Volume 8, Issue 3
2006 Hopkins and Company, LLC
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Most issues of Executive Times avoid sports
metaphors. Perhaps since the wrap up of the Winter Olympic Games in
Fifteen new books are rated in this issue, beginning on page 5. One book is highly recommended with a four-star rating; eight books merited three stars, five are mildly recommended with two-star ratings, and one book earned a one-star rating. Visit our 2006 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2006books.html and see the rating table explained as well as explore links to all 190 books we’re reading or considering so far this year, including 38 that we added to the list in February. If there’s something missing from the bookshelf that you think we should be considering or if there’s a book lingering on the Shelf of Possibility that you think we should read and review sooner rather than later, let us know by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. As an added benefit to Executive Times readers, we’ve put all the books we’ve ever listed on one web page at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/All Books.html.
The parade of
athletes for the opening and closing ceremonies of the XXth Winter Olympic Games calls attention to the reality of how
many competitors there are, how one follows another, and how no one is
What tells you it’s time to make way for a successor? Is your career capstone ahead of or behind you? Are you prepared to succeed someone else? When you do, how quickly will you establish your reputation and meet high expectations for your performance? In what ways do you need to continue the legacy of your predecessor, and in what ways do you need to establish your individuality?
The all-show and no-go performance of Bode Miller at the Olympics recalled the high expectations of superstar Carly Fiorina when she became CEO of Hewlett-Packard. The hype about Miller as a contender for five medals prior to the Games became huge following his media disclosures about competing while drunk in past events. Assuming he was sober during his five Olympic events, he failed at each event. (To savor just part of the Miller over-hype, be sure to visit his website at http://www.bodemillerusa.com.) Fiorina’s super-star image exceeded her actual results and she was fired after she failed to move the company forward. On February 15, when H-P reported results (http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/investor/financials/quarters/2006/q1.html) for the first full year under the leadership of her low-key successor, Mark Hurd, the story turned out to be stellar. Revenues are higher, along with margins, and the stock was the best performer of 2005 in the Dow Jones Industrials, up 37%. When it comes to executive performance, perhaps the model is for all-go, and low-key show.
Do you pay more attention to hype than to results? Are you swayed by image? When you think of your star performers, do you tend to overlook the low-key successful contributors? Are you blinded by starlight? Are you using the right criteria when scoring results? Are you self-promoting to the point of hype? Do your achievements match the hype?
How do you keep the players on your team focused on the
right issues? How clearly have you communicated expectations about individual
performance needed to produce team results? When cooperation is needed, what
do you do to encourage that? When individual players have expectations of
others, what do you do to reinforce those expectations, if appropriate, or
revise those expectations to clarify priorities and roles? What are you doing
to prevent the
Joey Cheek switched from inline skating to
speedskating after watching Norwegian Johann
Koss in the 1994 Olympics. Koss went on to start a humanitarian effort
called Right to Play, which seeks
to provide a bit of normal childhood to kids living in refugee camps. In a
press conference after winning the gold medal in the 500 meter speedskating competition,
Cheek announced, “I've always felt that if I ever did something big like this
I wanted to be prepared to give something back. So ... I'm going to be
donating the entire (Operation Gold) sum the USOC gives to me, which I think
is around $25,000, I'm not sure, to the organization that Johann Olaf Koss
either started or gave to in 1994. And I'm going to be asking all of the
Olympic sponsors that give hundreds of millions of dollars if they will also
maybe match my donation to a specific project. So, as you know, there's been
some media but not a ton, especially in the
With the results you’ve achieved, what have you done to help someone else? Are you aware of what you do to inspire others? Who has inspired you, and what have you done as a result of that inspiration? Will your best Olympian moment in 2006 be an inspiring one?
Here are selected updates on stories covered in prior issues of Executive Times:
Ø The March 2005 issue of Executive Times called attention to the provocative comments of Harvard President Larry Summers that alienated segments of the Arts and Sciences faculty. He resigned on February 21, and said in a resignation letter to members of the Harvard community, (http://www.president.harvard.edu/speeches/2006/0221_summers.html), “…I have reluctantly concluded that the rifts between me and segments of the Arts and Sciences faculty make it infeasible for me to advance the agenda of renewal that I see as crucial to Harvard's future. I believe, therefore, that it is best for the University to have new leadership. … I have sought for the last five years to prod and challenge the University to reach for the most ambitious goals in creative ways. There surely have been times when I could have done this in wiser or more respectful ways. My sense of urgency has stemmed from my conviction that Harvard has a special ability to make a real difference in a world desperately in need of wisdom of all kinds. As I leave the presidency, my greatest hope is that the University will build on the important elements of renewal that we have begun over the last several years. Much as I might have preferred to help, as President, to build more of the magnificent structure that will be early 21st century Harvard, I take satisfaction in having played a part in laying some of the foundations for what may come. …” There are always consequences for leaders who alienate key stakeholders. We look forward to seeing how his successor performs.
Ø Resume lying last appeared in the April 2005 issue of Executive Times, and has been a topic covered frequently. A consistent message: tell the truth or face the consequences. Another executive faced consequences when RadioShack accepted the resignation of its CEO David J. Edmondson on February 21 days after disclosure that he claimed he had two college degrees, when in reality he had none.
who always seemed to enjoy himself, in success or in failure, on something of
an Olympic scale, died in February at age 83. Sir Freddie Laker changed air-travel by creating the low-cost
niche in the 1970s. He broke the trans-Atlantic cartel by offering cheap
flights with no frills, changing the market from one of fixed, high prices
for the wealthy, to one of choices and opportunities for all. He played the
role of David taking on the Goliaths of state-sponsored airlines, and
winning, to the ongoing cheers of consumers. While customers flocked to his
planes, the company failed, but was followed by new and successful companies
who thrive in this niche. By the time his company failed, he had increased
passenger volume 30%, but made enemies. Some competitors conducted a “dirty
tricks” campaign against Laker, targeted at his bankers, and were later
convicted and forced to pay him compensation for their misdeeds. According to
Press Virgin Atlantic founder Sir Richard Branson, who named one of
the planes in his fleet “Spirit of Sir Freddie” in tribute, said the
ebullient Laker was one of
Latest Books Read and Reviewed:
(Note: readers of the web version of Executive Times can click on the book covers to order copies directly from amazon.com. When you order through these links, Hopkins & Company receives a small payment from amazon.com. Click on the title to read the review or visit our 2006 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2006books.html).
2006 Hopkins and Company, LLC. Executive
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