Phil Hauck's TEC Blog

Sunday, March 26, 2017

On Phil Hendrickson, Culture, Our 'Baggage', Oshkosh Corp., and more ...

On Phil Hendrickson
Yesterday, I attended the memorial service for Phil Hendrickson, who died at 97 back on March 7.  He was a humanitarian, philanthropist, investor, counselor, and a member of TEC III for many years (almost a founding member in 1967) while leading Krueger Furniture (later KI).  
The service included lots of stories about things he said regarding how to live one’s life, but this one resonates:  “There is always enough to go around, to share.  You always have enough to share with, to reward those who helped you succeed.”  He said this not only about “giving back,” but how you treat/reward your employees who make your organization successful.
Another one:  “Phil, what’s the best advice you ever got?”   “Well, to marry Betsy, of course!”  (Right answer; they were married for 65 years)  “Phil, who gave you that advice?”  “Betsy.”

Quotable Quotes from recent TEC speaker Dr. Paul Voss, Georgia State University … side comments during his recent presentation to my TEC members on Culture
A point he made:
-- Culture is HOW you do things that make life worthwhile.
-- HOW We DO ANYTHING Means Everything. Success is not in the What, but the HOW!
• “He’s got more degrees than a thermometer.”
• Unknown: “Man gave us Beer, but God gave us Wine!”
• Misguided Maxim: “You can be anything you want to be, if you try hard enough.” “No, you probably can’t be anything you want to be, but you can be a lot more of who you already are!”
• The first marriage of a man adds five years to his life. For a woman, zero.

Our Baggage
Recently, I listened to a school superintendent tell this story:
He asked a long-time teacher with an excellent reputation to visit with him about a possible change in teaching approach based on new research.
The teacher came, bringing a teachers union rep with her.
As he explained the new research to get her reaction, she began to cry.
As he probed as to why, two reasons emerged:  First, she felt she was being told that her 15-year-approach to teaching was being discredited, and second, that her worth as a person was thereby diminished.
She didn’t take the knowledge for how he thought he was offering it … as new research, new approaches that could be tested.
His point:  As we undertake change based on new experiences, the change will meet barriers deep and varied within the people we are asking to behave differently.  His list:  Fear of failure, vision of self-worth, need for praise, drive for perfection, and others.  Her self-identity was rooted in what she did, how she taught.  Perhaps a better approach, he said:  Appreciate her for who she is, a committed teacher always looking for improved ways to provide a learning environment.  And then suggest the prevalence of new information to consider about technique.

The story was part of a broader presentation sponsored monthly by Fred Johnson and his InitiativeOne organization.  Other points made:
By Fred:  “From Baldrige days, less than 1% of organizations know and can articulate their Purpose.  But when they do, they engage employes more easily and consistently in living their values that move the organization towards that Purpose.”  Do you know and articulate your Purpose to your organization … constantly!
Consider:  Ask a group  of employees what they think your organization’s Purpose is, without hearing each other.  Then, compare what they say.  Betting each definition is different.
By another speaker:  “People are always scanning their work situations to see if they are ‘safe.’  Do your group norms provide an environment where each person is ‘safe’?”
Some recommended books that drive the school system’s own training:
•  Connors/Smith’s The Oz Principle and How Did That Happen.
•  Dieken’s Talk Less, Say More:  Three Habits to Influence Others and Change Your Life Forever.

Wilson Jones, Oshkosh Corp. CEO
He heads a $6 billion, 15,000 employee, 70-country behemoth best known for providing high durability trucks to our military, when actually it’s biggest division, $4 billion, provides cranes and other “access” equipment worldwide … in addition to fire and garbage trucks.
He took over as CEO in January 2016, returning to an organization he served for over a decade before.  In his presentation to St. Norbert’s CEO Breakfast & Strategy group, he illustrated that he understands that engaging his workforce takes precedence over any other strategic initiative.
“When I took over, I needed our leadership team to be all about ‘caring leadership,’ and not all of us were.  Now, we are.”  He said he undertook three initiatives with that team:
First, to lead a culture of Trust and Respect for every employee, which starts with listening.
Second, that we will be Collaborative, not competitive.
Third, that we will Gain Alignment.
“People watch the leadership team, and if we’re not doing it, neither will they.  And if we are, we have a better chance.”
His second initiative was to make embracing the Oshkosh Mission paramount.  “Everyone needs to know our Why.”
And Third, to install companywide initiatives that “Engage, Develop and Connect” everyone, based on HR studies and assessments, and feedback from Oshkosh employees.
This third initiative has resulted in programs like these:
•  Engage:  Getting teams to develop programs and awareness of preserving safe working environments, which has cut safety accidents and costs by half.  Also, to institute schedule flexibility … “what works for people within each work team.”  Might people take undue advantage of that?  “If you’re worried about it, they probably will.”
•  Develop:  He cited a study in 2015 by Deloitte that opined Career Devleopment is more important to employees than compensation, benefits and good work.
He cited guidelines that career development initiatives should be 10% educational (reading, workshops, conferences), 20% exposure (to what works), and 70% experiential (try something, make mistakes, learn).  He cited that 65% of employees are taking advantage of training through YOU/Your Oshkosh University.
•  Connect:  People want to be connected to Each Other, to Customers, and to the Community.  Managers develop approaches to create those exposures, and are reviewed and rated on how well they do this for their direct reports.

Great Quote as part of Jones’ presentation, by Mark Twain:
“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out Why!”

On Polarization ... and Millennials in the Worksite

Interesting Explanation of our Polarization

So, why can't people oriented to “liberal” ideas and those oriented to “conservative” ideas respect and talk to each other?  Why the “demonizing” that has occurred in the national discourse?
Behavioral scholar Jonathan Haidt at the University of Virginia wrote a book, The Righteous Mind, four years ago that provides interesting insights into this dilemma.  His views are also encapsulated in a YouTube interview with Bill Moyers at
His research says that when we look at such emotional topics as political and religious issues that we are intuitively evaluating the topic from a six-point moral foundations framework: Care, Liberty, Fairness, Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity.
On a ten-point scale, he said, on average, liberal viewpoints bring the following weights to the evaluation:  Care (10), Liberty (7), Fairness (5), Loyalty (2), Authority (2) and Sanctity (2).
People with conservative viewpoints generally bring these weights:  Care (7), Liberty (7), Fairness (7), Loyalty (7), Authority (7) and Sanctity (7).
This is on average.  Every individual, on specific issues, can elevate certain of these, and the internal complexity of applying them to real situations increases with age/experience.                 (Some ask where is the moral element of Equity, so important today.  Haidt maintains it is within the Care and Fairness elements; when they get out of whack, it is called inequity.)
It appears most often in Religion and Politics because both involve issues involved with aspiring to very high ideals, to greatness … very emotional … and therefore blind to other views ... his explanation of what is going on today.
The only resolution Haidt provides is to sit back and listen to the other views, and consider them in light of the six points.  Understand that the other person is not crazy or evil. Where is the person putting emphasis?  It takes the personality out of it, and interjects more analysis and consideration.
Among his specific points:
•  While he started out as a liberal, Haidt now feels that a more conservative view is more in touch with human nature … the need for structure, families, groups, memberships, rivalries (unless they cross the threshold into maniacism).  It’s difficult to run an enduring society without Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity, which are given low consideration by liberals because of their heavy emphasis on Caring.
•  Those ascribed with liberal views, he feels, are more in touch with seeing how society goes awry, where the social system breaks down.  Conservatives see more the consequences when the system breaks down.
•  Capitalism:  Yes, we wouldn’t have all that we have without capitalism.  It allows the lifestyles that we have.  But it has problems that need to be discussed in a nuanced fashion but aren’t.  Not by either liberals or conservatives.  What is the needed tweaking?  The discussion could be couched in the terms of the six points and acknowledging the other’s “direction.”  Nuance is important.  Staying away from extremes and generalities is critical.

Two Big Problems
Haidt says there are two great problems with today’s discourse:  Demonization, and Corruption!  Demonization is done by people at the extremes, and makes us weaker.  People on the extremes are typically more passionate, less open, frequently very moneyed.  They decide elections.
Corruption is buying favors for special interests.  It’s a common charge that Congress is bought-and-paid-for, responsive to the interests of those who contribute to them.
How to offset these?

Another Haidt Insight:
•  In our own, cohesive social worlds, we aren’t really attuned to finding the truth, but rather in being part of a complicated social network that maintains our alliances and reputation. We will actually turn hypocrite to make sure our “alliances” think well of and say good things about us.

Millennials in the Marketplace

Ashley Prange, 33, is a millennial who is building Au Naturale Cosmetics here in Green Bay as a refugee from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in DC.  She couldn’t stand it there, and now she’s trying to build a company where people like her can thrive.
As a Millennial who manages and leads millennials, she made these points to a St. Norbert CEO Breakfast & Strategy audience this morning:
•  Hey, as Millennials, we have ideas and we’re not bashful about sharing them.  We want constant communication about what’s going on.  We want an efficient workplace and want to be appreciated.  Also, because we work strange hours (be flexible), let’s make it fun, too.  And by the way, I’m always looking for a more interesting job.
•  One attendee said at his company, an employee can ask for feedback on a project and receive it by tweets immediately.  You need to foster/allow full use of technology.
•  Ashley said she’s too busy to listen to voice mails, and doesn’t look at emails regularly.  She responds to tweets on what she’s working on now.  
•  On lifestyle:  What Boomers did is all being postponed … marriage, kids, houses.  There’s too much to do.  We want to travel, too.  And we don’t have much money, and have lots of college debt.  We’re very educated.
•  We like workplaces that are very mentally challenging.  Don’t be afraid to give us a big assignment; we’ll work hard to understand it and be successful.
•  On Millennials as consumers:  We care about the ethics behind the products we plan to buy … and will pay more for something that’s environmentally responsible, organic, etc., even though we don’t have much money.  Make us feel our ethics are being met.  Too, try to create a relationship with us.  Have an interactive website … create ways for us to provide feedback to you.  Respond to us.  Create a dialogue.  We want to be loyal, and this does it.