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The Cowboy Leadership Experience is an ethics-centered certificate program that facilitates transformational individual and organizational growth by bringing leaders back to their core self. Over a five-day period, participants learn to create thriving organizations by taking a human-centered approach to leadership based on their own personal code of ethics.





Program Model


Preparing leaders to develop thriving selves, teams, and organizations.



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Using the Cowboy Leadership Model, the program is designed to help organizational leaders:


Check-mark Lead on internal ethics in a consistent manner  Check-mark Gain awareness of and leverage their leadership style  
Check-mark Gain positive influence among their employees  Check-mark Build positive coalitions with internal and external stakeholders 
Check-mark Attract talented employees  Check-mark Create attractive, feasible strategic plans relative to organizational objectives
Check-mark Develop ethical cultures that innovate in a sustainable way Check-mark Effectively navigate and respond to changing market conditions and demands 
Check-mark Create thriving workplaces Check-mark Create attractive, feasible strategic plans relative to organizational objectives


Program Curiculum


The Cowboys Leadership Experience curriculum is designed through the lens of the PBLE leadership model. The curriculum facilitates the development of a personal improvement plan aimed at helping participants lead on principle to develop positive partnerships and create thriving organizations. 



Theme 1: Self Exploration

  1. What Do You Stand For?
    Reflecting on the “Code of the West,” participants gain awareness of their own moral foundation for leadership by developing their own personal code of ethics. Each participant’s code will consist of a unique set of principles, which they will use as a framework for making ethical decisions for themselves and those they lead.
  2. What’s Your Brand?
    Participants examine their current “brand” and then are given a framework for enhancing their brand as a leader, with special attention given to integrity, a positive attitude, and grit.
  3. Doing What Has to Be Done: Principle-Based Leadership
    Integrating their personal code of ethics, participants develop a personal foundation for principled leadership by creating a set of leadership principles. Participants are then prepared to live and lead on principle through application of fundamental decision-making principles.
  4. Courageous Self-Examination: What’s Your Style?
    Participants gain awareness of their leadership traits and behavioral tendencies through assessment work. They then identify a leadership style that best fits their strengths. Finally, participants gain awareness of the implications of their leadership style for various leadership contexts and learn how to best leverage their style.



Theme 2: Team Influence

  1. Inspiring Employees to Ride for the Brand
    Participants examine the various traditional and non-traditional foundations for motivation to gain awareness of how to best engage employees. They then identify motivation problems within their organization/unit and are taught best practices on how to address them and inspire their own employees to “Ride for the Brand.”
  2. Talk Less and Say More: Above-Board Communication
    Drawing on the various frameworks of humble and servant leadership, participants learn how to compassionately listen for understanding, humbly receive feedback, and honestly express their needs and intentions.
  3. Building Teams That Take Pride in Their Work
    Integrating several interrelated frameworks for team effectiveness, participants are exposed to the markers of team success and typical dysfunctions (e.g., communication breakdowns, conflict, etc.) that prevent them from reaching those. Participants then learn how to help their teams effectively address those dysfunctions and become a cohesive unit.
  4. Always Finish What You Start: Individual Development
    Participants frameworks to understand what developmental opportunities people need and desire, as well as to gain competence in implementing developmental frameworks.
  5. Know Where to Draw the Line: Negotiating and Resolving Conflict with Integrity
    Incorporating the “Code of the West” with non-traditional negotiation practices to create and claim value in business and personal interactions. Participants will practice identifying existing value and, more importantly, identifying and creating unseen/unclear value for all parties involved in the negotiation. Finally, participants will learn techniques for overcoming common conflicts in negotiations.




Theme 3: Organization Dynamics

  1. Making Room Under the Brand
    Integrating the “Code of the West” with core diversity theories, participants learn how to foster diversity of thought in organizations and become a place that accepts and embraces new ideas. Finally, participants learn how to leverage that inclusivity for creative organizational success.
  2. Remember that Some Things Aren’t for Sale: Creating a Values-Driven Culture
    Participants are taken through a process where a desirable set of values are identified for their organization/unit. After creating a series of principles that reflect the desired values, a plan for integrating the values into the organization’s culture is laid out. Participants will also create a “higher-purpose” statement for the organization. The intent of this exercise is to create an uplifting statement that helps team members clarify why they do what they do.
  3. THRIVE Dynamics
    Participants are introduced to an innovative framework for creating organizational dynamics by which the people of an organization THRIVE and, consequently, the organization can be a living, changing entity. Participants then develop specific practices to take into their workplace.
  4. Strategy and New Frontiers
    Participants are prepared to implement business-level strategic plans and organizational change initiatives by exploring the mechanisms of change. They are also taught how to align human capital management functions with the business-level strategy and talent philosophy.
  5. Climb into the Saddle: Enterprise Risk Management
    Through an interactive discussion and assessment exercise, this session will equip participants with the insights and skills needed to develop three key areas – foresight, agility, and resilience – throughout the organization and drive team success.


Want to Learn More About Cowboy Ethics?




Explore Our Program

Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative
Faculty Fellows


Undergraduate Education
Executive Education
Recognizing Excellence


Research & Resources
$50K ellbogen competition
UW Leadership Academy