Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

young male professional pointing at a whiteboard while giving a presentation to a male client in a boardroom young male professional pointing at a whiteboard while giving a presentation to a male client in a boardroom

The Essentials

Critical tools for success.

Learn professional skills for success with these focused programs.

Business Essentials Courses

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Note: If you are planning to use these courses as electives in the Business Administration Diploma , please contact us for academic values. 


ESS 796 Supervision Essentials* (1 day)

Today supervisors face more challenges than ever: fewer employees, fewer resources, less money, and more work. The ability to strike the right balance between people management and task management is an essential ingredient to achieving outstanding performance. If you are a new supervisor or are in the process of becoming one, this course will provide a foundational overview of many critical supervisory skills including: understanding your role as supervisor; identifying your leadership style and how to put it to work; enhancing your people practices: motivating others, interviewing for "fit", giving constructive feedback, addressing performance issues; delegating effectively and responsibly; and leading productive meetings.

Instructors: Peter O'Donnell

ESS 801 Customer Service Excellence (0.5 day)

Why does providing good customer service matter?  In this fast-paced half-day course, develop an understanding of the impact that you can have on your organization’s reputation.  Explore concepts raised in Raving Fans, a top-selling book about customer service.  Find out why it is important to have raving fans and not just satisfied customers.  During the interactive session, you will enhance your skills to deliver fantastic service to both internal and external customers regardless of whether the interaction takes place through email, by phone or face-to-face.

Instructors: Peter O'Donnell

ESS 804 Strategic Planning Fundamentals (1 day)

It’s hard to be strategic when the internal and external environments are constantly in flux rendering the long-term view increasingly difficult. But an organization without a strategic plan makes proactive and smart decision-making less common. Further it is more vulnerable to sudden changes. Strategic planning helps staff prepare for change even if the guiding direction has to be frequently adapted to suit the changing circumstances. This introduction to the fundamentals of strategic planning will provide you as a leader of a department, unit or team with how to structure and develop a plan and involve your staff and stakeholders. This one-day primer is a hands-on, interactive session aided by practical tools and processes for developing a “living, breathing” strategic plan. This course includes an assignment that must be completed prior to the course. Registrants will be emailed instructions approximately one week prior to the course.

Instructors: Anil Gupta

ESS 805 Unconscious Bias: How We Make Decisions - NEW! (0.5 Days)

Our behaviour is impacted by the assumptions, biases and stereotypes (positive and negative) that exist in our subconscious. We tend to believe that we are seeing everything in its complete form, however, it’s not possible for us to see the world as it is. Instead, we see the world through the lens of our experiences, biases and various identity factors. As a result, the assumptions we hold shape the decisions that we make, but these decisions may be creating unequal outcomes for our employees. For leaders, it is important to be aware of how our experiences, influenced by intersecting factors, can influence the way in which we communicate, how we approach and resolve conflict and ultimately how we lead. This course presents an introduction to unconscious bias and provides strategies to challenge our assumptions, improve our policies and create an inclusive workplace.

Instructors: Rumeet Billan

ESS 817 Business Storytelling (1 day)

The art of leadership and management includes the ability to ‘weave a tale’ that engages, motivates, and inspires. Storytelling gives context and adds meaning; it helps strengthen the links between individual teams and bigger organizational goals. Effective managers need to learn how to connect in a more meaningful and intimate way with people to achieve buy-in and commitment. People tell business stories to communicate and connect with employees, customers, colleagues, partners, suppliers, and the media. Business stories differ from regular stories, in that you tell them with an objective, goal, or desired outcome in mind, rather than for entertainment. Participants will learn: how to communicate and connect better with their audience; how to build their story repertoire; how to distill their message; and how to improve their business speaking and writing skills.

ESS 819 Intrapreneurship: The Innovator Within (1 Days)

This one-day course introduces participants to concepts associated with identifying opportunities and solving problems using imagination, creativity, innovation and intrapreneurship within the confines of existing organizations. Tools, techniques and frameworks are provided to equip attendees with the competencies necessary implement/advance new product/service/process changes in their respective organizations.

ESS 820 Fostering Workplace Innovation (1 day)

How do organization leaders actually ignite creativity and get employees passionate about their work? Using the componential theory of creativity, this one-day workshop will allow participants to reflect upon their experience with creativity and innovation. Considering the four components deemed necessary for creative response (domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant processes, intrinsic task motivation and the social environment), participants will determine strategies and practical actions that they can take back to their workplace to ‘make the case’ for cultivating creativity and innovation.

ESS 821 Leading Millennials - NEW! (0.5 Days)

In an environment in which 40% of the workforce is comprised of Millennials, and disruption of industry, product, and process is constant and unrelenting, understanding and learning how to lead this generation has become an integral part of organizations’ people strategy. This course presents a framework for practices that support the recruitment and retention of Millennials. A look at the Millennial experience and the unique attributes of this generation are examined, and the impact on recruitment, engagement and retention strategies are explored. Leadership that understands how to attract, recruit and retain top talent for the future is essential for thriving in a culture of disruption and change.

Instructors: Rumeet Billan

ESS 836 Project Management (2 days)

As organizations and their products and services become more complex, there is a greater need for the discipline of Project Management. Based on the internationally recognized standards of the Project Management Institute (PMI), this course will introduce the key tools, techniques and processes needed to manage projects.  This highly experiential course gives participants the opportunity to build their skills and knowledge in applying the techniques using exercises and case studies.

Instructors: Bruce Garrod

ESS 838 Delivering Powerful Presentations (1 day)

This fun, effective and interactive course provides practical and proven strategies for planning, preparing and delivering powerful presentations. Learn and practice how to combat nervousness associated with public speaking along with understanding how to effectively construct the elements of a meaningful and purposeful presentation.

ESS 874 Finance for Non-Financial Managers (2 days)

This two-day course will raise your level of financial acumen and enable you to use financial information to make better short-term and long-term decisions in managing your firms. The course covers basic financial principles and financial management tools necessary for decision-making. Participants are introduced to the basic language of financial reporting and guided through the basic corporate financial statements to "decode" the "encoded" information. A financial statement is analyzed using ratios and participants analyze another statement in groups. The connection between strategy and budgets will be explored and the importance of time value of money in project planning will be discussed while developing pro-forma statements.

Instructors: Michael Michalski

ESS 877 Negotiation Skills (1 day)

Negotiation is the art and science of securing agreements between two or more interdependent parties.  It can be very difficult to do well. Even the most experienced negotiators often fall prey to common biases and errors in judgment. The purpose of this course is to help you understand the theory and process of effective negotiations. The best way to learn negotiation skills and actually internalize them is to negotiate in a setting where insight is offered, feedback is plentiful, personal reflection is encouraged, and careful analysis is required. Therefore, the course relies primarily on “hands on” learning to help participants understand the negotiating process and their own strengths and weaknesses. Note: This course is intended for general business situations.

Instructors: Janice Locke

ESS 895 Effective Business Writing (1 day)

People are sometimes too busy to read all e-mails and other written correspondence that comes across their desks. Correspondence needs to be well-written to be well-read! Learn to prepare correspondence that gets attention and makes it "reader-friendly". Discover how to add personality to your writing while maintaining a professional style which is easily understood, free of unnecessary words and suitable for the intended audience. Learn how to write to persuade readers to see your point of view. Another key element of the session will be to produce written communication that maintains positive relations within the workplace. This course includes an assignment that must be completed prior to the course.  Registrants will be emailed instructions approximately one week prior to the course.

Instructors: Lori Stephenson

* Students must enrol at least two weeks before the start date to allow time for an online assessment to be completed prior to the course 

^Next course held on McMaster's main campus