Eva Cassidy enters Business Execution Hall of Fame

September 27, 2011

While many of my readers may not realize this, my roots include being a professional trumpet and flugelhorn player.  I have great appreciation for music and artists.

Eva Cassidy’s incredible story is told in the following ABC Nightline video.  Until my wife shared this with me a few minutes ago, I had never known of her.  The simplicity, elegance, style, phrasing of her music says it all.  What an phenomenal musical artist!

And, for her enormous talent, I enter Eva Cassidy in my Business Execution Hall of Fame.  Watch the following video and you’ll understand why.

Dave Gardner

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Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 26SEP11

September 26, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: strategy

I shared a Fast Company Expert Blog post with a client that takes a look back at the office technology available during the NASA program to put a man on the moon back during the 1960’s.

My client wondered on Twitter, “When will another president have the guts to announce a ‘man on the moon’ project and what should it be?”

I tweeted back, “The project should be to eliminate US dependence on fossil fuels by 2030…an idea bigger than putting a man on the moon.”

My client tweeted back, “…and probably with more impact on global peace ;)”

Eliminating US dependence on fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, natural gas) will improve national security, create millions of jobs, reduce our carbon footprint, and help us thrive.

Isn’t it time to tackle an innovation project like this?

Thought for the week:

“Getting change right means:

  • Bringing people together and helping them interact in ways that create meaningful engagement for new and better ways of working.
  • Tapping into a high-leverage web of experience and information so your initiative responds in real time to changing circumstances
  • Getting many, many people on board as quickly as possible, creating a fast-paced buy-in.”

– Seth Kahan, Getting Change Right


What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 19SEP11

September 19, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

In an Austin elevator this week, I overheard 2 gentlemen talking about a need for organizational change.  One gentleman said, “Well if they don’t go for the carrot, we’ll just have to bring out the stick.”

I exited the elevator shaking my head. Did they really believe this is the best approach for achieving enduring change?

Enduring change is created by engaging with stakeholders–the people who have to live day in and out with the change–in a meaningful way that captures and incorporates their feedback and is responsive to their needs.

The carrot or stick may result in compliance but fails to help the people, department or the company thrive.

Thought for the week:

“Heroic leadership…a restless, countercultural instinct to keep challenging the status quo.” – Chris Lowney, Heroic Leadership


What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Money Can’t Buy Everything

September 13, 2011

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I volunteered to play Taps at a charity event for Wounded Warriors at a polo field in Atherton,CA, one of the most exclusive zip codes inCalifornia. This is where a lot of millionaires and probably even a few billionaires live.

I had never been to a polo match.  Anthony Robbins once described polo as being like “falling down a flight of stairs and lighting your wallet on fire once you hit the bottom.” This is a rich person’s sport. The woman and men at this charity event were extremely well-dressed.

I looked for an area to warm up away from the crowd using a practice mute that absorbs probably 90% of the audible sound from my horn.  I found an out-of-the-way refuge near some parked cars and a few port-a-potties.  As I was quietly warming up, a woman enters one of the port-a-potties. Here’s my recap:

Dress:  $5000

High heels: $1200

Hand bag: $1000

Look on her face when a man trying to use the same port-a-potty discovers she had not locked the door: priceless.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

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Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 12SEP11

September 12, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

It’s easy to sit in the bleachers and criticize Carol Bartz for not having achieved more at Yahoo, but, one has to wonder if all the blame really lies at her feet.

Carol joined the company after Yahoo failed to find a path to being acquired by Microsoft.  Yahoo has never really regained its footing and continues to struggle to this day.  It has been and continues to be a rudderless ship.

There is little evidence that Carol was driving Yahoo strategy–she seemed to be more involved in day-to-day business execution.  If that appearance is correct, then the board of directors seems to be responsible for defining strategy, the same board that botched the Microsoft acquisition.

Carol Bartz seemed an odd choice for Yahoo CEO. If there is any lesson learned, a bright, competent, capable executive can be rendered ineffective if placed in the wrong role at the wrong company. Perhaps this is what kept Carol and Yahoo from thriving.

Thought for the week:

 “Men never plan to be failures; they simply fail to plan to be successful.”  – William A. Ward


What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Boeing 787 Certified by FAA-Lessons Learned

September 7, 2011

The Boeing 787 was certified for commercial use by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday, August 26th. That means the design has been put through the paces. Over 4000 exacting, discrete tests were required to be successfully passed for the FAA to certify the aircraft design.

The 787 is the first commercial aircraft with the body and wings made largely of lightweight, carbon-composite materials instead of aluminum. The expectation is that this lighter plane will consume 20% less fuel than a comparable aircraft design.

The program hasn’t been without its problems: The certification is about 3 years behind the original schedule, and cost overruns are estimated to be in the billions of dollars.

Boeing executives refused to discuss when the 787 program will be profitable. Right now, there are orders for roughly 850 planes.

Boeing decided to take a different path to bringing this aircraft to the marketplace, employing global design and supply chain resources. For one, there would be no prototype mockup built–this aircraft would be designed completely by computer. Engineering design would be distributed globally, increasing the risk that it would be difficult to collaborate and coordinate all the design elements. And finally, there would be a global supply chain that needed to be developed–787 final assembly and testing would occur in the U.S.

Most of the 787 program delay is attributed to a decentralized, global engineering strategy and a complex supply chain involving some 50 partners. These partners have had to make substantial investments in tooling and inventory under the provision that they would receive no compensation for their efforts until each aircraft is sold. The delays have to have been excruciatingly painful for Boeing’s partners.

Boeing’s CEO Jim McNerney said in a speech back on November 11, 2010:

“In retrospect, our 787 game plan may have been overly ambitious, incorporating too many firsts at once–in the application of new technologies, in revolutionary design-and-build processes, and in increasing global sourcing of engineering and manufacturing content.”

Boeing’s ultimate success in employing this global design and supply chain strategy will likely impact future aircraft design as Boeing and Airbus seek to push the risk and cost to global partners.

Let’s not forget a key aspect of this whole process. While we can applaud Boeing for getting this aircraft certified, the delays have had a significant impact on airlines determining when they can incorporate these new aircraft into their fleets.

Current estimates are that Boeing has the capacity to begin delivering ten 787 aircraft per month in 2013. Will the order backlog hold up? At present rates, it would take about 7 to 8 years to build out the current order backlog of 850 aircraft. With the projected savings available from the 787, the order backlog should increase as airlines see the opportunity to increase their fuel efficiency and modernize their fleets.

Boeing has a significant challenge ahead. We celebrate the milestone! Now, Boeing–get to work!

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Dave Gardner

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Dell Issues 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report

September 6, 2011

Dell is well known for being a manufacturer of computers and is less known for its achievements and commitment to operate in a socially-responsible way.  Dell is an exemplar in this space and will continue to work to raise the bar in being socially-responsible.  Michael Dell has personally expressed his commitment to being one of the preeminent, socially-responsible companies, in meetings I have attended.

I’d like to update readers on Dell’s progress towards being more sustainable and green and its commitment to being a socially-responsible company.  Readers can learn more in Dell’s 2011 Corporate Responsibility report, released today.

Sustainability

 Dell was named Newsweek’s 2010 Greenest Company in America and is proud of its sustainability record. From designing, building and shipping to using and recycling computer equipment, the company’s goal is to deliver the highest quality, most energy-efficient products that minimize the impact on the environment.

Over the course of the last year, Dell began a pilot program to ship servers in mushroom packaging.  This program compliments its innovations in the use of bamboo packaging. Mushroom packaging is a dense material tough enough to protect heavier products like servers and desktop computers. And, mushroom packaging is easily composted after use.

The mushroom packaging to cushion products is unique because it is grown and not manufactured in the traditional sense.  Here’s how it works:

  • Agricultural waste product like cotton hulls are placed in a mold which is inoculated with mushroom spawn.
  • Mushroom cushions take 5-10 days to spawn which take the root structure of the mushroom.
  • All the energy needed to form the cushion is supplied by the carbohydrates and sugars in the agricultural waste.  There’s no need for energy based carbon or nuclear fuels in the production of mushroom packaging which is driving interest.

David Lear, Executive Director, Dell Sustainability, offers a few ideas about how other companies might emulate Dell in building sustainability programs:

  • Establishing meaningful programs that deliver most value to customers and other stakeholders
  • Integrate sustainability into all phases of product and solution development from designing building and shipping to using and recycling
  • As companies implement programs how can they help customers save money and achieve their green and business goals through technology

Giving

Dell targets 1 percent of pre-tax profits toward programs that benefit education, health and children. Dell’s giving programs help close the technology gap, support youth education, entrepreneurship and digital inclusion for underserved communities around the world.

Trisa Thompson, VP of Corporate Responsibility, offered that making a determination about which charitable, non-profit organizations to work with internationally must be undertaken with great care.  The U.S. Patriot Act imposes certain restrictions. A company that makes donations should not only be in alignment with the non-profit’s mission but also with the leadership and values of the organization.  Trisa added, “These are long-term relationships, not short-term, and need to be entered into carefully and with sufficient due diligence.”

Additional Points

Some Americans are critical of Dell for shipping jobs overseas into call centers and manufacturing.  While some jobs have moved out of the Round Rock,Texas, headquarters, Dell has not reduced its footprint inTexasand, in fact, employs more, higher-paid knowledge workers than were in place before jobs were moved into new markets where Dell wants to grow its business.

Dell employees outside the U.S.are really part of a global expansion strategy into new markets.  Dell can’t move into countries without offering jobs in those geographies—each country wants Dell products and Dell jobs. Dell presently sells products in 160 countries.

Conclusion

There are many who believe that operating in an environmentally-friendly way is a pathway to increase costs and decrease margins.  Dell has found the opposite to be true.

I encourage all readers of this article to take a closer look at the report mentioned at the top of this blog post to see how Dell has been able to make an impact in a socially-responsible way.  And, then, determine what your next step will be.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Dave Gardner