Success Tip: Check out the BIG Game

February 6, 2011

Today is the big day, Super Bowl XLV.  Folks will be donning green and gold or gold and black.  Friends will gather around TV sets across the country gobbling up things they know that should not eat and for this one day of the year the DVR is set not to skip the commercials, but to catch them for instant replay.

Teams have sweated and toiled.  Investing  millions for their time in the global spotlight.

Closed door meetings, strategy sessions, the big chase, and surprising twists… all come together on Super Bowl Sunday.


Chevy provides a behind the scenes look at the drama and strategy of creating a 2011 Super Bowl commercial.

Oh yeah, there is a football game too.

In business, every day is Game Day.

Most of us will never field a team in the world’s most  famous grid iron match up or take the leap to bet around $3 million for a 30 second spot in its commercials although GoDaddy’s Bob Parsons will gleefully tell you what they have done for his team’s business.

It’s not a bet if you know the outcome ~ Bob Parsons

As entrepreneurs, investors, leaders or teammates, success in the BIG game means that every day is game day.  Here are a few things to keep in mind as you watch from the stands or from the couch…

It starts with a coin toss – it does not end there.

Success always has en element of luck to it. Good luck may move you forward faster just as bad luck might slow you down.  But being lucky early does not ensure success. Here is a bit of Super Bowl Trivia:

The team that has won the coin toss is 19-22 all time in the Super Bowl and has lost the past 4 straight and 9 of the last 11. (source)

To win in the big game you need a great team

Don’t kid yourself.  The team with strong players, that plays well together has a definite advantage.  Great teams are balanced.  In football you can have a great quarterback, but if you have no offensive line it is unlikely that you will spend a lot of time in the end  zone and if your defense is weak, the other team will.  Successful teams have the right mix to do the whole job, not just one or two super stars intent on carrying the day.

Give the fans something to talk about.

Winning the big game is about the experience.  In football it is the thrill of the win, the roar of the  crowd and the play that fans will talk about for years to come.  In business it is the achievement of goals inside your company, the praise of customers when you deliver on your promises, and the great results  you deliver to your employees, customers, investors, and partners that keep you ahead in the game.

Innovation = Improvement

Don’t confuse flash and showmanship with innovation.  The victory dance in the end zone is not nearly as important as the fact that you got there and need to get there again to win.  Commercials are entertaining at the break, but the real win will be measured when customers walk through your door or visit your website to buy your products and services.  A bit of flash may bring them in once, but products and services that are new, different, and create value for the  customer are what will bring them back again and again.

Success is not built on just one game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers are playing in Super Bowl XLV because they won a series of games and more importantly they won when it counted.  Winning at the right time matters, just ask the Jets and the Bears. 

Football is more that a game, it’s a big business. And winning in the world of business is a game where the points are measured in value created.  Take a look at this ranking by Forbes of the most valuable NFL Teams.  You’ll need to keep searching all the way down to #14 for Green Bay and #17 to find  the stats for the Steelers.   Sustained value is a combination of smart investments, the right resources plus  a strong team in the front office, on the bench and on the field that creates long-term, sustainable value together.  Interestingly, the Redskins have one of the best track records for value creation in recent years yet they have LOST 55% of the games they played on the field. It’s not just about winning under the lights, everything matters.

So sit back and enjoy the game…

The Super Bowl is an American tradition.  You may watch it for the game, for the commercials,  or simply as a way to spend time  with family and friends.  But as you dig into that pile of chicken wings, tray of nachos or bowl of chili, keep a look out for the big game changers.  You might have something new to talk about at the office come Monday morning when all the “quarterbacks” come out.

So place your bets, rally your team, and enjoy the game.  It’s almost time for the coin toss whether the Big Game starts at 6:30pm ET on FOX or come Monday morning when you and your team take the field once again.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker


Leading by Example: Intel and us

January 27, 2011

On January 26, 2011, Intel Labs announced a $100 million cash investment in U.S. university research over the next 5 years, marking a new model of collaboration for the organization. The Funding will support a number of Intel Science and Technology Centers; the first such center will be led by Stanford University and focus on next-generation visual computing. According to the Intel Labs press release, this new model of university-lead research is expected to provide U.S. researchers with up to 5 times more funding from Intel Labs compared to the previous approach, and enable engagements across a broader set of universities.

In the video below, Justin Rattner, Intel’s chief technology officer, explains the “what” and the “why”.  For  information click here

Intel’s CTO Justin Rattner shares the vision for Intel’s new investment on science and technology with U.S. Universities.

On the same day,  Intel announced that forty high school seniors from across the country were named finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search 2011, a program of Society for Science & the Public.   You can see  more about people sharing their stories with the hope of becoming a catalyst for action and a voice for change in global education at

Leaders by Example

Intel has long been a strong voice in the choir of U.S. technology companies calling for a greater focus on science and technology in our schools and universities.  They are doing more that talk about it.  They put their resources behind it.   “Intel has sponsored the Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair for 13 and 14 years, respectively. Because Intel views education as the foundation for innovation, over the past decade, Intel and the Intel Foundation have invested more than $1 billion and Intel employees have donated close to 3 million hours toward improving education in more than 60 countries.”photo via

Here in Arizona, Avnet, Inc., the worlds largest technology distributor, sponsors the The Avnet Tech Games (ATG) an annual college technology competition that provides students with an opportunity to apply what they learn in school to real-world scenarios and compete for scholarships.

Great Examples, but I’m not a multi billion dollar company…

Most of us don’t have the luxury of billion dollar wallets and thousands of employees who can volunteer their time and talents, but that does not mean that our leading by example is any less important.  We each have skills, knowledge, and experiences we can share in the areas where we passionately lead.  Here are some more examples:

Francine Hardaway of Stealthmode Partners combined her passion and experience in entrepreneurship with a desire to help at-risk individuals find economic self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship.  By rolling up her sleeves, and recruiting many others (including me) to help both The Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation and the Arizona Entrepreneurship Conferences were created and continue to make a difference year after year.

Lon Safko’s passion is innovation.  A celebrated inventor whose work appears in the Smithsonian, Lon’s study of the evolution and innovation in social media lead to the bestselling book The Social Media Bible was volunteering his time and sharing what he knew with a gathering of Arizona teachers, so that they in turn could share with their students.

Patti Blackstaffe has a talent for helping businesses grow and a passion for helping children.  She combines these things as a volunteer to support Providence an very special place in Calgary with a mission to enhance the health and development of preschool children with disabilities & their families with early intervention and high quality health, education and therapy services within their community

Morris Callaman is an engineer,attorney, venture capitalist and  entrepreneur.  There was a time in his youth when as a teen runaway he dealt with the harsh realities of living on the street.  Today he has quietly donated his time and talents to local organizations like OTEF and St. Mary’s Food Bank as well as providing legal assistance pro bono to those who really need a hand and could never afford his services.  It’s his way of being the change he would like to see in our societies.

Gloria Feldt and Alex Barbanell believe in the power of women in changing our world.  They created and sponsor the Women of the World lecture series at Arizona State University to inspire current and future women leaders.  In addition, Gloria shared her experiences as part of a multi generational group of women leaders who took their show on the road to college campuses around the country to do the very same thing.  Today, her new book: No Excuses inspires women of all ages to use their power to lead.

See, it’s not just companies like Intel.  We can lead by example too.

Leading by example means putting your time, talent, and money where your mouth is.  It’s not just something for “them” to do.  It’s an opportunity for all of us.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits as well as to community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.  Her past career includes two decades on the team at  Avnet, Inc. and service as Chairman of the Board of Advisors to Parenting Arizona.  Today, she serves her community as the Chairman of the Board of the Opportunity  through  Entrepreneurship Foundation.  To learn more about how CorePurpose and the CoreAlliance can help you grow your business in 2011, you can contact her by clicking here.

CorePurpose  is a registered trademark of CorePurpose, Inc.  CoreAlliance is a  service mark of CorePurpose Inc.  All rights reserved

Success Tip: Know what you want to be…and why

January 24, 2011

Whether you are charting the course for your personal career or the path your company will follow, there are two questions that have a significant impact on future success:

  • What do you want to be?
  • Why you want to?

Family Cartoon #5032 by Andertoons

Andertoons Family Cartoons

Mark Anderson’s cartoon may make us smile at the perspective of children on a playground – but the bigger question is one that as adults many of us struggle to answer or even are afraid to when we honestly assess career or company.

Let’s look at it from the personal and business perspective:

In your career:

Is your primary goal focused on money or personal satisfaction?

When you tell people what you do, are you proud of it?

If you could do ANYTHING, would you be doing what you do today?

If you were asked WHY you do what you do – would you be happy with the answer?

Would you want your children to follow in your footsteps?

These questions may sound basic, but when you consider that we spend 5 out of 7 days …or more in our chosen careers, it’s worth giving some real thought.

In your business:

Is your primary goal focused on the bottom line or a broader mission?

If an outsider was asked what your company is all about, would it match what you  say internally?

Management jargon aside – what business are you REALLY in.

Do you and your team have what they need to achieve your mission?

Are you a leader in your industry or space?  Do you even want to be?

Is your goal to innovate and push the boundaries of your industry or are you better positioned to follow trends.  (There are draw backs and benefits to both.)

If you could only invest in one company in the whole world – is this the one you would choose – and why?

If you asked  a random 10% of your employees these same questions, what do you think their answers would sound like?

What do you want to be… and why?

Here’s how I answer these questions:

For myself, I am what I want to be… a business builder.  The title does not matter as much as the work.  Seeing a company or organization that has  great potential and can lead in its field and helping it get there makes the hard work and risk worth while.  Some might call this entrepreneurial, others call it corporate leadership. To me, the process of identifying opportunity, creating the structure and delivering value for customers, employees, investors and partners in a way where everyone benefits excites me.  It’s who I am and what I do well. 

Why do I do it?  I cannot imagine doing anything else. 

At CorePurpose, we do the same things.  By providing services and solutions that build businesses and working with others to help find the answers to THEIR questions, we help them create value for their customers, employees, investors, and partners and create value for ours too.  

Why do we do it? Because we chose for our team people who are the best at what they do and share a belief that businesses grow when they can ask the right questions… find the right answers…and act on them.

Feel free to share the answers to yours in the comments below. 

They may sound simple, but if you really think hard …and honestly, you might be surprised by what your answers are.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits as well as to community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   To learn more about how CorePurpose and the CoreAlliance can help you grow your business in 2011, you can contact her by clicking here.

CorePurpose  is a registered trademark of CorePurpose, Inc.  CoreAlliance is a  service mark of CorePurpose Inc.  All rights reserved

The Success Tip: Dream then Deliver

January 13, 2011


We all dream.  Without dreams there would be no innovation, no entrepreneurs, no purpose.  From our dreams come vision, inspiration and hope.  But dreams are not enough.  To move from the world of dreams to the reality of success, you need to deliver.  Otherwise you just keep dreaming and never get to see your dreams become real.

In dreams begins responsibility. – William Butler Yeats

As entrepreneurs and as innovators we are in the dream business.  As leaders, we share our dreams and encourage others to believe in them to.  This, as Yeats shared, brings with it responsibility.  Daring to share your dreams means committing to do everything in your power to make them happen.  It also brings the obligation to be very clear in what is illusion and what is fact. When others depend on your dreams for the basis of theirs, you better be ready to deliver. There is nothing worse that having to explain yourself to a disillusioned dreamer who believed in YOU.

If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse. – Walt Disney

Too often I hear people quote Disney, but they only use the first part of the the quote.  It sounds so good to say and hear: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” The reality is that while Disney is arguably one of the most creative innovators of the last century, he was also gifted in the art of delivery.  The second half of this famous quote is critically important. Note that he said that it “started with a dream and a mouse.”  It did not end there.    Disney worked tirelessly to build his business, create a vision, recruit top talent to make things happen, and monitored quality of delivery every step of the way.  Disney was not just a dreamer, he was a doer.

Let go of the past and go for the future. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined. – Henry David Thoreau

What you accomplished in the past is the basis for your experience and that’s about it.  Whether you are sharing your professional history in a resume or sharing your company strategy in a business plan, the message needs to clearly state what you can and will do.  That is what employers are hiring you for, what investors and customers put their money behind, and what employees buy into.  Dreams, imagination, and vision may get people excited, but a solid plan and clear direction lead to follow through.  Focus on how you will deliver and do it. That is what it takes to “live the life you have imagined.”  

The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. – Paul Valéry

We all dream.  Success comes when we wake up, get moving, and deliver.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned….

Joan Koerber-Walker

A note about the quotes you read here. 

Each of the quotes you read in this post where selected not just for their message but for their authors.  Each is linked to a bio you might want to read.  Yeats won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923 and was active in both the arts and the changing times of his native Ireland.  Disney turned dreams and imagination into what is today a global entertainment and media empire.  Thoreau championed ecology and environmentalism over 150 years ago. Talk about a “green” pioneer.  Valéry was a celebrated writer, champion of the arts and advocate for academia and the sciences.  At one point in his life, he took a 20 year hiatus from writing.  When he ended his ‘great silence’ and woke up, he published a work that has been lauded as one of the greatest French poems of the 20th century.

About the Joan:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits as well as to community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   To learn more about how CorePurpose and the CoreAlliance can help you grow your business in 2011, you can contact her by clicking here.

CorePurpose  is a registered trademark of CorePurpose, Inc.  CoreAlliance is a  service mark of CorePurpose Inc.  All rights reserved


How Much Trouble is the Economy Really In?

December 7, 2010

As a leader, how will YOU manage risk and opportunity?

In case you missed it, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke again visited 60 Minutes on Sunday, December 5, 2010.  In a candid video interview, he shared his views on the economy, what he and the Fed have done, and what they may still have left to do.

As we look towards 2011, the greatest external factor facing our businesses is will be the economy.  Watch the video to hear more about jobs, inflation, interest rates, the money supply, and how one leader views the importance of acting in an era of risk.

As a leader, how will YOU act in an era of risk?

Whether we are entrepreneurs or working inside of a company, how we deal with risk and when we deal with it are key factors that will shape our businesses in 2011.

We may be operating on a global stage or focusing in closer to home but either way the process of assessing risk and responding to it will have a major impact on the future success of our businesses.


The first step in the process is to do your homework.  Assessing your risks, understanding what factors influence them, and looking for a balance between risk and opportunity lays the foundation for both strategy and action.


Once your foundation is in place the next step is to line up your priorities.  Based on your research, what actions will create the  best possible reaction.  Move them up the list.  Not every risk can be managed and not every action packs the same punch.  By focusing on the managing high impact risks and opportunities first,  you lay the most likely path to success.


Now that you have decided what to do, don’t wait.  Do it! Delaying high priority  strategies magnifies uncertainty and that is the number one thing that can slow you down or bring you to a crashing halt. We see this everywhere from the economy to the boardroom.  Communicate your plan, gain buy in at every level and forge ahead.


Time changes all things – including strategy.  Your mission may be a constant, but how you a achieve it needs to be dynamic.  Build metrics and milestones into your system to assess what is working and what is not.  Look at your priorities. Are they still ranked in the proper order?  Are you supporting them based on the order of importance?  If something mission critical has changed – change with it.


That’s right – start all over again. There may not ever be a way to eliminate risk – but there is always a way to create an opportunity if you are committed to the process of doing so.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

I’ll be sharing more tips to help you get ready for 2011 throughout the month of December.

Joan Koerber-Walker

About the Author:

Koerber-Walker-056 An entrepreneur, author, speaker and corporate advisor, Joan Koerber-Walker’s journey has spanned from corporate America to entrepreneurship and non-profits, as well as into community leadership and into the halls of Washington D.C.   To learn more about managing risk and creating opportunity, you can contact her by clicking here.

When it’s too broken to fix, start over

November 22, 2010

As innovators, one of the most frustrating phrases we hear is “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”  Yet, equally dangerous is the ongoing cycle of Band-Aids and patches we often put on existing processes and procedures to “fix” them.  At some point there is always a diminishing level of benefit until it is so complicated and complex that you need to say “enough!” It is time to scrap the whole mess and start over.  Any software developer can tell you that this is the case when it comes to  writing code. Business leaders will tell you the key to business process optimization is simplification.  But when it comes to government we have yet to learn the lesson. 

A case in point is the current system of taxation in the U.S. both at the Federal and the state level.  With over 20 volumes and over 3500 pages when you combine the actual tax laws and the resulting tax regulations, is it any surprise the people get confused.  Even Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who is now responsible for the IRS, has had his challenges.  Listen in to this YouTube Video see what I mean.



The Code of Federal Regulations a.k.a The Tax Code is incredibly expensive to comply with.  It is estimated that Americans spend $225 billion each year in tax compliance and the Federal governments spends billions (see chart below) to collect, manage, enforce, and educate taxpayers every year.  The IRS Oversight Board recommends a fiscal year (FY) 2011 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget of $12.914 billion, an increase of $767.7 million over the enacted IRS FY2010 budget of $12.146 billion.












 One possible option to start over – The Fair Tax.

A 23-percent, single rate, national retail sales tax, the Fair Tax will be applied to the sale of all consumer goods and services at the final point of consumption. This way, every taxpayer will be subject to the same tax rate with no exceptions and no exclusions. Those who are least able to share in the cost of government will bear no burden at all. Tax rates will depend on the amount of purchases made. Used items will not be taxed, which promotes reutilization. Business-to-business purchases for the production of goods and services will not be taxed. In addition, the Fair Tax will replace the individual federal income tax, the capital gains tax, all payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, the self-employment tax and the estate and gift taxes. (Source: NSBA – )

Implementing something like the Fair Tax is not a Band-Aid or an overnight fix.  It is estimated would take close to  two  years to put the various support levels in place and then wind things down.  But equally important, once this is done, it is estimated that the cost of citizen and corporate compliance would drop from $225 Billion to approximately $10 Billion.  That’s a lot of dollars that can be put to more productive use in our economy. 

The Fair Tax is not a new idea but perhaps it is an idea whose time has come.  It certainly could not be worse that the tangled web of laws, rules and regulations our tax code has become.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker


About the author:  Joan Koerber-Walker serves as the Chairman of CorePurpose, Inc., as chair of the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation, and as Executive in Residence at Callaman Ventures.  She is a past member of the board of trustees of the National Small Business Association and former CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association.

Doing it a better way – Dr. Michelle Hanna Founder of RiboMed

August 27, 2010

Dr.-Michelle-HannaHave you ever looked at something and thought – I bet I know a better way?  Sure, most of us have.  A select few will go all in.  They do not just think about a better way.  They create it.  We call them inventors.

A great example is Dr. Michelle Hanna, the founder and CEO of RiboMed Biotechnologies.  Michelle , received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1983 and did her postdoctoral work in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. She was an Assistant Professor of Biological Chemistry at UC Irvine College of Medicine where she received young investigator awards from the American Cancer Society and the Beckman Foundation. Dr. Hanna was a tenured Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma until August 1999, when she founded RiboMed Biotechnologies. Over the past 23 years, Dr. Hanna has been awarded over $10 million in grants and contracts from the ACS, the National Cancer Institute (NCI)/National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)/NIH, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Homeland Security Advanced Projects Agency (HSARPA). Her work has resulted in numerous peer-reviewed publications, three book chapters, five issued U.S. patents, 1 international patent, and multiple pending patents.

clip_image001[7]Michelle and her team are combining know-how with a passion for finding a better way and are applying it to the field of personalized medicine.  By specifically looking at the ways that we treat cancer, RiboMed is developing tests that will save lives AND decrease healthcare costs.  Today, patients with many forms of cancer, including lung cancer and  ovarian cancer, are often treated with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin. While cisplatin treatment may be effective, it carries with it severe side effects and, either before or during treatment, the majority of patients will develop a resistance to the drug.  The end result – all of the side effects and associated costs without the benefit.   

Using RiboMed’s patented technology, Michelle and the team are developing new tests that will allow physicians to test for resistance first so that they will know if cisplatin is the right way to go for their patients or if another strategy might be better.  And, since new drugs are being developed and approved that can reverse cisplatin resistance, RiboMed’s tests will allow physicians to determine when these drugs are needed.  Called companion diagnostics, these tests are just one way that committed teams and researchers are putting the power of invention  to work.

As an investor  in the company  and then as a member of the board of directors, I have had the opportunity to observe Michelle and her team in action.  Perhaps their dedication to the research and innovation process has rubbed off on me.  By watching them, I am learning too.  Here is what Michelle and her team have taught me.

1.  Innovation is not an exact science.  Instead it is a continuing process of exploration, experimentation, application, and explanation.

2.  A person may invent something – but it takes a team committed  to the goal to take that invention and turn it into something that truly makes a difference –   to create innovation. 

3.  Overnight success is a myth. Great inventions become innovations when the inventors are willing to make the commitment to helping others apply the invention to doing things in a new way that makes things better.

I hope you have enjoyed this series honoring some great inventors during National Inventors Month.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker