Advanced Leadership Academy

The roles of a leader are many, and the challenges they face are more complex than ever before. Identifying and effectively navigating competing priorities is no easy task. How do leaders cultivate exceptional teams, increase personal and organizational productivity, minimize employee turnover, build trust and transparency within an organization and nurture a culture of innovation?

The University of Nevada, Reno’s Advanced Leadership Academy is a five-month training and coaching program designed to develop and support senior leaders and key team members. The program also offers the next level of advanced leadership training for those who have completed the 10-course Supervisory Management Certificate through Extended Studies. Those responsible for setting strategy, spearheading competitive initiatives, leading change, driving innovation, coaching team members and inspiring positive culture within their organizations will learn tools and techniques to enhance their influence and successfully lead their teams.

Academy Objectives:

The Advanced Leadership Academy is built upon seven pillars that support the influence and effectiveness of those leading within an organization. Classroom learning and individual coaching sessions are designed to meet the following objectives.

Pillar I:
Leading Self

Develop a deeper understanding of human behavior and the ability to manage emotions more effectively to avoid unintended outcomes and build resilience in the face of challenges.

Pillar II:
Leading the Enterprise

Cultivate strategic management skills necessary to respond to environmental opportunities and threats by leveraging organizational strengths and weaknesses.

Pillar III:
Leading Transformation

Learn to gather and analyze data to support high-quality decision-making to avoid biases, reduce negative consequences and maximize benefits.

Pillar IV:
Leading Innovative Change

Unravel the dynamics of change, including resistance, and learn techniques to ensure innovative ideas are implemented successfully.

Pillar V:
Leading Operational Excellence

Learn proven Lean techniques to increase revenue, decrease costs, improve process efficiency, and build trust and transparency within an organization.

Pillar VI:
Leading Communications

Learn effective approaches, frameworks and tools for communicating effectively, transparently and authentically to build stronger internal and external networks.

Pillar VII:
Leading Individuals and Teams

Learn coaching techniques to empower your team(s) to more effective performance, creating synergies, and gaining loyalty and commitment to organizational objectives.

Academy Components:

The Advanced Leadership Academy includes seven full-day sessions, as outlined below, as well as an EQ-i 2.0 Leadership Assessment and two individual coaching sessions with Certified Professional Coach Kevin Ciccotti.

Classroom Sessions

The program consists of seven class sessions, held at the University of Nevada, Reno Redfield Campus in south Reno. Catered lunch is included each day. Participants proceed through the program as a cohort and can expect a mixture of lecture, case studies, simulations and class participation to learn and apply the principles in each session. Participants will be encouraged to discuss examples from their professional lives, and active student participation in class is a key component of the learning experience.

EQ-i 2.0 Leadership Profile

Emotional intelligence is a key factor in the long-term success of leaders in today’s complex business environment. The EQ-i 2.0 Assessment measures emotional intelligence (EI) and how it affects people and the workplace, by asking questions related to self-perception, self-expression, interpersonal relationships, decision-making and stress management. EQ-i 2.0 is one of only two commercially available assessments validated by the American Psychological Association for its reliability in measuring emotional intelligence.

Students will complete an EQ-i 2.0 assessment at the start of the program. Each student will receive their results as part of an EQ-i 2.0 Leadership profile, which compares individual assessment results to those of more than 200 leaders in positions from mid-management to senior leadership roles from a variety of industries across the United States. This EQ-i 2.0 Leadership Profile measures the main composite and subscales used in the standard assessment against four key dimensions of leadership — Authenticity, Coaching, Insight and Innovation — to provide insight into specific leadership strengths and areas for improvement. Along with this individual report, participants will receive a one-hour personal debrief from Certified Professional Coach Kevin Ciccotti.

Individual Coaching

The program includes two 50-minute, one-on-one coaching sessions with Certified Professional Coach Kevin Ciccotti. These sessions are incorporated to support leaders in implementing the tools and strategies learned in the program. Participants will be guided to examine successes and challenges with fresh perspectives, while working through obstacles they may be experiencing.

The coaching sessions are provided via teleconference, and students will be given a recording of each. Students will be provided with scheduling information during the first class, and the sessions may be scheduled at mutually agreed upon times between the instructor and the student during the course of the program.

Classroom Sessions Overview

Register for Advanced Leadership Academy

click to expand/collapse Session I — Feb. 13, 2019; Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Neuroscience of Leadership: Leading Self
Kevin Ciccotti, CPCC, PCC

In the first session, participants will develop a deeper understanding of human behavior (specifically, their own) and the impact they have on their team(s). This includes how to avoid unintended outcomes during stressful or difficult conversations. Participants also will learn about the impact of emotional intelligence, including strategies for managing emotions more effectively, and proven methods for building resilience in the face of challenges.


  • Neuroscience basics
  • Impact of behavior on brain; solving the stimulus/response problem
  • Basic human needs/motivators
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Tools for managing emotions more effectively
  • The mindfulness — leadership connection

click to expand/collapse Session II — March 6, 2019; Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m

Strategic Management: Leading the Enterprise
Jim King, DBA, PMP

This session covers the concepts and tools of strategic management, exploring the strategic planning framework within which business leaders formulate, implement and evaluate strategy. Students will study competitive advantage and deployment of strategic management tools necessary to respond to environmental threats and opportunities by leveraging enterprise strengths and weaknesses. The strategic positioning of a company in its industry and the necessary factors responsible for strategy execution will be discussed.


  • Strategic management, innovation and competitive advantage
  • External and internal analysis: The impact of culture on strategy
  • Strategy implementation and evaluation: Introduction to the Balanced Scorecard
  • Competitive positioning and business strategy: value stream analysis
  • Social responsibility and environmental sustainability
  • Executive presence and skills for strategic leadership

click to expand/collapse Session III — March 27, 2019; Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Making High-Quality Decisions: Leading Transformation
Kandis Porter, MBA, MSPM, PMP

Making high-quality decisions is a crucial part of being a successful leader. It is important for leaders to recognize every decision has an impact on the organization and the people that work within it. This session explores decision-making concepts, techniques and processes. Participants will better understand how to properly define a required decision, frame the decision, communicate and implement the decision, and monitor results. Leaders also will learn how to avoid biases, which are common in decision-making.


  • How to align strategic decisions to organizational goals and objectives
  • Evaluating an organization’s environmental factors, relating to decision-making
  • Gathering and analyzing data to support decision-making, while helping to reduce negative consequences and maximize benefits
  • Avoiding common biases, such as confirmation, availability heuristic, anchoring, halo effect, sunk cost fallacy and survivorship
  • Follow a decision-making process that identifies important roles
  • Implement decision-making techniques, such as voting, autocratic decision-making and multi-criteria decision analysis

click to expand/collapse Session IV — April 17, 2019; Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Agility and Collective Disruption: Leading Innovative Change
Jim King, DBA, PMP

This session teaches solid techniques to nurture a culture of innovation, agility and collective disruption. Participants will unravel the dynamics of change, including resistance, and learn skills to ensure innovative ideas are implemented successfully. Students will learn organizational change frameworks and tools, analyze different types of change (developmental, transitional and transformational) and their various dynamics, and examine responses to change. Students will leave the session understanding how to design an effective program with the ability to successfully lead innovative change in an organization.


  • The case for innovation, change and collective disruption
  • Building organizational agility and resilience
  • Change management value proposition, frameworks and tools
  • Implementing and sustaining change
  • Executive skills for change leadership: Influence

click to expand/collapse Session V — May 8, 2019; Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Lean for Leaders: Leading Operational Excellence
Rishi Malhotra, MBA, ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt

Toyota has been using Lean to increase revenue, decrease costs, improve process efficiency and build trust and transparency for more than 70 years. Over the course of those seven decades, Lean has been adopted by top-performing companies in every industry and business setting. Learning and practicing Lean techniques enables leaders to improve their organizational bottom line, while also dramatically increasing employee engagement across all levels by allowing employees to offer their ideas to positively influence their environment in alignment with the organization’s strategic goals. This alignment and empowerment brings dramatic results surprisingly quickly.


  • Lean philosophy
  • The eight pillars of a Lean Enterprise
  • The Kaizen (continuous improvement) event methodology and its benefits
  • Process Mapping for increased efficiency and margins
  • Leadership techniques to achieve Operational Excellence

click to expand/collapse Session VI — May 22, 2019; Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Building a Stronger Organizational Culture: Leading Communications
Todd Felts, Ed.D.

How can you position yourself more effectively as a leader through inclusive communication? How do you know the message you are intending to send is what is being received? In this session, participants will learn communication techniques and best practices necessary to inspire others and leverage ideas, while tactfully bridging those difficult conversations (whether one-on-one or with thousands). The session will explore situations faced by leaders, and share how to build stronger communication cultures internally and externally so leaders may share their vision effectively.


  • Discover personal communication strengths to build more effective personal and professional relationships
  • Approaches, frameworks and tools for communicating effectively in day-to-day and difficult situations
  • Techniques to create space for transparent and authentic communication, where people from different areas and backgrounds feel safe to speak up and share ideas.
  • How to develop key messages and deliver them to the media and beyond.

click to expand/collapse Session VII — June 5, 2019; Wed., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Coaching for Higher Performance: Leading Individuals and Teams
Kevin Ciccotti, CPCC, PCC

Leaders understand they also must be coaches for their teams. But how do you actually coach individuals and teams to higher performance? What are the steps to creating a powerful coaching conversation? This session provides participants with a solid understanding of basic coaching tools and techniques, provides the opportunity to put those skills into practice and teaches them how to use coaching as a method for driving stronger performance within an organization. The tools and techniques learned can be utilized immediately to more effectively lead teams, create synergies, and gain loyalty and commitment to organizational objectives.


  • What exactly is coaching?
  • Core competencies of coaching
  • The structure of the coaching process
  • Skills required to coach effectively
  • Gaining agreement, setting accountability
  • Getting the most from individuals and teams