George Parsons

Testimonial: Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership

As a manager for Nooter Construction Company, George used to have to rely on someone else’s expertise when he was looking at financial records such as income statements and cash flow analyses. “It only gets worse the higher up you go,” he says, “because it’s harder to ask questions that reveal how little you may know about finance. When I found out about Lehigh’s The Essentials of Finance: A Manger’s Guide, taught by Dr. Weaver, I decided to enroll. 

The program was easy to understand. In just two days it gave me practical, hands-on experience and the confidence I needed to read and interpret income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow analyses. I know the potential concerns I have to look out for and the pertinent questions I should be asking. I still refer to the textbook quite a bit. 

“Since the program ended, I was promoted to General Manager of the company I’ve been with for 20 years. I’ve known the lead controller for all of that time, and knew I could rely on him. But now I feel more confident sitting with him and asking questions. I don’t have to take it on faith that the numbers are right. 

“In Advanced Negotiation Techniques I learned a phrase that I now use consistently when I’m preparing for a negotiation: Best Alternative to No Agreement, or BATNA. It helps me to strategically line up my backstop and work toward it. I know how much I can concede and where I have to draw the line. Right now I am involved in a negotiation and already know what our fall back position will be if the other party doesn’t accept our proposal. If we can’t resolve it, I’m comfortable walking away. 

After taking the Connected Leadership: Creating and Retaining an Engaged Team program, I became more self-reflective and have made some adjustments in my leadership style. There are some instances where it makes sense for me to back off a little, and I am more aware of my body posture and the need to listen more to my team. 

A key takeaway was about speaking up in meetings. The instructor said you have to make at least one comment or ask a question during every meeting. Before the program, I was sometimes reluctant to contribute, but now I look for opportunities to participate. 

I was asked a few years ago if I wanted to pursue an MBA, but it’s very time-consuming.  I decided I would rather spend that time dedicating myself to my job. Instead, I earned the Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership. I took four programs over one year, which didn’t take away too much time from my work and family. I really enjoy learning and found the programs to be extremely beneficial. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to continue my education and to evolve as a leader.