NY Times – Follow up on Global Warming and Battles over Water

windowslivewriternytimesfoll0wuponglobalwarmingandq-b697j0430849.jpg In a follow up to his Sunday’s NY Times article, Andrew C. Revkin wrote another interesting article in Tuesday April 3rd’s NY Times entitled The Climate Divide – Reports from 4 Fronts In the War of Warming. It includes a great multimedia presentation narrated by the author and some interesting graphics.

On Wednesday the battle over water comes home with a front page article entitled No Longer Waiting for Rain, An Arid West Takes Action – Battles Renewed Over Pipelines and Treaties written by Randall C. Archibold and Kirk Johnson. (Slideshow)

The scramble for water is driven by the realities of population growth, political pressure and the hard truth that the Colorado River, a 1,400-mile-long silver thread of snowmelt and a lifeline for more than 20 million people in seven states, is providing much less water than it had.

Everywhere in the West, along the Colorado and other rivers, as officials search for water to fill current and future needs, tempers are flaring among competing water users, old rivalries are hardening and some states are waging legal fights.

 The impacts of climate change will be disproportionately felt by those who can least afford to do anything about it; however, the entire globe will be effected to one degree or another. Sounds like its time to for some transcendent leadership

Technorati tags: , ,

Looking for a Leader with Integrity, Vision and Creativity

Independence Seaport Museum logo

I have recently posted about the challenges at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia that have been reported in the media. (Rough Waters for the Independence Seaport Museum and Independence Maritime Museum and Politics in the News)

The American Association of Museums website has a posting for the vacant president’s position.

This is an opportunity for a proven leader to direct the Museum’s strategic growth, enliven its programs and exhibits, strengthen its financial resources, and increase its visibility and connection to the community it serves.

After a challenging period in its history, the Museum is moving ahead with resolve and optimism. The President will be charged with working closely with Board and staff to fulfill the Museum’s potential for innovative programming, excellence, and community leadership.

The search is being facilitated by Issacson, Miller.

Considering the recent history of the organization, this would be a very interesting and challenging opportunity. But please, only Level 5 leaders need apply!

Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer reports that at least temporarily the museum has met their objective of giving the helm to a “leader with integrity, vision and creativity” not to mention considerable experience with the institution and in the community. Veteran skipper takes museum’s wheel. Its reported that Theodore Newbold, 77, will serve as acting president while the search is undertaken. He was previously president of the Philadelphia Maritime Museum (1983 – 1989) and former executive director of the Betsy Ross House.

Sounds like good news!

Technorati tags: , , ,

NY Times – Study of Solo Sailor Stress and How Humans Cope

Today’s NY Times published an interesting article by Chris Museler entitled A Very Lonely Journey Across the Globe – Researchers Study Solo Sailing to Find How Humans Cope with Stress.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth (UK) department of sports and exercise science are studying the effects of stress on the five single handed sailors still in the Velux 5 Oceans Race. The conditions under which they sail and the duration of the experience creates a unique opportunity to study how human’s cope with stress. The organizer of the study, Michael Tipton, states:

“We’re trying to identify some of the common characteristics of people who consistently think clearly and perform under extreme conditions. We simulate helicopter escapes in pools but we don’t know how much longer they’d hold their breath if the real consequence would be drowning. With these sailors, that’s a real consequence every minute.”

In case there is any question about the constant danger and incredible stress under which these sailors work, watch the following 3 videos. The first is raw footage of the final hours and minutes that racer Alex Thomson has aboard the Hugo Boss vessel before abandoning it to join Mike Golding on the Ecovervessel. In it he explains what happended and the potential consequences if he doesn’t get off in time.

The second video is Thomson detailing how the rescue will be undertaken and it captures him jumping into the life raft leaving the camera rolling on his vessel.

The third video is a slicker production with music that uses some of the same footage but presents a wider perspective.

In an unfair twist of fate, hours after Thomson joins Golding on the Ecover boat, she dismasts and both sailor end up out of the race.

“Above all, these sailors are rational, calculating individuals,” Tipton said. “Their inventiveness and tough mindedness is what gets them through safely.”

Deep water sailing, solo or as a member of a crew, can be exhilarating, challenging and character building. What was written in the Times article and represented in the above 3 videos is the extreme. However, the power of the going to sea under sail in developing leaders is that there is real risk and self-challenge integral to the experience.

Technorati tags: , , , , , , ,

Transcendent Leadership

Michael Useem, Wharton professor and author of The Go Point (see review) participated in the recent World Economic Forum and reported about the experience over on The Huffington Post yesterday. The World Economic Forum: A Call to Exercise Global Leadership, Not Just Self Interest. Useem wrote:

…the event also served to define and reinforce a shared culture among participants. Central to that culture is an emphasis on transcendent leadership — the idea that standing above all other values is the ideal of a joint commitment to bettering the planet.

Business leaders, the British prime minister (Tony Blair) suggested, must therefore move beyond “corporate social responsibility” to embrace a “strategic engagement with the moral imperatives of the era.”

Powerful and ambitious words are what we should expect from our leaders; however, several recognized that they will ring hollow if not converted into action.

E. Neville Isdell, CEO of Coca-Cola and co-chair of the Forum, warned that the outside world sometimes viewed Davos as “the epicenter of ego” — and that the calling was now for all participants to make it, instead, “the epicenter of commitment.” James J. Schiro, CEO of Zurich Financial Services and another co-chair of the Forum, followed with a call to action. “I’ve been coming here for 15 years, and what’s evident is the rise of a focus on leadership and change.” Consequently, “I would ask everybody, when you return home, to exercise your leadership.”

Leadership is about making possible what was once perceived impossible. Transcendent leadership presents a vision of optimism, hope and a better world for all.  Does transcendent leadership represent what would be Collins’ Level 6? 

Only time will tell whether or not these world leaders who meet in Davos can set aside their provincial mindsets and make a collective difference in solving some of the world’s most difficult challenges.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Experience is Everything

In case you missed it, this is a new Old Spice ad. It’s not a surprise that I liked it because the tag line declares “experience is everything” which pretty much captures the theme of several of my earlier posts. Also, in the background is a painting of the longest tall ship I’ve ever seen and, like my dad, I use Old Spice too. (Well, I actually use Old Spice Red Zone deodorant, not the aftershave). Finally,  there is the sad but funny coincidence that my sidebar photo is remarkably similar to what we see in the video.

In any case, I find this to be a funny ad and pretty clever. Listen and watch closely as Bruce Campbell, a cult B movie actor, talks about “it.”

If you have a little time to waste and you want to have some fun,check out www.experienceoldspice.com.

AdWeek: Barbara Lippert’s Critique: Old Spice Still Gets It

Technorati tags: , , ,

Rough Waters for the Independence seaport Museum

Checking through my feeds after a great vacation in Grand Cayman, I came across an interesting post on Maritime Compass about the Independence Maritime Museum in Philadelphia.

In June of 2006 after an “extensive internal investigation,” John S. Carter was “terminated” as president of the Independence Seaport Museum after 17 years at the helm. On January 22, 2007, the museum filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts, Carter’s home state, allegeding the misappropriation of $2.4 million. Ouch! Carter’s lawyer also confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer that his client is also under investigation by the FBI.

Ex-head of Seaport Museum accused of fraud – Officials claim John S. Carter defrauded the institution of $2.4 million to support his lifestyle – Philadelphia Inquirer (January 23, 2007)

Enigma who went overboard – Nobody acknowledges really knowing John S. Carter, who stands accused of bilking the seaport museum of $2.4 million – Philadelpha Inquirer (January 23, 2007)

Museum is righting itself, officials say – Philadelphia Inquirer (January 24, 2007)

Seaport museum alleges former president misused funds – Philadelphia Business Journal (January 23, 2007)

Suit alleges $2.4 fraud – Cape Cod Times – (January 24, 2007)

Former Seaport Museum Head Now Accused of Filching $2.4 Million – Wheremostneeded.org (January 30, 2007)

This scandal is tied into a larger one that involves a state senator whose name still appears on the Independence Seaport Museum’s website (as of this post) as a Member of the Board of Port Wardens which appears to be their governing body.

Carter’s salary was reported to be over $300,000 which was more than what the Philadelphia Art Museum, a world class institution, pays its president. While I have never actually visited the Independence Seaport Museum, this seems like a lot of money for a museum that reportedly has had to repeatedly dip into its endowment to shore up operating deficits.

As a former nonprofit executive director, I find this story to be very disheartening. Trust is the commodity on which nonprofit organizations trade; after it is betrayed it is difficult to win back.  With so much competition for philanthropic support, nonprofit leaders have to be ever vigilant in protecting the reputation of their organization and the social investments made in and by their community. This is a significant responsibility that must be shared by staff and board members.

I suspect that there is still a lot that will play out in this story in the coming months. Hopefully, the current leadership of the Independence Seaport Museum will take this crisis and transform it into an opportunity to make their organization stronger. The best place to start would be for the board carefully review their governance model and decisionmaking practices and to recruit a Level 5 Leader for the current president vacancy.

Technorati tags: , , ,

The Lookout (February 4, 2007)

Look-out (noun): 1. the act of looking out or keeping watch; 2. a watch kept, as for something that may happen; 3. a person or group keeping watch; 4. a station or place from which watch is kept. 5. an object of care or concern. (Dictionary.com)

Five links to blogs, posts, articles or websites that we found interesting, useful or just fun.

1. The World Economic Forum website. Lots to explore. (Leadership)

2. A World Economic Forum session that I found particularly interesting was Wisdom of Youth. Panelist’s included H.M. Queen Rania of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer of the United Kingdom and the moderator was Jonathan Charles, Correspondent, BBC World Affairs, United Kingdom. The highlight was the participation of 5 youth panelists from around the world. There were also some interesting comments and questions from the audience at 41:20 of the Webcast. (Education)

3. The Work Space on the World Economic Forum’s website. Check out Visualizing A Successful Enterprise in The Future Series.(Interesting)

4. Acronym Finder (Tool)

5. Drip Wars – A Pollock, in the Eyes of Art and Science (NY Times, Sunday, February 4, 2007) Technology vs. intuition. (Essay)

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Book Review – The Go Point by Michael Useem

Over the past week we have been on a family vacation in Grand Cayman staying in beautiful condo in the Rum Point section of the island and minutes walk away from the beach. This is our first trip here and I can’t recommend it enough. (Blog and photos.)

The Go PointIt’s also a great place to read and I finally had the chance to sit down with Michael Useem’s newest book, The Go Point. I am really interested in his work and enjoyed several of his earlier books including Upward Bound: Nine Original Accounts of How Business Leaders Reached Their Summits (with Paul Asel), Leading Up: How to Lead Your Boss So You Both Win and The Leadership Moment: Nine True Stories of Triumph and Disaster and Their Lessons for All of Us.

Michael Useem is the Wiliam and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, as well as the director of its Center for Leadership and Change Management.

In October 2005, I had the good fortune to participate in Wharton’s Executive Education Program The Leadership Journey which is lead by Professors Useem and Greg Shea. As its name implies, its is a weeklong intensive experience uniquely exploring leadership from academic and personal perspectives. This was clearly one of the most significant adult learning experiences that I have ever had and I was looking forward to reading The Go Point. Continue reading Book Review – The Go Point by Michael Useem

Wall Street journal – CEO’s Draw from youth Experience

Following on my recent posts on youth experience, today’s Wall Street Journal’s In the Lead column written by Carol Hymowitz  is entitled “Early Start in Business Teaches CEO’s Lessons They Use to This Day.” (Unfortunately, subscription required to read the on-line edition).

It’s a great article about the experiences some of today’s most prominent business leaders had in their youth.  Ms. Hymowitz writes that “Warren Buffett, ceo of Berkshire Hathaway made his first profit reselling bottles of cola when he was only six and earned about $5,000 delivering newspapers in high school – most of which he promptly invested.” 

Bill McDermott, ceo of SAP tells stories about a number of jobs that he had as a teen that helped form how he leads his company today. “Whether it’s a deli or SAP, it’s always about differentiating and serving the customer so they keep coming back to you.”

I got my first real job at 14 years old when I was hired as a deckhand on a ferry boat. I got the job through one of my dad’s  connections. I remember my first day when the cranky captain complained about the prior mate and how they should never hire anyone under 18. This certainly focused me on proving myself. At 19, I got my captains license and became the captain of the ferry. Needless to say, this was a job with a lot of responsibility and the lessons I learned from it were valuable and long-lasting. 

This again proves that we are all an accumulation of our experiences and that it is so important that young people have rich and diverse ones through education, travel and even work.

Technorati tags: , , , ,

Core Values (Part 1) Martin Luther King Jr.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in recognition of the holiday last night I reread his Letter from a Birmingham Jail (April 16, 1963). I am sure that I must have read it previously in a highschool or college civics course but I more recently became re-acquainted with it when I participated in Aspen Institute’s Executive Seminar last May. If you have not read it or need a refresher like me, you can find online and downloadable versions here.

I believe that King’s letter is an amazing work for many reasons with one of the most important being that it effectively frames the difficult conversation. This is no small feat. Sitting in a jail cell presents a limited range of options for leadership but King quickly responds to the opportunity created by the Alabama clergymen’s public statement (April 12, 1963) directed at him regarding the nonviolent demonstrations taking place in their community. It is a very powerful piece of writing and worth the time it takes to read closely. Continue reading Core Values (Part 1) Martin Luther King Jr.