Directorship


CEOs Out of Bounds

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by scott pickard

Sport plays an important part in the lives of many business leaders. Nothing can make the juices flow like sinking a 30-foot birdie putt to win the match or setting a personal record in the local 10K run. Risking, winning and losing, playing, pushing personal limits – all are tonics for the chief executive, but they require “getting in the game.”

For Dick Jorgensen, Red Cashion, and Tom Dooley, getting in the game was a way of life. During their days as NFL Referees,  they were chief executives of successful corporations, but on the weekends they exchanged their business suits for “zebra suits” to become NFL referees. Whether on the field or off, these CEOs shared an uncommon passion to perform their best.

Dick Jorgensen: Banking on the Blitz

Dick Jorgensen had the distinction of having been the head referee for 1990’s Super Bowl XXIV. It was the pinnacle of a 22-year career as an NFL referee when one considers that the officials on Super Bowl Sunday are voted the best at their position by the NFL.

Head Referee Dick Jorgensen (#60) follows San Francisco quaterback Joe Montana (#16) and the rest of the action at Sperbowl XXIV in 1990.

When he was not watching Joe Montana fade back for the bomb, Jorgensen was president of Marine Bank in Champaign, IL, a banking affiliate of the Marine Corporation with over $1 billion in assets. The bank always supported Dick’s other life as an NFL referee, as banks generally support the active community involvement of all employees.

At 56 (in 1990) and coming off recent back surgery, Dick moved a little slower than he did as captain of the University of Wisconsin’s basketball team.  He was concerned about his upcoming annual NFL physical and stress test, but he was determined to pass. He daily stretched, swam, and lifted weights – whatever it took to ensure he would get another shot at a Super Bowl. Having participated in Super Bowls VIII, XV, and XXIV, he didn’t want to pass up another opportunity to be part of “the immensity of the game.”

The rewards of a Super Bowl experience, however, aren’t without cost. The pressures of balancing a banking career and an active family life while on the road for the NFL were substantial, especially for the family left behind each weekend. “But once the kickoff comes and I get into the flow of the game,” asserted Jorgensen, “all the pressure is off. It’s exhausting, but mentally refreshing.”

Tom Dooley: Constructing a Game Plan

Tom Dooley, former CEO of R.T. Dooley Construction, says his 14 years of working out problems on an NFL football field helped him work out problems in business. “On the football field,” he observed, “you have a set of rules and a solution.” Dooley was proud of the fact that in all his years as CEO, he never had to retain an attorney to solve a legal problem!

“Nothing is black and white in business,” continued Dooley. “Everything is a compromise. On the football field, it is black and white. I can flush out every thought in the world when I’m on that field.” And like Dick Jorgensen, Tom Dooley got that same physical exhaustion but mental freshness after each game.

To make it possible for Tom to work weekends for the NFL and keep his business under control, he surrounded himself with “people smarter than I am.” And what was good for the boss was good for the troops. Business shut down every day at 11:30 am so employees could get in a vigorous noon workout at the local YMCA (the company paid every employee’s membership fee).

Dooley believed strongly in being “the best you can be.” After a lifetime of setting goals and achieving them, he still had one in his sights – to work a Super Bowl as head referee. He had a taste of Super Bowl action as a linesman at Super Bowl XV, Eagles vs Raiders, in 1981. But characteristic of every NFL referee, Dooley wanted a shot at the No. 1 position.

Red Cashion: A Variable Life

On April 21, 1990, Texas Independence Day, Red Cashion had the honor of being keynote speaker at Texas A&M’s “annual muster,” following in the footsteps of the mayor of San Antonio, the governor of Texas, and Ike Eisenhower. For a Texan, especially one that lived and worked in College Station (Aggie country), this was as big an honor as being referee at Super Bowl XX, Bears vs. Patriots, in 1986.

Speaking before students, athletes, and business people went with the territory for this NFL referee who was also chairman of ANCO insurance which he co-founded in 1966. The challenges and lessons of business and sport were inseparable for Cashion, helping him develop what he called “presence.”

Red enjoyed “being in the center of the action.” It took him 20 years of refereeing in junior high through college ranks before being accepted into the NFL where he officiated from 1972 – 1996 (25 years).

Obviously, the pressure of officiating wasn’t a problem for Cashion, having been at it for so long. He enjoyed keeping himself in shape through competitive handball. “Frankly,” he says, “I enjoy the annual NFL physical and stress test.”

The greater challenge for Cashion was making the right decision under pressure. Being an NFL referee helped him develop confidence in himself and his decisions, a quality employees respected.

When he returned each Monday following an NFL game, football was the topic of the day. Employees always greet him with questions about the game. Although Cashion admitted that “after a while, you forget which city you were in,” he will never forget being head referee in Super Bowls XX (1986, Bears vs Patriots) and XXX (1996, Cowboys vs. Steelers).

* * *

Note from Scott Pickard: “I wrote this feature article under assignment to Chief Executive magazine and it was subsequently published in September, 1990.  Sadly, Dick Jorgensen passed away in October, 1990.  He was a well-known personality and highly-respected leader in Champaign, IL.”

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LinkedIn posts (writing)

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Due Diligence List

Due Diligence List has over 2,000 good due diligence questions organized under fourteen major functional areas of the business.  There is also a sister book, Leaders Ask Good Questions, which has the same questions organized alphabetically.

On “leadership” when it’s not

by Scott Pickard

On the occassion of Ted Bishop being ousted as president of the PGA of America after sending an insensitive tweet directed at Ian Poulter a day earlier:

I guess I’m not as complementary of Bishop’s “leadership” in the midst of the storm. His letter takes accountability, but he still uses it as blatant self-promotion on the way out the door. You and I have both seen so many “leaders” and politicians that are incorrigible self-promoters and/or hacks caught in their own screw-ups and scandals (but really, this isn’t a screw-up, it just reveals who he is or he would not have said it) and they never really apologize and just keep moving forward either in a state of denial or perceived invincibility.

Sports Golf When will you shoot your age? Is golf a sport? who cares, we love it in general: big hole golf | Fedex Cup | foot golf | handicap: formula | magic | online game: http://pgacharitychallenge.worldgolftour.com, Virtual U.S. Open | outings: player grid sp | PGA: pgatour | performance: priming | Ryder Cup: Ryder Cup, Ryder Cup Diary 2012 sp | rules: smartphone, videos | sand: soft sand, hit hard; hard sand, hit soft | social: topgolf | speed golf | soul of the game | trends: The Future of Golf | youth: Drive, Chip & Putt courses: top ten: Chicago books: Golf Rules Finder sp Entertainment | Equations | Change | Unequivocal | Gaming | Family My guess is, it’s not the first time Ted Bishop has made eyes roll among his staff, constituents, and most importantly, his board of directors. You notice there wasn’t much hesitation in the board’s response. For just once I would like to hear one of these guys (like Blagojevich, Clinton, Bishop, Christie, and the list goes on and on), say, “I screwed up, all my fault, I’ll take what’s coming to me, goodbye,” and just leave it at that.

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Mary Barra vs the Dysfunctional GM Culture

by Scott Pickard

Sarah, very interesting article and your recommendations are well-intentioned and truthful, but, I give them a slim chance of making a dent in the sprawling, dense and calcified GM cultural fabric which has deeply embedded within it the familiar dysfunctional qualities of a massive bureaucratic organization. In this regard, human nature repeats itself with disappointing consistency. In very large corporations, universities, government units, and military, this is what we face and deal with every day.

It confirms to me that GM was probably not “too big to fail.” Failure could have been the disruptive event necessary to purge the dysfunction and clear a path for renewal — a “corporate reboot” if you will.  Bankruptcy would have provided the platform and mandate for sweeping away all the dead wood, political toxicity, cronyism, greed, and staleness that builds up over time inside society’s largest institutions.

Law Crime, Corruption, Power, Violence How can we rethink security beyond mass incarceration? How can transnational organized crime networks be stopped? Is there anything goingon in the company that can result in an Enron-style financial collapse? (a) self-dealing; (b) undisclosed insider trading; (c) unauthorized compensation; (d) debt-loaded limited partnerships in general: archive: Crime Library | biology: The Anatomy of Violence Raine | city shootings: ceasefirechicago, Cradle-to-Grave Program | cybersecurity: antiphishing, AccessData, onguardonline | depravity: Crime and Punishment Dostoyevsky | gangs: Home Boy Industries, knockout game | gun violence/control: gun-rights lobby | insider trading: Rajaratnam | jewel thieves: Pink Panthers | kidnapping | organized crime: Hell’s Angels | policing software: Mark43 | research: Crime Lab | school shootings | sex offenders: Miracle Village | TV shows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_police_television_dramas, Orange is the New Black prison | white collar: nw3c insider trading: Has the company made a reasonable effort to make all insiders (executives, employees, directors) aware of the insider trading rules? | documentary: To Catch a Trader | SEC Filings: www.10kwizard.com power: How is power consolidated in the company?  Are directors careful to not get involved in the internal politics of the company? | greed:  about, The Wolf of Wall Street vigilante: about | Bruce Willis | fiction/comics: batman, robin hood, superman | Mexico: drug cartels | Paul Newman | Death Wish | Steven Sigal | Three Days of the Condor weapons: bombs: toothpaste books/movies: Crime and Punishment Dostoyevsky | Inside Job | Syndromes of Corruption: Wealth, Power, and Democracy Johnston | The Onion Field Wambaugh Decisions | Issues | Emotions | Ethics | Smart Grid | War | Survival | Sports

Had that happened, then “creating opportunities for collegiality to take root….encouraging questions that create context….. helping employees to feel safe by reshaping the work environment…,” might have been introduced into a clean, fear-free, accepting cultural landscape.

But, it didn’t happen, so best of luck to Mary Barra.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all-in for capitalism with its faults, but we all know the aggressive pursuit of profit in BIG BUSINESS (with power and greed lurking in the headquarters’ shadows) has its dark side.

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Director-CEO Relationship

by Scott Pickard

The foundation upon which an outside director builds an effective tenure on the board is based on a healthy and mutually respectful relationship with the CEO. The strength of this relationship is tested during two major lines of interaction (questioning) between the director and CEO.

When focusing the CEO on the highest-leveraged priorities for the business, the CEO and management are obligated each day to put out a certain number of operational fires while moving the company along towards the strategic plan and goals. There’s rarely time to kick back to think and discuss the big picture. It is the director’s responsibility to focus the CEO and fellow board members on the highest-leveraged strategic issues facing the company, and the director has a choice of interaction styles that fit the situation at hand:

  • Pulling – Asking questions intended to lead management (and the board) to a conclusion or action the director has in mind.
  • Pushing – Stating a position upfront and then defending the position against challenges from the CEO and board.

and

  • Supporting – Supporting management and encouraging them to act.
  • Challenging – Challenging management and requiring them to act.

The key word for directors is balance between these ranges of interaction styles with the CEO.  Confidence is a fragile commodity which is a powerful driver of human performance, and can be torn down quicker than it takes to build up. Coaches know that even the most talented of professional athletes are vulnerable to an erosion of confidence caused by a string of failures. So too directors must be aware of the confidence-affecting balance of pull vs. push, support vs. challenge that they practice with the CEO.

Trust Your Instinct
Focus and Accountability are the two principles of directorship that guide the director’s words and actions as they relate to the CEO. And the range of behavior the director can choose to serve each principle is broad and must be adapted to the personalities and situation at hand. Like any long-term relationship that is based on mutual respect, trust, and principles, there will be periods when the strength of the relationship between the CEO and director is tested by the stress of the director’s obligation to bring focus and accountability to management and the board.

The effective director has only his or her experience-based common sense, patience, flexibility, good timing, and instinct to rely on when navigating this course.

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CEOs Out of Bounds


Jorgensen and Montana

Sport plays an important part in the lives of many business leaders. Nothing can make the juices flow like sinking a 30-foot birdie putt to win the match or setting a personal record in the local 10K run. Risking, winning, playing, pushing personal limits – all are tonics for the chief executive, but they require “getting in the game.”

For Dick Jorgensen, Red Cashion, and Tom Dooley, getting in the game is a way of life. During the week they are chief executives of successful corporations, but on the weekends they exchange their business suits for “zebra suits” to become NFL referees. Whether on the field or off, these CEOs at leisure share an uncommon passion to perform their best.

Dick Jorgensen: Banking on the Blitz

Dick Jorgensen has the distinction of having been the head referee for 1990s Super Bowl XXIV. It was the pinnacle of a 22-year career as an NFL referee, when one considers that the officials on Super Bowl Sunday are voted the best at their position by the NFL.

When he’s not watching Joe Montana fade back for the bomb, Jorgensen is president of Marine Bank in Champaign, IL, a banking affiliate of the Marine Corporation, with over $1 billion in assets. The bank has always supported Dick’s other life as an NFL referee, as banks generally support the active community involvement of all employees.

At 56 and coming off recent back surgery, Dick moves a little slower than he did as captain of the University of Wisconsin’s basketball team. Although he’s concerned about his upcoming annual NFL physical and stress test, he’s determined to pass. He stretches, swims, lifts weights – whatever it takes to ensure he’s got another Super Bowl in him. Having participated in Super Bowls VIII, XV, and XXIV, he won’t pass up another opportunity to be part of “the immensity of the game.”

The rewards of a Super Bowl experience, however, aren’t without cost. The pressures of balancing a banking career and an active family life while on the road for the NFL are substantial, especially for the family left behind each weekend. “But once the kickoff comes and I get into the flow of the game,” asserts Jorgensen, “all the pressure is off. It’s exhausting, but mentally refreshing.”

Tom Dooley: Constructing a Game Plan

Tom Dooley, chief executive of R.T. Dooley Construction, says his 13 years of working out problems on an NFL football field have helped him work out problems in business. “On the football field,” he observes, “you have a set of rules and a solution.” Dooley is proud of the fact that in all his years as CEO, he’s never had to retain an attorney to solve a legal problem.

“Nothing is black and white in business,” continues Dooley. “Everything is a compromise. On the football field, it is black and white. I can flush out every thought in the world when I’m on that field.” And like Dick Jorgensen, Tom Dooley gets that same physically exhausted but mentally refreshed feeling after each game.

To make it possible for Tom to work weekends for the NFL and keep his business under control, he surrounds himself with “people smarter than I am.” And what’s good for the boss is good for the troops. Business shuts down every day at 11:30 am so employees can get in a vigorous noon workout at the local YMCA (the company pays every employee’s membership fee).

Dooley believes strongly in being “the best you can be.” After 55 years of setting goals and achieving them, he still has one in his sights – to work a Super Bowl as head referee. He had a taste of Super Bowl action as a linesman at Super Bowl XV, Eagles vs Raiders, in 1981. But characteristic of every NFL referee, Dooley wants a shot at the No. 1 position.

Red Cashion: A Variable Life

On April 21, 1990, Texas Independence Day, Red Cashion had the honor of being keynote speaker at Texas A&M’s “annual muster,” following in the footsteps of the mayor of San Antonio, the governor of Texas, and Ike Eisenhower. For a Texan, especially one that lives and works in College Station (Aggie country) this was as big an honor as being a referee at Super Bowl XX, Bears vs. Patriots, in 1986.

Speaking before students, athletes, and businesspeople goes with the territory for an NFL referee who is also chairman of ANCO insurance which he co-founded in 1966. The challenges and lessons of business and sport have been inseparable for Cashion, helping him develop what he calls “presence.”

Red enjoys “being in the center of the action.” It took him 20 years of refereeing in junior high through college ranks before being accepted into the NFL, where he now has 18 years under his cap.

Obviously, the pressure of officiating hasn’t been a problem for Cashion, having been at it 40 years. He enjoys keeping himself in shape through competitive handball. “Frankly,” he says, “I enjoy the annual NFL physical and stress test.”

The greater challenge for Cashion is making the right decision under pressure. Being an NFL referee has helped him develop confidence in himself and his decisions, a quality employees respect.

When he returns on Monday following a game, football is the topic of the day. Employees always greet him with questions about the game. Although Cashion admits that “after a while, you forget which city you were in,” he will never forget Super Bowl XX.

* * *

CEOs Out of Bounds by Scott PickardChief Executive, Vol. 61, September, 1990, pp. 78-80.

iPads in the Boardroom

by scott pickard

I am a Director and Secretary of a $300M Credit Union board of directors with over 40,000 members, and we have been using iPads for distributing and viewing the board packet for two years and counting.  Our experience has been very positive.  I credit  the staff for suggesting that the board embrace this technology.

Energy Conversion & Utilization Electronics in general: book: Irresistible! Markets, Models, & Meta-Value in Consumer Electronics Bailey | design: Amazon Lab126 > Design | flexible: displays: www.plasticlogic.com, microprocessors | learning kits: http://sparklelabs.com | search: www.retrevo.com | trade shows: Consumer Electronics Show CES | warranties: squaretrade gadgets: Ambient Baseball ScoreCast | cell phone holder: getgripgo | desktop devices: www.ambientdevices.com | guides: gizmodo, wirecutter | medical: medgadget | scissors: pencut | shop: geekorize, stuff.tv iPad: art: artfinder | boardroom: board packet sp | data: roambi | kids: Peekaboo Forest | magazines: stipla | microsoft office: cloudon | news: editions tablets: playbook blackberry | kids: Nabi | reviews: www.tabletpcreview.com | smallest: www.oqo.com | Surface wireless: charging: powermat | music: lynx, sonos speakers

iPads in the boardroom

Our 9-member board meets monthly and the packet is typically 60 to 130 pages.  All that paper shuffling was cumbersome and wasteful, so the Credit Union provided iPads to all board members.  The board meets on Tuesdays and Credit Union staff typically post the board packet using Dropbox on the previous Thursday.  Also, the iPad’s smaller footprint  is less obtrusive than laptops which can take up a lot of room on tables and somewhat blocks everyone’s view of each other.

You have unlimited access to online and offline content without carrying around a suitcase full of documents (remember directors that would wheel in a case of materials?).  Not to rest on this improvement, the Credit Union staff is currently researching cloud-based governance platforms.

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