Thanks to @taradara75 aka Loredana Padurean, Assistant Professor of Management at Lasell College for posting this picture from today’s session, “The Dynamics of Small Business in a Changing Environment.” This was a great conference sponsored by the school’s Small Business Institute and the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce. The students made presentations, too, and did an excellent job.
It’s been a busy week, with appearances on both coasts.
Monday started off with a webinar offered by the MIT Systems Design and Management folks. About 200 people joined in from around the world to hear a talk based on Goal Play!, entitled “Leadership for learning organizations.” You can watch and listen here.
Then, it was off to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center to address the leadership group (above). This is a public “safety-net” hospital serving Contra Costa County in California. CEO Anna Roth has done a spectacular job leading the organization through a transformational change to improve quality and safety, transparency, and patient involvement. You can see one of the examples here.
By popular request, I have now issued an audiobook version of my book Goal Play! Leadership Lessons from the Soccer Field. The book has sold thousands of copies in paperback and on Kindle, but many of you have asked for a version to which you can listen.
I hope you enjoy it. I did most of the narration myself (see above for an actual outtake!), but other people have taken on some of the roles in the book–including the foreword written by Edgar Schein (below)–and I think you will like the production quality and sound effects.
I had to make a choice about distribution of the audiobook. Some suggested using Audible.com, but their terms and conditions are a bit unfriendly for a self-produced audiobook. Instead, I decided to disintermediate them and use a service called PayLoadz. This is a simple front-end that connects to fulfillment through Paypal. You click on the purchase link on this home page and immediately are given a PayPal screen, where you can use your PayPal account or a credit card. Then, you are provided with a link that contains the audiobook, and you download it.
I’ve set it up so that the entire book is in one compressed file that you can unzip (on PCs) or unstuff (on Macs). After you download, you can save it to your hard drive or copy it to a CD or a thumb drive or whatever you like.
In coming weeks, I may also offer a CD version of the book. I have deferred this for now because it involves a different kind of fulfillment. Please let me know if that would be more helpful to you.
In the meantime, please click here and enjoy the show!
Eric Lu and his colleagues the JubileeProject have produced a series of short videos with wonderful lessons about life, all designed to support a charitable cause. The latest is The Last Pick, seen below, which supports the Jeremy Lin Foundation. I include it here because the lessons about the worth of each individual are remarkably similar to those contained in Goal Play!
Thanks to the Boston University Health Services Management Association (HSMA), Leadership and Organizational Transformation Club (LOT), Sport and Social Club, and the GSC for their invitation to talk about the lessons of Goal Play!
This was an engaged and engaging group of students and faculty from the School of Management. Among others, it was especially nice to meet Corey Best, shown here, who is soon to join the Navy and try out his leadership skills there.
People tell me that one of their favorite stories in Goal Play! is about the path taken by Bill Geary, a former commissioner in the Massachusetts state government, to eliminate a public safety hazard on the roadways subject to his jurisdiction. Pushing aside bureaucratic inertia, Bill displayed excellent leadership skills and creativity. The problem:
When Bill Geary took over as Commissioner of the Metropolitan District Commission (the regional parks and roadway agency for the Boston area) in 1983, he noticed an odd traffic phenomenon. About once a week, a truck that was too tall would enter one of the two main roads along the Charles River and attempt to go through the underpasses below the main bridge crossing at Massachusetts Avenue. Those underpasses had only ten feet of headroom. The truck would hit the bottom of the bridge assembly, its roof would roll up like the top of a sardine can, and it would get stuck, blocking one or both of the two lanes of traffic. Traffic would back up two miles or more. The MDC police and road crews would go to work, rescue the truck driver, deflate the tires, and tow the truck away. Meanwhile, thousands of drivers would be delayed.
His solution: Hang rubber signs at the entrance to each roadway at the level of the underpasses, accompanied by cow bells to signal to drivers that they had hit the signs. Here’s a picture:
This past weekend, a too-tall bus full of schoolchildren hit one of the underpasses, injuring many people. I happened to be along the route of the bus the next day and drove by and noticed that the rubber sign was missing. I wrote a blog post explaining “why the bus crashed.“ This and subsequent posts made the point that systemic errors within the state agency were likely the cause of this accident, much more so than the actions of the bus driver.
Our local public radio station, WBUR, picked up the story and asked me to come by and explain. Here I am with host Meghna Chakrakarti presenting the story on air today. You can listen to the interview here.
A theme of Goal Play! is to be hard on the problem when mistakes occur, and not hard on the people. It is all too easy to apply blame to individuals. But here, as in the hospital world, the phrase, “what happened to him could happen to anybody,” is usually evidence of a systemic problem, not a personal problem.
I was at the studio today recording last bits of the audio book publication of Goal Play! Seen here are my producer Bruce Gellerman, one of the most accomplished radio journalists in Boston, and Ken Carberry, of Chart Productions in Braintree, who has beautifully handled the technical aspects.
It sounds quite good, and I hope those of you who prefer that medium will be moved to purchase it. Stay tuned!
Thanks to the folks at the MIT Alumni Association for making all these connections, and to my gracious hosts in cities around the world (including those seen here in a winery near Jerusalem).
Thanks to Chris Wang, the volunteer local leader of activities in Kansas City, I spent a lovely evening last night with several MIT alumni on a visit to this city, a notable one in American history and in the present era. A wide range of people showed up, with backgrounds from the Sloan School of Management, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Department of Architecture, as well as the sciences and engineering. Chris, by the way, attended the Sloan School and is currently Senior Manager, Global Diagnostics Marketing at Pfizer Animal Health.
What a pleasant surprise for me, too, to find one of my former students Mike Frisch (seen below, far right), whom I knew as a graduate student in City Planning. Mike moved on several years ago to become a faculty member at the University of Missouri Kansas City department of architecture, urban planning, and design. It was great to make the re-connection with him and to meet other new folks.
Here’s a tease, the foreword written by management guru Edgar Schein, author of Helping, How to offer, give, and receive help.
Meanwhile, I went to the Amazon page for my book Goal Play! recently to see what books people who bought my book also bought. Some might be expected. Others were a surprise.
I certainly could see the connection with Edgar Schein’s book. As noted, Ed wrote the foreword to my book.
Likewise, Swen Nater’s You Haven’t Taught Until They Have Learned, based on the coaching philosophy and techniques of John Wooden. These are remarkably similar to my own, although no coach has been or will be as good as Wooden!
There are several books on health care, like the ones by Marty Makary, Maureen Bisognano, and Leonard Berry. Lots of shared lessons there.
But the one that tops the list is Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. As one reviewer says, “Kahneman’s book is a must read for anyone interested in either human behavior or investing. He clearly shows that while we like to think of ourselves as rational in our decision making, the truth is we are subject to many biases.” The parallels to the world of hospitals are obvious.
All in all, I am pleased to be in such good company.