Category: Dean Freeman
Wall Street Journal features Freeman’s advice to executives
The Wall Street Journal’s online portal “The Experts,” which features video chats and short online posts from an exclusive group of industry and thought leaders, posed this question to Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman: How can executives make meetings more productive?
Before you call your next meeting, consider Freeman’s four-step plan:
Step 1: Have less meetings in the first place. The amount of time wasted in meetings with an unclear agenda, unclear outcomes, and poor meeting management, is substantial in most organizations. Sometimes leaders, particularly young executives, view the number of meetings they conduct as demonstrating their leadership. In fact, without a strategic reason the more meetings conducted the less results achieved.
Step 2: Decide what types of meetings are essential to accomplish your organization’s mission. Information sharing to ensure everyone is on the same page? Soliciting inputs on a critical decision? Deploying decisions, determining the actions required to implement a decision effectively including personal accountabilities? Or some combination?
Step 3: Strive for efficiency and effectiveness in the meetings you do conduct. A very simple way to shorten the length of meetings, and improve their focus, is to conduct decision and project review meetings standing up instead of sitting down. Remove the traditional table and chairs, highlight the objective of the meeting at the outset, engage in dialogue, capture key points, decide, assign responsibilities and adjourn. Have a white board at the ready to capture the outcomes, take a picture of the output with your smartphone and distribute it to the attendees.
In my experience, meetings that are longer than one hour could be completed with the same or better outcomes in less than half the time. For example, one on one update meetings that would often languish for 45 minutes to an hour have been replaced with 15 minute discussions with more tangible outcomes.
Step 4: Set a goal. Reduce the number of meetings you call by say 50% and watch the organization become more effective by using the freed up time productively.
View the post here.
The Wall Street Journal’s online portal “The Experts,” which features video chats and short online posts from an exclusive group of industry and thought leaders, posed this question to Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman: Do you think companies have a social responsibility other than being as profitable as possible?
His answer? Responsibility is shifting from profit to people—with millennials leading the charge:
Yes. Corporate reputation matters in today’s world more than ever.
The millennial generation is keenly focused on sustainability and making the world a better place and often makes the purchasing decision (and decision about where to work) based on a company’s overall performance and reputation for doing good.
The days of focusing solely on profit among providers of goods and services used by consumers are numbered, as millions of emerging customers around the world are demanding much more.
View “The Experts” post here.
Dr. Tom Garthwaite, Chief Operating Officer for Clinical Services, and John Franck, Senior VP of Human Resources, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA)
On October 16, 2014, Dr. Tom Garhwaite, Chief Operating Officer for Clinical Services, and John Franck, Senior VP of Human Resources, both of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), visited Boston University School of Management, where they shared their perspectives about responsible leadership and how it yields exceptional clinical, employee, and financial performance. The conversation was part of the School’s “Conversations with Ken” series hosted by Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman.
At its founding by the Frist family in 1968, Nashville-based HCA was one of the nation’s first hospital companies. Today, HCA is the leading provider of healthcare services in the US, a company comprised of locally managed facilities that includes about 165 hospitals and 115 freestanding surgery centers in 20 states and England, and employing more than 204,000 people. Approximately 4 to 5 percent of all inpatient care delivered in the country today is provided by HCA facilities.
Allen Questrom (SMG’64), Former Chairman & CEO of JC Penney
Allen Questrom (SMG’64) is an icon of corporate America. He directed the successful turnarounds of several major department and specialty stores, including JC Penney, Barneys New York, Macy’s, and Neiman Marcus. On April 8, 2014, Dean Ken Freeman sat down with Questrom to discuss his journey from BU student to retail guru.
The Wall Street Journal‘s online portal “The Experts,” which features video chats and short online posts from an exclusive group of industry and thought leaders, posed this question to Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman: What’s preventing companies from taking full advantage of data?
Companies don’t recognize the powerful effect data can have on strategy, Freeman notes. And if they hope to compete, that needs to change.
In many companies, data is not considered a strategic resource. In these companies it has played a secondary role to products and services, and the processes and systems utilized for data collection are not linked.
Heterogeneous data that is difficult to aggregate and analyze. Establishing a comprehensive strategy that includes a robust data warehouse to harness the power of data analytics is no longer optional. It is an essential enabler of competitive advantage.
View “The Experts” post here.
Number of “Chiefs” shouldn’t impact decision-making
The Wall Street Journal‘s online portal “The Experts,” which features video chats and short online posts from an exclusive group of industry and thought leaders, posed this question to Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman: Does the increase in chief officer titles in many companies help or hinder effective decision-making?
Neither, says Freeman. The number of “Chiefs” in a company shouldn’t affect how decisions are made. Effective leaders employ balance and clarity in the workplace.
In a perfect world, the proliferation of “Chiefs” or other job titles should have no impact whatsoever on decision-making effectiveness.
This phenomenon often represents the ongoing desire of corporations to reward symbolically their best talent.
More broadly, the CEO is responsible for creating an environment of trust, with a compelling strategy, clear priorities and effective execution.
He/she must guard against top-heavy and complex management structures where decision making responsibilities are not clear.
In today’s world of business, rapid change is the byword. Management teams that lack clarity and focus, transparency and accessibility run the risk of losing the competitive race.
View “The Experts” post here.
Freeman: Treat each other with dignity, fairness, and respect
The Wall Street Journal‘s online portal “The Experts,” which features video chats and short online posts from an exclusive group of industry and thought leaders, posed this question to Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman: What’s the secret to getting C-suite executives to work better together?
Freeman, a former CEO himself, offered this advice:
Start by living the same values with your senior executives that you have shared with your entire organization.
Treat each other with dignity, fairness and respect. Establish “rules of engagement” to encourage open sharing of points of view, and drive alignment when the final decision on an issue is made.
More and more companies are scattering their C-suite executives around the world to get closer to the customer. A good move commercially, that requires leaders to identify new ways to engage with each other… frequent video conferences, check-ins, scheduled face-to-face live meetings. Trust is built over years and can be lost in moments.
View “The Experts” post here.
Founder and Chairman of Max India Limited, Analjit Singh (SMG’77, GSM’79) is a thriving entrepreneur in a variety of fields. Among his most notable contributions has been the transformation of health care services in his native India. On February 24, 2014, Singh returned to the School to share the lessons he’s learned—from identifying problems to achieving significant reforms.
Boston University School of Management’s Dean’s Speaker Series brings industry leaders into its “living room” for insightful conversation with Dean Freeman. The various speakers tap into their personal experience and provide advice on how to become a successful leader, implement an effective talent management system, guide an organization through a technological transformation, and more.
Analjit Singh (SMG’77, GSM’79), Founder & Chairman, Max India Limited
One of the School of Management’s most influential alumni, Analjit Singh returned to the School on February 24, 2014 for a conversation on entrepreneurship with Dean Freeman. Founder and Chairman of billion-dollar conglomerate Max India Limited, Singh has transformed health care services in his native India, where he has emerged as a leading entrepreneur.
Engage the entire organization in creating a memorable mission and translate it into an actionable strategy
Allen Questrom Professor and Dean Ken Freeman shares his thoughts on how to build a better business school in a piece for Bloomberg Businessweek, in which he stresses motivating faculty to work as a collective force, one that carries out a mission dedicated to enhancing the student (or, customer) experience. Highlighting the School’s commitment to its own mission—”to create value for the world”—he notes the transformation of the undergraduate and graduate curricula, launched during the School’s centennial, as well as innovations to teaching and learning that will better prepare students for a world that faces massive economic, commercial, and social challenges.
Excerpts from Bloomberg Businessweek:
After leaving the for-profit world three years ago to become Dean of Boston University’s School of Management, I observed to one of my new colleagues that our students are our customers. “No,” he said, “they are our products.” At first, I thought I must have a lot to learn about academe. Now, as the School of Management launches a complete transformation of its undergraduate and graduate curricula during our centennial year, I believe my initial instincts were correct.
Business schools increasingly face the same powerful forces that have confronted law schools in recent years: application drops, employers questioning the utility of the degree, alternative education models, and doubts about the return on investment as tuition rises in a weak economy. These new realities will induce many business schools to make sweeping changes that fundamentally alter management education and the “customer experience” it provides.
As business schools seek innovation, I believe the chances of success can be greatly increased by applying the core principle of transformation that companies have long used to remake their businesses: Engage the entire organization in creating a memorable mission and translate it into an actionable strategy. And, as with the best business transformations, schools should not only respond to market forces; they should respond in ways that matter far beyond the narrow interests of their own institutions.
Engaging the entire organization can be particularly difficult. Faculty members typically make their mark through outstanding individual work and eminent reputations that attract students and expose them to the best of management thought and practice. Rarely, however, have faculty been motivated and mobilized as a collective force to work across the boundaries of their professional interests to reshape an entire institution. This is not tinkering at the margins of a curriculum—their active engagement is critical for creating a coherent, collective mission that is genuinely transformative.
Read the full piece here.