Marcia Conner

Category 'leadership'

Are You A People Person?

“Are you a people person?” “If you were an animal, which would you be?” Have you heard these dumb dumb questions asked on the road to hiring smart people? How often do we use stereotypes and silly interview questions to screen candidates and hire talent? The answer, unfortunately, is too often. This fantastic IBM...

TV commercial is hilarious, sad, and inspiring on what we might be able to do better in the future. Jonathan Ferrar offers the perfect voice-over.

Are You A People Person?

Freestyle Learning

In 2009, Coca Cola set out to refresh the way soda was dispensed at restaurants such as McDonalds and Moe’s. It aimed to put choice in customers’ hands. It intended to empower its customer with the act of artistry. Designed with the automaker Ferrari, Coca Cola introduced Freestyle; a sleek new approach to do...

more than serve soda. Freestyle is a drink machine that can mix over 100 different kinds of Coca Cola products including soda pop, power drinks, and flavored waters. In a modern twist on the 1950s soda-shop float, Freestyle brings choice and collaboration to customers’ fingertips. Strangers and groups of diners alike, standing in front of this... [read more]

Freestyle Learning

Develop a Culture for Tomorrow

I just re-read something Garry Ridge, CEO of the WD-40 Company, wrote for my book Creating a Learning Culture. As a leader, I have always intuitively understood that it’s not my job to make people comfortable. And I don’t like being entirely comfortable myself, because that means I’m not moving forward. Several years ago...

at a gathering of the International Mass Retailers Association, I met Don Soderquist, who was at that time vice chairman at Wal-Mart. My take-away from his presentation was this: “You have to separate those responsible for today from those responsible for tomorrow.” A light went off in my head as I realized the implications for WD-40... [read more].

Develop a Culture for Tomorrow

Resolution: This Year Create a Stronger, Smarter Organization

With this new year, you may be looking frantically for a new way to improve your organization’s competitiveness, talent, staying power, and smarts. You’re not alone. When senior leaders of a giant materials manufacturer realized their people were not innovating as quickly as the market demanded–and slower than competitors–they assumed replacing several hundred people was a...

logical next step. They brought me in to reimagine their recruiting, talent management, and leadership development program. They anticipated needing dramatically different approaches than those they’d relied on for almost a century. Before we started, I spent time learning about their organizational culture, wanting to ensure new team members would be able to excel where the... [read more]

Resolution: This Year Create a Stronger, Smarter Organization

Not a bad year, just not great. Nice knowing you.

Last week imagine my surprise when a holiday card arrived from my friend Bill Owen, who passed away in early October. A bristly 80 year old, William Henry Owen IV engineered the world around him to infinity and beyond. As we all wonder (if only a little) whether the Mayans had this one right, predicting today will...

be our last, I’ve been thinking about Bill’s words and insights. For years WHO4, as he referred to himself, combed through the Financial Times pink pages, which were delivered to his Virginia door each morning before sunrise. With some regularity, an unadorned manilla envelope would then arrive in my mailbox, containing articles on topics perfectly timed to fill... [read more]

Not a bad year, just not great. Nice knowing you.

You Can Do Anything

“How many of you were told when you were young that you could grow up to be anything you set your mind on?” A professor-friend recently opened his graduate management course with this question. Fewer than half the people in the room raised a hand. I’ve begun asking this of everyone I meet, trying...

to get a sense if there’s a relationship between the mental paths paved during childhood and each person’s natural self-leadership to reach beyond obvious walls. Similar to the class numbers, about half the people I speak with shake their head in wonderment, citing examples of a parent who regularly alluded to or directly told them opportunities... [read more]

You Can Do Anything

May I Borrow Your Job?

Use job exchange programs to improve organizational productivity, improve your business culture, and help everyone learn.