Duke wins NCAA B-ball title – may the best coached team win

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Not all gloomy for America. iPad released to rave reception by more than just the fanatics. What this portends for education and training is inspiring. I shared a look at my iPad with a friendly, hip young guy at the Kitty Hawk coffee shop this morning. His elegant Mac Book Pro looked like a mainframe compared to the iPad. Typical Mac community interaction, ie sharing a look at Apple products. Can you imagine PC types doing this?!

Last night my son streamed a movie to the iPad from wifi system that came with the beach house rental. The NetFlix app for video is super. So is the iBook reader; so is the speaker for the iPod; so is the picture viewer; so is, so is, so…..I’m one of the fans, for sure. Wouldn’t you agree that this yet-another-hit-from-Apple offsets the well intentioned bumbling and intentional deception which seems to dominate the news, even in a period of declining news coverage. Who can we trust?! Are we in this together or not?! As Casey Stengal once asked, ” does anyone here know how to play this game?!”

Coach K does. He doesn’t wear it on his sleeve and he is a graduate of West Point, class of 1969. His recruiting of late suffered repercussions of the 2006 lacrosse racially scarred scandal. With a Gold Medal and his 4th NCAA trophy, not a problem any longer.

He showed this year that he knows how to win with the team that he’s got – good players but not the best players. Kentucky, Baylor and several others had faster and more athletic teams of players. Maybe even Carolina. But no team played with the confidence, cohesion and simple understanding of role and circumstance as did Duke. Leadership matters.
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This is what Duke and Apple have in common: a commitment to exceptional performance – some may describe this as innovation – that borders on cult worship but is genuinely about the expectation of excellence. I observe that the heart of achievement is trust: trust in ourselves – the notion of letting it happen – after we’ve worked hard to learn how it is suppose to happen ( call this education). If we might assemble a team or unit or platoon or department or start-up of so educated, self-trusting individuals and provide the rigor of expectation in an atmosphere of sincere, mutual support, then the results or the potential will be as they are supposed to be. A good bet is that this formula will most often produce team success and invariably produce a product championship or two along the way.

America can do better; needs to do better; had better do better if only because never knowing how to win can become a way of life as well.

Here’s hoping that Butler is the next to join the ranks of hero programs.

Tags: Duke_basketball, NACC_final_4
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Leadership is the answer. Followership is the commitment.

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Leadership by example; leadership that insists on common sacrifice for the common good; leadership guided by the belief that we all want to belong to something larger than ourselves. Leadership is neither bullying nor all-accepting.

In 1989 after our small company had made it past the 6 month milestone of survival, we enjoyed a pizza lunch and a motivational video of Lou Holtz. He’s not my hero and what he suggested comes to mind now & again. In essence, if you want people to follow you then they must answer three questions with ‘Yes':

1) Can I trust you? To me, this means are you consistent? Are you sincere in your behavior and words. This is not about predictability of performance.

2) Do you care about me? After Joe Sestak won the PA 7th District Congressional seat in 2006, I asked one of the overworked interns at 2am why the chief of staff got so much out of the temps, interns and lowly paid professionals? He smiled and replied, “he cares about me.”

3) Will you be there when I need you? In my own small world, this is the one that matters most. I value reliability more than any other personal trait.

Banking 09 and Web 2.0: now for something completely different

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Just returned from two weeks in Europe and 2 days in New York City.
We (banks, citizens, employees, family members) feel as though we’re watching
a film that we know is about to become a documentary, yet no one is sure how
long that we’ll have to watch to know the conclusion, but we’re pretty sure that
no one is really going to be pleased with the impending fate of our heroes (us).

And there will be an end to this road and there will be ample opportunities to
re-orient our collective capabilities in constructive & profitable endeavors.

I was asked this week for an opinion on how the next generation of Internet capabilities,
Web 2.0, could influence the rebuilding of our financial sectors. Attached is a presentation assembled principally to illustrate what is being said and what is being perceived; what is in-process and what is imminent.

Cost-cutting is the immediate goal of banks; thereafter, integration of the new and now even larger enterprises will be a concern. How can Web 2.0 tools and techniques contribute? This may appear obvious and even not essential to the moment, but should be remembered as we/they dig our ways out of this:

– the beneficiaries of this global economic fiasco will be non-traditional financial enterprises, including those who have sought banking status and been stymied by government regulation and entrenched competition, e.g. Wal Mart (recently chartered in Canada); eBay, the owners of Pay Pal (Pay Pal yesterday announced revenue increases of 27% in Q3, exceeding the revenue of the parent’s auction site for the 1st time!); Tesco, the Wal Mart and more of Great Britain; emerging peer2peer and consumer-oriented communities such as Virgin Money and Wesabe.

– establishing trust through transparency and genuine community building. The simple place to start is to offer a sincere voice to constituents. Wesabe’s site offers 5 Tips for Financial Hard Times; the major bank sites that I visit imply that nothing has changed or is changing (it’s almost insulting). The path forward will be something like the way that AP Gianini built Bank of America – bold and inspiring leadership amidst disaster (the great fire of San Francisco in his case). My guess is that customers want to know how we got here and what is going to be different going forward.