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Unformatted text preview: Communication Anything else unusual about how you run the business? Answered by Joseph Plumeri , Willis Group I do videos for pitches to prospects. The client says gee, the guy takes the time to say hello. I get the names of everybody in advance, and say, Hi, how are you, and I tell them about Willis. It gives you an edge. There's no downside. What I'm trying to say is that little things are big deals. They are a major ingredient in building a great company. Is it time consuming? Do I have to fly a lot? Yes, about 400,000 miles a year. But that's what you've got to do. If you think this is what it takes to accomplish your vision of what a company should be, then you've got to choose. We all make choices. I talk a lot about the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. You really only have two choices in life. And I'd rather have the pain of discipline than feel the regret, which is much more of a terrible feeling to me. Somebody has to be able to get people to believe and understand what the choices are that become part of that vision. Jim Valvano at North Carolina State used to have the cutting-down-the-nets ceremony at the beginning of every season so people could feel what it was like to win the NCAA title. It's the same thing. If you want to feel this way, then this is what we've got to do. This is what we've got to do every day. The same thing applies in business, and somebody has to be the catalyst. This answer originally appeared in On Passion and Playing in Traffic » How did you learn to do that? Answered by Drew Gilpin Faust , Harvard University When I came to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, one of the things that I found most helpful and interesting about my job was how many people there were all over Harvard University who wanted to help. There’s one alum who was an expert in turnarounds, and so I asked him, "What should I do?" He said, "One lesson about change in any organization — communicate, communicate, communicate." So I still think about that all the time, and the scale of communication from the president’s office is a very much more elaborate one. It’s a bigger scale. You’ve got to communicate in different ways. I also spent a lot of time talking with people at the business school. Kim Clark, who was the business school dean at that time, was very helpful. The fundamental principle of Kim Clark’s advice, though, could be summed up in, "Invest in people, recognize that you are in the people business and you want to try to support people and make people able to do their best." For example, one of the things he was a very big to try to support people and make people able to do their best....
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course CSR 309 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Purdue University.
- Fall '08