The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Spring 2014 Kicks-off with Darin Eich!

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On March 25, 2014, Dartmouth’s Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) kicked off its program by welcoming Dr. Darin Eich of the University of Wisconsin to present Catalyze. Dr. Eich began the session with a brief and concise presentation about the definition of a leader, the importance of innovation, and the idea of “breaking through the paper” in life that will empower one to stop over-thinking and to simply act. Sophomore Abby Markowitz said, "Our first discussion on the difference between manger and leader made me realize that while we hear the word ‘leader’ so many times in daily life, we don't often stop to think about what being a leader really means.”

To understand these skills in depth, Dr. Eich conducted several hands-on experiments for us in the Rocky Hinman Forum in order to practice our idea generating and conversational skills. We lined up in two circles, inner and outer, and started conversations with the person across from us about topics assigned by Dr. Eich (i.e. what our hobbies are, who is the most inspirational leader in our lives, what kind of leader we would like to be, etc.). This portion of the session was my favorite because I was able to understand the power of first impressions and the benefit of fearlessly jumping into a conversation. These skills will prove to be valuable during future job interviews. 

Quickly I imagined myself being more confident in an interview when the time comes to explain my background and verbalize my intentions for the potential job. In my opinion, networking and connecting with people are the most important tactics to build long-lasting relationships, which in return are the catalyst for success. I know this skill is extremely important not only for job interviews, but for communicating effectively in any group setting. I enjoyed the activity because I was able to experiment with different methods of delivery each time we rotated partners and I improved how I approached each new conversation.

Although the activities during the session were undoubtedly engaging, it was clear that the long school day had taken its toll on the Rockefeller students and staff by the end of the session, me included! It was then that Dr. Eich drove home his final lesson for us: enthusiasm. Specifically, Dr. Eich empowered us to build enthusiasm out of friendly competition.

Our friendly competition exercise was simple; we had to rotate a knotted rope around a group of four, flip the rope, rotate the rope in the opposite direction, and yell to acknowledge our finish. Immediately, the students dove right into competition mode, aggressively rotating the knot as if the rope were a racetrack. I noticed right away my spirits lifted, and I was genuinely enthusiastic about winning a simple competition like getting a knot around a circle the fastest. 

Immediately, I thought of something I had learned in my psychology class this fall. It was a theory from James-Lange about perceiving emotion. James-Lange discovered that one’s physical response could trigger an emotional reaction. For example, if you purposefully smile, you will actually feel happier. This related perfectly with Dr. Eich’s presentation. Because Dr. Eich instructed the students to intentionally show more emotion and enthusiasm, the sleepy energy in the room vanished and we all felt more energized finishing the final part of our session. I left the session smiling, knowing I successfully practiced new, valuable and relevant tools of conversation and innovation. 

--Paige Caridi '16, MLDP Spring 2014 Participant

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences