In a recent article written by Pete Thamel for The New York Times, I learned about Paqui Kelly whose husband, Brian, is the football coach at Notre Dame. Here are a few of the facts about her that I found most interesting.
1. She has had two lengthy battles with breast-cancer, the most recent requiring a double mastectomy in 2008.
2. From the beginning of her health problems, she has been determined to get the most out of each day. That’s why she was water skiing a month after the double mastectomy, refers to chemotherapy as a “$120,000 perm,” and told her three children to invite the neighbors over for a head-shaving party after her second breast-cancer diagnosis. This summer, she received three speeding tickets driving the family boat around their lake house.
3. Thamel recalls, “Paqui Kelly laughs when telling the story of her wig flying off while an elevator stopped at a random floor, and an entire Christmas party staring in stunned silence as she chased down her hair.”
4. Later, after surgery to remove cysts, her doctors said that the chances of them being cancerous were “one-in-a-million.” A few weeks later, she got the results and told her husband, “You know how you’re always saying I’m one-in-a-million? Remember what the doctors said? Well, I’m the one.”
5. She has two sisters who have also battled breast-cancer and undergone a double mastectomy.
6. Paqui Kelly is still two years away from being declared cancer free for the second time but continues to be as active as ever. She and her husband established the Kelly Cares Foundation years ago whose events this year will raise about $1.4 million for cancer awareness education, research, fundraising, and access to testing and treatment.
7. Throughout all her ordeals, she has been primarily responsible for raising three children (especially during football season, given the head coach’s schedule) but has had a large and active support group. “How it impacted everyone around me is more significant than having it happen to me.”
Let’s hope her example encourages other women to complete the diagnostic tests sooner rather than later and her example also inspires those with breast cancer to summon the courage they need to prevail over what awaits them.
In response to the question “What kind of a world are we dealing with?” here is a portion of Jonathan Gosling’s response, synthesized from several sources.
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It’s a wiki world. In the old days, knowledge was stored up in banks – called schools, colleges and universities, in planning departments and expert systems. University researchers, for example, would go out into the world to gather information, take it back to their labs and libraries, and some years later publish the general rules and patterns. Meanwhile, everyone else got on with life. But now, thanks to the internet, anyone can publish the lessons learned from daily work; we can all comment on each other’s ideas, and thus knowledge becomes immediately actionable. This has a big impact on power – the most important basis of leadership. If leaders no longer control what people know about, they must exert influence by their ability to make connections, to facilitate the actions and opinions of well-informed knowledge-rich citizens.
Note: He also thinks it’s “a worldly world” and “a wounded world.” I share those thoughts in separate posts.
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Jonathan Gosling is Professor of Leadership and Director of the Centre for Leadership Studies at University of Exeter Business School since 2002. He is currently leading the worldwide launch of the One Planet MBA while conducting research into emerging concepts of leadership, extending earlier work on the distribution and practice of leadership in Higher Education. Other on-going research includes the study of change and continuity in large organizations, and the processes by which leadership is legitimized in minority communities. Gosling is also the author of countless scholarly papers as well as several books. My personal favorite is Nelson’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Commander co-authored with Stephanie Jones and published by Nicholas Brealey (2005).
The business world has increasingly become a world of individuals. Corporate teams that once banded together to push forward are now like mercenary gangs… Corporate culture has often become little more than a sea of managerial nomads, loyal to no one and motivated overwhelmingly by salary, convenience, and the size of the corporate gym…
This has been a disaster for managers and leaders who want to create values and get results. It’s difficult to lead workers who have been abandoned to senior management. It’s tough to make unpopular choices when senior management won’t back you up. It’s hard to stay on course when subordinates can go around you.
Enough… It’s time to run your organization like a team again, and in a manner that is principally designed to produce results.
Do you think you are spending too much time on planning? Spend some more… Success in the boardroom or on the battlefield does not require everything to go perfectly. It requires you to be ready when things go wrong.
Set specific goals and establish identifiable paths to reach them… Time after time, organizations fail to do this.
Jeff Cannon and Lieutenant Commander Jon Cannon,
Leadership Lessons of the U.S. Navy SEALS:
Battle-Tested Strategies for Creating Successful Organizations and Inspiring Extraordinary Results
What Adrian C. Ott characterizes as a Customer Time-Value (CTV) mindset takes into full account the fact that consumers are investing less time and less attention in purchase decisions. They are better informed now than ever before. (Reviews such as this one offer an excellent example of how Amazon accommodates a reader’s need for information about a given book.) Experts on time management offer suggestions as to how to achieve more and better results in less time within a finite timeframe that has remained constant throughout human history 168-hours in a week) since Egyptians first divided the day (and night) into 24 temporal hours.
Today, consumers seem to have a form of ADD. They have the same amount of time as their ancestors did but much less patience. Efforts to capture their attention have created an ever-increasing “clutter” of sensory messages and even then, the attention span resembles a strobe light blink.
What to do?
Ott offers a wealth of information, insights, and recommendations to survive (and hopefully thrive) in a “time-starved, always-connected economy.” She highlights a number of companies that have applied a customer time-centric and attention-centric lens to their business, such as Amazon, Cisco, Costco, Disney, FedEx, Google, John & Johnson, Nike, Procter & Gamble, and Southwest Airlines. As she notes, “the company case studies that I highlight may not have used my terms to describe their approach (or used any names at all, for that matter), but they are applying a Customer Time-Value mindset and many of the new rules that became apparent to me as I looked across companies for commonalities.
Time Out: Although Ott offers a number of the largest global corporations as exemplars of the principles (if not the specifics) of Customer Time-Value (CTV), she also examines a number of start-up and fledgling companies because what she affirms and recommends is relevant to all organization s, whatever their size and nature may be.
For example, in the first two chapters alone, she provides a wealth of practical material that explains how to
• Understand the differences between the “Old Rules” and “New Rules”
• Conduct a time-ographics analysis to determine time allocation
• Turn customer time-value into market traction
• Trigger events that drive purchasing behavior
• Capture time and attention opportunities
• Map customer activity
• Deliver value by shifting boundaries of time and attention
• Increase time value
• Formulate time boundary strategies
• Provide instant gratification
• Deliver time-critical value
• Influence time and attention by targeting the senses
• Leverage “captive time”
Mind you, all this in just the first two chapters. Better yet, Ott provides a “Two-Minute Takeaway” section at the conclusion of each of the first six chapters. This reader-friendly device will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of most of Ott’s key points. Those who read the book make frequent purchases in-person and/or online. When considering and making a purchase decision (one of the options is not to buy), presumably they assign great value to their time and energy as well as to the ease and convenience in combination with the selection and quality of what the seller offers.
This is a “must read” for anyone who needs to understand what are indeed the “new rules” of what is indeed “a time-starved, always-connected economy.”
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Chad Storlie for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Review’s Daily Alerts, please click here.
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What value does the military have for an organization? World class, combat honed, and expansive skill sets in strategic planning, wargaming (competitor-on-competitor role play), competitive intelligence, leader development, rigorous standard enforcement, and innovation in execution are only a few of the cutting edge managerial skill sets that the military brings. Additionally, military veteran-to-CEO success stories such as Ken Hicks (Foot Locker), Bob McDonald (P&G), John Meyer (Acxiom), and Dave Grange (PPD) all credit military ethical foundations, decision making skills, practical leadership, and teamwork, and the focus of life-or-death situations that quickly developed them into decisive leaders focused on excellence, execution, and best-in-class performance.
For the organization, the value of the military-to-organization skill set transition comes when military skills and methodologies are translated into the context that creates the greatest value for the organization. Just because it worked well in combat or worked well for a military organization does not mean that it will do so for a civilian or commercial organization. A military technique must constantly translate the language, context, framework, and effectiveness of the military skills to the organization in which they now serve. Additionally, military skills must further be adapted to the organization as that organization transforms to position itself surrounding the factors of customers, competition, regulation, and other environmental influences. Just like combat, no environment, business model, or customer base is static — effective evolution is a must.
The military has a wide range of skill sets and proficiencies that business needs:
Intelligence: The military excels at systematic and ongoing analysis of competitors as well as how the operating environment influences the outcome and potential success of an operation. Additionally, a uniform, frequent, and ongoing intelligence effort provides a common competitive assessment to an organization. In an organization’s leadership, how many leaders have a common view of competitive threats? How often is the competitive analysis updated?
Planning and Preparation: The creation of a timely, comprehensive, and structured plan is the hallmark of military operational planning. Many organizations do this well. However, what most organizations lack is the creation of multiple contingency plans, the use of wargaming or competitor-on-competitor scenarios, and mission rehearsals to ensure a flawless execution.
Execution: This requires the ability to rapidly adjust and improvise when an operation does not go according to plan. The use of Commander’s Intent, a military planning and execution framework that describes the commander’s description and definition of success, is an essential tool when operating in a dynamic and chaotic environment.
When a plan changes, military personnel rapidly adjust their actions using independent action and initiative to meet Commander’s Intent.
Team Leadership: The value of good leadership goes beyond the team being led. Good team leadership extends into leadership by example and positive role models that can inspire throughout the organization.
Subordinate Development: The military uses a process known as the performance counseling session employed by the immediate supervisor of a military member to address what soldiers, marines, sailors, or airmen did well, what they need to improve, and the plan of action to make them a better overall contributor. This inherent subordinate development process is of extraordinary value for an organization because it makes every employee in the organization better.
Military veterans and military techniques, when applied properly to an organization’s culture and business processes, can bring value to corporations, non-profits, non-governmental organization, and educational institutions. All of these organizations can benefit in vast and immediate ways through the application of military skills to their operations.
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Chad Storlie is a Senior Business Director at Union Pacific Railroad and the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader: 20 Lessons to Advance Your Civilian Career.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Karen Dillon for the Harvard Business Review blog. To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Review’s Daily Alerts, please click here.
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What will you decide to be curious about Monday morning?
That’s a question that former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley routinely asks himself. For him, the willful decision to get curious about something new has led him to some amazing insights. For example, a few years ago Lafley wanted to get Peter Drucker’s http://hbr.org/authors/drucker thoughts on the work of the CEO. So he decided to call the legendary management thinker out of the blue and see if he would be willing to meet. Drucker, Lafley recalls, answered his own phone and invited the relatively new P&G CEO to his home for a brief chat.
That livingroom chat ended up extending for hours and was the beginning of Lafley and Drucker doing some meaningful work together trying to define the work of the CEO. As Lafley recounted that first call when I interviewed him this week for the World Business Forum‘s New York conference, he was still ebullient remembering how much time and thought Drucker was prepared to share with him — a stranger until Lafley picked up the phone. Lafley’s only regret was that he hadn’t dared to call Drucker sooner in his career because their work, which continued over future sessions in Drucker’s livingroom, was never fully complete in Drucker’s life. Lafley would finish that thinking with an article in Harvard Business Review after Drucker’s death, but he has wondered what else their collaboration might have produced had he called him sooner.
For Lafley, the curiosity imperative extends beyond reaching out to an admired thinker. His hallmark at P&G was to spend whatever time he could with customers, learning from them. As he advised a questioner in the audience at our World Business Forum session, don’t wait to be given a customer research project — create one on your own. You don’t need a big budget or lines of higher authority approval. Just do it. Decide to learn something new without anyone asking you to.
In my years of covering entrepreneurs, I know that many of the great ones were relentlessly curious, freely daring to reach out to people they thought they could learn from — even when it wasn’t clear why those people would give them the time of day.
The moral of the story is that great thinkers and innovators make deliberate choices to be curious — and then dare to pick up the phone. Or email someone. Or start their own research project. Great connections that lead to game-changing insights aren’t made randomly. You need to make “discovery” a priority project.
What journey of discovery is going to top your to-do list Monday morning?
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Karen Dillon is the Editor of Harvard Business Review.