Newsletter – May, 2022

On My Mind
Warren Buffett (age 91) is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway. Charlie Munger (age 98) is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Berkshire Hathaway. Together, they commanded the stage for several hours at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting at the CHI Health Center in downtown Omaha, NE on April 30, 2022. The first item on the meeting agenda at 8:30 a.m. was an entertaining company movie. Warren and Charlie then conducted a Q&A session from 9:15 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and then a second Q&A session from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Warren then chaired the actual Annual Meeting. Berkshire Hathaway is a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (symbols BRK-A and BRK-B). The company has over 371,000 employees and yet the corporate headquarters in Omaha has only 26 employees. The company is highly decentralized composed of numerous operating companies. This decentralized organizational structure has been successful in part because of the effectiveness of the operating company management teams. You can visit the Berkshire Hathaway website for more information.

Interesting Stories
I have some sad news to report . . . Dr. Andy Van de Ven (1945-2022) passed away recently at the age of 76. Andy was the ultimate scholar and professional – he was widely recognized as one of the world’s leading scholars on Innovation and Organizational Change. I served with Andy for three years on a Research Team at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and he presented several times at my Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference. Most recently . . . Andy served as the Co-Editor and contributing author for The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Change & Innovation (2nd Edition). The obituary for Andy can be found in the Star Tribune. I’ll always be grateful for his guidance and friendship.

Company News
The next public Strategic Improvement Green Belt course starts May 18, 2022. The brochure is available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. The next public Strategic Improvement Black Belt course will start in August of 2022 (dates TBD). I’ll be conducting several in-person one-day workshops this summer and fall: Leaning Operations (June 23, 2022); Project Portfolio Management (July of 2022); Leading Strategic Improvement (August of 2022); Visions & Visioning (September of 2022); and Advances in Hoshin Kanri (October of 2022).

Intriguing Reads
I recently read the book titled, Trillion Dollar Triage: How Jay Powell and the Fed Battled a President and a Pandemic – and Prevented Economic Disaster by Nick Timiraos. The author provides a detailed account of the pandemic-era financial crisis and how key players in government and the private sector worked together to successfully address the existential issues. I especially enjoyed learning about the history and inner workings of the Federal Reserve Board.