Division of Diversity and Community Engagement
UT Shield

Performance Lab

Created by Suppliers, Supplier Diversity Professionals and Procurement Teams for Small and Medium-Sized Diverse Businesses

The Performance Lab at the University of Texas at Austin is a highly academic, experiential, rigorous and practical business management and execution model for small and medium-sized diverse business owners and the talented team members that support them.

In a global marketplace where we are seeing increasing speeds in automation, innovation and cost reductions, it’s more important than ever to focus on developing future business leaders and create a learning mindset across their organizations. Today, these leaders are having to work with two challenging situations that are potentially in conflict: coping with transformational change and delivering sustainable growth to their organizations. Additionally, in an era of COVID-19 and supply chain resiliency, global best practices call upon corporations to sustain and develop their value chain partners. 

By investing in the development of Small and Medium-sized Diverse Businesses (SMDBs), enterprises enhance the stabilization of their supply chain, improve their ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investments and strengthen the productivity of their Supplier Diversity programs. It’s a return-on-investment that supports both GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth and social impact within our communities.

To meet these challenges head-on, SMDBs need to understand the importance of strategy, process design, annual and long-term planning, productivity, execution and continuous improvement, but also how to motivate and empower their teams to utilize these new tools. They must be able to identify and select the right action at the right time for a specific customer, but also be clear in scope, and have a collaborative workplace culture, while also being cost competitive and courageous in the marketplace. All of this—and more—is the goal of the Performance Lab at the Supplier Diversity Institute (SDI) located at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin).

We’re in the behavioral change business, not the knowledge transfer business.

— Christopher Boles, JD, MPA, Executive in Residence

The Performance Lab at UT Austin is a twelve-month blended learning model, which includes four (4) face-to-face all-day learning sessions at UT Austin, and two (2) all-day online learning sessions, with quarterly advisory and performance coaching sessions. Unlike other executive education programs, we’re in the behavioral change business, and not the knowledge transfer business, and we believe that the only way to drive change is through action, practice and improvement. Specifically, we utilize techniques such as instruction from guest speakers, workplace simulations, role-plays, planning sessions and other types of experiential learning tools, which enable leaders to practice the skills they’ll be using back within their organizations to drive improvement and propel growth.  

We encourage business owners accepted into the Performance Lab to bring another executive, manager or teammate with them, to assist in driving change within their organizations. At SDI, we believe it is misguided to ask a business leader to attend high-level training on multiple subjects over several days, to participate at a high-level during these sessions and then go back into their organization to affect change all by themselves. This is an improbable task for most leaders, and an impossible task for others. This is where other executive education programs often fail.

The Performance Lab is an experiential learning model, that is tailored to meet the accelerating needs of small and medium-sized diverse suppliers in mid-level management and executive positions, who aspire to grow not only their revenue, but also the talented teams that support and drive this growth.

For more information about the Performance Lab or the Supplier Diversity Institute, please contact: Christopher “Chris” Boles at: christopher.boles@austin.utexas.edu