beaverA theme has emerged as I travel the globe for various speeches and workshops:  Wherever I go, there seems to be an MIT club to visit and share the stories and lessons of Goal Play!

In the last two years, that has included: Kansas City, Israel, Amsterdam, Rome, Colorado, Central Ohio, Iceland, Northern California, and Boston.

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).

Israel MIT

IMG_2329Thanks 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.


Paul_LevyStay tuned.  The audio book version of Goal Play! will be issued soon, joining the paper and Kindle versions.  (That’s me, talking at left!)

Here’s a tease, the foreword written by management guru Edgar Schein, author of Helping, How to offer, give, and receive help.

Goal Play – Edgar Schein Foreword

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.

amazon3 amazon1 amazon2

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.

ImageMany thanks to club president Galya Racine (seen above with husband Dan, also an MIT alum) for organizing an MIT Club of Israel event at the Tzora Vineyards near Jerusalem.  Before my talk about Goal Play!, we got a full briefing from one of the partners in the vineyard and learned about the growing process and also the production of wine.

IMG_2227This required a certain amount of discipline, as people tasted a variety of wines, interspersed with bread and cheese (also produced on site).  As you can see, though, at least one participant was properly dressed for the occasion.

IMG_2237Another Dan, recently arrived as an immigrant to Israel made a huge effort to get to the event, taking two trains and a bus.  He left with a backpack full of wine, and we eased his return by giving him a ride.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a classmate from my year (1972), Steve Rogers (a physics major.)  You see him here comparing notes about a fossil found in the vineyard with Carlos, an undergraduate involved in the MISTI program, which provides international learning and service opportunities to students.


teruarMany thanks to the MIT Club of Israel for inviting me to speak at one of their events at a kibbutz near Jerusalem later this week.  This is the first time one of my book talks is being twinned with a visit to a vineyard and winery. My hosts note:

It is our pleasure to invite you to ‘Toast to IAP 2013’, Friday, January 11th, 2013, 9:15-13:00

What better place to toast IAP then at Tzora Vineyards?

This year we have the pleasure of enjoying a terroir workshop (terroir – the unique flavor and aroma of a wine that is attributed to the growing environment of the grapes) and a dynamic presentation by Paul Levy.

Well, it is hard to promise to be dynamic after a wine tasting, but I’ll do my best!

IMG_2078I was invited to give two sessions at the 24th Annual National Forum of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Orlando, Florida this week.  The topic was “leadership lessons from the soccer field” with an eye toward offering advice to clinical and administrative leaders in the health care arena.  I was pleased to see that, before the conference started, 145 people had enrolled for the first session and another 168 for the second session.  But many more showed up, filing the hall to its 200+ person capacity both times.

I like to engage people in my presentations, so I awarded copies of Goal Play! to a few folks who either answered a question correctly or asked a very perceptive question.  You see the winners here.  Lucy and Rhonna are above, and Rainer and Nicole are below.


IMG_2027Many thanks to radio talk show host Al Smith of News 1150 WNDB in Daytona Beach for inviting me and colleague Dr. Bruce Ramshaw for an extensive interview today.  The topic was how to achieve improvements in clinical care in hospitals, but there was also a significant segment on the lessons and stories from Goal Play! as they apply generally and also specifically to the medical arena.

IMG_2022I was very pleased to be asked to present Grand Rounds by the General Surgery Residency Program at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, FL.  I was greeted by a diverse audience who were all presented with a copy of Goal Play! upon signing in.

IMG_2020First to arrive were a surgical technician and a nurse manager from the operating rooms (above).  They were followed by a small gaggle of medical students who were at the hospital to interview for family practice residency slots.  This young man wanted all to be sure he would fit in culturally, so he partook in a traditional Southern breakfast of eggs, sausage, grits, and sweet roll.  He was careful to point out that breakfast included a geographically appropriate vitamin C source, though, as his interviewer proudly displayed her copy of the book.



The Lean Enterprise Institute and Lean Frontiers joined together to create the Inaugural Lean Coaching Summit, a collaborative and hands-on learning environment to address coaching in companies and institutions that have adopted the Lean process improvement philosophy.  As noted by the hosts:

“Most lean practitioners have heard the principle ‘Before we make product, we make people.’ This embodies respect for people and describes the two responsibilities of every leader: Get work done and develop people. To accomplish these as separate activities is difficult, if not impossible. So the lean leader’s solution is to develop people through getting the work done. Easy to say, but what does it take? It takes coaching.”

smileThis message is so consistent with the stories and lessons in Goal Play! that I was exceptionally pleased to be invited to present the keynote address to the 220 or so people present in Orlando, FL, for the two-day conference.  People came from a variety of sectors: health care, manufacturing, and service industries.  My address prompted lots of good questions and discussions, and many people decided to purchase the book to take home for themselves and/or their colleagues.


When I published Goal Play!, I promised that a portion of the proceeds would be donated to support the GOALS program of Massachusetts Youth Soccer.  This program supports the development of inner city soccer programs and now involves about 6,000 children in the state.  Here is a summary:

Our GOALS Program is also designed to provide our young players with role models to serve as positive and motivating influences in their lives. Massachusetts Youth Soccer hires and trains college students, many of whom are studying to become teachers or counselors, to coach our players. Our GOALS Program has been widely successful in teaching and motivating our young players life skills and presenting positive role models in their lives.


plaqueToday was the annual awards banquet of the association, and I donated copies of the book to be sold to those attending to benefit the program.  I also donated copies to be given to the award recipients, along with their plaques.

Here is a picture of two of the awardees, the “young referees of the year,” Erin Cappellucci from Plymouth, MA, and Jordan Cavaco, from Brockton, MA.  They flank Brian Treanor, the state youth referee administrator.  These two kids are spectacular referees, confident and assertive, but also modest and polite.  They have handled very high-level games with professionalism and certainly deserve this honor.


Thanks to MYS CEO Mike Singleton and Board Chair Ted Ritchie for the chance to be present at this lovely event and for the opportunity to support the important programs of the association.  Now, please buy more copies of the book so I can keep up the donations!