Safelite CEO headlining fall center seminar

As Safelite CEO Tom Feeney hits local headlines while ringing in a decade leading the windshield glass repair and replacement giant, he’s also joining the Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence for its fall kickoff event.

tom feeney safelite
Tom Feeney

Feeney will be serving as the featured keynote for COE’s fall seminar on Friday, Sept. 14, bringing insights from the cultural transformation he’s shepherded at the company since taking over as CEO in 2008. Feeney is a longtime Safelite employee who joined the company in 1988 and has served in a number of leadership roles since. Safelite has been a member of COE since last year.

In recent interviews with Smart Business and Columbus Business First, Feeney has spoken candidly about his restless drive to improve the customer and employee experience for a company that occupies a unique spot in its industry: It’s the market leader in the trade, and a household name at this point, but it also provides a service no one particularly wants. For Safelite, that’s meant getting even better at something it already does very well – digital transformation has been a key focus for the company during Feeney’s tenure – and creating a culture in which associates feel safe experimenting, sometimes failing, and learning from the experience.

The Feeney-led transformation has made an impact on Safelite’s top line and its headcount. Revenue today nears $2 billion, according to Smart Business, and it employs more than 14,000, about 2,000 of whom are in the Columbus area, according to Columbus Business First. On the cultural front, Safelite has been a regular honoree in that newspaper’s Best Places to Work ranking, while Feeney himself was named among the region’s most-admired CEOs.

Next month at the COE event, Feeney will share insights on how he’s championed the growth of a people-powered, customer-driven organization that fosters that “fail-fast” culture of innovation. His presentation will be preceded by a networking lunch and, before that, a presentation from Fisher College of Business faculty member and employee training and development expert Marc Ankerman.

Registration for this event, open exclusively to COE members at no cost, is open now.

COE leader departing role; search to begin for successor

A leadership transition is under way at The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence, with longtime Executive Director Peg Pennington departing her role later this month.

peg pennington
Peg Pennington

Pennington, who joined COE in 2003 and has served as executive director for nearly a decade, will be leaving the role effective July 27. On July 30, she’ll be joining Powell, Ohio-based online lean/Six Sigma training provider MoreSteam.com LLC as its president.

“Over my time at Fisher, it has been an honor and a privilege to teach our great students and to partner with our member companies and the broader operational excellence community,” Pennington said. “Our center has grown exponentially since I first joined in 2003, and it’s the passion for continuous learning and process excellence that all our member companies bring that has made it the vibrant community it is today. I know COE is destined for great things going forward.”

Though Pennington will be stepping away from a formal role at Fisher College of Business, she’ll remain on the faculty of the college’s Master of Business Operational Excellence program.

At the center, the search for Pennington’s successor will begin yet this summer, with plans to have the position filled this fall. Dr. Peter Ward, the longtime academic director of the center, will be moving from his current role as senior associate dean at Fisher in August to assume greater responsibility with COE during and after this transition.

The remainder of COE’s core team – Krista Barezinsky (barezinsky.2@osu.edu), member relations manager; Matt Burns (burns.701@osu.edu), associate director of marketing and communications; and Jackie McClure, administrative associate (mcclure.92@osu.edu) – is on hand to ensure continuity of service and a continued roster of high-quality event programming.

We’ll be providing updates on the succession process via e-mail to our member community and here via our Think Op-Ex blog.

Fisher summer sessions tackle customer, worker sides of ‘new digital economy’

Digital technology is the driving force in our faster and more connected world, transforming how we interact, how we live, and how we work. In the business world, this has led to disrupted industry titans and new power players, putting unprecedented power in the hands of customers and fundamentally changing the jobs we do.

In this “new digital economy,” how do we keep and grow a customer base with shifting brand loyalty and increasingly higher standards? And how do we adapt to the new technological demands in the jobs we have – and hire for?

The Ohio State University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Center for Operational Excellence are pleased to partner with Fisher College of Business’ National Center for the Middle Market and Risk Institute to offer a pair of morning summer sessions focused on the new digital economy. The first session, in June, looks all the way downstream at the new imperative of the customer experience, while the second, in August, presents recent research that examines the “digitalization” of the American workforce.

Part 1: The Customer – Wednesday, June 27

Headlining this morning learning and networking session are Tom Stewart (pictured, immediate right) and Patricia O’Connell (pictured, far right), co-authors of the book Woo, Wow, and Win: Service Strategy and the Art of Customer Delight. Stewart, executive director of the National Center for the Middle Market, and O’Connell contend that most B2B and B2C companies aren’t designed from the ground up for the customer experience, a critical capability growing even more so in today’s digital age. They introduce the concept of Service Design, offering practice strategies to deliver on your promise to customers.

Following the Woo, Wow, and Win keynote, IBM iX Director of Brand Strategy David Shaw takes the stage to give an inside look at how technology is creating new challenges for established brands and their relationships with customers.

Part 2: The Employee – Wednesday, Aug. 8

Mark Muro

The summer sessions continue with this look at technological transformation and its implications inside the workplace, headlined by a featured keynote from Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. Muro is the lead author on a fascinating and wide-ranging report published last fall, Digitalization and the American Workforce, that found the share of jobs requiring a low digital skill level has plunged since 2002 from 56 percent to 30 percent, while those requiring a high level of digital skill vaulted from a mere 5 percent in 2002 to 23 percent last year.

More details on the August session will be released next month, while registration for the June 27 session is set to launch Wednesday, May 23. These events are open to members of all four centers and the general public.

COE Summit 2018: A Look Back, in Pictures

The final speaker for the Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence’s sixth-annual summit opened his keynote with a statement that had emerged as a running theme across the three-day experience: “We’re no longer a knowledge economy; we’re a learning economy,” said Dr. Bradley Staats (pictured, above), an associate professor of operations at the University of North Carolina and author of the forthcoming Never Stop Learning. “It’s not what you know today; it’s how you’re going to adapt, how you’re going to change to deal with the uncertainty you face tomorrow.”

COE’s Leading Through Excellence summit brought together nearly 500 process excellence leaders from across the country to Columbus in April for a dynamic variety of continuous learning opportunities, a record crowd for the event, which launched in 2013. Take a look back at Leading Through Excellence 2018 through this photo essay, featuring photography from Jodi Miller …

More than 200 summit attendees headed offsite on the first day of the event for gemba visits offering an up-close look at problem-solving and innovation strategies at companies around Ohio. One group traveled all the way to center member Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Akron headquarters to walk the floor of its race-tire manufacturing plant and see how visual management is embedded in the company’s product development process.

Another group headed up Kenny Road to experience the student-industry partnerships under way at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research, which has partnered with the summit on two other occasions in the past.

Center member Clopay Building Products hosted a wide-ranging tour of its massive 1 million-square-foot-plus manufacturing operation in Troy, guiding attendees through the site on trolleys that stopped throughout for quick looks at problem-solving strategies embedded in the facility.

Back in Columbus, keynote Karen Martin opened the day with an exclusive workshop on her latest book, Clarity First, which examines how too many companies are leaving value on the table by letting ambiguity flourish – and details how to overcome it. “The words we choose and the actions we take make or break what happens to people’s lives and the financial well-being of organizations and employees,” Martin said in her keynote the following morning. “Clarity is a big deal – and we need to take it seriously.”

Fisher College of Business faculty member David Veech, who works with the Master of Business Operational Excellence degree program, led a half-day morning workshop that taught attendees hands-on team-building strategies to use in their organizations – and rarely had them in their seats.

Brutus Buckeye stopped by COE’s annual reception for speakers and board members at Ohio Stadium. Pictured are, from Columbus-based Leverage HR, breakout hosts Shawn Garrett (left) and Sapna Welsh (right).

Each year, COE features a number of Fisher College of Business researchers sharing the latest insights with their work in industry. Here, Nathan Craig, assistant professor of management sciences, gives his breakout session attendees a crash course in machine learning, a technology that’s transforming how organizations are putting data to work.

The COE summit isn’t possible without the support of more than 40 student volunteers, who assist on tours and workshops and introduce featured speakers, and other Fisher and Ohio State staff members.  Pictured, from left, are students Muhammad Shire, Anthony Lazerri, and Jin Li.

The threat – and opportunity – of disruption emerged as a running theme of the summit and was the featured topic in a number of breakout sessions. Here, Root Inc. Managing Director David Kalman in his breakout session offers insights on building a culture of disruption.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Charles Duhigg served as the first-ever keynote for COE’s inaugural summit in 2013. He returned this year to share insights from his latest book, Smarter Faster Better, telling attendees that “thinking more deeply has always been the killer productivity app. People who are able to think more deeply about their goals and priorities, and what they ought to be spending time on, or about how to innovate faster, about how to see insights better. Those are the people who end up succeeding over time.”

The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, a regular partner at past COE summits, returned again this year to entertain attendees during the second day’s evening networking reception.

At the annual networking reception, COE also features Fisher College of Business students who have successfully completed operational excellence projects with a number of Columbus-area nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Fresh off his Big Ten Coach of the Year win, Buckeye Men’s Basketball Head Coach Chris Holtmann stopped by the kick off the third and final day of the summit, sharing his insights on leadership and offering a candid look at a blockbuster first season at Ohio State.

Companies willing to “lift the hood” and share how they’re tackling tomorrow’s biggest challenges are at the heart of COE’s summit line-up. Here, Nationwide leaders (from left) Kevin Yania, Tobi Milanovich, Tom Paider, and Erik Bennett take part in a panel discussion on how the Columbus-based insurer is incorporating artificial intelligence into processes.

Fisher’s Master of Business Operational Excellence program is a driving force in creating tomorrow’s lean leaders. One of those graduates, Emily Jackson, hosted a breakout session on the summit’s final day to detail how she’s working to embed a culture of continuous improvement and respect as director of nursing quality at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

Leading Through Excellence isn’t a solo sport. Each year, dozens of organizations bring teams – like this one from member BMW Financial Services – to learn new problem-solving strategies and search for the next great idea to implement at the office. Leading Through Excellence 2019 returns to the Fawcett Center in Columbus April 9-11, with registration set to open Dec. 10, 2018.

For a look at more photos from this year’s summit, head to our Flickr page

 

COE announces 2018 operations, logistics MBA scholarship winners

The Ohio State Center for Operational Excellence is more than just a community for today’s business leaders. It’s a pipeline for tomorrow’s.

COE this spring announced the latest annual round of scholarship funding for high-achieving first-year MBA students at Fisher College of Business who are heading into their second and final year of the program. The $4,000 in scholarship funding is supported by the center and the Department of Marketing and Logistics’ Logistics Scholarship Fund.

Here are this year’s recipients:

  • Jared DeVore (pictured above, second from left), an operations management major, received $500 in scholarship funding from COE. DeVore has worked at companies including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Battelle, and most recently, Huntington National Bank. His post-graduation aspiration is to work for a benefit corporation such as Patagonia, Honest Co., or TOMS to drive operational efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Bhargav Ram Dharnikota (pictured above, far right) received $2,500 in scholarship funding through the William L. Berry scholarship. This honor, endowed by the emeritus professor, is designated each year to a student expected to have an impact in the operations world. Dharnikota, an operations management major, came to Fisher for his MBA after managing end-to-end project operations in an IP consulting firm. This summer, he’ll be participating in Fisher’s Global Applied Projects (GAP) program with Western Digital as well as serving as a summer associate with GEP Consulting.
  • Vimal Gopinathan (pictured, above second from right) received $500 in scholarship funding from COE. The operations major is at Fisher pursuing his second MBA. Upon graduation next year, he plans to leverage his quantitative skills and diverse experiences to build a career in the consulting industry. He’s also participating in the Western Digital team through the GAP program.
  • Praveen Kumar (pictured above, far left) received $500 in scholarship funding from the Logistics Scholarship Fund. The logistics management major will be working in a global e-procurement consulting role for his summer internship. After graduation, he plans to work in inbound logistics, working closely with suppliers and helping them determine their effective logistics strategy.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

 

June 6 I.T. op-ex session kicks off summer event slate

The summer event season at The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence is kicking off next month with the return of a popular series focusing on the application of op-ex principles in the technology space.

COE’s June 6 I.T. Leadership Network forum will feature Joe Astolfi (pictured, immediate right), Agile Transformation Lead at Columbus-based American Electric Power, and Josh Goodwin (pictured, far right), Operation Performance and Transformation Project Manager at AEP, presenting “When Lean and Agile Converge: The I.T. Transformation at AEP.” At the company, a multi-year lean transformation has made its way into the company’s I.T. function, where teams also practice Agile techniques. And while leveraging both disciplines has helped create a flexible, responsive organization built on continuous improvement, it also has generated no shortage of challenges.

Astolfi and Goodwin will show how they’ve worked to reconcile both practices in the corporate culture with the common goal of creating great, sustainable processes. This morning networking and learning session is recommended for anyone, inside or outside their organization’s IT function, seeking to better understand the intersection of lean and Agile principles and those who encounter or use the practices on a daily basis. It’s also one of the few events each year that we open to non-members at no additional cost. Registration is available here.

A few weeks before the ITLN session, COE’s first Women’s Leadership in Action event of 2018 takes place on May 23, featuring author and former healthcare executive Janet Smith Meeks. This event, open exclusively to COE members, is at capacity and on a waitlist.

Later in June, COE kicks off Fisher’s multi-center summer sessions, which are focusing on how digital technology is changing the customer experience (June 27) and demands on employee skill (Aug. 8). Registration for the June summer session will launch the week of May 21.

Check out details on these events and others on COE’s website

New survey looks at barriers to women’s leadership advancement

As the way we work, and the industries we work in, undergo unprecedented change, having the right people is becoming an increasingly critical imperative.

And if it’s not on the minds of executives, every major business publication is working to get it there. Just in the past year, Fast Company has lamented that “The War for Talent is Over, and Everyone Lost,” while Inc. magazine served up, in less alarmist fashion, “The War for Talent: It’s Real and Here’s Why It’s Happening.”

Part of this talent war entails leveraging the greater diversity in the world today and removing barriers to advancement that exist, namely for the 75 million women in the U.S. civilian labor force. A recently published report from Columbus-based Leverage HR and Belgium-based social enterprise firm JUMP set out to explore the way these barriers exist and how we can break them down in survey research that will be presented at The Ohio State Center for Operational Excellence’s sixth-annual Leading Through Excellence summit on April 11.

The Leverage HR/JUMP report, published last month, surveyed more than 1,000 professional women in two-dozen industry sectors, nearly half of whom have children under 18 years at home. The women were asked about individual, organizational, and transitional barriers they perceive, which were then converted into a broader risk index score in each category.

According to the survey, participating women perceived the so-called individual barriers as less of an issue. More than three-quarters of respondents said they can accommodate changes to their personal and professional schedules quickly, while more than two-thirds said they don’t let pressure from family and friends dictate their professional choices. What’s more, 78% of respondents said they thrive on change.

It’s in the more externally focused barriers where risk index scores showed greater danger of them leaving an organization as a result. Between 50 and 60 percent of respondents told Leverage HR and JUMP the following:

  • They find it challenging to appear confident unless they’re 100% prepared;
  • They believe they aren’t paid the same as male peers for similar performance in the same role (these women would be very, very correct); and
  • They don’t have a group of trusted advisors.

Broadly assessing the survey data, Leverage HR and JUMP reported that women perceive the biases in how organizations evaluate performance as a major barrier, while they lack the robust network that’s critical for career progression.

Sapna Welsh and Shawn Garrett of Leverage HR will be offering a breakout session on the survey results – and their recommendations in light of them – at 10:30 a.m. during the “A” block of breakout sessions on April 11 in a presentation titled “Building a Culture of Courage to Foster Diversity.” It’s one of a few sessions focused on addressing – and leveraging – diversity in a workplace setting, which Fisher College of Business researcher Steffanie Wilk is covering in a breakout at 12:40 p.m. the same day.

Extremely limited seating remains for the Leading Through Excellence summit. To register, head here.

Continuous improvement, grassroots-style: Inside Clopay Building Products

Frustration is a frequent spark for innovation, and that’s right where some product staging employees at garage door manufacturer Clopay Building Products found themselves.

The process for staging and processing Clopay’s sectional door configuration bundles – unwieldy boxes that group door components for eventual installation – entailed comparing a printed list of the day’s shipping requirements with a string of numbers on the boxes themselves. It was time-consuming task, one process technician Brice Johnson saw a way to improve: Why not provide a visual cue for the carts that needed pulled that day?

The solution wasn’t fancy, but it did the trick: Walk the floor of the massive manufacturing operation today and you’ll see youth soccer training cones perched on stacks of the bundles. Problem solved.

Joey Fransway of Clopay Building Products

This front-line problem solving is something that might not have happened as frequently as a few years ago at Clopay Building Products, but it’s happening today thanks to a grassroots continuous improvement movement at the Troy-based company shepherded by Joey Fransway, Director of Quality, Environmental Health & Safety, and others. Fransway and his team will be opening their doors for an inside look at their journey on Tuesday, April 10, as part of The Ohio State Center for Operational Excellence’s sixth-annual Leading Through Excellence summit.

‘On a path’

Fransway credits the company’s COE membership as a driving force in its continuous improvement push.

“We’re still on a path, and that path is through connecting with other people through the COE,” he said. “We want to learn from others.”

Clopay Building Products is one of about 20 manufacturing companies that make up COE’s member roster, but it holds the distinction of being the largest manufacturer of residential garage doors, and one of the largest makers of commercial sectional doors, in the U.S. The company employs about 1,600, more than 1,000 of whom are at the Troy operation. The residential and commercial garage door market, according to Griffon, has been estimated to be about a $2 billion business, making Clopay Building Products a major player – thanks in no small part to its exclusive deals with Home Depot and Menards to supply residential garage doors to their stores throughout North America.

Clopay Building Products’ growth has created challenges and opportunities in operations and design. Volume is up, but so is the diversity of products, which range from standard to hand-crafted high-end.

“People used to look at garage doors as a thing that got them in and out of a garage,” Fransway said. “Now it’s an extension of themselves.”

The core tenet of Clopay Building Products’ continuous improvement push has been to empower employees at all levels to solve problems. That’s entailed a rollout of visual management boards throughout the plant, coupled with regular stand-up meetings, along with added touches such as group get-togethers to view TED Talks. The foundation of it all is a “Blue Belt” lean/Six Sigma training program rolled out a year ago that has enrolled more than 60 employees and graduated more than 20, Fransway said.

An example of Clopay Building Products’ visual management on the floor

“We’re focused on getting everybody down that path to continuous improvement, getting information to people on the floor,” he said. “If this is just top-down, it doesn’t do us any good.”

Buy-in is growing at the Troy operation, but this isn’t just happening inside Clopay Building Products’ four walls. The company is heading upstream, too, connecting suppliers to its Blue Belt resources and tying it to its existing supplier certification program.

The locker room

Back inside the Troy operation, a major focus has been on uniting employees to drive collaboration and innovation. Post-it Notes have helped. Fransway and others have transformed an area of the back office previously used for storage into what’s called the “Quality Locker Room,” a hands-on hub for tracking initiatives using visual boards and Post-its.

“When you’re just making lists on the computer, it never goes anywhere,” Fransway said. “When you’re in this room you’re a part of it.”

With its mix of front-line empowerment and visual management, coupled with a relentless focus on quality, the Clopay Building Products continuous improvement initiative is a benchmark in “starting from scratch” and using existing resources – along with relationships like COE – to drive cultural change.

When the company opens its doors in April for the tour, attendees will have the opportunity to see the Quality Locker Room and take a guided tour of the plant, which will stop at about 15 different stations on the floor to highlight how continuous improvement initiatives are being embedded throughout.

It’s a great deal of progress – but like any journey to excellence, it’s far from done.

“Where we want to be is nothing like where we are today,” Fransway said.

Seats remain available for the Clopay Building Products tour. They can be claimed by registering for the summit by the Monday, April 2, deadline.

 

Award-winning summit keynote Duhigg shares ‘Smarter Faster Better’ insights

Charles Duhigg took the stage at The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence’s first Leading Through Excellence summit nearly five years ago.

A lot’s changed since then.

duhigg, charles
Summit keynote Charles Duhigg speaking during his keynote at COE’s inaugural summit in 2013.

A mere three days after his featured keynote for the event, he was part of a team of New York Times staffers who won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for its iEconomy series, what the Pulitzer committee called a “penetrating look into business practices by Apple and other technology companies.” And the book The Power of Habit? Released in February 2012, it became a bona fide hit, spending more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list. He followed up Habit with Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, another Times bestseller he’ll be speaking about as a featured keynote on Wednesday, April 11, at COE’s sixth-annual summit.

In the run-up to his return to the Buckeye State, Duhigg spoke to COE Associate Director Matt Burns about the inspiration for his latest work – and what we can take away from it. Here’s a (lightly edited) recap of their chat …

Matt Burns: What led you from The Power of Habit to Smarter Faster Better?

Charles Duhigg: After The Power of Habit, a question kept coming up. People kept on saying, “We know how to change habits – what are the right habits?” At the same time, I started noticing things happening in my own life: The book did really well, and I was grateful for that. I was getting opportunities to do lots of things but I just felt like I was working all the time. I started asking myself: “What am I doing wrong?” If this is what success feels like, sign me back up for failure.

Then, I started to contact researchers and ask them how people can get so much done and not let it ruin their lives. And what they said is that rather than working hard, the people who are the most productive and successful have figured out how to work smarter. They understand the difference between being busy and being productive – and the difference is that instead of working all the time, you’re working on things that actually matter. They can recognize the right priorities and goals in such a way that priorities are honored and responded to. They can innovate on demand rather than waiting for a muse to strike them. They can take some of the amazing amounts of data that we have and grasp knowledge from them.

MB: You start the book off by writing about motivation. Looking at how you’ve observed people functioning in organizations, where are they going wrong in this regard?

CD: People focus too often on the wrong kind of measurement. We tend to focus on what we measure, so if your measure is getting your inbox to zero, it’s not going to be surprising that you spend all your time e-mailing. The first thing that happens when it comes to motivation and goal setting is you have to take a step back and ask: “What do I really want to achieve here? What’s important to me?” If your answer is just that you want to make it through the day, you’re gonna make it through the day. But if you have the time and space to say, “What is my deeper aspiration? What is my bigger goal?,” then you’re going to be able to align your choices to what actually matters to you.

MB: You spend a lot of the time in the book on team building. What surprised you about your research in this area?

CD: The biggest surprise for me was that who is on a team matters much less than how that team interacts. The conventional wisdom is that we should spend a lot of time thinking about “casting,” getting the right types of people on the team: introverts, extroverts, people who believe in the same type of leadership style. But all the research shows us that how a team interacts with each other matters much more than who is on it. You could have all “A” players on a team – but if you don’t have the right culture, they’re not going to gel together. You could have all “B” players on a team and if the culture is right, they could exceed what the “A” players do.

The other thing that’s really interesting is you can come up with a formula to help people come up with the right team culture by driving a sense of psychological safety: conversational turn-taking, ostentatious listening – those are just a few things that contribute to it.

MB: One of the big themes at our summit this year is disruption, namely how things like automation and data are driving changes in our work – and that’s something you address, too. How are these forces changing how we should be making decisions?

CD: Decisions can be much more informed now. Before, information was a scarce resource and the people who made great decisions were the people who had access to more information. That’s no longer true. But as a result, people have stopped applying critical thinking in some respect and allowed information to guide their choices. We now know there’s a big difference between being exposed to information and turning that into knowledge.

The key there is the concept of disfluency (Editor’s note: Duhigg’s book defines this as making information “harder to process at first, but stickier once it was really understood” [242]). This can seem slower and less productive in the short run – instead of looking at an Excel spreadsheet you have to sit down and mess around with it – but we know that, over time, this makes people more productive. Instead of absorbing information, they’re transmitting it into actual knowledge.

MB: You framed The Power of Habit with a great little anecdote about your “cookie habit” and how you used research from that book to break it. How has Smarter Faster Better changed you on a day-to-day basis?

CD: A great example of this involves my kids. When I wrote The Power of Habit I spent a lot of time with my kids looking at cues and rewards and shaping behavior, but with Smarter Faster Better the conversations I have with my kids are more about asking them: What can you do every day to put yourself in charge of your own life? When we go to school some mornings, I ask them to “tell me the story of today:” What do you think the best part of today and the worst part of today will be? The reason this is a good conversation is that it teaches them to build mental models about their day.

If we build mental models about how we want our day to unfold, we know that helps our brain remain focused – it also teaches us to have an internal locus of control. We are in charge of what happens every day in our lives. If you’re in charge, you have the power to guide yourself.

Most of life is reactive – the point is to become more proactive, and if you can learn that as a habit, it can be really powerful.

Duhigg will be signing copies of his books following his 3:40 p.m. keynote on April 11. The Leading Through Excellence summit is nearly sold out, with only a few seats available.

Ohio State men’s basketball Coach Holtmann joins COE summit keynote line-up

The final keynote announced for next month’s Leading Through Excellence summit is the latest high-profile hire in the world of Buckeyes sports who’s off to an auspicious start.

The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence is thrilled to announce Buckeye Men’s Basketball Head Coach Chris Holtmann will serve as the morning keynote on the final day of the April 10-12 summit. He joins fellow keynote speakers Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Power of Habit; Karen Martin, author of Clarity First; and Bradley Staats, a researcher and author of the forthcoming Never Stop Learning.

Coach Holtmann’s keynote slot last year featured a visit from Buckeye Football Head Coach Urban Meyer.

The announcement comes just weeks after Holtmann clinched Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in his first season with the Buckeyes, who are 24-8 overall and 15-3 in the Big Ten. Holtmann, who’s won Coach of the Year three times now in three different leagues, coached the Buckeyes to a 9-0 run out of the gate in Big Ten play. That’s the first time that’s happened for seven or more games in nearly a century, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Check out his full bio on COE’s summit website.

In his keynote, Coach Holtmann will be sharing career and leadership insights – and some thoughts on the season – as well as taking questions from the audience.

“We’re thrilled to have Coach Holtmann take the stage at our sixth-annual summit,” said COE Executive Director Peg Pennington. “This event is all about developing team-building and leadership skills, and Coach Holtmann has shown he has a lot to offer in both.”

The four featured Leading Through Excellence keynotes are among more than 40 sessions offered at the summit, which is more than 80% booked a little more than a month out. The dynamic mix of workshops, tours, breakout sessions, networking events and keynotes is COE’s signature annual event, which is open to the general public as well as employees of member companies.

Check out the summit website for more details on sessions and pricing …