Newsletter – May, 2021

On My Mind
President John F. Kennedy addressed a Joint Session of Congress on May 25, 1961 where he laid out his vision for placing humans on the moon: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieve the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” This was an almost unbelievable vision at the time, but it became a reality in 1969 during the Apollo 11 Mission. The Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched on July 16, 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center in Houston with three crew members: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins. Armstrong became the first human to step foot on the moon on July 20, 1969 after which he announced: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Aldrin shortly followed. Collins was the spacecraft pilot who orbited the moon while Armstrong and Aldrin were on the moon’s surface. The three astronauts returned to Earth on July 24, 1969 after a successful mission. This historic human achievement represents a classic example of someone having a bold—and almost unbelievable—vision which was eventually achieved. I’ll feature this vision example and others in my Visioning paper which will be published in September.

Interesting Stories
Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger held court on May 1, 2021 during the 2021 Annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting which was livestreamed on Yahoo Finance from Los Angeles, CA. Buffett is the 90-year-old CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Munger is the 97-year-old Vice Chairman of the company. The two were in top form – they answered a multitude of questions on diverse topics for several hours interspersing serious answers with words of wisdom, humor, and admissions of mistakes. I hope that I’m functioning that well—both physically and cognitively—when I’m in my 90s. If you haven’t heard or seen Warren and Charlie before, then I suggest you invest some of your time. They are truly amazing. You can now watch a replay of the annual meeting on YouTube.

Company News
There are several upcoming public SIS events: the Strategic Improvement Green Belt course which starts May 4, 2021; the 60-minute webinar on Managing a Project Portfolio on May 6, 2021; the virtual Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt course on May 17, 2021 and May 24, 2021; the virtual Statistical Methods for Performance Improvement short course on June 15, 2021; and the 60-minute webinar on Visioning on June 21, 2021. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. I’ll soon finalize the schedules for the next Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt, Green Belt, Black Belt, and Master Black Belt courses.

Intriguing Reads
Chess has long been considered one of the world’s greatest strategy games and it is well-known that it develops a player’s critical thinking skills. One of the most highly-respected chess periodicals is called Chess Informant which is published four times a year. I recently received a copy of Chess Informant 147 Awakening and am now deep into studying it. There are two sections in every issue that I especially like: (1) The best game of the preceding volume which in the last issue was Levon Aronian vs. Fabiano Caruana at Stavanger 2020 and (2) The most important theoretical novelty of the preceding volume which in the last issue was Leinier Dominguez-Perez vs. Magnus Carlsen at Internet-Rapid, 2020. If you want to improve your critical thinking skills, then give the game of chess a try and order the latest issue of Chess Informant.

Newsletter – April, 2021

On My Mind
I’ve set aside more time recently for formal one-hour deep think sessions. These involve ear plugs and a clear desk except for a note pad and pen—with no phone or computer in sight. These sessions allow me to reflect and focus my attention on things that matter. These sessions were inspired by my experience in a sensory deprivation tank in Palo Alto, CA in the 1980s. It was a profound experience which I’ll never forget. I’m reminded of a timeless passage written by Vine Deloria, Jr. in an introduction to Black Elk Speaks in the book Masterpieces of American Indian Literature: “The twentieth century has produced a world of conflicting visions, intense emotions, and unpredictable events, and the opportunities for grasping the substance of life have faded as the pace of activity has increased. Electronic media shuffle us through a myriad of experiences which would have baffled earlier generations and seem to produce in us a strange isolation from the reality of human history. Our heroes fade into mere personality, are consumed and forgotten, and we avidly seek more avenues to express our humanity. Reflection is the most difficult of all our activities because we are no longer able to establish relative priorities from the multitude of sensations that engulf us. Times such as these seem to illuminate the classic expressions of eternal truths and great wisdom comes to stand out in the crowd of ordinary maxims.”

Interesting Stories
You never know . . . Petr Kellner, age 56, died in a helicopter crash in Alaska which also claimed four other lives. Kellner, was the co-founder and majority shareholder in PPF Group, a Czechoslovakia-based investment company headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Kellner was reportedly the Czech Republic’s “richest man” at the time of his death. The cause of the crash is still being investigated. His sudden and tragic death reminds me of the drowning death of Edouard Michelin in 2006. He at one time was appointed CEO of Michelin North America under the leadership of Carlos Ghosn, the future Renault Nissan CEO. Edouard Michelin was appointed Michelin Group CEO in 1999.

Company News
There are several upcoming public SIS events: the virtual Strategic Improvement Black Belt course which starts April 13, 2021; the Developing an Enterprise Information Strategy 60-minute webinar on April 12, 2021; the Shaping Organizational Culture 60-minute webinar on April 16, 2021; the virtual Multivariate Data Analysis 3-hour short course on April 27, 2021; the Strategic Improvement Green Belt course which starts May 4, 2021; and the Managing a Project Portfolio 60-minute webinar on May 6, 2021. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
The pandemic has had a profound affect on the beliefs and attitudes of people in organizations today—both for good and for bad. There does seem to be more empathy and interest in health and safety which is good. However, there is still—understandably—a lot of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety which is manifesting itself in many negative ways. I’ve recently reread the book Mindset: Changing the Way You Think to Fulfil Your Potential by Dr. Carol S. Dweck to better understand the current situation. There are a number of concepts mentioned in the book that leaders of organizations can use to help people grow and develop beyond their current mindsets.

Newsletter – March, 2021

On My Mind
NASA’s newest rover named Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. It is the fifth rover in NASA’s Mars Program. The four goals of the current Perseverance mission are the following: (1) Goal 1: Determine whether life ever existed on Mars, (2) Goal 2: Characterize the Climate of Mars, (3) Goal 3: Characterize the Geology of Mars, and (4) Goal 4: Prepare for Human Exploration. Perseverance will perform complex work on Mars and collect and send back to earth tons of data using extremely advanced instruments. If you want to be inspired and learn about the current science and exploration activities on Mars, then check out the NASA Mars website: https://mars.nasa.gov/.

Interesting Stories
The Sage of Omaha – also know as Warren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway – published his famous Annual Stakeholder Letter on February 27, 2021. Mr. Buffett is 90 years old and still leading one of the largest companies in the world in terms of market capitalization. Once asked how he wanted to be remembered, Buffett replied: “Here lies the oldest man who ever lived.” He continues to partner with legendary investor Charlie Munger who is 97 years old and the Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. The 2021 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting will be held on May 1, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. It will be live streamed on Yahoo Finance at 12:00 p.m. CST. If you want to learn from one of the greatest investors of all time, then read Buffett’s Annual Stakeholder Letter and watch the live stream on May 1, 2021. Happy investing!

Company News
I presented on Big Data Techniques & Tools at the MN ASQ session the evening of February 9, 2021. There are several upcoming public SIS events: the virtual Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt course on March 8 & 12, 2021; the virtual Strategic Improvement Black Belt course which starts April 13, 2021; the Shaping Organizational Culture webinar on April 16, 2021; the virtual Multivariate Data Analysis short course on April 27, 2021; the Strategic Improvement Green Belt course which starts May 4, 2021; and the Managing a Project Portfolio webinar on May 6, 2021. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
I’ve been wanting to read the book titled, The Mars Project by Wernher von Braun for a long time and the recent landing of NASA’s rover named Perseverance inspired me to purchase and read the book. What is amazing about the book is that it was first published in German in 1952 and then in English in 1953. I especially liked the section on Interplanetary Radio Communication. Wernher von Braun was a German rocket scientist and visionary who migrated to the United States. He was instrumental in developing the rockets for NASA’s Apollo program which eventually placed the first humans on the moon in 1969. If you want to learn about contemporary human Mars activities, then visit NASA’s excellent Mars website. In addition, if you want to learn what a visionary in 1952 imagined regarding Mars exploration, then read von Braun’s book.

Newsletter – February, 2021

On My Mind
Jeff Bezos will step down as CEO of Amazon later this year and become the Executive Chair of Amazon. Andy Jassy—who now runs the very successful Amazon Web Services business for Amazon—will become the next CEO. It has been reported that Bezos will continue to play an important role in the company. Perhaps he will spend more time with his space company Blue Origin. It can’t be easy for a company to replace a legendary CEO. However, Apple in the post-Steve Jobs era and Microsoft in the post-Bill Gates era have done exceptionally well. GE in the post-Jack Welch era initially did well, but then faltered badly. GE appears to be making a comeback as of late.

Interesting Stories
There was a Yellow Pages book containing Business and Government listings delivered to my home recently and for some reason it made me pause and reflect. The book used to be such an invaluable resource for me and yet I probably hadn’t held one in my hands for several years. I asked myself the question: Is my business listed in the book? After a quick search of the book – No! I recall that my business used to be listed, but I’ve no idea when it disappeared from the book. I’m not even sure how to get a business listed in the book and—strangely—I don’t care. It will be interesting to see how long the book continues to be published. Apparently, enough people still derive value from it. Maybe I’m missing a marketing opportunity. Anyhow, I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

Company News
I recently became a member of the SouthWest Metro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. My work with the Chamber has been very rewarding. I’ll be presenting on Big Data Techniques & Tools at the MN ASQ session the evening of February 9, 2021. You can visit the MN ASQ website to register. There are several upcoming public SIS events: the Advances in Strategic Planning webinar on February 26, 2021; the virtual Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt course on March 8 & 12, 2021; the Shaping Organizational Culture webinar on March 11, 2021; the virtual Multivariate Data Analysis short course on March 19, 2021; the Strategic Quality Management webinar on March 26, 2021; and the virtual Strategic Improvement Black Belt course which starts April 13, 2021. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
I’ve been reading a lot of Artificial Intelligence (AI) material lately and the book Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World by Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani is worth reading if you are interested in the subject. The two authors are from the Harvard Business School. I especially liked the following chapters: Chapter 3. The AI Factory; Chapter 6. Strategy for a New Age; Chapter 9. The New Meta; and Chapter 10. A Leadership Mandate. This is not the book for you if you want technical details on AI. However, if you want to learn about AI from a strategic (C-suite) perspective, then this is the book for you.

Newsletter – January, 2021

On My Mind
I’m sensing a lot of optimism about the future in my network of organizations in part due to the approval of several vaccines that are now being administered throughout the world. However, there are some strategic issues (“risks”) in the short-term which might create difficult challenges for organizations: the widespread detection of multiple COVID-19 variants, vaccine rollout issues, cyberattacks, the two senate seat elections in Georgia, and the potential for political protests and civil unrest during the presidential transition. I’ll be conducting scenario analyses in January and February with some of my clients to prepare for those and other strategic issues. Best wishes as you identify and address your strategic issues in 2021.

Interesting Stories
How much influence should the employees of a publicly traded U.S. company have in the strategic direction and operations of the company? This is the question the leaders of Google are trying to answer. There is no “right answer.” According to an article by Sarah E. Needleman in The Wall Street Journal (Pages B1 and B4; January 5, 2021): “A group of Google employees has formed a union to organize workers across the technology company’s sprawling global operations . . .” What I find interesting is that the purpose of the union is quite unique: “. . . the union’s immediate goal isn’t collective bargaining or formal recognition by Alphabet [Google’s parent company]. The push instead reflects a need for employees to be able to speak out about the company without facing career repercussions, they said.” Some Google employees in the past have voiced concern about the company’s handling of sexual harassment complaints, Google’s work on a censored Chinese search engine, and Google’s work with the U.S. Department of Defense. This case study underscores the importance of the senior leaders of a company to clarify and communicate the decision rights and the various decision-making processes at all levels of the company. Who should be involved in making important decisions? You decide.

Company News
The Minnesota Federation of Engineering, Science and Technology Societies (MFESTS) awarded me the 2020 Richard S. Alberg Distinguished Science and Technology Professional Award for outstanding lifetime achievements in and service to the practice of science and technology. The Master Black Belt Networking Session was conducted December 11, 2020 and the Executive Roundtable on Organizational Culture was conducted on December 14, 2020. There are several upcoming public SIS events: Value Stream Leadership webinar on January 7, 2021; Network Analysis webinar on January 15, 2021; Strategic Improvement Black Belt course starts January 20, 2021; and the Exploratory Data Analysis webinar on January 29, 2021. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
One of the classic books on strategy is “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. I recently re-read “The Art of War Illustrated” which is a beautifully-bound version of the book supplemented with thirteen case studies – one for each chapter of the book. Here are the thirteen chapters: Planning, Waging War, Strategic Offence, Deployment, Momentum, The Substantial and the Insubstantial, Maneuvers Against the Enemy, The Nine Variables, On the March, Terrain, The Nine Types of Ground, Attacking with Fire, and Using Spies. Many leaders of organizations have studied this book and have applied the lessons therein in the context of competitive strategy. This book has become a must read for anyone interested in organizational strategy.

Newsletter – December, 2020

On My Mind
December is the month each year when I reflect back on the year and finalize my strategic plan for the next year. I’ll know doubt years from now remember 2020 for three major phenomena: COVID-19, widespread social unrest, and a contentious election season. It has been a challenging year for so many people—both personally and professionally. My heart goes out to all of those business owners who were required to close their business or cut back on their services through no fault of their own. There are several promising vaccines and so we should be optimistic about 2021. Many organizations—even historically established ones—are now in a growth mode which is exciting. Best wishes as you conclude 2020 and begin 2021 with a clean slate.

Interesting Stories
Another life that ended too soon . . . Tony Hsieh—the former CEO of Zappos.com—passed away recently from complications from injuries sustained during a house fire. Hsieh was ultra-passionate about focusing on customers and he became well-known for many things including creating a strong company culture. A March 24, 2015 Inc. article by Ananya Bhattacharya listed “The 5 Best Tony Hsieh Quotes on Company Culture”: (1) Surround yourself with the right people, (2) Leadership is not dictatorship, (3) Your job should make you want to get out of bed, (4) Weed out the bad fits right away, and (5) Practice what you preach. I’ve no doubt there will be a renewed interest in his business philosophy and ideas.

Company News
I presented on Advances in Strategic Planning at the Minnesota Quality Conference sponsored by the Minnesota Section of the American Society for Quality on November 4, 2020 – it was a virtual event this year. There are several upcoming public SIS events: Shaping Organizational Culture webinar on December 17, 2020; Strategic Improvement Green Belt course starts December 21, 2020; Value Stream Leadership webinar on January 7, 2021; Network Analysis webinar on January 15, 2021; Strategic Improvement Black Belt course starts January 20, 2021; and the Exploratory Data Analysis webinar on January 29, 2021. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
Roberta Carkeek Cheney stated in the book Sioux Winter Count: A 131-Year Calendar of Events: “Winter counts were the historical calendars of the Sioux.” I re-read this book every year because of its simple and profound message. The “calendar” was maintained by the tribe historian according to Cheney: “This chosen historian had learned the story of each event from his father and his grandfather, who in most cases had been the historians before him. Now it became his responsibility to help choose an important event each year and to represent it with a drawing on the [buffalo] hide. It was also the historian’s duty to interpret the drawings for anyone who had need of the record, and to teach the people in his tribe their history by means of the winter count. The original [buffalo] skin remained in the possession of the historian, but it could be copied if another member of the group wanted one for more ready reference.” What will be the drawing on your personal “hide” and your organization’s “hide” for 2020?

Newsletter – November, 2020

On My Mind
The 40th Annual Conference of the Strategic Management Society was supposed to take place in London this year, but it ended up being a virtual event and it was exceptional. I attended the event in-person last year in Minneapolis, MN. Learning workshops associated with the conference were spread-out over two weeks with the main conference events taking place October 26-30, 2020. I viewed live roughly thirty presentations by scholars on their leading-edge research and also viewed live the plenary presentation each day. There were two plenary sessions that I thought were exceptional. One was on Strategy in Digital Times: How Microsoft Overcame Disruption involving three panelists: Marco Iansiti of Harvard University, Michael G. Jacobides of the London Business School, and Takeshi Numoto of the Microsoft Corporation. The second was The Anatomy of a Disruptor involving four panelists: Will Mitchell of the University of Toronto, George Stalk, Jr. of the Boston Consulting Group, Stephen Bungay of the Strategic Management Centre, and Arne Roock of Spotify. If you are interested in Strategy, then you might consider attending next year in Toronto from September 18-21, 2021.

Interesting Stories
Chess is regarded as one of the best games for developing a person’s critical thinking and strategy skills. A recent new series on Netflix called “The Queen’s Gambit” is getting a lot of attention and sparking a surge in interest in the game. The Netflix series is based on the book of the same title by Walter Tevis. The game of chess itself is a character in the series, but the fictional story is primarily about the remarkable journey of a young girl starting at age eight. The creators of the series strived to “get the chess right” by involving world class chess experts including Garry Kasparov—the former World Champion—and Bruce Pandolfini.

Company News
I presented on Advances in Strategic Planning at the Minnesota Quality Conference on November 4, 2020 – it was a virtual event. There are several upcoming public SIS events the remainder of 2020—the brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
I re-read the book Writers on Strategy and Strategic Management: Theory and Practice at Enterprise, Corporate, Business and Functional Levels (2nd Edition) by J. I. Moore in preparation for the recent 40th Annual Conference of the Strategic Management Society. This is such a great book in that it introduces readers to the historic thought leaders in the Strategy field and describes their conceptual contributions. The chapters of the book are the following: The Shapers and Movers, The Consultants, The Scholars and Researchers, The Developers and Teachers, The Incrementalists, and Strategies for Decline: Endgames and Turnaround. This book is a “must read” if you are interested in increasing your familiarity with the important historic concepts and thought leaders in the Strategy field.

Newsletter – October, 2020

On My Mind
I’m happy to announce the publication of my research report on Shaping Organizational Culture: Abstract: The culture of an organization can potentially be a valuable asset or—for some organizations—a barrier to progress. Leadership Teams (LTs) sometimes attempt to shape their organizational culture to improve the performance of the organization. How can organizational culture be shaped? This research report discusses different perspectives on organizational culture, presents examples of organizational culture dimensions, describes how organizational culture can be measured and the performance visually displayed, and explains how an LT can start to shape its organizational culture through a portfolio of projects. Additionally, the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis provides a unique vantage point from which to view organizational culture. Some LTs have found it difficult to preserve their organizational culture because many employees are working from home and the number of face-to-face interactions has significantly decreased. Some other LTs now believe it is necessary to radically change their organizational culture to save the organization. Several organizational culture dimensions appear to be especially important during this pandemic such as safety, empathy, resiliency, adaptability, and creativity. These five organizational culture dimensions will be featured in an illustrative example. The research report is available on the “RESEARCH” page of this website.

Interesting Stories
I stop briefly at a small pond nearly every day during my power walk. One day last spring I noticed several painted turtles sunning themselves on the rocks that jut out of the surface of the water. The rocks make perfect sunning platforms for the turtles. Now during my roughly 1-minute stop I count the number of turtles that are sunning on the rocks. The counts look something like these numbers: 2, 1, 4, 0, 3, 1, 2, 0, 5, 3, 1, 2, 1, 3, etc. The Poisson distribution is a good probability model to describe this phenomenon and the data. The Poisson distribution is unique in that the mean (average) is equal to the variance. The mean seems to be “roughly equal to 2” in my turtle case. What will the data look like in the next few weeks? I know what the numbers will be in the winter.

Company News
I conducted the 12th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference on September 30, 2020 on the Zoom platform. “Thank you” to all who participated in the event. I’m grateful to the following people for their excellent presentations: Laura Grunloh of the MN DNR; Molly Steffen of Allina Health; Dr. Andy Van de Ven of the Carlson School of Management; Dr. Kim Wernsing of the MN DHS Direct Care & Treatment; Eric Gamble of IBM and Wake Forest University; Vicki Amon-Higa of Amon-Higa & Associates; and Vern Campbell of Process Management and the University of Manitoba. There are several public SIS events in October and November—the brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
Toyota—and some other organizations—are influenced by ka-kun. Sasaki et al. (2020) conducted research on ka-kun in Japanese family businesses: “In Japan, these values and guidelines are known as ka-kun, which can be loosely translated as ‘family mottos,’ and include principles, rules and instructions left by past leaders (including founders) to their successors.” The authors further stated: “Theoretically, ka-kun can be viewed as strategic identify statements—strategy documents espousing the mission, values, or philosophy of the organization.” Toyota has ka-kun in the form of The Five Main Principles Of Toyoda. Check-out this great paper – Reference: Sasaki, I., Kotlar J., Ravasi, D., & Vaara, E., (2020), Dealing with Revered Past: Historical Identity Statements and Strategic Change in Japanese Family Firms, Strategic Management Journal, 41(3), PP. 590-623.

Newsletter – September, 2020

On My Mind
Top Management Teams (TMTs) are facing a number of organizational culture challenges during this pandemic: many employees are working from home—sometimes in inadequate work spaces with numerous distractions; many employees are feeling stress and anxiety; some employees feel isolated; employee are asked to quickly learn new work procedures and processes; and some employees are concerned about the survival of their organization. What can TMTs due to unify the members of the organization? My research years ago on Horizontal Interaction During Strategic Improvement Initiatives identified five meta-linking mechanisms: focuses, information, conceptual aids, standardized elements, and principles. These mechanisms can serve to unify, align, and develop cohesion amongst the members of an organization—i.e., they are effective ways to get everyone on the same page. Best wishes with your organizational culture during these trying times.

Interesting Stories
There was once a professor named Dr. Felix Harrison Hsia in the Economics Department at South Dakota State University (SDSU) who taught Statistics and Macroeconomics. Dr. Hsia passed away several years ago after a long-lived life. Many students evaded his courses because of the perceived rigor—instead opting for an “easier” instructor. Contrary to some of my peers at SDSU, I took all the courses I could from Dr. Hsia because of his high expectations, humble manner, straight-forward teaching style, and profound insights. Needless to say, he affected my career trajectory in a wonderful way. Sometimes the easiest path is not the best path. Best wishes to the students and teachers who are beginning the new school year.

Company News
I conducted three Zoom webinars in August: Creating a Performance Scorecard on August 14, 2020; Regression Analysis on August 21, 2020; and Shaping Organizational Culture on August 28, 2020. Several public events are scheduled in the next few weeks: webinar on Leading in a COVID-19 World on September 3; virtual course on Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt on September 14 and September 21; webinar on Strategy Tools on September 25; and the 12th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference on September 30, 2020. The brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website. I’ll also be an exhibitor again this year for PENworks on September 23, 2020 sponsored by the Performance Excellence Network.

Intriguing Reads
I went back through the classic text Applied Regression Analysis (3rd Edition) by Norman R. Draper and Harry Smith in preparation for my August 21, 2020 webinar on Regression Analysis. I had the good fortune of taking multiple courses from Dr. Draper during my doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Regression analysis is a fundamental statistical technique used in data science (big data analytics). I especially liked their explanation of (1) how matrix algebra can be used in regression analysis and (2) how one can conduct a residual analysis to evaluate the effectiveness of a regression model.

Newsletter – August, 2020

On My Mind
Top Management Teams (TMTs) often want to improve organizational performance from a strategic perspective and shaping organizational culture is one approach. COVID-19 has threatened the survival and prosperity of many organizations. How can organizations survive and prosper in a pandemic world? Several organizational culture dimensions appear to be important: safety, empathy, resiliency, adaptability, and creativity. The safety of employees and customers is now (finally) a number one priority and even a workstyle. Empathy is important in order to be able to relate to those who have suffered and/or are suffering. Resiliency is important in order to bounce back from setbacks. Adaptability is important since we have to cope with so many changes in the workplace. Finally, creativity is important in order to generate new ideas for products/services, processes, protocols, etc. Best wishes as you shape your organizational culture for survival and prosperity in a pandemic world.

Interesting Stories
Carlos Ghosn went from being one of the most admired and respected Chief Executive Officers (Nissan-Renault) in the world to being a fugitive. Ghosn was under house arrest in Japan until he concocted a special ops-type mission which involved him being smuggled out of Japan aboard a plane while hiding in a large trunk. A covert team was enlisted to execute the mission and Ghosn traveled through parts of Japan to Turkey to Beirut, Lebanon where he is believed to be currently living. His home in Beirut was recently damaged by the explosions, but he was apparently unharmed. The YouTube video titled “Inside Carlos Ghosn’s Unbelievable, Daring Escape” tells the tale if you are interested.

Company News
I conducted five Zoom webinars in June: Value Stream Leadership on July 7; Creating Standard Work on July 10; Ideation and Creativity Techniques on July 17, 2020; Visioning on July 24, 2020; and Advances in Strategic Planning on July 31, 2020. Several public events are scheduled in the next few weeks: Webinar on Leading in a COVID-19 World on August 10; Webinar on Creating a Performance Scorecard on August 14; Virtual Course on Strategic Improvement Yellow Belt on August 18 and August 25; Webinar on Regression Analysis on August 21; and Webinar on Shaping Organizational Culture on August 28, 2020. The webinar and course brochures are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
I re-read the book titled “The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Account of the Seven Rites” of the Oglala Sioux by Joseph Epes Brown in preparation for the Visioning webinar I conducted on July 24, 2020. The book always inspires me and leaves me with profound new insights. I especially enjoy Chapter 3 on The Rite of Purification and Chapter 4 on Crying for a Vision. If you ever need to do some visioning for yourself or for your organization, then you might give those two chapters a try.