self-regulation, showing that those with high self-regulatory ability tended to manage deficiencies in those V-Codes (as well as other issues) much better than those with low self-regulatory ability. We were particularly pleased to see that he also saw the consequences of what he refers to as "control," and what we refer to as power, in leadership positions. As he indicates, our observations suggest that the acquisition of a power position can have the effect of lowering an individual's baseline self-regulatory ability.


Those of you familiar with our 6-Column Personal Development Assistant, recall that Column 1 deals with your goals. Even after developing self-awareness of the kinds of situations that activate your behavioral triggers, it is your basic beliefs, values, and goals that are most likely to provide you with the motivation to activate your self-regulatory ability. In our Column 2, we ask you what behaviors are you undertaking that are inconsistent with your Column 1 goal? It is in defining more precisely the situations in which a person is likely to encounter such a behavioral trigger that we particularly liked Mischel's development. Coaches, and particularly coaches using our system, are highly recommended to pay particular attention to chapter 15, entitled "If-Then Signatures of Personality," which provides an interesting overview of the research on how to view those situations with more precision. For example, using our process language, it basically elicits "Is"/"Is Not" thinking. We often see that an individual will undertake an action they will later regret in a particular situation but not have the same reaction in a very similar situation at another time. Mischel and his colleagues would ask you to consider the differences between the two situations in terms of who was present, what was said, what was said by whom, and other questions to assist you in eliciting the triggers in that specific situation that brought about the unproductive behavior.


In moving to Column 6, you will see in several places in the book where he refers to the benefits of reappraisal and refocus (although he does not use this term expressly, by our definition you will see several uses of it: fixing an alternative course of action in mind prior to encountering a situation likely to elicit a behavioral trigger). Both are integral parts of our coaching system and used to assist individuals in rewiring their brains with more productive and healthy habits. In addition, Mischel understands and appreciates the contribution that brain exercises and mindfulness practice can bring to bear in assisting an individual in increasing their self-regulatory ability. In all cases, his arguments and explanations are well documented, so those interested in understanding a particular concept in more detail will find the research sites readily available and on point. In addition, in contrast to several other authors I have read recently, I was very much appreciative of the manner in which Prof. Mischel handled his politics. Although he brought up politicians as illustrations of self-regulatory failure (using them craftily in showing us that self-regulation is in fact an ability that can be turned off and turned on depending upon the situations, and thus smart people can make remarkably foolish choices), I honestly could not tell you what Prof. Mischel's political leanings are.


Let's now turn to the relationship between self-regulation and organizational change, a topic not addressed by Prof. Mischel but an important extension of his work nonetheless. To our knowledge, a large study controlling for self-regulatory ability in group or organizational settings had not been performed prior to this year - and certainly not one involving an experiment outside the laboratory. In what we believe is a first, a very recent study by Xu et al. (2014) found that individual differences in self-regulation can predict employees' safety behaviors in the workplace. That is, instead of developing an experiment to test worker responses to a defined worker place stimulus, the research team first controlled for individual self-regulatory ability using recognized psychometric assessment instruments. The study found that employees with low self-regulatory ability were more influenced by System 1 cognitive processes, while employees with high self-regulatory ability were guided more by System 2 cognitive processes. Clearly, both System 1 and System 2 cognitive processes influence worker behavior, but through different pathways. System 1 cognitive processes affect behavior through an impulsive and spontaneous process, largely driven by habit (good or bad). System 2 cognitive processes drive behavior through a deliberative and reflective process, in which automatic, habitual impulses are inhibited, and the employee's behavior is guided by conscious thought and analysis. The study strongly suggests that it is the relative mix of workers with low and high self-regulatory ability and not the type of safety intervention strategy implemented that most influences safety behaviors in the workplace.


The results are further generalized in Table 1. With specific regard to the efficient allocation of development and learning resources, given the measurable impact of individual differences in self-regulation behavior, this study strongly suggests that intervention strategies may be more effective in differentiated for subgroups of employees based on self-regulatory ability. Those employees with higher self-regulatory abilities may benefit more from traditional interventions focused on information-based techniques and courses. Employees with lower self-regulatory ability may benefit from interventions that attempt to strengthen self-regulation, whether through coaching, a mindfulness program, or targeted computer-based brain exercises. The same reasoning would seem to apply whether you are working to overcome behavioral barriers or to build leadership competencies.   


Looking at it from a research perspective may serve to further clarify the importance and application of this study to organizational change efforts. Suppose our intent is to impose a particular learning intervention on a large participant pool and to test its effectiveness. If the intervention is technical in nature, the results will be significantly different if the relative mix of participants is low versus high in self-regulatory ability. Interestingly, a question we are frequently asked is how large does the low self-regulatory group have to be in order to have such influence? A very interesting study done at Rensselaer in 2011 showed that the subgroup need only comprise 10 percent of the workforce if they are adamant in their position. Those 10 percent of committed opinion holders will have the ability to shift majority opinion and if that opinion is contra to the dictates of the change intervention, the change intervention is not likely to succeed.


Should we base employee selection on self-regulatory ability? We think most good HR directors already do - largely unconsciously. Still, there are some tasks, particularly those requiring a measurable degree of independence, where a low regulatory person may be most productive. Our concern is that the issue needs to be taken into account in both research and in learning interventions. We also believe that it can be effectively addressed through targeted interventions intent on building self-regulatory ability