Tag Archives: energy

A Quote For The Day – Bill Gates & Chad Holliday On Innovation

Bill Gates

These paragraphs come from Energy sector poised for innovation — with the right spark by Bill Gates and Chad Holliday, (Washington Post, Friday, April 23, 2010)

This country runs on innovation. The American success story — from Ben Franklin’s bifocals to Thomas Edison’s light bulb to Henry Ford’s assembly line to today’s advanced microprocessors — is all about inventing our future. The companies we ran, Microsoft and DuPont, were successful because they invested deeply in new technologies and new ideas.

But our country is neglecting a field central to our national prospect and security: energy. Although the information technology and pharmaceutical industries spend 5 to 15 percent of their revenue on research and development each year, U.S. companies’ spending on energy R&D has averaged only about one-quarter of 1 percent of revenue over the past 15 years.

And despite talk about the need for “21st-century” energy sources, federal spending on clean energy research — less than $3 billion — is also relatively small. Compare that with roughly $30 billion that the U.S. government annually spends on health research and $80 billion on defense research and development.

The core force of innovation — vision, experimentation and wise investments — has led to thousands of breakthroughs that benefit us all. A serious commitment to innovation can be transformative, as we saw with the effort to replace chlorofluorocarbons two decades ago. We need the same serious commitment in the energy sector to developing the original American energy supply: innovation.

(Bill Gates is chairman of Microsoft Corp. Chad Holliday was chairman and chief executive of DuPont from 1998 to 2009).

Chad Holliday

The full article is worth reading.

Making the M in Merger as Real as the A in Acquisition

Cheryl offers: As practitioners of change leadership, our focus is not so much on the change management process itself as on what kind of leader is required to really create change that lasts. We love John P. Kotter’s book, The Heart of Change because it touches all aspects of change, including the need to get employees emotionally invested to create the energy needed to change. With the new “normal” of our economy, one thing I fear will not change is that as markets dictate consolidation, the percentage of Merger and Acquisition failures will remain constant. You see, acquisition happens. One company is bought by another. Seldom does a merger happen.  Oh, assets get combined, leadership is chosen and redundancies eliminated; and the real heart of change that makes M&A’s worth the price  paid is the MERGER of cultures. Most leaders pay more attention to the organization chart, press releases, and employment contracts than the real need to enroll employees in the changes. The fact is, about 70% of mergers and acquisitions fail.  Almost 100% of the failures can be traced to not asking everyone to pay equal attention to the M as well as the A. Communication is the leadership’s responsibility in times of change; it becomes their legacy.

Sara adds: I was with IBM when it acquired Lotus.  I coached a number of people on the Lotus development team and was struck by how victimized they felt.  The acquisition had occurred, but for them, there was no merger.  In the shadow of those memories, I  turned to Adam Kahane, author of Solving Tough Problems .  Kahane is known for his work in helping create unity in places like South Africa.  He states, “There are two ways to unstick a stuck problem.  The first is for one side to act unilaterally – to try imposing a solution by force or violence.”  That’s how I read the press release in mergers like IBM acquiring Lotus or Oracle acquiring Sun Microsystems.  Kahane goes on to add, “The second way to unstick a problem is for the actors to start to talk and listen in order to find a way forward together.”   My opinion?   Acquisitions are financial agreements to acquire assets; mergers require people to work with other people intentionally and creatively.

Passion – Energy and Purpose, in Business and in All of LIfe

When you start looking for something, it just seems to show up everywhere. And lately, I keep thinking about passion. I was watching just a snippet of one of my favorite movies, Field of Dreams, and saw the scene where this exchange occurred. Ray had dragged an unwilling Terence Mann to a baseball game, where they both saw and heard a message. But before Mann owns up to it, Ray drops him off at his apartment, and Mann says to him:  “I wish I had your passion.  Misdirected though it might be, it is still a passion.  I used to feel that way about things, but….”  {Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) to Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), Field of Dreams}.

In a work context, as in all of life, passion spills over and effects everything and everyone that it touches. This came from Bob Morris:  “The 4-E (and 1 P) Leadership Framework” according to Jack Welch: “Passion! By that I mean a heartfelt, deep, and authentic excitement about work. People with passion care — really care in their bones — about colleagues, employees, and friends winning. They love to learn and grow, and they get a huge kick when people around them do the same. The funny thing about people with passion, though, is they usually aren’t excited just about work. They tend to be passionate about everything!…they just have juice for life in their veins.”  (this is an excerpt from a book by Jeffrey Krames — see Bob’s “Q29 from Bob’s blog).

To be fully passionate, you have to be passionate about some thing – some one driving something than literally inspires you and envelops you. That is what the research says, and that is what our experience reveals. We know that people with a passion are people with passion. The driving force that drives such a person gives energy to keep going, to work the long hours, to overcome every setback and every attack and every enemy and every deficiency. Passion keeps a person going on and on…

And – it is never too late. As Ken Robinson, in his book The Element:  How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, put it, we may have to “take the time to step out of our routines, rethink our paths, and revisit the passions we left behind (or never pursued at all). We have the capacity to discover the Element at practically any age.”

And why is that passion so critical? Robinson again: “The Element is the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion… (People who find their Element) are doing the thing they love, and in doing it they feel like their most authentic selves. They find that time passes differently and that they are more alive, more centered , and more vibrant… They connect with something fundamental to their sense of identity, purpose, and well-being.”

If passion is the key to authenticity, to energy, to purpose, to fulfillment, to fecundity (the word used by Henri Nouwen in his book Lifesigns), then I would say finding your passion, and living out your passion, could be pretty important – in business and in life.