Continuous learning, development and improvement are often what spurs growth within businesses, and more importantly in the individuals driving the engine of a company. Here award-winning Professor Siedel gives Lawyer Monthly a brief overview of the free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course) the University of Michigan offers, their overall scope and how they can benefit you in your business development, negotiation skills and more. George Siedel’s MOOC on ‘Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills’ is one of the most popular worldwide, attracting over 500,000 attorneys, CEOs, consultants, and other business professionals. A second MOOC, ‘The Three Pillar Model for Business Decisions: Strategy, Law & Ethics’, focuses on the role of law in creating economic value.
Why do leading universities like Michigan, Harvard, and Stanford offer their courses for free?
Offering MOOCs is aligned with the mission of these universities. For example, at Michigan our mission is to create and communicate knowledge and values to develop “leaders and citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future.”
What time commitment is necessary to complete your courses?
You can take these free courses on your own schedule, at the best pacing for you. For example, some people watch the videos two hours at a time, over several weeks, while others binge watch them over a weekend. One person who binge-watched ‘Successful Negotiation’ reported that it “felt like watching ‘Breaking Bad’. Couldn’t wait for the next video.” The negotiation course concludes with an actual negotiation in which you receive feedback on your negotiation skills.
How do the courses relate to ADR?
Both courses include modules on ADR, including videos and analyses of mediation and arbitration simulations. They also cover dispute prevention, including innovative developments in contract drafting such as lean contracting and contract visualization.
In addition to these innovative developments, how are the two courses unique from other forms of ADR learning?
The two courses are unique in their coverage of management tools that are useful to business leaders and their legal advisors. These tools include adoption of a corporate ADR pledge, use of “screens” to make ADR decisions, online ADR, and the value of a life goals analysis. The courses also cover a fairly recent development—the use of ADR in deal making.
In addition to its coverage of ADR, the ‘Three Pillars’ course shows how business leaders and their legal advisors can work together to create economic value in other areas where law plays an important role. Examples include product development, attracting and retaining the best talent, using government regulation to create new business models, and creating shareholder value through intellectual property. This focus on value creation dispels the notion that law departments are only cost centers.
How do you know whether your courses are successful?
Success is measured by the high course ratings and by feedback from people using the strategies and skills around the world. For example, an American CEO reported savings of $4 million when using a course tool during negotiations with a supplier in Asia. Other negotiators at all levels have reported millions of dollars in savings.