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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How Business can help develop the Leaders of Tomorrow

Here is a great example of business collaborating with education to help develop the leaders of tomorrow:

"Leaders are defined by their ability to make a positive impact on the world and their local communities," said Joe Adachi, president and chief executive officer, Canon U.S.A.

The Christopher Newport University - Canon Leadership Scholars Program is continuing to provide the leaders of tomorrow with the knowledge and skills they need to fulfil their leadership potential and one day become top decision makers in America.

"The Canon Leadership Scholars Program is an example of Canon`s commitment to encourage the young people of today to assume important leadership roles tomorrow," said Takayoshi Hanagata, president and chief executive officer, Cannon Virginia, Inc.

"It is critical that the business community take an active role in educating, training and developing future generations to assume important roles in guiding our institutions, our government and our community organizations in the years ahead. Canon is proud to partner with Christopher Newport University in this important mission that impacts the future of us all."

"Each Canon Leadership Scholar receives a $5,000 merit scholarship for four years, for a total of $20,000. Through leadership studies, prominent guest speakers, study abroad opportunities, an outdoor leadership program, internships and a public service requirement of at least 100 hours, Canon U.S.A., CVI and CNU will give the students the tools and experiences needed to become leaders of the highest-calibre."

Congratulations to Canon on its fine initiative.

For more, see - http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS220075+27-Oct-2009+BW20091027

What Business Leaders can Bring to Education

Joel Klein's title is New York City school chancellor, but he's really a CEO. He oversees America's largest public school system -- 1.1 million students -- with more authority than his counterparts in most other major cities, thanks to a landmark 2002 law that was just renewed for another five years. With power comes accountability, and Klein has delivered impressively: Test scores have improved, graduation rates have risen, and the racial and ethnic achievement gap has narrowed.

Klein's progress in a chronically poor system has been so remarkable that two years ago his department won the Broad Prize for Urban Education, America's top education award. When Arne Duncan was confirmed as the new U.S. education secretary earlier this year, his first visit was to Klein.

Klein is a product of the schools he now runs. He attended New York City public schools for 12 years, then went to Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He clerked for Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell and eventually became the Justice Department's antitrust chief under President Clinton. In that role Klein launched a major antitrust suit against Microsoft -- yet founder Bill Gates' foundation has since given millions to Klein's school system. Klein was the CEO of Bertelsmann's U.S. operations when New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg asked him to become school chancellor in 2002.

Fortune's Geoff Colvin talked with Klein recently about why U.S. education is falling behind globally, how to bring business leadership training to public schools, ways New York City schools transformed Klein's own life, and much else. Here's what Klein had to say about how business leaders have helped him transform the school system:

'Another big change you made was bringing in figures from the corporate world, such as Jack Welch and others, to help train school principals in leadership. Why did you do that?
From the beginning we said there's no such thing as a great school system; there are only systems comprising great schools. The unit that matters is the school, and no unit is going to succeed without great leadership. That's an important concept. In education the principal is the weakest link in the chain. Bureaucracy has a lot of power; politics has control of money; the teachers have power because they have a very strong union. But the principals are in a union with the assistant principals, and there are more assistant principals than principals.

So the leader, in a weird way, is the weakest link. We really started to focus on leadership training, and we have a program now that was built on the Crotonville model [from General Electric] where we have boot camp for principals and aspiring principals over the summer, and then they mentor and intern with one of our more successful principals. It is amazing to me that the same school with two different principals can get entirely -- entirely -- different outcomes.

Jack [Welch] did something that was great: He challenged all my senior leaders. We had a retreat, and he said, "You guys keep talking about 'instructional leaders.' That's because you're uncomfortable talking about leadership. In the phrase 'instructional leader,' the more important word is 'leader.'"

Don't you have to change the system for any of this to work?

If you want great leadership, you've got to empower your leaders. When I started, superintendents used to pick the principals and then pick the assistant principals. I said, "If the principal can't put together his management team, it's not going to work." And they said, "Well, Chancellor, you shouldn't do that because our principals can't pick assistant principals." I said, "If they can't pick assistant principals, we've got to get new principals."

Isn't that ridiculous? Shouldn't principals be deciding which administrators they need, which guidance counselors they need, what community programs they want to bring in, whether they want to have extended day, extended week, extended year, and start to differentiate based on their challenges and also maybe take some risks in this game?

To what extent are they allowed to do those things today?

Much, much more now. Principals in New York City have significantly greater discretion on issues like extending the day, having Saturday programs, hiring a teacher, hiring another assistant principal. By the same token, there's far more accountability, and that's a big change. I think people would be surprised by this: Every principal in New York City signs an agreement saying what their prerogatives are, what discretion they have, and also what their accountabilities are. And if they don't meet their accountabilities, we can terminate them or close their schools. We do that. And that's a very different way of doing business.

Most people who came to public education think that if you show up on day one and just stay out of trouble, you can be there forever. We're trying to develop a performance-based, accountability-driven culture, and we've had quite a bit of success with our principals.'

For the full text of this fascinating and highly instructive interview, see - http://money.cnn.com/2009/09/30/news/economy/joel_klein_nyc_schools.fortune/index.htm

The Blind Loyalty of a Leader

Emmy award winning journalist Charlie Rose has been praised as "one of America's premier interviewers." He is the host of Charlie Rose, the nightly PBS program that engages America's best thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, business leaders, scientists and other newsmakers. USA Today calls Charlie Rose, "TV's most addictive talk show." New York Newsday says, "Charlie's show is the place to get engaging, literate conversation... Bluntly, he is the best interviewer around today."

Here is an interesting interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of Too Big to Fail: Inside the Battle to Save Wall Street about the blind loyalty of Lehman Brothers final chairman and ceo, Dick Fuld:

For more interesting interviews with business, political and sporting leaders, see - http://www.youtube.com/user/CharlieRose

Planning for the next recession

Geoff Colvin is a senior editor at large for Fortune magazine. He has the following interesting perspective in a recent article:

'Don't go soft on evaluations. Expansions make it easier for everyone to look like a star, leading undisciplined managers to believe that somehow everyone just got better. The best companies, including Procter & Gamble and McKinsey, are as rigorous in evaluating people during good times as bad. Otherwise, they'd find themselves with a roster of C players when the next downturn arrives.

This whole way of thinking may seem backward. Good times seen merely as preparation for the bad? But managing intelligently during the next expansion will be much more than a chance to clobber competitors. At least as important will be preparing the organization for the make-or-break environment of the next recession.'

For more, see - http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/28/AR2009092803694.html?hpid=news-col-blog

What is Success?

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

Is Ford or GM throwing good money after bad?

When bad decisions force business leaders to leave their jobs, organisations often rush to replace them with insiders, who are familiar with the original problem and the former leader. In times of turmoil, the choice seems natural and even obvious: Because insiders know the past, they should be less likely to repeat it. General Motors pointedly replaced Rick Wagoner as its chief executive officer with his protégé Fritz Henderson, a career GM employee.

However, recent research reveals that despite the natural inclination to opt for an insider with connections to the old boss, a failing leader is often better replaced with a completely unrelated outside party. The research implies that business organisations trying to shed failed legacies might want to follow Ford's example by appointing an outsider, Alan Mulally from Boeing, as the new ceo.

Organisations hoping to escape past failures need to balance their preference for the familiarity and knowledge that an insider affords against the entrapment an insider may suffer. Although outsiders undoubtedly take longer to understand a problem, the research suggests that once they do, their psychological independence can limit their tendency to throw good money after bad.

For more, see - http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/22/insider-succession-planning-leadership-ceonetwork-governance.html