In following the federal hearings for the for-profit college sector, I have been extremely disappointed in the lack of accountability and credibility for what Mr. Steven Eisman, a witness in the hearing, calls “marketing machines masquerading as universities.” According to today’s story in the New York Times, it appears much of the budgets of for-profit colleges are spent on marketing their programs not on instructional areas, and there is little data on what happens to students, either after they enroll or, by some chance, graduate.
This is why accreditation measures are so significant, as schools must prove the quality of their programs to achieve such recognitions. Having earned AACSB International accreditation, Belmont students can be confident in the quality of the business education they receive, and employers can be assured our graduates are equipped to add value to their organizations.
With so many educational institutions and learning formats available, it is extremely important that students investigate the quality of programs under consideration to increase the likelihood their investment in time and money will be worthwhile.
Management faculty member, Dr. Susan Williams, was recently recognized by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE) as the 2009 Recipient of the Ned. R. McWherter Leadership Award. The award is for Susan’s longtime commitment to helping organizations achieve performance excellence and her service to the TNCPE. The organization works within the State of Tennessee to help promote and implement the criteria for the Malcolm Baldrige National Qualityl Award. Williams previously served as a judge for the national Baldrige program which is administered through the U.S. Department of Commerce on behalf of the President.
Former Tennessee Governor McWherter’s warm remarks about Susan at the recent TNCPE banquet made it clear that she is held in the highest regard by her friends and peers in the performance excellence community. The reputations of Belmont University and The College of Business Administration are significantly enhanced by Susan’s commitment to excellence as well as the award she received from the TNCPE.
Earlier this week, Google announced its latest plans for promoting its online "PowerMeter" tool, a move that demonstrates the company is extending its mission from information management to managing personal energy data.
The new Google tool, which builds on last year's partnership with GE for smart grid technology, will allow consumers to monitor their home energy consumption through placement of a smart electricity meter on a user's iGoogle home page. There's even a component tie-in to President Obama's proposed stimulus program. Check out the following video clip for a brief overview of the program:
It was Deming who is widely credited as having said that learning and improvement aren't required. He then went on to add that "Of course, neither is survival."
Our good friend and Massey MBA Alum, Charles Hagood, writes a regular blog titled the "Lean Healthcare Exchange" and recently had this to say regarding Toyota's challenging financial performance for 2008 and how they are responding to tough times. Many of us who think of Toyota as being in the market leadership position in the automobile world (note the graph to the left) were surprised to recently learn that the company closed the year with a net operating loss for the first time in 70 years. The reason, though, for their perennial success can be better understood by examining how they are responding to these tough times. Check out "Toyota to Post $1.7 Billion Loss" for the full story.
ideate from ax09001h on Vimeo.In the above recent TV ad, IBM pokes fun at those businesses (and consultants) who seem to over-value planning while under-valuing the implementation side of management--sort of a "knowing instead of doing" problem. In IBM's ad, a manager opens up a quiet room and flips the light on, only to find a large group of employees all lying on the ground quietly on their kindergarten mats and staring up at the ceiling. When he questions what they are doing, one employees responds "Ideating." Others separately join in to flesh out the answer by tossing out words such as, "Structure," "Process," and "We need to innovate." When they're finished, the manager asks how they intend to do all of those things. Their answer? "We haven't ideated that yet." The manager wishes them good luck, turns out the light and closes the door.
It's all in good fun, of course, but what makes it funny is that we've all found ourselves scratching our heads at times and wondering the same thing. How come we seem to spend so much more time talking about doing than actually getting something done? At work, at church, at home, even personally. If you're interested in how to change this paradigm and didn't get around to this resource when it first came out, I urge you to take a look at Pfeffer & Sutton's The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action (Harvard Business School Press, 2000). The book's certainly a great resource to read but also then to keep in a visible place in your office or at home where you won't be sucked back into the land of ideation. For a nice summary of Pfeffer and Sutton's work, visit this link at FastCompany There's also a nice summary of the book available in FastCompany.com.
For those of you constantly looking for a fresh perspective to challenge your thinking on the topic of leadership, check out Steve Farber's blog at www.stevefarber.com. Steve made a recent visit to Belmont as part of the Scarlett Leadership Institute's Peer Exchange Network speaker series. His first book received Fast Company magazine's Reader's Choice Award, in addition to being named one of the ten business books that year by "The CEO Refresher."
Steve makes the case that in any organization the beginning of organizational change starts with some employee making the decision to do something significant and enlisting others to help. He terms this starting point as "accountability. Quite simply, someone has to lead. And it doesn't have to be the boss. Leadership, ultimately, has nothing to do with the title on your business card or your position on the organizational chart. He adds, it's really all about who you are and what you do to change things for the better -- regardless of your "place" in the company.
It's oft been said that "You can't fight city hall"--a reference, no doubt, to the collective angst of all those past local residents who felt wronged by their municipal leaders but felt powerless to do anything about it.
Don't you wish more city leaders had chosen the path of Coral Springs (FL) leadership?! C.S. is the 13th largest municipality in the State of Florida and late this past year they became the first municipality to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from the U.S. President. Back in the early 1990s, city leaders decided there was a better way to run city hall than the traditional stereotypical approach. So they began making strategic decisions based on a total quality management framework designed around performance targets like resident and business satisfaction, stakeholder partnerships, and overall continuous improvement.
After several years of implementing that strategy, their results began to speak for themselves. Last year, for example, 95% of residents indicated that the city had met or exceeded their expectations for quality of service delivered. Furthermore, 99% of resident businesses would now recommend the city to others as a "place to run a business." And these results are only two of the myriad of world-class levels being achieved by city management on an ongoing basis.
Thankfully, a big part of the Baldrige philosophy is for winners to share their recipes for success with others. If you're an existing (or aspiring) city leader, I'd urge you to take a look at the Coral Springs story and how they run their city hall (http://www.coralsprings.org/baldrige/BaldrigeApplication07.pdf). Your citizens (and voters) will be greatful for any best practices you identify that can be implemented locally. If you find these ideas of interest, check with our good friends over at the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (www.tncpe.org).
TNCPE has a wonderful set of resources in place specifically designed to help community leaders improve the quality of life for their residents.
Yesterday, a few of us from Belmont were treated to a first-rate tour of the national headquarters and on-site assisted-living community for a company that is continuously improving the post-retirement living experience for numerous U.S. seniors and their families.
Life Care Centers of Americahttp://www.lcca.com/index.cfm, was started in 1970 as a single-unit retirement home in Cleveland, Tennessee by Forrest L. Preston in his hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee. Since then, that initial concept has been continually refined and improved as the company has grown to more than 260 skilled nursing, assisting living, retirement, home care and Alzheimer's centers in 28 states. Their corporate culture is grounded in the Judeo-Christian ethic of treating people (which includes their residents, families, employee associates, and any stakeholders) with respect and dignity. As many of us already believe, that's a winning recipe for both the short- and long-term horizon.
The company's mission and values have been highly-defined from the outset, and everyone from the Owner and CEO all the way to the front-line "associates" (leadership views everyone in the company through that lens as an associate instead of the more traditional title of employee) know why they exist in that organization and how they add value through their service to all customers and company peers.
If you're in the market for an assisted-living community, I'd check them out. But if you're a business leader looking for a winning recipe for your organization, you also ought to take a look more closely at how this company operates. I'm convinced their recipe for success translates very well to any industry.
Over the last few years, most of us have grown increasingly vigilant in guarding our email accounts against outside intruders--everything from Nigerian princes attempting to quietly move millions of dollars to the U.S. to insider stock tips to...well, you've seen them all. Many of our employers have since invested a lot of money to help protect our email accounts from such intrusions and slow the well-documented drain on personnel productivity.
And yet, the classic philosopher "Pogo," who has been credited with "We have met the enemy, and he is us," had it right way back in 1970. In an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Buckman (http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB119612732031704719.html) reports that our own colleagues may well be our worst spam enemies. She reports that last year the average corporate employee received 126 messages per day--a 55% increase in only three years. What I found most intriguing was the prediction that by 2009, the average worker expects to spend over 40% of his/her time just managing their email acccounts.
One of our friends, Charles Hagood (Massey MBA, '93), from Healthcare Performance Partners has worked with his colleague to develop a very creative Top 10 List for how to kill one's "lean healthcare transformation". Lean techniques are making rapid gains in the healthcare industry as companies struggle with skyrocketing costs, nursing shortages and poor employee satisfaction while simultaneously facing pressure to improve healthcare service to customers. The entire Top 10 list can be found at http://www.leanhealthcareexchange.com/ As an academic myself, I related particularly well to Item #7 (unfortunately, this far too true a statement in many cases). One of the differences that first attracted me to the Massey program was our faculty focus on solutions to real-world problems.