Humor: Serious Business | Stanford GSB MKTG 346

co- taught with Jennifer Aaker

There’s a mistaken belief in today’s working world that leaders need to be serious all the time to be taken seriously. But the research tells a different story. This course delves into the surprising power of humor: why it’s a secret weapon to build bonds, power, creativity and resilience, and how we can all have more of it. We’ll start by understanding the behavioral science of humor and the positive (and negative) consequences of creating a culture of levity. Students will hear from guests ranging from successful business and political leaders to professional comedians. We’ll explore the bottom line impact of humor on business, practice applying principles to harness humor safely and effectively, and explore personal and cultural shifts for creating lasting systemic change by balancing gravity with levity. Because when it comes to personal and professional success, humor is serious business. 

A New Type of Leader: Anchored on Purpose, Fueled by Humor | Stanford LEAD Program

co- taught with Jennifer Aaker & Tom Bedecarré

Imagine a world where our leaders, teams, and institutions are driven by a higher purpose. Where they are defined by authenticity, compassion, and radical agility to adapt to the rapid transformation of today’s society. In this course, we empower you with tools to unlock higher purpose in yourself, your teams, and your organizations. Then, you’ll learn how to harness your humanity and sense of humor as a secret weapon in business and life to persuade, influence, and lead. This course is about doing things that are important in work and life. Thus, whether you’re an entrepreneur growing a new company or an executive at the helm of a massive organization, if you want to better understand how to lead with purpose, while using humor and humanity as a secret weapon, this course is for you.

Rethinking Purpose | Stanford GSB MKTG 574

co- taught with Jennifer Aaker

We assume happiness is stable, an endpoint to achieve or a goal to chase. It’s not. Behavioral research suggests that the meaning of happiness changes every 5-10 years, raising the question: how might we build organizations and lives that cultivate happiness? Research suggests it is better to aim for meaning. This course explores how to rethink purpose in work and life. Students will hear from guests ranging from successful business leaders to professional athletes and take a field trip to see how Google has reconsidered its purpose. Building on the principles for Solve for X, a platform encouraging moonshot thinking to solve the world’s most intractable problems, we’ll harness design thinking principles to create personal moonshots and a path to continue pursuing moonshots over the life course. Lastly, we’ll map out how to use time in ways that build teams, products, and lives that have positive, meaningful, and lasting impact in the world.