A Few Key Maxims

July 25, 2012
Marie Gleason Carmichael

Marie G. Carmichael was a pretty wise lady. She lived to see 100 Christmases and 17 Presidents. She loved politics too. I wonder what she would say if she heard the news today?

It’s hard to find a space in the media today that is not filled with incumbents, candidates and presumptive candidates sharing their message with “the people.”

Perhaps, like many of us, you are tired of it all; the repetition, the name calling, the bickering and worse. I know I am.

There are a couple of things you can do.

Option #1 – Turn it off.

Turn off the TV and the radio, advise the newspaper you are on vacation so please suspend delivery until election day, and avoid opening email, accessing Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or any other form of social media.

Option #2 – If you think Option #1 is a bit too extreme.

Each time you hear a politician, newscaster, or other pundit continue to behave in a way that creates dissension instead of creating solutions, send them the gift of these words that my Grandma shared with me:

“Have your facts in your head before opening your mouth. ”

“Don’t complain about a problem, without offering its solution.”

“Pointing fingers does not solve anything, you have a brain and two good hands, use them to fix it.”

“Always remember, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Perhaps if our current and hopeful politicians hear this a few million times, they will get the message.

We can only hope.

Otherwise we may just have to go back to seriously considering Option #1.


Honor Our Innovators and Nominate Them for Our Nation’s Highest Honor

February 4, 2012

Innovation is a key characteristic of our nation and critical to our current and future global leadership.  These days it is rare to attend a speech or symposium where innovation does not figure prominently in the conversation.   It’s so easy to talk about innovation.  It’s not so easy to actually develop a new product or service, commercialize it and gain the acceptance that defines the transition from invention to innovation.

Recognizing these leaders and honoring their efforts and achievements is the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Read the rest of this entry »


The Power of a Support Team

January 16, 2012

communityOn January 5th, I boarded a plane to Michigan to join my family in preparation for my Dad’s open heart surgery.  At age 74 he was going into the U of M Cardiovascular Center for on overhaul of the quadruple bypass he had received 22 years before.  This time if was going to be a bit more complex with both the Aortic and Mitral valves severely compromised.  After several days of preparation, on Monday, January 9th at 5:30 AM, the teams assembled.  The operating team was led by Himanshu J. Patel, M.D., a specialist in surgery for thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic disease, and surgery for valvular and aortic root disease and a host of pre-op, surgical, and post-op specialists.  The support team was led by my Mom who had corralled family and friends for support and prayers.

The Expected and the Unexpected Read the rest of this entry »


Responsibility, Leadership and Noblesse Oblige

March 19, 2011

iStock Photo via Microsoft.com

Leadership is a popular word these days. Consultants preach it, journalists either praise it or bemoan it, companies, boards investors and customers demand it.

The days when leaders were anointed at birth, except in a very few cases, are long gone. Today’s leaders may have great power… or none depending on the authority they wield.  But whatever level that may be, with leadership comes a corresponding measure of responsibility.

“For of those to whom much is given, much is required”

Bible (Luke 12:48)

Through the ages it has been written that leadership and responsibility go hand in hand.  Today, leadership takes many forms. We lead people in organizations. We lead with thoughts, ideas, and experience.  We lead in the development of processes and products.  As leaders, however and where ever we may lead, it is important to remember, leadership is not something that is merely handed to us, it is a privilege that must be continually earned.  For when our leadership falters, others cease to follow. If others choose not to follow, we are not leading, we are simply walking alone. Read the rest of this entry »


When change matters, step up, step out and speak up.

March 3, 2011

We’ve all been there.  Sitting with a group in the break room, the boardroom or over lunch when the conversation shifts to what’s wrong with our team, our business, our community or our lives.

It’s so easy to point out what is wrong.  Words fly.  The passion is inspiring.  Each idea builds on another .  Then, oops, you look at the clock.  Time’s up and you go back to work and keep on doing things the same way you have always done them before. Read the rest of this entry »


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


After tragedy, the birth of Healing Trees demonstrates leadership by example

January 29, 2011

Back on January 9th, I shared a story about how we all got a wakeup call when shots rang out on a sunny Saturday morning in Tucson, Arizona.  After that day, as a nation wondered, waited and prayed, a group of friends were sharing ideas on what could be done to remember the fallen, bring the community together and begin the healing process.  The result is a new collaborative project called The Healing Trees Humanitarian Program. 

News coverage and  video where ABC15 news reporter Angie Holdsworth tells the story in this interview with Annie Loyd.

Annie Loyd, one of the organizers of The Healing Trees Project speaks with Angie Holdsworth of ABC15 News.

 I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

I think I was about Christina Taylor Green’s age when I first read “TREES” by Joyce Kilmer.  Like trees, people gain their strength from the world around them.  They hug the earth, draw nutrients from it, and reach for the sun.  They often stand together, but they can also stand alone.  They put down roots, grow, and give back in many ways.  There is something both magical and mystical about a tree. 

A tree that looks at God all day  

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear  

A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

“Trees” by Joyce Kilmer at Bartleby Online

Healing Trees Humanitarian Program: “Heal Our Communities, Offer Remembrance and Celebrate Life.”

ContributeLess than one month later after the Tucson shootings, the project has launched and is growing daily. Beginning on February 14th, Arizona Statehood Day, The Healing Trees Humanitarian Project will plant trees in Tucson and Phoenix and many additional locations throughout Arizona, the US and around the world. In the process they will be bringing communities together and demonstrating a shared desire to be to be instruments of peace, understanding and compassion in our communities. (You can see the growing list of locations at www.healingtrees.org.)

Each time a healing tree is planted there is a ceremony to…

  • offer a remembrance to those who died or were injured in Tucson.
  • create a lasting symbol of new life in our community
  • Create a unified moment for each of us to reflect on how we will choose to be instruments of peace, compassion and understanding with ourselves and with others

Participants come back together again 11 months later to hold themselves accountable and to reflect on how they acted as instruments of peace and will continue to do so.

Recording the Tree Plantings

In addition to the individual trees and the gatherings when they are planted, the GPS coordinates of each tree will be recorded and tracked on the Healing Trees website and will include each Healing Tree’s story, its donors’ experience, intentions and  ceremonies.  This allows the participants and others to visit whenever a boost of inspiration is needed and will provide stories of what we and others are doing to create deep and lasting roots.

It started on January 8, 2011, but it does not end there…

Annie Loyd of The FUSION Foundation put it like this:

“As a direct response to the incidents of January 8, the Healing Trees Humanitarian Program: “Heal Our Communities, Offer Remembrance and Celebrate Life.” was created. The FUSION Foundation, the Arizona Community Tree Council and Tucson Clean and Beautiful are working together to heal our communities, offer remembrance, and celebrate life with the planting of Healing Trees across the state and across the country.  Healing Trees are a visual life-giving memorial commemorating the lives of those who died, honoring those who were injured and paying tribute to the outstanding actions of forgiveness, compassion, understanding, kindness and love we witnessed in the wake of the tragedy by so many in the Tucson community. This is our time to do something significant to celebrate life and promote new growth- like planting trees. Through this a life-giving and earth-serving community act, together we can make a difference.”

Leading by Example

On January 27, 2011, I shared the stories of big companies and caring individuals who are leading by example.  The Healing Trees Humanitarian Program is yet another one.  It was born out of tragedy and a shared desire to respond with an act that would not only honor those who died or were injured but also to provide a visual support to their families, neighbors, friends and strangers whose lives changed on that fateful day. It is the work of people coming together to  proactively create a stronger community that is committed  life, growth and collaboration. 

We each have  opportunities to lead by example. 

Sometimes we create them and sometimes they find us.  We lead by example when we…

  • Share our talents and experience with others to solve a problem or move a project forward.
  • Help someone else achieve their goal.
  • Take action to bring change…instead of just talking about what’s wrong.
  • Or maybe simply take this opportunity to become part of a community of caring people who will each plant a healing tree somewhere in the world.  To learn more about how to participate, click here.

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 and as an advisor to The FUSION Foundation and The Healing Trees Humanitarian Project.  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

 

To learn more about The Healing Trees Humanitarian Program:

ContributeThe Healing Trees Humanitarian Program is a collaboration led by The FUSION Foundation and founding partner the Arizona Community Tree Council and its southern Arizona partner Trees for Tucson | Tucson Clean and Beautiful.

The funds are being managed by the Arizona Community Tree Council, a 501(c)(3) organization with more than 20 years of experience dedicated to the care and planting of trees and promoting the education and exchange of  information about trees and the essential role they play in the well being of all Arizona communities.