Strategic Decision and Risk Management

Since 2006, the Stanford Strategic Decision and Risk Management Certificate Program has been a high-quality, decision-making professional education program for leaders around the world. The program blended academic theory with real-world techniques to enhance leaders’ ability to analyze information and alternatives to make the best critical decisions and develop effective business strategies.

The program was created by Stanford Professor Ronald Howard, who created the field of decision analysis, developed the discipline and pioneered its application to all types of decisions. The program was extended as a partnership of the Stanford Center for Professional Development and Strategic Decisions Group. Across the 11 years the program was delivered, more than 9,000 professionals from across the world completed courses in the program.

Participants in the program were decision-makers from diverse areas in organizations, including finance, risk management, planning, engineering, marketing, R&D, design, supply chain, business development and HR.

The core of the program focused on defining the requirements of a “high-quality decision” and the concepts, tools and approaches to analyze information to make the best choice in uncertain and dynamic environments. Courses were taught by Stanford faculty and leading industry experts, and were delivered online, at work and at Stanford.

During the 11 years of the program, specializations in healthcare and education were available.

Upon completing two required courses and four elective courses, a participant received a professional certificate acknowledging their successful participation in the program.

As of August 31, 2017, the Stanford Strategic Decision and Risk Management program ended.

If you participated in the program and would like access to your records of completion, please log into your mystanfordconnection account.

Click for more information about the courses that were included in the program:

XSDR120 - Decision Quality

Delivery: Online, At Work, On-Campus

Available: 2006 - 2017

Overview

This strategy course provided an overview of the best practices for making smarter, faster, and more creative long-term decisions. It introduced the cornerstones of making better decisions.

This course was previously titled "Decision Quality in Organizations."

Instructors

Bruce Judd
Carl Spetzler
Hannah Winter
Trina Weller

Topics Include

  • Build decision competency into an organization
  • Communicate evaluation results
  • Frame a decision appropriately
  • Generate creative alternatives
  • Quantify uncertainty using probability
  • Structure and evaluate decision trees to determine the best alternative

 

XSDR122 - Decision Analysis

Delivery: Online, At Work, On-Campus

Available: 2006 - 2017

Overview

This technical management course presented the philosophy and analytic tools of decision analysis, the analytic foundation for all the courses in the program. The course was taught by Stanford Professor Ron Howard, who coined the name, developed the discipline, and pioneered its application to all types of decisions. The course provided a rare opportunity to study with the founder of this important field.

Instructors

Ron Howard

Topics Include

  • Analyze the personal and professional decisions that shape lives and organizations
  • Avoid the pitfalls of intuitive decision-making
  • Follow a decision approach that scales to treat decisions at all levels of importance
  • Use the concepts that clarify thinking and choice

XSDR123 - Managing Risk in Healthcare Organizations

Delivery: Online, On-Campus

Available: 2011- 2017

Overview

This technical management course introduced a comprehensive approach for quantifying and managing downside risk and upside uncertainty in healthcare organizations. Through a combination of lectures, real-world case exercises and discussions with nationally recognized leaders in healthcare management, it offered risk managers in healthcare organizations increased skills to create value and take on greater responsibility.

Instructors

John Celona
Carl Spetzler

Topics Include

  • Create new, integrated risk management strategies to minimize risk and maximize the value created
  • Deal with risk tolerance and risk aversion to support transparent, consistent, and higher-value risk management decisions
  • Quantify and manage downside risks ("bad" events) and upside uncertainty (the "upside" of risk) to make better risk management decisions
  • Work more effectively as a risk manager and grow into roles with greater responsibility

XSDR220 - Biases in Decision-Making

Delivery: Online, At Work, On-Campus

Available: 2007 - 2017

Overview

This leadership course introduced the decision-making problems and pitfalls inherent to human nature. It described a framework for understanding how natural behavioral processes can produce biases, distortions, and mistakes in decision-making, and demonstrated many of these phenomena firsthand through individual and class exercises. The course presented preventive measures and techniques that can help decision-makers avoid potential traps, improve individual decisions, and enrich organizational decisions.

This course was previously titled "Behavioral Challenges in Decision-Making."

Instructors

Barbara Mellers
Jennifer Meyer
Carl Spetzler

Topics Include

  • Detect and minimize motivational biases
  • Identify and avoid biases in perception
  • Identify personality differences and avoid personality-based distortions
  • Overcome fallacies in reasoning
  • Understand group dynamics and benefit from a group's diversity

XSDR221 - Strategic Innovation and Design Thinking

Delivery: Online, On-Campus, At Work

Available: 2006 - 2017

Overview

This strategy course provided participants a new set of tools for and experience in finding and developing innovative alternatives for addressing strategic business problems. Topics explored creativity from individual and team perspectives and identifed innovation opportunities and roadblocks in organizational settings. Interactive exercises enabled hands-on learning, and guest speakers from well-known innovators in industry shared their experiences.

This course was previously titled "Strategic Innovation."

Instructors

Banny Banerjee
Cynthia Benjamin
William Burnett
Carl Spetzler

Topics Include

  • Identify and work through conceptual blocks in idea generation
  • Utilize both top-down and bottom-up tools to frame business problems
  • Use customer experience as a driver of insightful alternative generation and develop a broad range of high-value alternatives
  • Cycle between qualitative iteration and evaluation to improve strategic options
  • Identify hurdles in your organization's innovation and identify prospects for increasing the level of innovation in your business

XSDR222 - Value-Driven Enterprise Risk Management

Delivery: Online, At Work, On-Campus

Available: 2006 - 2017

Overview

This strategy course taught participants how to better protect and enhance shareholder value through value-driven enterprise risk management (ERM). Value-driven ERM creates a direct line of sight from shareholder value to risk management through an understanding of potential risk factors, decision analytic methods, and best practices.

This course was previously titled "Enterprise Risk Management."

Instructors

David Fishman
Bruce Judd
Elisabeth Pate-Cornell
Carl Spetzler
Steven Tani
Hannah Winter

Topics Include

  • Apply the appropriate methods for value protection by type of risk
  • Build a shareholder value protection perspective instead of a compliance perspective, on ERM
  • Delineate clear roles for the board, senior executives, chief risk officers, line executives and risk management staff
  • Identify and prioritize risks and explore risk-mitigating strategies based on quantified risk outputs
  • Quantify a company's likelihood for taking risks and identify excessive risk exposure

XSDR223 - Ethical Decision-Making

Delivery: Online, On-Campus

Available: 2009 - 2017

Overview

This leadership course raised awareness to ethically sensitive decisions and provided a set of principles and tools for forming coherent ethical judgments. It did not promote a particular ethical point of view. Instead, participants used the principles and tools to create their own personal ethical codes and test them against a wide range of examples from work and life.

Instructors

Ron Howard
Clint Korver

Topics Include

  • Draw clear ethical lines to clarify your thinking and consistently guide right action
  • Generate creative alternatives to resolve dilemmas
  • Identify potential compromises in your own life
  • Overcome lying, deception, insincere promises, inappropriate secrets, and other temptations
  • Respond skillfully and intelligently to life's inevitable ethical challenges and live a life of meaning and integrity

XSDR224 - Strategic Portfolio Decisions

Delivery: Online, At Work, On-Campus

Available: 2008 - 2017

Overview

This strategy course introduced participants to a Strategic Portfolio Management (SPM) process to make strategic resource allocation and portfolio decisions. Portfolio management decisions rely on the foundations of Decision Quality, the Dialogue Decision Process, and Decision Analysis, but the context of optimal resource allocation across many assets is significantly different from strategy or single-decision problems. Portfolio and strategy decisions "just don't look the same."

Instructors

Jay Andersen
Bruce Judd
David Matheson
James Matheson
Ward Peterson
Carl Spetzler

Topics Include

  • Analyze and allocate resources using portfolio analysis software
  • Diagnose a portfolio's characteristics and tailor the SPM process to the types of strategic decisions required to manage the portfolio
  • Identify alternative investment levels and choose the optimal alternative for each portfolio element
  • Track and monitor changes in the business environment to re-evaluate the allocation of resources in the portfolio
  • Use the language, principles, and tools of SPM to conduct asset valuations and portfolio analysis

XSDR225 - Collaborative Decision-Making and Negotiation

Delivery: Online, On-Campus

Available: 2011 - 2017

Overview

This leadership course extended the Decision Quality framework to two kinds of multi-party decisions: decisions made with collaboration (negotiation) and decisions made in competition (game theory). It addressed both the analytical and behavioral aspects of multi-party decisions.

Instructors

Janet Martinez
Carl Spetzler
Steven Tani
Hannah Winter

Topics Include

  • Apply game theory to address competitive/cooperative situations, including negotiations, joint ventures and strategic alliances
  • Leverage information sharing and a relationship frame to maximize the value each party will receive
  • Prepare for and conduct negotiations and deal with difficult negotiation tactics
  • Put yourself into other's shoes and minds, interpret signals (or bluffs), and message others credibly
  • Use decision quality principles and differences in framing, information, and preferences to jointly create greater value and reach win-win solutions in multi-party situations

XSDR226 - Scenarios and Effective Forecasting

Delivery: Online, On-Campus

Available: 2013 - 2017

Overview

This strategy course taught participants how to select the appropriate sources and methodology for forecasts, and then design and develop effective forecasts that improve decisions. To make high-quality decisions, forward-looking information that is relevant and reliable is needed. We can''t just look backward or ignore uncertainty about the future; forecasts must include possibilities (scenarios) and probabilities. Participants built on data and analytics and learned to incorporate better judgment.

This course was previously titled "Scenario Planning and Effective Forecasting."

Instructors

Bruce Judd
Konrad Knell
Brie Linkenhoker
Carl Spetzler
Hannah Winter

Topics Include

  • Develop scenarios to identify possible future states
  • Combine data about the past with judgments about the future
  • Express forecasts as possibilities and probabilities
  • Avoid the most common biases and pitfalls that undermine forecasting
  • Monitor and track the quality of judgments

XSDR320 - Advanced Decision Analysis

Delivery: Online, On-Campus

Available: 2008 - 2017

Overview

This technical management course built on Decision Analysis to explore the considerations and tools necessary to assist people and organizations in decision-making.

Instructors

Ron Howard

Topics Include

  • Assess and apply personal and corporate risk tolerance and time preference in decision-making
  • Gain clarity of action when trying to achieve multiple objectives
  • Obtain high-quality probabilistic assessments through careful modeling and systematic assessment procedures
  • Optimally structure joint investments and partnerships through risk scaling and sharing
  • Value options such as downstream decisions and future decision opportunities

XSDR321 - Modeling for Strategic Insight

Delivery: Online, At Work, On-Campus

Available: 2006 - 2017

Overview

This technical management course provided participants both the understanding and skills needed to build useful models in strategic decision situations and to use them to draw powerful insights into the decision. Topics ranged from conceptual, such as how to recognize a good decision model, to practical, such as laying out a model in Microsoft® Excel. The course was highly interactive, with hands-on exercises for participants to cement their grasp of new skills.

Instructors

Bruce Judd
Jennifer Meyer
Steven Tani

Topics Include

  • Plan the structure for a decision model
  • Create a model for a business strategy decision
  • Diagnose and correct model errors
  • Use commercially available software packages to conduct probabilistic analysis
  • Generate and communicate insights to guide and inform strategic decision-making

XSDR322 - Leading Strategic Decision-Making

Delivery: Online, At Work, On-Campus

Available: 2008 - 2017

Overview

This leadership course builds on the concepts of Decision Quality and the Dialogue Decision Process (DDP), focusing on the role of managers who must lead a group to a decision. These "decision leaders" often facilitate interactions among those who support and provide input to decision-making, as well as those who actually make the decision.

This course was previously titled "Decision Leadership."

Instructors

Pamela Hinds
Bruce Judd
Jennifer Meyer
Jeff Pfeffer
Carl Spetzler
Trina Weller
Hannah Winter

Topics Include

  • Build quality into the decision team's work products, ranging from individual interviews to project team meetings to decision board meetings
  • Diagnose a decision situation and design an efficient process to make the decision
  • Guide dialogue among those who outrank you
  • Lead the decision process and effectively facilitate meetings at each stage of the DDP
  • Manage a group's interpersonal and organizational dynamics to facilitate agreement and clarity of action

XSDR420 - Decision Quality Practicum

Delivery: On-Campus, At Work

Available: 2006 - 2017

Overview

This workshop integrated the concepts, tools, and skills learned in the program's required courses. A comprehensive case exercise provided a realistic setting, giving participants the experience of working on a moderately complex decision problem from start to finish.

Instructors

Bruce Judd
Jennifer Meyer
Steven Tani
Trina Weller
Hannah Winter

Topics Include

  • Framing a moderately complex problem
  • Generating creative alternatives and discovering hybrid strategies through analysis
  • Assessing information using probabilities and ranges
  • Conducting analyses to produce tornado diagrams, waterfall diagrams, and probability distributions
  • Drawing insights from the analyses and synthesizing them to form a clear understanding of the best strategy
  • Planning and conducting a decision dialogue to communicate with decision-makers

XAPM110 - Converting Strategy into Action

Delivery: Online, At Work, On-Campus

Available: 1999 - 2017

Overview

This introductory course provides the conceptual framework for all of the other courses in the program, introducing proven approaches and emerging concepts for aligning an organization's project and program initiatives with its strategic objectives. Students will learn why traditional "project management as usual" practices don't work in today's complex, fast-paced business environments, and then acquire a comprehensive organizational mastery model that does. Students will emerge with a firm grasp of what it takes for an organization to be focused and successful with projects and programs that consistently execute business strategies.

Instructors

Stephen Barley
Gideon Kunda
Raymond Levitt
Mark Morgan
John Warren
Tim Wasserman

Topics Include

  • Align project initiatives with strategic objectives
  • Select, prioritize, and manage a portfolio of projects in a product development or other fast-paced business environment
  • Complete projects faster, with more efficient resource deployment
  • Use new tools to support planning and execution, thereby shrinking time to market
  • Address "crisis mentality" and use time more effectively
  • Champion advanced project management with both co-located and virtual teams
  • Close the gap between knowing and doing
  • Customize a best-practices based organizational mastery model for direct application in your organization
  • Build a stronger project-based matrix organization that is capable of consistently high performance