Newsletter – November, 2011

On My Mind

The death of Steve Jobs caused many people, including myself, to reflect on his life and the company he helped create and evolve. He was an innovative business leader whose reach transcended the business world. A genius has slipped away to explore the great mystery. Here are some resources to learn more about him: Inside Steve’s Brain, Expanded Edition, by Leander Kahney; New authorized biography by Walter Isaacson titled, Steve Jobs; YouTube,, Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.

Interesting Stories

It was moving to watch Cooper Stone, age 6, throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Texas Ranger outfielder Josh Hamilton before the American League Division Series baseball game on September 30, 2011. Shannon Stone, Cooper’s father, fell from the stands to his death earlier in the season while attempting to catch a tossed ball from Josh Hamilton at the end of an inning. Cooper was with his father when the accident occurred. Members of the Texas Ranger organization have exhibited a high degree of class in how they have acted in the aftermath of this tragic event. According to, Cooper’s mother Jenny Stone said the following in a statement: “We want to once again thank Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers. They have taken a difficult return to The Ballpark into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Cooper. Nothing could be more exciting for a boy than throwing out the first pitch to his favorite player. We are glad and grateful to be here to see the Rangers start their march to the World Series.”

Company News

The Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference was held October 18 at the BayView Event Center near beautiful Lake Minnetonka. Thank you to all who attended and presented. Here were the presenters:

Barb Spurrier, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation on Transforming the Delivery and Experience of Health and Health Care

Dr. Andrew H. Van de Ven, Carlson School of Management on Managing the Innovation Journey

Scott Aakre, Hormel Foods on Innovation

David Badger, Loram Maintenance of Way on Loram’s Continuous Improvement Journey

Dr. Kevin Linderman, Carlson School of Management on Sustaining High Quality Performance: What can we learn from Aircraft Carriers?

Dr. William Rupp, Mayo Clinic in Florida on Strategic Improvement at Mayo Clinic in Florida

Dr. Charles A. Liedtke, Strategic Improvement Systems, LLC on Capabilities for the Unimaginable

Vern Campbell, Process Management on Human Systems – The Missing Ingredient for Success

Cristine Leavitt, MN Department of Employment and Economic Development on Lean: Kaizen Event

Michael Connors, Cargill on Continuous Improvement at Cargill Dressings, Sauces & Oils

John Golden, Nortech Systems on Developing a System to Drive Effective CAPA and Tracking Projects

Kathy Raph, U.S. Bank on Enabling Leader Sustainability through HiPo

Jim Warner, Formerly of MPCA on Continuous Improvement Progress Through Changing Leadership

Lou Schultz, Process Management, LLC on Reflections & Words of Wisdom

Intriguing Reads

Stephen Bungay, the Director of the Ashridge Strategic Management Centre in London and an acclaimed military historian, has written an insightful book on strategy titled, The Art of Action: How Leaders Close the Gaps between Plans, Actions and Results. The book is filled with useful ideas on how to develop and execute strategy. I especially liked how the author made the ideas of von Moltke relevant to the strategy process.