WOW! It was quite a week for the students, instructors, and staff. Starting with Sunday’s Opening Session and receipt of their Hartman Value Profile analysis, students experienced a week of intensive training, interspersed with some fun. Each of the five groups of 24 students developed a unique bond--friendships forged by mutual experience. The Management Development Program concluded with a formal graduation ceremony, complete with brief speeches, cheers, chants for planning a reunion, and the awarding of Certificates of Achievement. The electricity and excitement in the graduation ceremony were memorable.
Throughout the week, the students’ work and play activities provided many photo opportunities. Included with this article is a sampling of the many pictures taken depicting special moments. A photo album of the Class of 1999 has been assembled and will be available for viewing at the Land Title Institute table at future ALTA® conventions.
Analysis and feedback from the 119 graduates of the Class of 1999 were very positive. The quotation below is just one of many complimentary responses to the question, "Would you recommend this program to others?"
"I would definitely recommend the program to others. In fact, I already have suggested it to two other managers. I think the information covered was very valuable and will strengthen the skills of even a "seasoned" manager. Another important aspect of the class was the sharing of ideas with respect to the management issues that we all face. Within your own organization, sometimes it seems that there is only one way to handle a certain situation. The MDP allowed for discussion of many different approaches to the same challenge."
The 119 graduates of the Class of 1999 included 65 men and 54 women. Eighty-one were agents and 38 were underwriter employees. The graduates represented 38 states.
The facilities in the Hinton Center at Houston Baptist University (HBU) were top-notch. The classrooms were state-of-the-art and adaptable to different configurations for learning, such as small group discussions and group projects. Some of our small group discussions moved outdoors for an opportunity to develop a consensus and to enjoy the warm temperatures and sunshine. We used multi-tiered classrooms, some rooms with movable worktables, two computer labs, and the sidewalks outside for a mental exercise with two hoola hoops.
Upon their arrival on Sunday afternoon, students received their MDP accessories -- a three-ring binder with more than 200 pages of printed materials, badge, identification place card for their classroom table, folder with pad of paper and pen, carryall shoulder bag, and their personal analysis of the Hartman Value Profile.
Hartman Value Profile
According to evaluation forms and comments made while at HBU, students particularly enjoyed the opportunity to learn about their personal strengths and weaknesses as identified by the Hartman Value Profile. Dr. Steve Byrum provided two explanations of the Hartman Value Profile -- first during the second half of Sunday’s Opening Session, and then during his course "Managing Change in the Title Industry." Some of our manager students have returned to their offices to offer the Hartman Value Profile analysis to all their employees and have contracted with a consultant to offer explanations of the individual profiles.
Hotel Accommodations and Private Bus Transportation to HBU
The Westin Oaks in the Galleria was the primary hotel for attendees, although a few students stayed at another facility. The Westin Oaks is adjacent to the Galleria, a large shopping center with numerous restaurants, stores, and an indoor ice skating rink. Transportation between the hotel and HBU was provided by a private bus company, and we rode in style in brand new buses.
Ice Breaker Reception, Daily Meals and Evening Events
Sunday’s Ice Breaker Reception was held on the top floor of the Westin Oaks Hotel, which offered a panoramic view of the uptown Houston area. HBU provided Continental breakfast and lunch all five days, as well as two dinners and entertainment for students and faculty on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. About half of our students attended the rodeo at the Astrodome on Wednesday evening as guests of Stewart Title Guaranty Company.
Distinguished Industry Speakers
We were most fortunate to have four very distinguished and knowledgeable title industry experts present during the week, and they offered a title industry "spin" on certain courses. Our guest speakers and their topics were:
Stewart Title Guaranty Company
Janet A. Alpert
Finance for Land Title Manage
LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc.
Cara L. Detring
Managing Change in the Title Business
Preferred Land Title Company
Kenneth R. Jannen
Managing Change in the
Finance for Land Title Managers
First American Title Insurance Company
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Reunion for Class of 1999
By popular request made during the graduation ceremony, a reunion for the Class of 1999 will most likely occur during the ALTA® Annual Convention in Hawaii in 2000.
Each of our 119 graduates has been given a special identification badge on which is imprinted "MDP Graduate." If you see one of our graduates at a title industry function, please introduce yourself and ask about their experience at LTI’s Management Development Program--they have tales to tell. Congratulations to the Class of 1999!
One of the interesting developments of the program and one not anticipated was the group synergy or group dynamics. Each group become a "tribe" united together to do their best and to beat the rest, particularly in the customer service course. One group called each other by their nicknames, chosen on the first day during an introduction lesson. People exchanged business cards, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers because they wanted to stay in touch with their "group." One of our graduates wrote:
"All in all, the week was a wonderful learning experience steeped in much fun, laughter and camaraderie. Age, sex, national origin, or title company made no difference here. The networking crossed all preconceived lines of underwriter/agent; your company vs. my company. We were one and we wanted to win! You could not have walked away from this program unchanged. For one week, in Houston at the first annual MDP, we were one--we were united."
Unique Faculty Development
I am delighted to report developments on two of our top-rated MDP instructors. Dr. Karen Morton was eight months pregnant when she taught the "Communication/Listening Skills" course. She is now the proud mother of a daughter. Dr. Steve Byrum, our instructor on the Hartman Value Profile and "Managing Change in the Title Business" course, has agreed to present an educational session entitled "Ethics in the Workplace" at the 1999 ALTA® Annual Convention in Colorado Springs in October.
Next Year’s Program
Because of the success of LTI’s first Management Development Program, we are planning to offer the management/leadership course again next year-- (roughly) the same time and same place. The dates for 2000 are February 27-March 3. Course instruction will be held on the campus of Houston Baptist University, and hotel accommodations will be available at the Westin Oaks in the Galleria. Due to an almost unanimous request, next year we will insert some "free time" on Wednesday afternoon so that participants have an opportunity to sightsee, shop, maybe play golf, or rest. Specific details about the 2000 MDP will be announced this Fall.
The Land Title Institute (LTI) created the Management Development Program n 1999 n response to the title industry’s needs, with the man objective being to give the industry a process to recognize, motivate, and groom its future leaders. Products of LT also include seminars, videotapes, and correspondence courses.