Simple, Not Easy: Talking leadership with bestselling author Sam Walker

What seemed like a clear-cut research project on the “secret sauce” behind the greatest teams in sports history has evolved into a multi-year endeavor and bestselling book for Sam Walker, a Wall Street Journal columnist and one-time editor. Walker, author of The Captain Class: A New Theory of Leadership, took the stage as the kickoff keynote for The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence’s seventh-annual Leading Through Excellence summit. Before his visit, he sat down with COE to chat about the biggest takeaways from his book – and where the project is taking him next. The following conversation has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

COE: A huge surprise in your research was that you were able to drill down to this captain role as a defining ingredient, but you sketch that captain role through several key methods. Which of these key behaviors surprised you the most?

Sam Walker: They were so surprising in the aggregate for one main reason, which is that it just had nothing to do with natural ability, or “God-given talent.” It’s not that that stuff isn’t good; it’s great to have talent and charisma, but that doesn’t mean you can be a great leader. The one the really surprised me the most, though, was the communication piece, the fact that these great captains don’t like to make speeches – and that’s not at all required, even a little bit. I thought that’s one of the key ways you motivate people, but the key to sustaining excellence is this one-on-one, intense individual interaction. I thought that was revelatory.

COE: You get into some tricky territory on the idea that some of these great captains weren’t afraid to commit “intelligent fouls,” or break the rules a bit. How does this translate to the business sphere?

SW: The takeaway for business is that it’s really about how people are perceived. There are people out there who may have a prickly or somewhat difficult personality who don’t want to go along with the initiative that everyone else is embracing. Sometimes these people will push the limits of what’s acceptable personality-wise in a business context. Be really careful before you rule them out as a leadership candidate. These people generally care more about a collective outcome and if they’re perceived as difficult they don’t care as long as the outcome is achieved.

If you’re dealing with someone like this you have to look at the behavior: Was the moment that cross the line motivated by the team or by ego? Most of the times you realize these people are willing to sacrifice their image to help the team. That, to me, is crucial; we have to be able to distinguish that from other kinds of negative antics.

COE: We’re in an era where CEOs have more visibility than ever, and we’ve even seen some of them become tabloid fodder. Do you see any particular danger, or opportunity, in how this may affect the way we cultivate these “corporate captains,” so to speak?

SW: I’ve thought a lot about this, particularly the fact that a lot of companies have gone in the other direction for a more low-key, humble leader who doesn’t call attention to themselves.  First of all, I think it’s OK to have a leader who comes in and breaks a lot of china and has an irreverent leadership style. Sometimes an organization needs someone like that to come in and disrupt things. But it’s very important to have the next person be very different: low-key, and with the ability to leave some broken things broken and fix the things that need fixing. That one-two punch is something companies should do intentionally.

I also think we’ve gone a little too far in finding low-key people; we’re almost over-correcting. I think we need to have a smart dialogue about what someone at the top of an organization needs to do. So much of the research suggests there’s a certain level of charisma and influence, fun and daring coming from the corner office. It’s infectious, and it motivates people. We need to be careful before we think we need some low-key apparatchik running the business.

COE: But does that dynamic work in middle management?

SW: That job is a complicated one because it takes a unique combination of skills. We spend too much time on personality, listening to what people say and thinking about tone and all of that – but we don’t look carefully at what people do, how they actually lead. We’re too quick to conflate personality with leadership, for example, whether someone is introverted or extroverted, fun-loving or serious. None of those things matter. It’s what they do, especially in moments of adversity.

COE: Turning back to sports for a moment, I thought it was interesting that LeBron James only comes up in passing a few times. What are your thoughts on King James and what leadership lesson can we take away here?

SW: I’ve looked at the entire history of sports, and LeBron is maybe the only athlete I’ve ever seen who’s the best player in the sport, a superstar talent, an unequivocal leader of a team who really has more power than anyone: the coach, even the owner in some respect. This has never happened before, and it’s also what’s holding him back. I think it’s too much for one person to do. My theory about him has always been that if he’s going to win a bunch of championships it’s going to be toward the end of his career when he starts to lose his step and get more people involved. He would have to change his relationship to the team and to the game.

Turning to a business context, the problem is that a lot of people have the potential to be a great leader, but not everyone has the motivation to put in the hard work to make it happen. That will either come in time or it won’t.

COE: Did this project take you where you expected it to?

SW: I wasn’t a leadership expert, and I absolutely didn’t think this is where this project would lead me in the end. What surprised me the most is that it’s actually pretty simple – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, being a good leader is incredibly exhausting and difficult, and it requires a level of selflessness and an ability to do something without getting the credit. It’s not something we teach and it’s not something that comes naturally to most people.

COE: Where is this project taking you from here?

SW: I’m working on the second phase of this idea, namely: How do you systematically, methodically try to create teams along these lines? The question isn’t so much how you achieve excellence, because inside every organization it’s different. The question is how you sustain it, and the research seems to boil down to one basic thing: People want to be on a great team where a good manager feels more like a coach than a boss.

We’re all realizing that management – not just senior management but management all throughout the organization – is really the key to everything, and so many challenges can be addressed by building better teams and being smarter about how you promote. We’re looking at a future where companies completely rethink the way they do HR and the way they train managers.

Walker’s book, The Captain Class, is available in stores and online. Highlights of his summit keynote will be available for COE members on the members-only website the week of May 13.

COE Summit 2019: A Look Back, in Pictures

Each year, The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence brings together hundreds of process improvement leaders from across the country for a deep dive into leadership and problem-solving best practices. This April saw the seventh run of the Leading Through Excellence summit, which launched in 2013 and remains the center’s marquee annual event.

As preparations begin a busy summer and fall event slate – not to mention the 2020 summit – let’s take a look back at moments from this year’s summit …

Wall Street Journal columnist Sam Walker kicked off the second day of the summit on April 10 with a featured keynote on some surprising insights from his bestselling book The Captain Class. The key to great teams, Walker contended, isn’t a star player or even a great coach; instead, it’s the captain, or “middle manager,” who has made all the difference in some of the legendary runs in sports. “Leadership is about the choices we make every day in the team setting,” Walker told the crowd.

The summit began the day before with rounds of tours and workshops, like a “lean 101” session hosted by Fisher College of Business faculty members Rick Guba and Jill Treece that used Mr. Potato Head as a key prop in its crash course on problem-solving basics.

Nearly 200 summit attendees headed out across Central Ohio the afternoon of April 9 for tours to sites including John Glenn Columbus International Airport, North High Brewing, and Hikma Pharmaceuticals.

Columbus-based healthcare software startup CoverMyMeds hosted a tour for the second consecutive year as it gears up to build a massive new headquarters west of the city’s downtown.

Tour attendees also stopped by the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, an arm of Ohio State’s College of Engineering that’s working with companies on their leaps forward in advanced manufacturing.

Rounds of breakout sessions on a wide range of topics form the heart of the summit. Here, Ohio State psychology professor Ellen Peters shares insights from her research on how our confidence in math ability affects our ability to deal with numbers.

Stories from center member companies can be found across summit programming, brought to attendees by leaders like Bruce Evans, the ebullient chief customer officer of American Electric Power. AEP has been a part of the center since 2013.

Operational excellence is just as much about people as it is process. Here, L Brands VP and Chief Diversity Officer Nichole Marshall offers an inside look at how the retailer has embedded inclusivity in its processes and culture. “Diversity is counting heads; inclusion is making heads count,” Marshall said.

Summit attendees work hard – and play hard. New York City based musical comedy troupe closed out the second day of the event with their signature mix of song parodies and audience interaction…

…while Columbus magician Drew Murray dropped by the evening reception.

Few companies based in Columbus are more representative of the digital disruption trend than retailer Designer Brands, which just rebranded from DSW Inc. to reflect recent and future innovations. “If we go down, it’s going to be because we are innovating and trying new things, not because we didn’t try,” Rawlins told the crowd.

Fisher College of Business students are vital to the summit, where more than three-dozen of them serve as volunteers …

…while others join to present results from process improvement projects they’ve conducted with Columbus-area nonprofits and corporations.

The disruption theme continued on the third and final day of the summit with a presentation from Sean Lane, chief executive of healthcare artificial intelligence startup Olive. “I think the rise of the digital workforce will be the biggest change we see in our lifetime,” Lane said in his featured breakout session.

To deal with all the change in our lives and work, we need to practice the art of gratitude, which “helps the good stuff stick when our brains are wired to remember the bad,” breakout session host and psychologist Dr. Melissa Briggs-Phillips told the crowd in her presentation.

To get attendees ready to apply the many insights they gathered across the three days of the summit, executive coach and The Hope-Driven Leader author Libby Gill closed out the event by asking attendees: “Do you have a job, a career, or a calling?”

Check out more photos from summit 2019 on our Flickr page.

DSW CEO Rawlins joins summit keynote line-up

The chief executive of one of Columbus’ best-known brands will be kicking off the third and final day of The Ohio State University’s seventh-annual Leading Through Excellence summit this April.

DSW Inc. CEO Roger Rawlins

Roger Rawlins, CEO of footwear retailer DSW Inc., will take the stage at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 11, for a brief presentation and to take audience questions. Rawlins, who joined the company as a vice president in 2006, will be sharing how DSW has proactively adapted to rapidly changing and increasingly competitive industry conditions to effectively “disrupt” itself and continue growing.

Fourth-quarter and full year results won’t be revealed until March 19, but DSW in December reported a 17% spike in fiscal third-quarter sales, bumping its profit forecasts for investors. This came after one of the company’s best quarters in its history, which put DSW in line to top the $3 billion mark for the first time.

Rawlins joins a summit keynote roster that includes Sam Walker, a Wall Street Journal and bestselling author of the book The Captain Class; Libby Gill, and executive coach and author of The Hope-Driven Leader; and The Water Coolers, a New York City-based workplace musical comedy troupe.

These four keynotes are among more than 40 sessions spread across workshops, tours, breakout sessions, and networking events at the April 9-11 summit. Registration is open to members and non-members with group discounts available.

More details can be found at COE’s official summit website.

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 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

 

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.

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 …

 

Lancaster Colony chief headlining COE’s Feb. 9 networking, learning event

For its first event of the new year, The Ohio State University Center for Operational Excellence is featuring the chief executive of one of Columbus’ iconic consumer brands.

Serving as the 1 p.m. keynote at COE’s Feb. 9 learning and networking session is David Ciesinski (pictured, right), CEO of Columbus-based Lancaster Colony Corp., which owns and produces the Marzetti food brand and many others. Ciesinski, who joined Lancaster Colony as president and COO in 2016, stepped into the top role this past May.

Ciesinski has spent years in the competitive packaged foods industry, including leadership stints at H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group Inc. He’s a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and received his master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

In his keynote, Ciesinski will share insights from his decades in leadership roles and offer a look inside a staple of the region’s business landscape that’s growing sales and margins in a transformative time for the industry.

The afternoon keynote will cap a day that begins at 10:30 a.m., when attendees can choose to attend one of three interactive learning sessions run by COE Executive Director Peg Pennington; researcher and sourcing expert John Gray; and Ralph Greco, director of the Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights. After the 90-minute learning sessions, all attendees will converge for a noon networking lunch before Ciesinski’s keynote.

Registration for this members-only event opens Tuesday, Jan. 9.

COE in 2017: The Year in Review

18 events. More than 60 presentations, workshops, tours and benchmarking opportunities. Countless “a-ha!” moments.

The Center for Operational Excellence’s 25-year milestone was its busiest ever, and plans are in the works for another exciting year of programming designed to connect our members to the latest best practices in process excellence. With the new year just days away, we’re offering a look back at some of our event highlights from 2017 …

hban benchmarking
Attendees of the January benchmarking session, which represent roughly a dozen COE member companies.

January 2017: COE started and ended its year with member Huntington National Bank opening its doors to share how it’s driven transformational change.  Huntington hosted the first of four “grassroots” benchmarking sessions, where leaders from more than a dozen COE member companies meet quarterly at a host company to share best practices on a specific topic. Interested in joining the group? Contact session moderator and COE Executive Director Peg Pennington at pennington.84@osu.edu.

April 2017: For its fifth-annual summit Leading Through Excellence summit, COE took hundreds of members to seven different tour sites across the state of Ohio. Here, leaders from member Engineered Profiles show tour attendees best practices in leader standard work, a tour being offered again during the 2018 summit.

April 2017: Buckeyes Football Coach Urban Meyer kicked off the third and final day of COE’s Leading Through Excellence summit, sharing insights from his personal journey and encouraging attendees to always keep a look out for the next great idea: “Always learn. There’s always someone out there doing a great job with something.”

June 2017: How can lean principles apply to a nationally renowned startup culture? And what can big companies learn from it? COE’s popular I.T. Leadership Network series returned with a presentation from Nate Lusher (pictured, left) and Rick Neighbarger from Columbus-based healthcare software company CoverMyMeds. COE is offering a tour of CoverMyMeds’ award-winning headquarters during its 2018 Leading Through Excellence summit.

June 2017: Paula Bennett, CEO of women’s apparel retailer J.Jill, spoke to an at-capacity crowd for COE’s Women’s Leadership Forum series. Bennett, a graduate of Fisher College of Business, recently took the company public, staking out rare territory in the IPO scene: Research has shown that only about 3% of IPOs in the past decade have been led by a female CEO.

talent war wide shot
COE’s collaborative session in July drew nearly 140 attendees seeking insights on “winning the talent war.”

July 2017: A pair of summer sessions COE presented in collaboration with three other centers at Fisher kicked off in July with a look at the “talent war,” featuring a presentation from the Brookings Institution on changing workforce dynamics and a wide-ranging panel discussion with human resources leaders from Cardinal Health, Marathon Petroleum, Nationwide and Wendy’s. COE’s collaborative summer sessions will return in 2018 on June 27 and Aug. 8. Stay tuned for programming details.

Cisco’s Jeremy Aston

August 2017: COE’s summer sessions continued with a look at the “Digital Vortex” and how disruptive competitors are shaking up the business landscape for even the most established companies. Cisco’s Jeremy Aston (pictured, above) kicked off the session with a keynote on the company’s research, which has found that, while executives are expecting digital disruption, too few are actively preparing for it.

 

brutus buckeye peg pennington
Brutus Buckeye stopped by COE’s 25 anniversary celebration to ring in the occasion with Executive Director Peg Pennington.

September 2017: COE formally celebrated its 25th anniversary on Sept. 15, ringing in a quarter century of driving a culture of continuous learning in the broader business community, complete with a visit from Brutus Buckeye.

September 2017: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. executive Billy Taylor (pictured, above) closed out COE’s anniversary celebration by sharing insights on how companies can drive change by engaging their people.

COE offers opportunities for students and members to connect at all of its events.

October 2017: COE’s semi-annual Supply Chain Symposium series held its second event of the year, connecting center member companies with Fisher MBA students pursuing careers in the field. Author and North Carolina State University Prof. Robert Handfield keynoted the session with insights from his latest, The Living Supply Chain.

Jeff Sturm, executive vice president and chief continuous improvement officer at Huntington National Bank, kicked off COE’s final event of the year with a keynote on how the organization is driving cultural change.

December 2017: How can we drive cultural change by changing the questions we ask our people? Opening up COE’s final event of 2017, Huntington National Bank EVP and Chief Continuous Improvement Officer Jeff Sturm showed how the organization has instilled leadership behaviors that are helping sustain a years-long cultural change effort. Sturm’s session, along with that of afternoon keynote Tim Judge, is available to stream in full-length and “ShortCut” versions on our members-only website.

Next year … COE already has a number of events listed on its website. Check out our roster – and grab your seat soon for Leading Through Excellence 2018, April 10-12!

Huntington, Fisher leadership keynotes available in full-length, “ShortCut” streaming formats

How can we drive the results we get as leaders by changing the questions we ask?

What does it mean to be a leader of vision, of purpose?

The Center for Operational Excellence explored these critical leadership questions in its final event of year on Dec. 8, featuring keynotes from a top leader at Columbus’s Huntington National Bank and a renowned management researcher who recently joined the faculty at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.

Fisher professor and management expert Tim Judge closed out COE’s final event of the year

Both keynote addresses from Jeff Sturm, Huntington’s executive vice president and chief continuous improvement officer, and Tim Judge, Joseph A. Alutto Chair in Leadership Effectiveness, are now available in the Digital Content Archive of COE’s members-only website in their full versions, along with their presentation decks and a 15-minute video cut. The latter version – dubbed “ShortCuts” – is part of a new member benefit being rolled out throughout 2018, in which notable COE presentations will be available in a shorter format, suitable for breaks or team “lunch and learn” discussions.

Other available ShortCuts include September presentations from LeanCor CEO Robert Martichenko and Goodyear executive Billy Taylor, with at least two more coming in January.

Access all of these versions in COE’s Digital Content Archive by entering your unique, validated member username and password (Don’t have one yet? Get that here). The Digital Content Archive, which includes more than 100 past presentations, is just one part of the broader Members Only site, which also offers:

  • Exclusive access to session livestreams;
  • PDF presentations from COE’s annual Leading Through Excellence summit; and
  • A newly debuted MBA student resume book offering.