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

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Wall Street Journal – Why Exec’s Warming to Climate Legislation

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Alan Murray writes about the recent changed corporate attitudes about global warming. (Why Key Executives Are Warming to Legislation on Climate Change. Unfortunately, you need to be an online subscriber to read his column; however, you get into the conversation at www.wsj.com/talkingbusiness.) 

Part of the answer is that corporate leaders are starting to perceive good business reasons to become “green” or more socially responsible. I wrote about this last month.

The February 2007 edition of the Harvard Business Review has an interesting article by University of Michigan business school professor C.K. Prahalad and Toronto-based consultant Jeb Brugmann entitled “Cocreating Business’s New Social Compact” on the related topic of the convergence between the corporate sector and civil society. (You can access the article for free after watching a brief ad on the HBR website.) This article follows on the heels of the December 2006 HBR article by HBS Professor Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, managing director of FSG Social Impact Advisers entitled “Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility.”

More great media coverage for CSR.

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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.

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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)

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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

The Lookout (January 26, 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 weekly links to blogs, posts or websites that we found interesting, useful or just fun.

1. Senduit.com – Need to send someone a file too large to email? Simple and free! (Tools)

2. Christie’s Maritime Art Auction (January 31, 2007) Check out Montague Dawson, James Edward Buttersworth, Robert Salmon and lots more. (Art)

3. A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods Fascinating project and great resource for presenting data(Interesting)

4. The 59 Smartest Orgs On-Line – Great resource for nonprofits to see how other do it effectively. Co-sponsored by NetSquared, GetActive and Squidoo. Marketing guru Seth Godin is involved. (Nonprofit)

5. You Are What You Expect – The futures of optimists and pessimists by Jim Holt – NY Times Magazine (January 21, 2007) (Essay) (Also check out the Joel Meyerowitz image)

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Book Review – Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win by William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre

windowslivewriterbookreviewmavericksatworkwhythemostorigi-c8a6mavericks-at-work10.jpg I just finished Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win by Bill Taylor and Polly LaBarre. I received a copy of the book when I attended the Business Innovation Factory’s BIF-2 last October in Providence, RI. Mr. Taylor was one of the speakers and a video of his presentation can be viewed here.

Mr. Taylor was cofounder and founding editor of Fast Company, a magazine which I have subscribed to since its inception. His co-author, Polly LaBarre, also spent eight years as a senior editor of Fast Company and was a co-host of their Real Time conferences. Continue reading Book Review – Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win by William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre

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.

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Uncle Pete

This morning my mother called with some sad news; her brother, Pete passed away last night. Uncle Pete had been very sick for quite a while so this was not a big surprise. However, the loss of a family member is never easy.

Uncle Pete had a very special place in my life when I was a young boy. He was my godfather and the uncle that gave me the chance to do things that I would never be able to do at home. Uncle Pete taught me how to handle a gun and he took me hunting. He taught me how to ride a minibike which ultimately forced my parents to give in and let me buy my own. Going to his house was always a blast!

This brings me back to my earlier post about how experiences form and inform us as we travel through life and that their impact can grow strong as we get older. Uncle Pete represented adventure, excitement and fun. However, in all the things that we kids did with him, safety was priority #1.  At a very early age I learned about responsibility, accountability and respect from Uncle Pete. These were important lessons that have stayed with me throughout my life.

When I got a little older and had more distractions as a teen, Uncle Pete played less of a role in my life and we pretty much went separate ways. However, the experiences that we have and the lessons that we learn when we are children are hugely important in who we ultimately become. I thank Uncle Pete for exposing me to things I would never otherwise have experienced and, consciously or unconsciously, teaching me some pretty important things (values).

Corporate Social Responsibility in Business Media

BusinessWeek January 29, 2007

BusinessWeek magazine’s January 29, 2006 cover story is entitled “Imagine a world” and addresses the recent trend in businesses focusing on the “triple bottom line” by integrating social responsibility into their strategy and plans. BusinessWeek also produces a podcast each week that focuses on the current cover article. (Quicktime7 or iTunes required.)

The December 2006 edition of the Harvard Business Review, the HBR Spotlight was entitled “Making a Real Difference” and it also focused on corporate social responsibility. HBS Professor Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer, managing director of FSG Social Impact Advisers, wrote a very interesting article entitled “Strategy and Society: The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Additional interesting reading in this HBR issue includes From the Editor, “Corporate Social Responsibility: Getting the Logic Right,” the HBR Spotlight Introduction “Making a Real Difference” and “Disruptive Innovation for Social Change” by Clayton M. Christensen, Heiner Baumann, Ruddy Ruggles and Thomas M. Sadler rounds out this great HBR issue focusing on social changes. Finally, a free HBR Ideacast podcast with an interview with the authors can be also be downloaded. Continue reading Corporate Social Responsibility in Business Media