Triple Crown Leadership

Triple Crown Leadership

Monthly Archives: October 2012

No Jerks Allowed

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“You know what a jerk is when you see it.” -Bob Diamond, Former CEO of Barclays Bank(Source: The Guardian) As CEO, Bob Diamond terminated 30 Barclays Bank staff in 2011 for breaking his “no jerks” rule. Diamond said six staff, who ran up a £44,000 lunch tab in London, epitomized “jerk” bankers. He said the rule applied to bankers who are prima donnas, too greedy, too ostentatious, or poor team players. How do you identify the jerks? When does a valuable maverick cross the line into Jerk-Land? How do you decide who to coach—and who to fire?   Here is our custom-built Jerk Identification System: * Ball Hog: Doesn’t play well with others. Wants the limelight. How to Handle: Emphasize the need to let others shine. Watch closely. * Mutterer: Doesn’t   …Continue Reading


Interview with Bob Hatcher, MidCountry Financial

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  “Building a Values-Based Company” Interview with Bob Hatcher President and CEO, MidCountry Financial Corporation Leaders Speak Series  MidCountry Financial Corporation is a financial services holding company. Over the past ten years, it has acquired several financial companies, some of them troubled, blending them into a new, values-based organization. We interviewed Bob Hatcher, its founder, president, and chairman. Please tell us about MidCountry Financial Corporation. Hatcher: We have about 315,000 customers and 1,200 team-members, operating in 19 states. We’re a group of community banks and finance companies, taking retail deposits and providing retail loans, mortgages, consumer loans, and small-business loans. Total assets are $1.4 billion. One of our operations, Pioneer Services, which provides financial services to the military, has been named twice as a “best place to work” small business. Our banks get rave   …Continue Reading


Lance Armstrong Still Racing from the Truth

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 Lance Armstrong was “gaming the system”–exploiting the rules for personal gain. This is so disappointing because Armstrong was one of the most celebrated athletes in the world, with seven consecutive Tour de France championships. Armstrong is also a celebrity cancer survivor and philanthropist. He established the influential Livestrong Foundation, with its popular yellow bracelets, “changing the way the world fights cancer.” The Foundation has raised over $500 million since inception. Good work, indeed. While allegations of blood doping dogged competitors, Armstrong adamantly denied wrongdoing. He proudly proclaimed he had passed hundreds of drug tests. Then everything changed. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency published a 202-page report, detailing overwhelming evidence that Armstrong was doping and encouraging others to dope. Armstrong denies the report’s allegations, but Bill Strickland, editor-at-large of Bicycling magazine, noted   …Continue Reading


The Glorification of Busy

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  We’re all busy. There’s nothing wrong with hard work. To the contrary. Working hard can help us achieve at higher levels and deepen our impact. Here’s the problem: glorifying busy. Using it as a tool to impress. This viral Internet meme—“stop the glorification of busy”—has hit a nerve with people far and wide lately. Busy is the new sexy. Busy is the new sexy.   For leaders, it rankles in two ways. First, running us down. Life and work have their natural rhythms and occasional shocks. If we run all-out all the time, we have nothing left when a real sprint is needed. The wear and tear on our health and resilience can do great damage. Second, the herd effect. This glorification disease is contagious, and it can run   …Continue Reading


Interview with Kit Crawford, Clif Bar

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“Sustainable Leadership”Interview with Kit CrawfordCo-Owner and Co-CEO, Clif Bar & CompanyLeaders Speak Series Clif Bar & Company is a privately held, family- and employee- owned company, creating nutritious and organic food for people-on-the-go. It has achieved double-digit annual revenue growth and won a long list of employment, diversity, and sustainability awards, including making Inc.’s list of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. and Forbes’ “breakaway brands,” in both cases for multiple years. We interviewed Kit Crawford, Co-Owner and Co-CEO with her husband, Gary Erickson, of Clif Bar & Company, about leadership at the company and its commitment to sustainability. Here are excerpts from our interview with Crawford. How would you describe Clif Bar’s leadership approach? Crawford: Our approach to leadership is about staying true to our values as a company   …Continue Reading


Interview with Daniel Wallach, Greensburg GreenTown

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“Rebuilding Green after a Tornado” Interview with Daniel Wallach Executive Director, Greensburg GreenTown “Leaders Speak Series” A few years ago, a devastating tornado destroyed Greensburg, a small town in Kansas. Remarkably, the town bounced back and created a model for the world for building a “green community.” One national expert called it “the greenest city in America.” For our book, Triple Crown Leadership, we interviewed one of the leaders of the initiative, Daniel Wallach (founder and executive director of Greensburg GreenTown). Here are excerpts of that interview. What led you to your current work at Greensburg GreenTown? Daniel Wallach: A series of severe tornadoes hit this part of Kansas. Greensburg, which is 35 miles south of where I live, was destroyed. Over 90 percent of the town was wiped out,   …Continue Reading


Interview with Dr. Andres Alonso

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“Turning Around a School System” Interview with Dr. Andres Alonso CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools Leaders Speak Series We interviewed Dr. Andres Alonso, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, about his approach to leadership and the unique challenges of running a complex and large school system with multiple challenges and constituencies. During his tenure, Baltimore City students have reached their highest outcomes in state exams, across all categories of students, and City Schools posted its best-ever dropout and graduation rates. Previously, Dr. Alonso was Deputy Chancellor and Chief of Staff for Teaching and Learning at the New York City Department of Education. Before that, he taught emotionally disturbed special education adolescents and English language learners in Newark. Here are excerpts of our interview with Dr. Alonso. What was the context   …Continue Reading


Interview with Dr. Dan Sweeney

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“Breakdowns and Trans-Generational Culture” Interview with Dr. Dan Sweeney, Director, Institute for Enterprise Ethics, University of Denver Leaders Speak Series   Why do so many organizations break down? In recent years, some major corporations have had breakdowns and made significant mis-steps (e.g., BP, Johnson & Johnson, and Toyota). We interviewed Dr. Dan Sweeney, Director of the Institute for Enterprise Ethics at the University of Denver, to get his insights into what happened. This is the first in a new series—the Leaders Speak Series—in which we interview leaders about pressing topics. BP made some bold pronouncements about sustainability and corporate responsibility but then ran into major problems with the infamous Gulf oil spill in 2010. What happened? Dr. Sweeney: There is often a wide divide between what is said in the   …Continue Reading


Unhappy at Work? Check Before You Step in It

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“The grass always looks greener beyond your cow pies.”  -(We made that up.)  Tempted to switch organizations? Bigger responsibilities, title, pay? Before you make the move, find out what the culture really is. Unless, of course, you’re a serial job switcher only interested in how fast you can become a VP. This blog is not for you. Good luck. (You’ll need it.) Culture matters. Culture is simply how people behave in an organization. Lou Gerstner, after his spectacular turnaround of IBM, wrote:   “…culture isn’t just one aspect of the game—it is the game.”   According to a recent Booz & Company global study: “Culture matters, enormously. Studies have shown again and again that there may be no more critical source of business success or failure than a company’s culture.” So   …Continue Reading


The Legacy of Jim Burke

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(Note: Bob and Gregg Vanourek co-authored this blog with By Dr. Dan Sweeney, Director of the Institute for Enterprise Ethics at the University of Denver) Few corporate executives have provided as powerful a role model as James E. Burke, former CEO and Chairman of Johnson & Johnson. He worked at J&J for 40 years and died on September 28, 2012 at the age of 87. We will miss his presence, showing us the way, and encouraging us to be better than we thought we could be. Jim Burke’s leadership produced an extraordinary company. During Burke’s tenure as CEO and Chairman, J&J’s revenue and market capitalization tripled, and its profits quintupled. His crisis management during the famous Tylenol recall, and his performance as a genuine steward of the J&J “Credo” demonstrated his   …Continue Reading


The NFL’s Replacement Ref Debacle

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                  Indecisiveness, loss of control, delayed decisions, anger, and outrage. We’re not talking about the blown calls of the unfortunate Division III refs thrown into the national spotlight due to a labor dispute. We’re talking about the National Football League, arguably the greatest sports organization in the world. How could the NFL have botched it so badly? What leadership lessons can we learn from this fiasco? The NFL incurred huge brand damage for the piddly dollars involved (about $3 million) for the 121 regular, unionized referees. League revenue is just under $10 billion. The League locked out the regular refs in a labor dispute (ditto the players last year). Pressure to settle the lockout mounted after a blown call that changed the   …Continue Reading


Triple Crown Trophy

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                              Hats off to slugger Miguel Cabrera for winning the Triple Crown batting title in baseball this week. Cabrera, who plays for the Detroit Tigers, led the American League division of Major League Baseball for the year with the highest batting average, most home runs, and most runs batted in (RBIs). The last player to accomplish this impressive feat was Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Only 15 baseball players have won the Triple Crown. Cabrera finished the regular season with a .330 average, 44 home runs, and 139 RBIs. (In 1967, Yastrzemski had a .326 average, 44 homers, and 121 RBIs.) (This) is “a remarkable achievement that places him (Cabrera) amongst an elite few in all of   …Continue Reading