CPO alums welcomed at Fortune 100 company

May 13, 2020

Center for Positive Organizations Impact Stories

CPO alums welcomed at Fortune 100 company

C.J. Azubuine

“What I learned in the +LAB was invaluable. It was powerful and empowering, and gave me a competitive edge as I entered the workplace.”

As C.J. Azubuine considered his MBA future, one thing differentiated Michigan Ross from all other business schools: the Center for Positive Organizations (CPO).

“From my research on MBA programs, nothing like CPO existed anywhere else,” C.J. explained. “The realization that you can work towards your strengths, instead of focusing on weaknesses, and still flourish in the work environment are concepts that aren’t taught in other schools.”

In his first year as a student, C.J. joined the +LAB program to learn all he could about Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) principles and how to apply them.

“What I learned in the +LAB was invaluable. It was powerful and empowering, and gave me a competitive edge as I entered the workplace. It allowed me to land my role with Cisco Systems. It was an easy match because the Cisco position involved developing strengths-based training and that was a big focus of my time at CPO,” he said.

C.J. has become an ambassador for how to apply POS principles at a Fortune 100 company. In collaboration with CPO, C.J. and another Cisco employee and +LAB alum, Michele Day (AB ’18), are working on a case study to show how strengths-based coaching was implemented at Cisco.

The case study will be used inside and outside the classroom to demonstrate how POS research can be translated and applied to an organization. “The goal is to show students that what they’re learning in the classroom is not just theory, but that there’s the opportunity for real-world application,” C.J. said.

C.J. has also become an unofficial POS recruiter for Cisco. “After hiring me, and learning about how POS can improve an organization, Cisco purposefully looked to hire others who had the same skills,” he said. C.J. recruited Michele and Cisco managers have encouraged him to bring more CPO alumni into the company. “When we’re looking for talent, I look to CPO,” he said.

He says the principles that he’s learned and practiced have benefits well beyond the workplace. “You see that when people engage with positive practices, they tend to flourish in whatever setting they’re in. Whether it’s showing up for your family or participating in a club, this will help you engage at another level.”

C.J. Azubuine is a people consultant for Cisco Systems and earned his MBA from Michigan Ross in 2016.

This story and others appear in the Center for Positive Organizations 2020 Impact Report.