Knauf Group announced Christopher Griffin has been chosen as the CEO of Knauf Insulation North America. Knauf Insulation is a leading global manufacturer of thermal and acoustical glass mineral wool insulation for residential, commercial, industrial, OEM and metal building applications with $1.8 billion in sales. Christopher brings over ten years of experience in executive roles, building his career within the USG Corporation. During his last assignment he acted as Chief Operating Officer, where he successfully implemented best practices across manufacturing, global supply chain, sales, and marketing. Christopher will be a major asset to Knauf because of his proven track record of continuous innovation, and we wish him all the best in his new role.
by Gail R. Meneley, Co-Founder and Principal
I have worked with hundreds of C-Suite executives over the last 20 years. Before I agree to serve as their advisor, we talk about our relationship and how we will build it to last throughout their careers. (Without that mutual commitment grounded in trust and candor, having an advisor is a waste of time.)
If you are a follower of my occasional LinkedIn and blog posts, you know that I have the privilege of working with extraordinary people every single day. It is one of the many things that make my work so incredibly compelling.
I worked with Dr. James Madara when he was transitioning from CEO of the University of Chicago Medical Center to take a well-earned sabbatical and explore what he wanted to do next. After weighing offers from academic medical centers, private equity and venture capital firms, publishers, global consulting firms, among others – we concluded that his greatest contribution would be as CEO of the American Medical Association where he could participate in developing a strategy to begin to solve one of the country’s most critical political challenges: health care reform.
Jim is one of those people whose background makes you wonder why you bother to get out of bed in the morning. He is a genuinely nice guy, a noted academic pathologist, an authority on gastrointestinal diseases, an author of more than 200 original papers, Past President of the American Board of Pathology, an esteemed research scientist and an award-winning professor at Harvard Medical School. (Now you understand that why in my role, no one intimidates me.)
When I need intense brain stimulation, I have lunch with Jim. We catch up on family stuff and then I ask, “So…what’s going on?” and wait to hear vivid stories about the societal, academic, analytical, and political forces transforming the world of medicine. With that, let me give you a glimpse into just a couple of things that the world’s largest physician organization thinks about:
- Focus must be shifted to prevention of chronic disease within communities at greatest risk.
- Establishing metrics that tell us the real cost of healthcare is calculated based on a combination of year over year GDP growth, then the growth due to medical costs
- Integrating data analytics from health care providers, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies and others to enhance health care outcomes, drives down costs, and eliminates redundancies in the system.
- Encouraging the aggregation of venture capital to fund university research centers where advances are being made in DNA and other genomic research that will lead to customized medicine
- Optimizing products, services, and medical resources. Patients can visit their doctors without leaving their homes using technology like telemedicine and videoconferencing, to be replaced within our lifetimes by holograms.
- At the core of the AMA’s work and mission is the physician-patient relationship, which becomes increasingly critical as our disease burden becomes less episodic and more chronic.
- Recent AMA-RAND studies of physicians across multiple practice types, geographies, and specialties reveal that the primary incentive for physicians is face-to-face time with patients, and that excess administrative complexity and clumsy electronic health record platforms tie them to keyboards and keep them away from direct patient care.
Given the many needed “fixes” in the physician environment, the shift to focus on chronic disease, and other changes in the health system, the AMA launched an innovation ecosystem in January 2016 at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare meeting in San Francisco. Health 2047 is an independent, for-profit integrated innovation studio located in Silicon Valley that enables rapid prototyping design efforts to convert interesting ideas into investible concepts to improve the health of our nation. Health2047 integrates deep AMA expertise with many health micro-vertical domains with the creative technology-oriented Silicon Valley community.
So, rest easier knowing that we have some of the greatest minds in the country working on one of our most challenging issues.
Brian Battle, Principal at the Civic Consulting Alliance, presented to Shields Meneley clients and staff at this month’s Client Networking Lunch. Battle discussed the strong positive impact CCA has had on the Chicago community by harnessing the power of multiple Chicago firms. He manages the Public Safety and Education practices areas and has been with the company since 2013.
Since 2006, Civic Consulting Alliance and their partners have reshaped how Chicago works by building pro bono teams of government leaders, business experts, and CCA staff. Through their initiatives, they develop sustainable methods to make the city safer, healthier, more prosperous, and better educated.
Firms such as AT Kearney, Deloitte, The Boston Consulting Group, and KPMG invest capital and talent into the projects, which drive significant impact by employing long-term strategies. When City Collegs of Chicago, which provides higher education for more than 120,000 students every year, needed to adapt its curriculum in 2007 to prepare its students for careers in the 21st century, they turned to CCA. They partnered with firms such as Accenture, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Towers Watson, and others to tackle this objective. As a result, $51 million in operational efficiencies have been redirected to the classroom, campuses were reengineered to focus on employment sectors, and graduation rates have doubled since 2010.
This is just one example of the successful work CCA has done in the Chicago community in areas that matter most. Other initiatives have had significant impact in other sectors such as healthcare, public safety, and tourism. Their work also helps individuals who join their pro bono teams. More than 400 people work with CCA every year, and they are able to gain unique professional development opportunities, work with the public hands-on, and make a positive impact on the city.
Shields Meneley Partners would like to thank Brian Battle, our clients, and our staff for making today’s luncheon a success.
Kasper Rorsted will take control of Adidas in October, and the company is looking to him to lead the brand back to its former glory. Although the company reported solid net profits in 2015 that were markedly better than previous years, Adidas has lost market share. Behind Nike and Under Armour, the brand fell to third place in North America last year. Rorsted comes to Adidas from Henkel, a German consumer products company, where he spent eight years. Henkel stocks tripled, and profit and sales improved during his tenure.
Rorsted’s success in Germany is attributed to his American leadership style, which has been described as “competitive” and “American” by analysts and investors. He has a wealth of experience stateside, with previous positions at Compaq and Hewlett-Packard as well as monthly visits here during his time at Henkel. Part of his approach to achieving success was shaking up old hierarchies and reinvigorating the older brand’s mentality. Investors hope he will bring this strategy to Adidas.
If Rorsted is looking to make this classic brand relevant again, perhaps he can look to someone who is in the midst of doing just that. Marvin Ellison recently became CEO of J.C. Penney and started making changes from the ground up to save the dying retailer. Some of his first changes were to simply rearrange the sections of J.C. Penney stores, like moving women’s accessories near women’s clothes and men’s shoes near men’s clothes. Ellison also brought new energy to Penney as Rorsted did to Henkel. He identified miscommunication and gaps in understanding between senior management and store staff. These disconnects resulted in inventory shortages and therefore lost opportunities for profit.
Ellison gained his inventory management experience from Home Depot, where he engineered the company’s store and e-commerce integration and improving their supply chain. He brought his previous track record of turning around a suffering chain to Penney, and the company reported a 4.1 percent gain in same-store sales in its most recent earnings report. Penney also surprisingly gained market share at the expense of rivals like Walmart and Target. Although they have experienced success under Ellison’s leadership, they still posted a net loss of $131 million in the latest quarter.
If Rorsted can apply his leadership style and practical experience he gained at Henkel to Adidas, just as Ellison did from Home Depot to J.C. Penney, then Adidas could be poised for a market share increase.
by Gail Rafter Meneley, Co-Founder and Principal
I love Sundays…curling up with the Sunday New York Times and stumbling across information that I neither sought nor cared about until that moment. It is the serendipity of discovery that makes it so compelling. (OK, I confess. I worry that online delivery of information doesn’t allow stumbling.)
The New York Times Magazine yesterday was devoted to “Worklife” and delved into all aspects of our lives. The first article, Group Study, examined what makes teams work productively and what gets in the way. Not surprisingly, it was Google’s team that dug through a half century of research, didn’t find a definitive answer, but kept pushing the boundaries. You’ll be intrigued by what they found.
The next topic was Meetings. (OK. I see your face and it looks a great deal like Edvard Munch’s Scream painting.) There are so many theories about the what, when and how of meetings, and a general conclusion that they are a waste of time. Why is that? This article examines how to balance “asynchronous and synchronous communication” (stick with me here) that may be an approach to creating productive virtual teams.
The next article was Diversity. (Interesting that this was published the same day that Chris Rock was rocking the house with his focus on the lack of diversity among Academy Award nominees.) The radical solution for preventing unconscious bias involves anonymity. Rather than showing names and other biographical information, companies create a list of skills required for the job and the candidate completes a relevant test online. Applicants’ scores drive the follow up interview.
Other articles deal with how companies are finding a professional path for low skilled workers; the culture that integrates full lives to reduce stress and improve health; what “lunch” is all about; and what office jobs will remain when people are replaced by software.
This is a cover to cover read, each article more interesting than the next, questioning how you are rethinking the office of the future. Serendipity at its best.
Joe Lawler, Vice President of private equity investment firm Wind Point Partners, discussed their executive-first investment model with Shields Meneley clients and staff at this month’s Client Networking Lunch. Wind Point Partners was founded in 1984 and has since raised over $2.8 billion in commitments and acquired over 90 platform companies as well as 160 add-on acquisitions. Lawler joined the company in 2009 and serves on the board of Knape & Vogt. He holds a BS in economics and finance, summa cum laude, from Boston College and an MBA, with distinction, from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Lawler explained that Wind Point Partners brings a distinctive strategy to the table when acquiring a company, identifying top executives with crucial skills and middle market companies in need of new management. He discussed the three key elements they focus on in every transaction: the top caliber executive, the middle market company, and the path to value creation. Wind Point recruits executives to be their partners in selecting and acquiring companies. These are middle market companies that are well-positioned with value creation opportunities matching the executives’ expertise. Wind Point then identifies the growth and operational improvement opportunities that these executives can take advantage of by developing and implementing a tactical value creation plan.
We would like to thank Joe Lawler, Wind Point Partners, and our clients and guests for making this Client Networking Lunch a success.
This week, our Executive Advisor Bob Ryan is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to teach Quest Master Class’ 6th Annual HR Leadership Management Excellence course. This Master Class, which runs from February 23 to February 26, brings senior HR professionals from Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, and other countries around the world to learn about the business aspects of the HR profession. Participants will learn about the critical capabilities required of HR professionals as well as the opportunities and challenges facing HR leaders. Co-facilitator Emma Rees will focus on the analytical and theoretical aspects of the HR profession, while Bob will share his practical expertise of putting theory into action.
We will be updating the blog as well as our Twitter with Bob’s progress in Kuala Lumpur this week.
Our post on February 8 looked at what we call a “dark period” during a job search and why it might occur. Now, we are going to discuss the ten steps that you can take when you enter this type of period. (Again, we call a “dark period” as when you seem to be the prime candidate for a search and everything is moving quickly then, all of a sudden, everything goes “dark.”)
Bob Ryan, our Executive Coach with other 30 years of HR experience, suggests ten steps that you can take, but cautions that some of his suggestions carry with them some risk. He emphasizes that each situation is different and calls for a particular course of action. One or more of these ideas may work for you or give you another idea for your approach.
- Don’t stop your search no matter how good you feel about your chances with this opportunity. Always work on Plan B, C, etc…
- It’s acceptable to phone a recruiter “frequently,” but contact to the company directly should be metered carefully. Something like an e-mail followed up by a call (or vice-versa) weekly.
- For larger recruiters, tell the recruiter to “release you” so you can participate in other searches with their firm. This may help them decide to come forward with the truth.
- Call the decision maker or CHRO directly, but let the recruiter know you are doing this prior to the contact.
- Create a reason to have your name back in front of interviewers/decision maker(s), e.g. send a relevant article with dates you are available for a conversation.
- Give prior opportunities another look. Use this waiting time to review past opportunities. Call the company or the recruiter … maybe something has changed in the hiring situation. Try to get back on their radar.
- Ask the recruiter about the “other” candidate. They should not tell you much but at least you can find out if the other person is an internal candidate, relative or friend of someone on the inside which could possible given them an advantage for the opportunity.
- Use your network. Can someone give a careful “nudge” for you directly or indirectly to the CHRO or hiring person?
- Do you have a relationship with an internal person? See if this person can find out some information about the hiring process and when possible mention your name to the hiring manager.
- Use LinkedIn to expand your connections into the company. You may have a 2nd or 3rd degree connection at the company, meaning you may have a connection who knows someone who works there. This mutual connection could introduce you.
Hitting a “dark period” during an otherwise well-moving job search is not unusual. But, by following some of Bob’s suggestions, you should be able to find out important information to understand what has occurred and also to be able to successfully move out of this stalled state.
“Business casual” has taken on a lot of different meanings, and it often depends who your audience is. Shields Meneley Partners Executive Coach Bob Ryan has been a top HR executive for over 25 years and stresses the importance of knowing your audience when you are dressing for a professional event. When going to a job interview (or your first day at a new company), it is crucial to understand what is expected when someone says “business casual.”
Ralph Lauren was once quoted as saying, “I don’t design clothes, I design dreams.” If clothes are dreams, then how you are dressed should reflect your dream job. It is hard to perform well in an interview when you are uncomfortable because you are not dressed appropriately. Even if you get past your discomfort, an otherwise excellent interview may completely be overshadowed by your outfit because it skews the interviewer’s perception of you.
Many companies are making the transition to more casual work attire, especially as younger employees come into the job market and work their way up to leadership positions. It is important to remember that the word “business” is still present in the term “business casual.” You want to look polished and professional, not like you are heading to the beach or the bar. For women, a dress with a cardigan, khakis or slacks with a blouse, or a casual skirt with a sweater are just some examples of what is appropriate for a business casual dress code. Brighter colors and bolder accessories also distinguish what is business casual from what is considered business professional. For men, a dress shirt (without a tie) under a sweater, sport coat, or corduroy blazer pairs well with khakis or slacks and dress shoes for a business casual look.
Oftentimes, the biggest dilemma you might face when dressing business casual is whether or not you can wear jeans. There is some disagreement on the subject, and some companies allow their employees to wear dark jeans with no holes or tears as part of a business casual dress code. Bob suggests that you do not wear jeans if you are unsure because not all companies consider jeans to be business casual. It is always better to be a little overdressed by wearing slacks, khakis, a skirt, or a dress instead of jeans.
Congratulations to Martin Swarbrick, who assumes the role of Chairman of the Safe America Foundation. The Safe America Foundation is a non-profit organization that partners with corporate, governmental, public and private organizations, and other nonprofits to save lives by emphasizing safety education and emergency preparedness. His primary focus will be to build a network of CEOs and C-suite executives who can lend their experience to improving safety and security at a grassroots level. “Having served as a Safe America Board member for over seven years, I am now honored and humbled to assume the role of Chairman,” he said in a press release. “We need to educate and prepare senior executives and family and community leaders. I want to help get this off the ground using the Safe America ‘CEO Network.'”The CEO Network was formed in 2012 to give senior executives the opportunity to learn from other executives who have weathered major crises such as hurricane devastation and terrorist attacks.
Swarbrick brings more than 25 years of senior management experience in various roles, including Vice President of Motorola’s Radio Products Group in Europe with operations in his native Ireland as well the United Kingdom. In the 1990s, he moved to the Chicago headquarters of Motorola and then served as President and CEO for eight years at a private company.