Specialty Medical Chemicals

An Article on Carl Burke, 1997, CEO and his decisions to develop a strong team of leaders:

It’s interesting to read a trained psychologists breakdown of top management and see the tabulated characteristics of each individual.  For the most part, their resumes are impressive, but if Carl seeks openness and idea oriented people he needs to help create the atmosphere.  The study suggests that too many of the leaders are worried about whom the CEO is and how his term is going to play out, rather than his direction.  Being the same age or younger than five of his six reports is a difficult process to overcome.  Plus, Carl has now shaken up the whole team and dissatisfaction will be on the rise.  Don’t get me wrong, seeking outside professional help and paying well for it is a valuable tool and should be used when needed, but Carl needs to show some direction.  Respect is the key here.  Carl needs to connect with his team as individuals and professionals.  Creating ideas and potential stars with market growth requires his ideas spawned through his colleagues.  He’s not manipulating his situation and gaining control.  I fear the worst for Carl if he can’t start something soon.  I’d suggest taking a deep breath, team with Roger, already seen as the successor, and start the growth era.

Jesica’s Story

A U.S. News & World Report, 2003:

Jesica’s story is a heartbreaking one. The system failed. Doctors are human just like everyone else and errors are unavoidable, but systems can be designed to practically eliminate all mistakes. System’s need an owner or some ownership in order to receive the necessary attention. The entire system needs dedicated responsible ownership. Although, it can’t always be done and costs, no matter what your desires may be, are important factors. Affordable, stable, secure systems that will work are out there but need creation, ownership, and funding. Dr. Jaggers may feel ultimately responsible but leadership failed in terms of creating a more reliable environment. Leadership can push better structures and more systematic schemes that give doctors the best chance to succeed. In all cases, hospital leadership and organ procurement organizations should seek the best possible and affordable systems in order to thrive.

Get Healthy—Or Else

Inside one company’s all-out attack on medical costs:

NV Energy announced a new benefits plan this week and like CEO Jim Hagedorn did with Scotts, it’s very focused on employee health.  There will be financial incentives to stay healthy.  Along with annual screenings that could have costly results.  Although, I’m not too sure I disagree with it.  I believe in staying healthy and financial incentives are the way to do it, especially if the company offers ways to work towards a healthier life style.  Believing that you can treat your body however you want is your own decision, but then asking for financial restitution when you need it is absurd.  How should a company handle a healthy employee that doesn’t abuse health care benefits versus an unhealthy one who does?  When you are taking comforts away from groups you’re going to get some friction, but finding ways to do it with reason and help, shows that there’s a purpose to it.  Adding programs and a fitness facility shows that it’s not strictly a financial cut, that there’s a desire to actually improve employee health.  Not just for work or benefits reason either.  Remember being healthy is a good thing.

Two Football Coaches Have a Lot to Teach Screaming Managers

Wall Street Journal Article: Two Football Coaches Have a Lot to Teach Screaming Managers :

Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are good coaches, but so are Rex Ryan and Bill Cowher.  Cowher has a ring just like Dungy.  I’m not sure screaming is a bad thing, especially when it’s a result of passion and hard work.  I believe that how it’s handled and who it’s directed at makes a big difference.  Some people take it as motivation and others as discomforting.  Different situations and circumstances call for different actions and personalities.  One of the best mentors I’ve ever had at work was loud, direct, had a foul mouth, was rude, and informal.  On the contrary, he worked constantly and he worked hard.  He also pushed knowledge and education.  He had a driving force that some calm, even tempered leaders don’t possess.  As for Tony Dungy, he was an intelligent head coach and really has earned a reputation as a mentor and friend.  I’d argue that it was Peyton Manning that drove that 2006 Colts team to the championship and he has more of a driving personality.  Maybe again he doesn’t scream as much as Cowher, but he’ll get after a player for a mistake.  In general, I believe that it’s hard to say which trait is better and really it depends on the situation and the personalities involved.

Stanford Case: Southwest Airlines

Using Human Resources for a Competitive Advantage (A,B)

My dad is a retired airline pilot who flew for Braniff, Reno Air and American.  I’ve heard about Southwest my whole life.  In fact, when he worked for American, we still always flew Southwest.  It was convenient, friendly, easy, and usually the cheapest.  I don’t even look at other airlines when I’m booking flights.  I go straight to their website and get a ticket.  While reading the study on SWA it all seemed obvious to me.  Southwest is fun.  The study isn’t surprising and now I’m just extremely impressed with their upper management.  The idea that people and their attractive personalities are advantages towards ‘getting’ to work there is remarkable.  The family theme is inspiring and the people resources department is unique.  The human resources departments that I’ve seen are dull and employed by a mean and boring person who probably has upwards of a dozen cats at home.  The same person that appreciates their cats more than people in general while they eat lunch in the cafeteria by themselves.  I love the plan that includes taking care of your employees and letting them take care of the customers.  I would think that most people want to enjoy their jobs and feel close to the company.  Southwest has that.  Great study and a great company.

I read the Wall Street Journal article, Rules of Engagement.

I just finished reading the article and I enjoyed it but I’m having a hard time believing it.  I do believe that increased employee satisfaction would positively affect the company revenues, but does the study take into account the amount of money spent on the new ‘atmosphere’?  Better benefits, raises, and a fitness facility all come at a premium.  Don’t get me wrong though I love the idea.  Especially about the fitness facility and the employee perception, but how long does it last?  You would think that after the changes occur that the attitudes would go up, but at some point its old news.  It’s just expected and any old issues would again hatch and return.  The mention that the executives were committing to quarterly face to face time by meeting employees at the door with breakfast was excellent.  The breakfast was nice but just having that transparency and conceptual friendship was the real benefit to me.  Very interesting article.

I read the Wall Street Journal article about the UA pilot, Captain Flanagan:

I really like the article.  My dad is a retired airline pilot and a retired Navy veteran.  When I suggested that I was interested in becoming a pilot, much to my surprise, he immediately steered me away from it.  He’s too frustrated with the security semantics and hoops you have to jump through.  “It’s not a fun job anymore and it’s getting worse” he told me.  As to the article, it’s a sigh of relief to hear about someone that can overcome the air travel woes that plague the industry. It sounds to me like Capt. Flanagan should be offered Atkinson’s CCO job.