NotaBene 2009, Crisis & Change - School of Business and Technology
NotaBene —Latin for “note well”—is published by Webster University’s School of Business & Technology. The annual magazine reports on the school’s new initiatives and provides insight into current economic and business trends through guest commentaries.
THE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY ■ 2009 CRISIS CHANGE 1 Message from the Dean 7 School of Business Accredited by ACBSP 2 New President and Chancellor 8 Midwest Bankers Offer Solution to Financial Crisis 10 SBT Alumni on Crisis & Change 3 Leadership in a Time of Crisis & Change 4 Global MBA 5 Faculty Points of Pride 11 Book Reviews 6 Mergers & Acquisitions in Midst of Change 12 Last Words From the Editor At Webster's School of Business & Technology, we believe in change. Change pushes us to seek out the new and improves us by challenging our hold on the status quo. Change is what NotaBene 2009 is all about. Inside this issue you will read about the challenges met and opportunities gleaned in the past year. But you will also see how NotaBene has changed to meet the challenges of staying connected in a world where senators Tweet and presidents carry Blackberrys. This publication is more than a magazine to be thumbed through once. It is your key to moving beyond the printed page and enjoying these stories through other medium made available using our online link options. Read what leading bankers have to say about the financial crisis then watch their audienceâ€™s reaction through our taped presentation. Catch up with our Global MBA students then track where in the world they are right now through our site. Through a convergence of print, audio and video, NotaBene 2009 brings our story to life. It is not just a review of our past year. It is a window into our future. Charla Lord Editor, NotaBene Rising Above Crisis Through Change ■ Message from the Dean In NotaBene 2009, we focus on the biggest challenge and greatest opportunity the world confronted in the past year: crisis and change. In 2008, the most monumental financial crisis experienced since the Great Depression impacted the entire globe. Much like a natural disaster, this man-made disaster was an equal opportunity catastrophe carrying implications that continue to reverberate around the world. As elusive as the initial financial crisis revealed itself to be, the resulting crisis of confidence that ensued has proven slipperier. With no clear scope, boundaries or timeline, this crisis is ambiguous and far more insidious. Fear took root in the soil of our country, casting a long and ever-moving shadow across our great nation. Yet, in the midst of this financial crisis came change in the leadership of the free world with the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States. The change for which we speak is not just Obama’s place as the first U.S. president of color, but rather his embodiment of a new generation of leadership that will seek to overcome the mind-boggling challenges that we face. And so we dedicate this issue of NotaBene magazine to the positive change that can emerge in times of crisis. “At Webster, we Dr. James Brasfield, chair of the Management Department and professor of Management, pens a powerful essay on what crisis and change look like. We feature School of Business & Technology alumni who share intimate perspectives on how their Webster education prepared them to overcome crisis and master change in their careers. believe that the future belongs to those who can see the possibility of change that is borne out of the reality of crisis.” In this issue, we also highlight the changes that transpired in The School of Business & Technology in the past year; how we successfully earned accreditation by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and how we solidified our quest to transform the global business education landscape with the introduction of the Global MBA program, an innovative delivery of our curriculum designed to expose our students to manage and lead in a global economy. As a real example and affirmation of the reality of change, right before we went to press, Dr. Elizabeth Stroble was named the 14th President of Webster University and Dr. Neil George was named our first Chancellor. At Webster, we believe that the future belongs to those who can see the possibility of change that is borne out of the reality of crisis. As always, we appreciate your continued support. Benjamin Ola. Akande, Ph.D. Dean Professor of Economics To listen to Dean Akande’s video, visit: www.webster.edu/sbt/notabene2009 1 Webster Selects New President and Chancellor Webster University is heading to a new level of “ global growth, and this is a critical time for our future. Dr. Stroble’s sterling credentials and demonstrated abilities as an academic leader, administrator, and educator are a great match for Webster,” stated George H. Walker lll, chair of Webster University’s Board of Trustees. July 1, Dr. Elizabeth Stroble will become the 14th president of Webster University and Dr. Neil J. George will become Webster’s first Chancellor. “A world of opportunity awaits Webster, and I welcome collaborations that help us realize Webster’s vision to put students first as we set the standard for global education,” Dr. Stroble said. Dr. Stroble brings to Webster University 35 years of diverse experience as an educator and academic leader. At the University of Akron in Ohio she was Senior Vice President, Provost, and Chief Operating Officer. “Concurrently, Webster has expanded to a multi-campus, international University where the role of Chancellor will help us maintain the momentum we have achieved,” Walker added. “Neil George’s 30 plus years at Webster are a major reason for that momentum.” “Dr. Neil George is a respected leader in global education with a strong affection for learning. Webster University is well positioned to continue its leading role in global education,” stated Dean Akande, a member of the Presidential search committee. “Webster University today has a great deal of momentum as we continue delivering on our commitment to global education excellence,” Dr. George said. “I am gratified 2 for the opportunity to continue advising on the strategic vision of this multi-campus, international University and our commitment to global citizenship and individual excellence.” “Dr. Elizabeth Stroble is a prototype for the 21st century University President,” expressed Dean Akande. “Her passion for education, collaborative style of leadership, and commitment to academic excellence are assets that she brings to Webster University. She will make us better.” Leadership in a Time of Crisis and Change ■ James Brasfield, Ph.D. It is the dawn of 2009, and the first rays of light reveal the outlines of a cascading series of crises. As Barack Obama flies to Washington to assume a historic Presidency, the Middle East is again in flames, and the economy appears to be a runaway truck heading for a cliff. A year ago Obama was the candidate of change attempting to tap the latent dissatisfaction of a still largely comfortable American population. Today President Obama’s leadership skills will be challenged by crises not envisioned as the Iowa caucuses began. Individuals, institutions and societies all face crises from time to time. Typically a crisis is managed, not solved. The underlying crisis conditions usually cannot be wished away, even if fully understood. Crisis management leadership is absorbed in finding the right mix of stability and change. In time of crisis voices for drastic change are loud and shrill. crisis in our orbit. If Webster students, past and present, have absorbed key concepts and ideas, these should guide them in times of crisis and change. The first imperative is to understand the world. Every crisis is imbedded in a hedgerow thicket with a context obscured by the dense interconnection. If in our continuing education, we have devoted energy to comprehend the broad domain we inhabit, we are more likely to have a sense of the origins of the problem. In times of crisis, options for change are often deposited into our garbage can of alternatives. Comprehensive analysis of each is an impossible luxury. Should we opt for radical change or incremental adjustment? Each has its allure. Often the two are confused. Major change is not merely a large increment, but a different perspective on the entangled foundations of the crisis. Successful revolutionary change flows from a profound alteration of our understanding of the root causes of the crisis. Decision process is crucial. Neither the leader nor others in Charles Lindblom pointed out a generation ago that increthe orbit should be under the illusion of omnipotent wisdom. mental change is often more feasible and effective because of Whatever the formal decision system, thoughtful and candid the self-correcting nature of the process. But discussion should precede In times of crisis, options for a crisis can provide both opportunity and action. Debate among those change are often deposited into rationale for a radical change to transform with different perspectives our garbage can of alternatives. the causes of the crisis. is likely to clarify the advan- “ ” Leaders in time of crisis are expected to make good decisions. Herbert Simon’s conceptualization of decision-making warned us about the false hope for optimization of choice. Even the brightest human being has limits of time information, and the ability to understand all the consequences of the choice alternatives. Most of us will not face the magnitude of crisis resting on Barack Obama’s shoulders as he takes the oath of office, but we hope our education will help us successfully manage any tages and pitfalls of the options for change. This will not automatically produce a “right” answer, but will highlight the risks and consequences of various paths. There is no cookbook for leadership in time of crisis. Our formal education should prepare us for lifelong learning. This understanding of our world will be an essential element for comprehension of the crises we face. Hopefully, a Webster University education will prepare our students to manage with skillful leadership any crisis they encounter. Dr. James Brasfield Professor of Management Chair, Management Department 3 Students View Global Crisis and Change First Hand ■ Charla Lord Months later, you can still hear the excitement in his voice. "It was an overwhelming feeling," says UCLA graduate, Mike Douglas. "I was nervous about finding my apartment. But as soon as I got off the plane in Switzerland, there was someone waiting with a Webster University sign and a smile." Together Mike and his classmates embarked on the Global MBA program, the first of its kind among business schools. Designed to prepare students not only to be globally aware leaders and managers, but better citizens – the 11-month tour took its maiden voyage to the global hubs of international commerce. Knowing fully that there is no substitute for actually being there, the Global MBA program includes nine-week stays in Geneva, Leiden, London, Shanghai and Vienna. The program, by design, immerses students in far more than the classroom, giving them access to an international perspective and culture in the world of business. "They're learning to value diversity, and to listen to others whose perspectives differ from theirs, ”adds Patricia Masidonski, Associate Dean. “They’re learning how to be flexible, adaptable and humble as they experience new cultures, cities, courses and classmates." The travel may be invigorating, but the coursework is an academic and personal challenge that the students must accept. A full year of study and travel 4 without the comforts of home may be difficult at times, but well worth the sacrifice. "When you invest years of your life, you definitely want to get a return," says UMColumbia graduate, Patrick McHargue. "Intercultural experiences, life experiences and meeting new people have been a major part of those returns." "We're really getting experience in a wide array of corporate practices, cultures and industries," adds LSU graduate, Sarah Trufant. "I'm learning to widen my perspective and view what's available in the global job market much differently." "It's been a wonderfully useful and educational experience. I really feel like I'm beginning to develop a world focus,” says Taunya Dillow, a recent graduate from SIU-Edwardsville. "I've got a much greater understanding of myself – both my strengths and my weaknesses." At the conclusion of the 11-month program,"The Globals,” as they've come to call themselves, will return to the United States, having completed a course of study unlike any other. The classes, professors and fellow students around the world represent new tactics, skills and approaches to global commerce – and give Webster's students a greater ability to use their skills universally. Faculty Points of Pride The Global MBA program gives its students the competitive edge that students need when journeying out into the international business world after graduation. "Working with different cultures ultimately shows employers that we view diversity as an advantage, not a setback," says Douglas."They see that we can work well with other cultures and build strength out of it." Benjamin Ola Akande, Dean of The School of Business & Technology agrees: "The international perspective gives students an added advantage and enables them to be globally relevant wherever they are. In today's competitive market, it's increasingly important to be a 'global citizen' with cross-cultural understanding." "The students understand that," adds Masidonski. "Because of our selective admissions, we were already certain we had a great group of outstanding, wellqualified people. But I'm amazed to see their professional and personal growth as I visit them in each new city. They're clearly learning much more than business." Stephen Silver "Common missteps in portfolio optimization" (2007, September). With D. Sykes Wilford, Journal of Financial Transformation, 20. Rick Massengale "Building a network test bed for internet security research" (2008, April). With Heien & Wu, The Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 23 (4). Deniz Saral "Using technology to lure executives back to business schools" (2007). Global Focus, 1 (3). Marilyn Feldstein "Every mistake you can make on the road to career suicide and how to avoid them" (2008). With L. DeCarlo and S. Guarneri, Career Press. For SBT faculty publications: www.webster.edu/sbt/notabene2009 In Their Own Words "It has exceeded my expectations. Webster really rolled out the red carpet for us," adds Douglas. "If you enjoy travel, diversity and working alongside people in new cultures, the Global MBA is for you." For more information on Webster University’s Global MBA: www.webster.edu/sbt/notabene2009 Dear Dean Akande, Thank you for the opportunity to teach at Webster University's Vienna Campus. “My class consisted of 17 bright and ambitious young people from 14 countries, in an open atmosphere designed to discuss subjects foremost in the minds of a truly international group. The students related our subject "Key Success Factors for Service Organizations" to their environments, creating action steps to enhance performance at their jobs or incorporate measurable goals in the business plans of new ventures. Throughout we improved our abilities to respect different perspectives from various cultures, find common ground and have fun at the same time.” Erich Steinbock Practitioner Faculty General Manager, The Ritz Carlton Hotel St. Louis, Missouri 5 Mergers & Acquisitions in the Midst of Change ■ Vienna Austria Forum Like the cautious consumer, many companies are Manfred Moschner, Managing Partner, ACS Vienna, and one of the Top 10 M&A deal-makers globally, urges clients to live by three rules. “Know your markets. Only 20% of the deals are worthwhile,” Mr. Moschner states. “Prepare slowly, but negotiate swiftly. And control costs.” He continues, “If you do your homework, M&A can be beneficial. If you don’t, stay out of any M&A deals.” currently sitting on the sidelines with their money in hand. In 2008, global Merger & Acquisitions activities fell nearly 30% from the previous year. The startling figure was that fourth quarter U.S. volume fell For a successful 53% from the previous year. But amid merger you must these less than stellar figures some big consider the people, deals did occur. “ “A banker’s primary concern should be, Is this a good deal?” offered Michael Fortier, Executive Vice President, Erste Group Bank. “Bankers consider ‘deal chasing’ a sure-fire the process and On October 22, 2008, at the Siemens recipe for disaster,” Mr. Fortier emphasized. the products. Conference Center in Vienna, Austria, “Obviously, it’s important to view each Mr. Wolfgang Horak Webster University held a forum featuring companies’ financial records. But during the Managing Director s Fujitsu Siemens Computer top Merger & Acquisitions experts in process, keep your eyes and ears open to Europe. They shared their perspective on the impact of their shared beliefs concerning people and customers. If Mergers & Acquisitions in times of crisis. there is a disconnect, the deal will not work.” ” “The world has had a massive economic stroke,” stated Dean Akande, “And all organizations, like human beings, are born to die,” he continued. “But should we allow them to die or, based on their intrinsic value, find ways for them to survive?” “Treat people as you want to be treated,” said Mr. Wolfgang Horak, Managing Director, Fujitsu Siemens Computers. “For a successful merger you must consider the people, the process and the products. Unfortunately, when it comes to M&A, many companies place the primary importance on the products. These kinds of mergers are going to experience a bumpy ride. People should be the most critical factor.” Almost 80% of Mergers & Acquisitions fail due to a lack of integration of old and new employees. The panelists reached a consensus that people, processes, a detailed plan and the creation of value are the ingredients to a successful deal. The best M&A transactions are the ones that answer the question: Does this deal make sense? The discussion forum was held to a packed house with over 200 in an audience consisting of Webster University alumni, students and invited guests from the Vienna corporate community. View video of the forum: www.webster.edu/sbt/notabene2009 Sascha Hodl, Partner, Schonherr Rechtsanwalte put today’s financial crisis in perspective. “Mergers come in waves,” he reminded everyone. “In 1987 Michael Fortier Executive Vice President the stock market lost 40% of its value Erste Group Bank and was followed by a major increase in M&A. Similar M&A activity occurred after the 2000 stock market downturn.” 6 Sascha Hodl Partner Schonherr Rechtsanwalte ACBSP Accredits School of Business Every university with business and management programs claims they have the best. But do they? With the current financial crisis hanging over virtually every business on the planet, finding the right university with the knowledge on how to traverse today’s economic problems is critical. Receiving recognition from a national accreditation organization that conducts a thorough evaluation of a university’s business and management programs is a key element in evaluating a university’s credentials. In July, Webster University’s School of Business & Technology received a specialized 10-year accreditation for its business and management programs from the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). “This news affirms the academic quality of Webster’s business and management programs,” commented Webster University President Neil J. George. “The ACBSP award follows a strenuous accreditation process that touched each and every one of our 100-plus campuses across the country and throughout the world,” according to Dean Akande. “The ACBSP accreditation team rated the School’s quality assurance and academic assessment initiatives ‘Best in Class.’” ACBSP’s accreditation standards are modeled on the Baldrige National Quality Program and its Criteria for Educational Performance Excellence. This program is widely recognized by business and government, two important constituents of business schools. ACBSP and AACSB are the only two accrediting bodies of collegiate business schools that are recognized by the Council of Higher Education Association(CHEA). This confirms that Webster has met the standards and criteria of the group "that accredits the accreditors". Dean Akande was elated with the accreditation. “I congratulate our entire faculty and staff worldwide on this important accomplishment and for their leadership and teamwork in advancing the academic mission of the School of Business & Technology,” he stated. “We always knew that Webster University has some of the best business and management programs available to meet the challenges of today’s economic conditions. Now, thanks to the accreditation of the ACBSP, our programs have been validated.” Delta Mu Honor Society Chartered Friday, Nov 7, 2008 -- The Webster University School of Business & Technology was presented with a Charter Membership in the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society of International Business Administration. Only business schools accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) are eligible to apply for Delta Mu Delta membership. The School of Business & Technology Charter will be known as Lambda Kappa. Artistic rendering of Webster University’s new School of Business & Technology complex 7 Midwest Bankers Offer Solution to Financial Crisis ■ The Maritz Success to Significance Speaker Series What makes the current financial crisis the worst in Our banking panel agreed that without change, the auto industry, once considered a cash cow, is headed to the slaughterhouse. “The 1970s government loan to Chrysler worked. It was memory is that we are all in this leaky boat together. a manageable debt of $1.2 billion that was paid back to Nearly all industries and American families are barely keeping the government. And that included the interest,” stated their financial heads above water. As we feverishly bail out Mr. Robert Witterschein, President and CEO of Southwest the boat, people in Washington are scratching their heads Bank. “Today, labor costs for the Big Three are nearly trying to find a way out of this catastrophe. The solutions twice as high as at Toyota and Honda. They simply can’t be range from bailouts for everyone to competitive.” Mr. Witterschein Whatever happens, someone has bailouts for no one. continued, “This problem is exacto step forward and be accountable. erbated by the fact that the UAW On November 19, 2008, the Mr. Tom Chulick, Chairman & CEO of UMB Bank leadership won’t budge an inch.” School of Business & Technology “ ” convened a forum with top Midwest bankers. The conversation at the forum was candid and energized and focused on the auto industry conundrum. The conclusions reached revealed that bankers have developed a more pragmatic approach to the current financial crisis. Bankers, by nature, are a cautious group. Their product is money, and making a profitable return on their money is how they keep score. So when they see the auto industry implode from years of high labor costs, questionable product lines, and destructive management, bankers collectively ask: “Couldn’t they see this meltdown coming?” The answer is that the Big Three are still mentally living in the 1960s when they manufactured more than 50% of the vehicles sold in America. Today it’s down to 20%. If the Big Three would collectively pull their heads out of the sand, they would see the need to implement immediate and dramatic changes. Dwight Erdbruegger Commerce Bank Mr. Tom Chulick, Chairman & CEO of UMB Bank, commented: “If I was involved in these negotiations, I’d immediately ask them to close their unprofitable plants and eliminate the car models that will not sell. They need to ask themselves what are foreign carmakers doing that they aren’t? Drastically reducing their legacy costs would be a good response.” Mr. Chulick concluded, “The Big Three and companies in similar situations need to develop a moral compass. Whatever happens, someone has to step forward and be accountable.” Robert Witterschein Southwest Bank Dean Akande Sally Roth Regions 8 “A loan would be a band- aid to the problem,” added Mr. Allan Ivie, lV, President and COO of The PrivateBank. “I believe Chapter 11 is their only answer. The government can’t subsidize these guys forever. It will be a total waste of good money. They just don’t seem to want to change their business model.” Thomas Chulick UMB Bank Julie Stackhouse Federal Reserve Bank Allan Ivie, IV The PrivateBank “The Federal Reserve Bank has added money into the system to promote stability,” expressed Ms. Julie Stackhouse, Senior Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. “However, what happens next is uncertain. A shocking number of subprime mortgages will affect the outcome. Adding to the unknown will be consumer spending. The old saying that ‘nothing happens until someone buys something’ definitely applies to the retail industry.” Ms. Stackhouse expressed a positive view of our regional banks: “Our regional banking industry is strong and well capitalized. Credit will be there for people who deserve credit. And federal money will be available to viable banks but not failing ones. However, this support will be only temporary.” As he concluded the forum, Dean Akande stated, “The current financial crisis is the result of a perfect storm: loose monetary policy, years of negative interest rates in a growing economy, social engineering creating policy, lack of market oversight, emergence of a shadow banking system, and poor governance and fraud.” The forum was attended by members of the business community, alumni, students, faculty and staff. Boeing Adapts to Changing Economic Conditions Despite the current economic crisis, Boeing and the Saint Louis Brewery, Inc. continue to hold their leadership positions. Being well capitalized, recognizing and being able to adapt to market-driven changes, and strong management leadership have kept these companies pointed in a positive direction. Boeing has made the world smaller with its innovations. These include supplying our government, allies and private industry with critical products and systems. While Boeing is a huge company, it exists in a very competitive business. “Competition is a powerful force that drives our innovations to be successful,” emphasized Mr. Jim Albaugh, President and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. “When it comes to our military, we want to make sure they are never in a ‘fair fight’. This can only be accomplished with the world’s most superior weapons systems.” “A market-driven solution always trumps a political-driven solution. We strive to have the best answers and the best price for those answers,” states Mr. Albaugh. “Whether it’s military or private industry, change is always coming. You have to go with it. And the best changes are driven by the best technology.” When asked about the impact on Boeing of the upcoming election, Mr. Albaugh responded, “Regardless of which political party wins the election, when the threat briefing is laid on his or her desk, the response will be the same. However, the priorities might change.” In 1991 The Saint Louis Brewery started in a three-story building with no roof. They are now supplying beer to customers in six regional states. Why does a 40-year-old lawyer decide to start a brewery? “If being an entrepreneur is in your DNA, don’t stifle it,” declared president and co-founder Mr. Tom Schlafly. Tom Schlafly President The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc. With a wry smile Mr. Schlafly mused,“We were small enough to grow with the trial and error method. Fortunately, right from the start, we had more trial than error. Craft beers were just getting popular in the Midwest, which proves timing is everything.” Mr. Schlafly has recently written a book about his company titled, “A New Religion in Mecca.” It’s about how a startup brewery succeeded in the shadow of Anheuser-Busch. To view Maritz Speaker Series videos, visit: Jim Albaugh President and CEO Boeing Integrated Defense Systems www.webster.edu/sbt/notebene2009 9 SBT Alumni Thrive During Time of Crisis “Without a roadmap to guide me through today's constantly changing economic conditions, I rely on my Webster experience to help find the opportunities created by difficult times.” “The Webster MBA program opened doors for me that otherwise would have been closed. I was able to attain employment positions and experience new opportunities that have come in handy as a new business owner.” Ryan Sneed Don Huonker Sr. VP of Pharmacy Services, Walgreens MBA 2000 “My Webster MBA prepared me to think strategically and look into the future so as not to react only to the issues of today.” Gail L. Sneed Senior VP Retail Admin.,UMB Bank MBA 1994 “Webster gave me practical opportunities, guidance and knowledge that I could apply right away to navigate the constant changes in the healthcare industry.” Michele C. Meyer CEO Des Peres Hospital MA 1985 “At The School of Business & Technology I gained experience from individuals in my industry while building meaningful relationships that enabled me to respond to change and crisis in today's market.” Dan N. Miller Compliance Officer for The PrivateBank MBA 2007 “Not one year goes by in which my experience of the confluence of like-minded students and real world professors and mentors at Webster University's School of Business & Technology hasn't been called upon to empower me to thrive and not perish from ever-coming changes in the markets.” Neil George, Jr. Chief Economist of Lumbard Investment Counseling MBA-Finance, Webster University London - 1989 President, Hot Toppings, LLC MBA 1994 “I believe that my MBA from Webster has been beneficial in my attempt to manage and navigate the large-scale credit crisis in the banking and mortgage industry.” Matthew A. Locke President, Mortgage Lending Division, Pulaski Bank MBA 2000 “Webster University encouraged me to use my intuition and be willing to make quick decisions based on available information. I believe these points are key to survival in today's volatile market.” Raymond H. Bayer, Jr. CEO and Executive Director MOHELA MBA 1997, MA (finance) 2002 “Leaders must approach issues with excellent critical thinking and problem-solving skills that allow them to see connections and understand issues at a deeper level. My Webster education has influenced me in all of these areas.” Kathy Mozzarella VP Human Resources, Graybar Electric Co. MBA 2002 “Besides my work experience and education in Turkey, the most important criterion that distinguished me from other candidates was my success at Webster.” Sezin Sirin Ameren Corporation, Forecasting & Load Research Specialist MBA 2008 “Without a roadmap to guide me through today's constantly For more on Webster alumni: changing economic conditions, I rely on my Webster experience to help find the opportunities created by difficult times.” www.webster.edu/sbt/notabene2009 Don Huonker, Senior VP of Pharmacy Services, Walgreens, MBA 2000 10 Book Reviews Author Interviews True North Aims to Find the Leadership Compass I think it's time we embraced a new gold standard. The one I'm referring to is highlighted by author Joseph A. Michelli in his latest book, "The New Gold Standard," which chronicles the success of one of the world's bestknown hospitality name brands, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. What this iconic luxury hotel does every day to be the best can be embraced by any business seeking the same gold standard for which the Ritz is known. “The New Gold Standard“ is a behind-the-scenes look at the "Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen." The RitzCarlton motto, penned years ago and still used today, drives home the unique connection between the employees at the Ritz and the clients they attend to every day. At the Ritz, employees aren't hired, they are selected. Once selected, trust is established through employee empowerment. Everyone, from housekeeper to manager, has the power to spend up to $2,000 on each guest each day to serve a client's needs without seeking permission. The result is the extraordinary care that the Ritz-Carlton is known for by its guests all over the world. Through measured customer satisfaction, Ritz-Carlton leadership makes certain that each hotel is delivering on the company's promise. Fulfilling each client's individual needs, big or small, creates the ultimate guest experience that can turn one-time customers into a dedicated, repeat clientele. Michelli writes that Ritz-Carlton leadership consistently works to ensure employee satisfaction, engagement of consumers and keeping the business relevant. Having your business work toward "putting on the Ritz" may take it one step closer to passing the Ritz leadership white-glove test and setting a new gold standard of your own. Bill George and Andrew McLean assert that leadership is much more than the ability to use popular buzzwords and articulate the right messages. To become authentic leaders, the authors say, people must change their focus from themselves to others. Bill George is the former Chairman and CEO of Medtronic and author of "Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value." His latest book came about as a result of the largest study ever conducted on leadership development. George interviewed 125 leaders ranging in age from 33 to 83 whom he considers to be successful and authentic. He takes the reader through a series of personal journeys of some of the most renowned leaders of our time. George maintains that understanding leadership begins with gaining a deep level of selfawareness. Perhaps the book's most profound revelation is the simple assertion that the hardest person to lead is oneself. In his study of leaders who lacked this fundamental prerequisite, George contends it wasn't that they lacked the ability to lead others — they just couldn't lead themselves. This is a book worthy of reading by those seeking to lead, those who are leaders and all those who are willing to learn from others. To join Webster University's online BIZTALK BOOK CLUB and read reviews, go to: www.webster.edu/sbt/notabene2009 11 Last Words â– Hope is Not a Strategy Dear President Obama, During the campaign, you offered America hope and promised to restore a cilivity and practicality to the nation's highest office so that, together, we could rise to the challenges and opportunities that lay at our doorstep. Now it's time to make some wise choices. In your acceptance speech on the evening of November 4, 2008, you were pointed in your statement that, "while we breathe, we hope." As president, your greatest challenge will be effectively leading a Cabinet of highly qualified and highly opinionated individuals who will undoubtedly have differing ideas on how best to resolve the major issues we face. Your leadership will be tested early and often, and while you have assured Americans that there will be setbacks and false starts, your willingness to make tough choices early on will set the tone for a revival of a shell-shocked economy and a battle-fatigued nation. Yet, the fact remains that hope will not reduce housing foreclosures. Hope does not stop a recession. Hope cannot create jobs. Hope will not prevent catastrophic failures of banks. Hope is not a strategy. I would like to offer 10 priorities to consider: 1. The Deficit: Don't be concerned about increasing the deficit in the short term. There is an urgent need to stimulate the economy now -- not at any price, but almost. Your recovery plan must combine tax cuts and structured spending in areas that foster long-term economic growth, specifically energy, healthcare and education. This is one time when we need to act for today to ensure that tomorrow will be much better. 12 2. The Auto Industry: I want to urge you to reject extending additional bailout monies to the Big Three. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the best thing that can happen to these automakers. They need help quickly, but not in the form of government largesse. This is a time for "tough love" and not enabling poor performance, corporate arrogance and unwise decisions. They will thank you in the long run. 3. The New New Deal: There is urgency to rebuild America's roads and bridges, but the real opportunity is to anchor your recovery plan on a renewed energy policy that is timely and targeted. The imperative should entail: 1) A green bailout for U.S. automakers; 2) Green infrastructure; 3) Tax credit for companies to produce alternative energy; 4) A construction program for a new smart electric grid; and 5) Increased investment in mass transit using green technology. The projects must be shovel-ready to get people back to work immediately. 4. 2009 Homeowner Protection Act: Now is the opportunity to change the bankruptcy laws to protect homeowners from the vagaries of the marketplace. We have expedited Chapter 11 bankruptcy for businesses to keep them from going under when they run into financial turbulence, and we should do no less for homeowners. It does no one any good to force poor and middle-income Americans out of their homes, and we know that vacant houses destroy even the best neighborhoods. An expedited homeowner protection plan would allow for the restructuring of the mortgages of millions of Americans who are under water. Stemming the flood of foreclosures will reinvigorate the confidence of banks and provide a shot in the arm for the credit market, putting the economy back on the right foot. 5. Strengthening Middle Class America: Your administration should push to expand the earned income tax credit as a relief measure for the middle class and give Americans making less than $150,000 a $500 tax credit per person on the first $8,100 in income. This will increase the rate of spending and the rate of savings by the middle class, which will be a source of new capital to spur growth. 6. A Health Plan for All: The greatest fear among most Americans is the possibility of losing their jobs; with the loss of jobs comes the real possibility of loss of health insurance. We need a comprehensive program that provides health insurance to the unemployed and to the uninsured, and it must happen post-haste. For a nation of our wealth to have any of our citizens go without heath care is nothing short of criminal. 7. Rewrite Financial Service Laws: One of the key reasons for the current financial crisis has been weak regulation of the financial services industry. There needs to be a comprehensive overhaul of enforcement policies of the Securities Exchange Commission. Require disclosure and stipulate new accounting requirements. 8. Restructure Bailout: The first $350 billion of the financial market bailout has done very little to jump-start the economy. The next $350 installment must be directed at assisting homeowners and expanding consumer credit. Webster University Neil J. George President James Staley Vice President for Academic Affairs The School of Business & Technology Benjamin Ola. Akande Dean Patricia Masidonski Associate Dean Caprice Moore Director of Operations Charla Lord Director of Communications Ron Van Fleet Director of Alumni & Development Anne Browning 9. Foster a Bipartisan Approach: Divisive politics got us into this mess – unifying politics can help get us out of it. The country can no longer afford to see things in terms of red and blue or black and white. The enduring solutions will emerge from the gray. Director of Global MBA 10. Caution to Consumers: President Obama, I urge you to use your presidential pulpit to speak to Americans, to encourage them to be cautious and prudent in their spending. While consumer spending is a key to the economic revival, at times it may be wise to counsel consumers to -- in the words of former St. Louis Fed President Bill Poole -- "Put their foot on the brake way before they get to the stop sign." Bradley Wolaver What America needs, more than ever, is your ability to give hope through your leadership. May you have the inner strength to move this nation from uncertainty to certainty. I wish you well. Jim Brasfield My Best, Benjamin Ola. Akande Dean, The School of Business & Technology Denise Harrell Associate Director, Global MBA Admissions Lauren Kleve Coordinator of Institutional Planning and Research IT Director Academic Programs Steve Hinson Chair, Department of Business Al Cawns, Chair, Department of Math & Computer Science Chair, Management Department The SBT Mission Statement “To prepare lifelong learners for professional fulfillment in the fields of business and technology through the application of knowledge in a supportive academic environment. ”