Consequential Leadership and What it Means for our Students

“Consequential Leadership,” “Leaders of Consequence,” and “LOC” are very familiar phrases for most Fuqua students. A large part of the transformational experience at Fuqua relates to students enhancing their abilities to act as Leaders of Consequence. Our students write admissions essays on the importance of being a Leader of Consequence, and at times, hold each other to the standard of being consequential leaders. However, I expect that most would have a difficult time stating what it means. Even so, I am gratified when I observe the majority of our students actively living in a way that supports the ideals of consequential leadership.

From discussions at Fuqua recently, we are getting closer as a school to a less idiosyncratic view of a Leader of Consequence. I have relied on a number of outstanding faculty to provide thought leadership [1] here, but in my opinion, at a very high level our intent is to create good leaders who create good consequences. The question then is what do we mean by a good leader. Good here is intended to mean someone who is technically strong and competent as well as ethical, courageous and honorable. We are looking for that combination to be married with a focus on good consequences, where the leader has an outward focus on enabling others to be their best selves, on improving the organizations and communities they touch, and having a positive difference in the lives of various stakeholders. With that, we see Leaders of Consequence as people who are credible and trustworthy, who build community and a sense of stewardship while making decisions with concern for team members, their organization, community, country and world.

The best evidence I have of Leaders of Consequence at Fuqua are the short videos prepared for each of our second-year MBA award winners (see below for the recipients for the past two years). These are amazing people who all found a way to craft their time at Fuqua in a way that gave them the experience they desired, while making their classmates, institution and broader community better. Independent of whether these students could define what a Leader of Consequence is, they understand what it takes to act as one.

Asa T. Spaulding Sr. Award for Leadership

Distinguished Service Award

Alan D. Schwartz Award for Mentorship

Keohane Award for Leadership

These students are not unique at Fuqua. Each year the committee has a difficult time making the selections for these awards. There are numerous other deserving students, each with similarly amazing stories of how they’ve contributed to their fellow students and the local and extended communities.

Do all of our students understand and adopt this Leader of Consequence mentality? No, and I am troubled by that. But all of our students have access to opt in to their own development and participate in a developmental journey focused on becoming a stronger Leader of Consequence. I think this access and a culture focused on this type of development is one of the unique and distinct offerings we have at Fuqua.

Each student’s growth as a consequential leader is supported by Team Fuqua. The support comes not just from fellow students, but from all of the stakeholders with an interest in Fuqua being the best business school in the world. Our collaborative and authentic culture provides the support and open environment necessary for students to be courageous, which hopefully allows them to identify areas where they would like to personally develop. It is comforting to be able to say to new students on campus that we want you to become your best, and if you take some risks you will find support in this community.

[1] In particular, Professors Joe LeBoeuf, Jack Soll, Rick Larrick, Sim Sitkin, Allan Lind, and Jennifer Francis have worked on defining Leaders of Consequence. The discussion here is based heavily on their guidance.

Duke Fuqua Dean Russ Morgan

Russ Morgan

Associate Dean for Daytime MBA and MMS

My role at Fuqua is Associate Dean for the Daytime MBA and MMS programs, as... Read More

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  • Tze-Yiu Yong, CC2005

    Having graduated in 2005 and spent a number of years managing and leading people, this post was a good reminder of what it means to be not just a manager, not just a leader but a Leader of Consequence. Dean Morgan reminds us that these types of students “are not unique at Fuqua” and I would argue that in the business world, these types of leaders (of consequence) are not unique to Fuqua. However, the difference I’ve seen is that when you come from Fuqua, this type of leadership is expected by others. Great post – I’ll be saving this to refer to in the future.

    • Daytime Dean Russ Morgan

      Hello Tze-Yiu, it’s nice to hear from you. I am delighted that this piece resonated with you. It is always rewarding to hear from alumni directly that we have a reputation that holds our graduates and students to a high standard of consequential leadership. Thank you very much for your thoughts and for taking this seriously in your role as a leader.