Archive for October, 2011

CEO @ Smith: McCormick’s Alan Wilson

October 27th, 2011 by under Marketing, Professional Development, Strategy, Supply Chain and Ops. No Comments.

This month, Alan Smith, the Chairman, CEO, and President of McCormick, spoke as part of the CEO@Smith series.

A former manager of P&G, where he cut his teeth procuring “diaper tape,” Wilson learned early on that people go far when they have a “passion for learning and expanding what they do.”  Believing that “if you leave your work behind at the office you won’t learn,”  he visited the grocery and drug stores to see how his customers shopped and interacted with his product.  Later in his career as a higher level manager, he concluded that to inspire this passion in employees he would have to engage them through mission and vision.

“A Company Has to Really Define What it Stands For”

After switching to McCormick 20 years ago and succeeding in challenging positions, including turning around the firm’s packaging business and the President’s office of the Canada division, Wilson and his team developed 5 pillars that would make the firm’s mission and vision meaningful:

  • Passion for Flavor (that is inexpensive, convenient, and accessible)
  • Power of People that values teamwork over individual success (inspired by the historic family founders and their relationship with employees)
  • Taste You Trust (“make the best and someone will buy it,” said one of the earlier McCormick family)
  • High Delivery Performance
  • Inspiring Healthy Choices

The Individual Must Be Just as Principled

Although teamwork is imperative to McCormick and to Wilson, he also believes in personal development and contribution.  “The best thing you can do to get recognized,” he says, “is to get results.  You don’t get recognized for doing your job.  You get recognized for being extraordinary.”

Just as Wilson took his job outside of his office to the grocery store, we should “expand our thinking beyond our job.”  That little extra not only gets you recognized, but also creates opportunities for yourself.  The combination of Value x Credibility = Personal Economic Value Add to the Firm.


Building a Career in the Social Value Sector: Part II

October 20th, 2011 by under Career Search, Professional Development, Triple Pundit. No Comments.

Choosing a job function usually comes naturally to people given what they enjoy and what they’re good at.

However, people often have difficulty identifying the kind of organization of which they want to be part.  Organizational type not only influences scale and resource availability, but also, compensation, and opportunities to grow and develop leadership.  For example, movement through government is highly structured, whereas working at a revenue generating non-profit may mean being the effective CEO of the venture.  To help people decide the kind of Social Value Organization that best fits their life priorities, Dr. Boutla described five different elements for people to consider.

  • Self Development
    • Learning new things on a regular basis
    • Collaborating with other functions
    • Intellectual Challenge
  • Prestige
    • Be a local expert
    • Acknowledgement by boss and colleagues
    • Set the strategic direction of the organization
  • Family
    • Loved ones would be proud
    • Location important to family
    • Availability to family
  • Community
    • Direct Contributions
    • Cohesive mission
    • Colleagues gel well
  • Material
    • Financial obligations covered
    • Able to save >10% of salary
    • Benefits

Prioritizing 1-5 on these dimensions will help students understand the space they should focus on.  For me, I ranked Self Development and Prestige as the top two most important aspects, which fits well with for-profit social enterprises.  This was consistent with my own sense of what I aspire to do.

But having an aspiration is not enough.  Dr. Boutla encouraged actively drilling into your cell(s) by doing focused networking, job searches, and skills building.  For me, that would be strategy or marketing within for-profit social enterprises.

Dr. Boutla will also be running a workshop  at the Net Impact conference this November.  I’ll be attending again this year and this time, I’ll also be competing as a finalist in the Hitachi Pioneer Employer Competition.


Building a Career in the Social Value Sector: Part I

October 13th, 2011 by under Career Search, Professional Development, Triple Pundit. No Comments.

Dr. Mrim Boutla has a Ph.D. in the Brain and Cognitive Science and has worked as a Career Coach for seven years

Recently, Dr. Mrim Boutla visited the Smith School to talk about how to craft and pursue a career in Social Value Creation.

Inspired by Neuroscience, Practiced in Career Coaching

Dr.  Boutla grounds her approach in the psychology and neuroscience.  Having received her Ph.D. in the Brain and Cognitive Science, Dr. Boutla argues that we practice selective attention.  The preeminence with which large corporate firms are privileged in public life spills over into our expectations of how business management is applied.  According to Dr. Boutla, even when we try to focus our attention on small firms or alternative goals such as the triple bottom line, the “invisible gorilla” in the room is how our preconceptions of large business practice frame our approach to alternative goals.

The Boutla Matrix maps Functional Roles against the Typology of Social Value Creation, which is a spectrum from public, to Non-Profit, to For-Profit Entities

Rather than assuming that translate large company skills translate to other firms, Dr. Boutla encourages developing contextual skills and competencies that apply directly to  our goals in particular social value spaces.

As a career coach, Dr. Boutla recommends students build capabilities and credibility in specific cells of interest in social value creation.  Dr. Boutla warns that too often, students or career transitioners move around too much and don’t build strength in specific areas.

Focus, Focus, Focus…

The challenge for mission driven students is to focus on how functions operate in particular organizational structures.  In other words, marketing in a revenue generating non-profit can is somewhat unique compared to the same activities in Corporate Social Responsibility.

No doubt, skills and experiences translate well and make people versatile.  However, even though Shaq is a consummate athlete, his ability to dominate the basketball court doesn’t translate to beach volleyball court when he’s facing Missy May-Traenor and Kerri Walsh.


Training to Create and Manage Sustainable Supply Chains

October 6th, 2011 by under Supply Chain and Ops, Triple Pundit. No Comments.

Besides blogging at Smith, I also guest blog at Triple Pundit, a website dedicated to the triple bottom line of profits, environment, and society.

Recently, I wrote a post for Triple Pundit about an event at Smith co-hosted by the Supply Chain and Operations Club and Net Impact, called Greenstorming the Supply Chain.

Supply chain experts from Deloitte, Constellation Energy, LMI, and the Red Cross worked with us on a case involving excess inventory and transportation costs in the appearal industry.  Read more about it here and check out some of my other Triple Pundit posts.

Last week, I also attended a great Net Impact event with a supply chain leader from Mars, the chocolate and health innovation manufacturer of M&Ms.  Over food and beer, we informally discussed the cocoa supply chain and the challenges facing cocoa farmers in West Africa, who often face low yields and little investment.  This was especially interesting to me because I consulted over the summer on yield hurdles in the Chinese forestry industry.  We also learned about Mars’ investment in local agricultural centers that train farmers in the application of fertilizer and other techniques, funded through microfinancing and development programs.

October has definitely been Supply Chain Month.  In a couple of weeks, Alan Wilson, CEO of McCormick, will be speaking at the CEO@Smith series.  This month, we’ll also host Supply Chain Career Networking Day, where dozens of recruiters come to Smith.  This year, Peter Gibbons, VP of Global Supply Chain at Starbucks will be honored with Smith’s Supply Chain Leader of the Year award.  I’ll be blogging about his address, so look forward to it!