2001, Volume 6, Number 3
Leading Every Way:
Wharton Leadership Conference on June 5, 2002
Leadership Quote: Ford Motor
Co.’s Kathleen Ligocki
Lessons in Leadership: From a
Informal Commitment is Critical
A Capacity that Matters:
Leading Groups: Put Your Heart into
Leading every way: Wharton
Leadership Conference on June 5, 2002
Sixth Annual Wharton Leadership Conference, focusing this year on “Leading in
All Directions,” will be held on June 5, 2002 at the Inn at Penn,
can be viewed as a four-pronged capacity – downward, outward, upward, and
inward, and building that capacity is a challenge.
The sixth annual Wharton Leadership Conference is devoted to exchanging
ideas on how leadership for all directions and a supporting culture can best be
Warren Bennis, author of numerous books on
leadership including Leaders,
On Becoming a Leader, and Organizing Genius: The Secrets of
Buckingham, senior VP at the Gallup Organization and co-author of First,
Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently and Now,
Discover Your Strengths.
Jordan, founding director of Vertical S.A., a Chilean organization devoted to
using mountains as a classroom for groups ranging from company mangers to school
children; summited Mt. Everest by the difficult east face in 1992, and led a
Chilean team in 1996 in a successful ascent of K2; author of Everest: The
Challenge of a Dream, K2: The Ultimate Challenge, and articles in the
Wall Street Journal and elsewhere; his ascent of K2 was featured in 2001
in the National Geographic Television series on the Quest for K2.
Douglas K. Smith, management consultant and author
or co-author of The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance
Organization; Make Success Measurable! A Mindbook-Workbook for Setting
Goals and Taking Action; Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then
Ignored, the First Personal Computer; and Taking Charge of Change: 10
Principles for Managing People and Performance.
For information on conference speakers and the
conference agenda, see http://leadership.wharton.upenn.edu/l_change/conferences/conf_060502.shtml
To register online for the conference, go to
Ford Motor Co.’s Kathleen Ligocki
president for Ford’s Canada, Mexico, and North America Strategy, Kathleen
Ligocki alludes to the Wizard of Oz:
“I like the fact that Dorothy started out with a problem,
picked herself up, got herself moving down that yellow brick road and ended up
with a fabulous adventure….
“She had a vision – to go to Oz to find a way home to
Kansas. She wasn’t deterred by
people telling her that she couldn’t achieve her goals and wasn’t afraid to
take risks to get there.”
Beeber, “Executive Writes Own Rules for Ford Turnaround,” Lethbridge
Herald, November 8, 2001.
Colonel James E. Moschgat, Commander of the 12th Operations Group, 12th
Flying Training Wing, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas
“Bill” Crawford certainly was an unimpressive figure, one you could easily
overlook during a hectic day at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Mr. Crawford, as most of us referred to him back in the late 1970s, was
our squadron janitor.
we cadets busied ourselves preparing for academic exams, athletic events,
Saturday morning parades and room inspections, or never-ending leadership
classes, Bill quietly moved about the squadron mopping and buffing floors,
emptying trash cans, cleaning toilets, or just tidying up the mess 100
college-age kids can leave in a dormitory.
Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering
little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, “G’morning!” in his
direction as we hurried off to our daily duties.
Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job-he always kept the
squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed.
Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get
involved. After all, cleaning
toilets was his job, not ours. Maybe
it was is physical appearance that made him disappear into the background.
Bill didn’t move very quickly and, in fact, you could say he even
shuffled a bit, as if he suffered from some sort of injury.
His gray hair and wrinkled face made him appear ancient to a group of
young cadets. And his crooked
smile, well, it looked a little funny. Face
it, Bill was an old man working in a young person’s world.
What did he have to offer us on a personal level?
maybe it was Mr. Crawford’s personality
that rendered him almost invisible to the young people around him. Bill was shy, almost painfully so. He seldom spoke to a cadet unless they addressed him first,
and that didn’t happen very often. Our
janitor always buried himself in his work, moving about with stooped shoulders,
a quiet gait, and an averted gaze. If
he noticed the hustle and bustle of cadet life around him, it was hard to tell.
So, for whatever reason, Bill blended into the woodwork and became just
another fixture around the squadron. The
Academy, one of our nation’s premier leadership laboratories, kept us busy
from dawn till dusk. And Mr.
Crawford...well, he was just a janitor.
changed one fall Saturday afternoon in 1976.
I was reading a book about World War II and the tough Allied ground
campaign in Italy, when I stumbled across an incredible story.
On September 13, 1943, a Private William Crawford from Colorado, assigned
to the 36th Infantry Division, had been involved in some bloody fighting on Hill
424 near Altavilla, Italy. The words on the page leapt out at me: “in the face
of intense and overwhelming hostile fire ... with no regard for personal safety
... on his own initiative, Private
Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions.” It continued,
“for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond
the call of duty, the President of the United States ...”
cow,” I said to my roommate, “you’re not going to believe this, but I
think our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner.” We all knew Mr. Crawford was a
WWII Army vet, but that didn’t keep my friend from looking at me as if I was
some sort of alien being. Nonetheless,
we couldn’t wait to ask Bill about the story on Monday.
We met Mr. Crawford bright and
early Monday and showed him the page in question from the book, anticipation and
doubt in our faces. He starred at
it for a few silent moments and then quietly uttered something like, “Yep,
agape, my roommate and I looked at one another, then at the book, and quickly
back at our janitor. Almost at once
we both stuttered, “Why didn’t you ever tell us about it?”
He slowly replied after some thought,
“That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.”
guess we were all at a loss for words after that.
We had to hurry off to class and Bill, well, he had chores to attend to.
However, after that brief exchange, things were never again the same
around our squadron. Word spread
like wildfire among the cadets that we had a hero in our midst-Mr. Crawford, our
janitor, had won the Medal! Cadets
who had once passed by Bill with hardly a glance, now greeted him with a smile
and a respectful, “Good morning, Mr. Crawford.”
who had before left a mess for the “janitor” to clean up started taking it
upon themselves to put things in order. Most
cadets routinely stopped to talk to Bill throughout the day and we even began
inviting him to our formal squadron functions.
He’d show up dressed in a conservative dark suit and quietly talk to
those who approached him, the only sign of his heroics being a simple blue,
star-spangled lapel pin.
overnight, Bill went from being a simple fixture in our squadron to one of our
teammates. Mr. Crawford changed
too, but you had to look closely to notice the difference.
After that fall day in 1976, he seemed to move with more purpose, his
shoulders didn’t seem to be as stooped, he met our greetings with a direct
gaze and a stronger “good morning” in return, and he flashed his crooked
smile more often. The squadron
gleamed as always, but everyone now seemed to notice it more.
Bill even got to know most of us by our first names, something that
didn’t happen often at the Academy. While
no one ever formally acknowledged the change, I think we became Bill’s cadets
and his squadron.
often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last
time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977.
As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and
simply said, “Good luck, young man.” With
that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed.
Mr. Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in
his native Colorado where he resides today, one of four Medal of Honor winners
living in a small town.
wise person once said, “It’s not life that’s important, but those you meet
along the way that make the difference.” Bill was one who made a difference
for me. While I haven’t seen Mr.
Crawford in over twenty years, he’d probably be surprised to know I
think of him often. Bill Crawford,
our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons.
Here are ten I’d like to share with you.
Be Cautious of Labels.
you place on people may define your relationship to them and bound their
potential. Sadly, and for a long
time, we labeled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more.
Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, “Hey, he’s
just an Airman.” Likewise,
don’t tolerate the O-1, who says, “I can’t do that, I’m just a
Everyone Deserves Respect. Because
we hung the “janitor” label on Mr. Crawford, we often wrongly treated him
with less respect than others around us. He deserved much more, and not just
because he was a Medal of Honor winner. Bill deserved respect because he was a
janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team.
Courtesy Makes a Difference. Be
courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or position. Military
customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a team. When
our daily words to Mr. Crawford turned from perfunctory “hellos” to
heartfelt greetings, his demeanor and personality outwardly changed.
It made a difference for all of us.
Take Time to Know Your People. Life
in the military is hectic, but that’s no excuse for not knowing the people you
work for and with. For years a hero
walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it.
Who are the heroes that walk in your midst?
Anyone Can Be a Hero. Mr.
Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard definition of a hero.
Moreover, he was just a private on the day he won his Medal.
Don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who
rises to the occasion when duty calls. On
the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are
down, but don’t ignore the rest of the team.
Today’s rookie could and should be tomorrow’s superstar.
Leaders Should Be Humble. Most
modern day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you
calibrate your “hero meter” on today’s athletic fields.
End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we’ve come to
expect from sports greats. Not Mr.
Crawford-he was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be
well-served to do the same.
Life Won’t Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve.
We in the military work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right?
However, sometimes you just have to persevere, even when accolades
don’t come your way. Perhaps you weren’t nominated for junior officer or
airman of the quarter as you thought you should - don’t let that stop you.
Don’t pursue glory; pursue excellence.
Private Bill Crawford didn’t pursue glory; he did his duty and then
swept floors for a living. No job is beneath a Leader.
If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and
smile, is there a job beneath your dignity?
Think about it.
Pursue Excellence. No matter
what task life hands you, do it well. Dr. Martin Luther King
said, “If life makes you a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper
you can be.” Mr. Crawford modeled that philosophy and helped make our
dormitory area a home.
Life is a Leadership Laboratory. All
too often we look to some school or PME class to teach us about leadership when,
in fact, life is a leadership laboratory. Those
you meet everyday will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to stop,
look and listen. I spent four years
at the Air Force Academy, took dozens of classes, read hundreds of books, and
met thousands of great people. I
gleaned leadership skills from all of them, but one of the people I remember
most is Mr. Bill Crawford and the lessons he unknowingly taught.
Don’t miss your opportunity to learn.
Crawford was a janitor. However, he
was also a teacher, friend, role model and one great American hero.
Thanks, Mr. Crawford, for some valuable leadership lessons.
Pyeatt, Executive Director of the National Guard Association of Texas, comments:
And now, for the “rest of the story”:
Pvt William John Crawford was a platoon scout for 3rd Platoon of Company
L 1 42nd Regiment 36th Division (Texas National Guard) and won the Medal Of
Honor for his actions on Hill 424, just 4 days after the invasion at Salerno.
Hill 424, Pvt Crawford took out 3 enemy machine guns before darkness fell,
halting the platoon’s advance. Pvt
Crawford could not be found and was assumed dead.
The request for his MOH was quickly approved.
Major General Terry Allen presented the posthumous MOH to Bill
Crawford’s father, George, on 11 May 1944 in Camp (now Fort) Carson, near
Pueblo. Nearly two months after that, it was learned that Pvt
Crawford was alive in a POW camp in Germany.
During his captivity, a German guard clubbed him with his rifle.
Bill overpowered him, took the rifle away, and beat the guard
unconscious. A German doctor’s
testimony saved him from severe punishment, perhaps death.
To stay ahead of the advancing Russian army, the prisoners were marched
500 miles in 52 days in the middle of the German winter, subsisting on one
potato a day. An allied tank column
liberated the camp in the spring of 1945, and Pvt Crawford took his first hot
shower in 18 months on VE Day. Pvt Crawford stayed in the army before retiring
as a MSG and becoming a janitor. In
1984, President Ronald Reagan officially presented the MOH to Bill Crawford.
Crawford passed away in 2000. He is
the only U.S. Army veteran and sole Medal of Honor winner to be buried in the
cemetery of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Note: Co. James Moschgat can be
contacted at email@example.com.
A profile of William Crawford is available at http://www.homeofheroes.com/profiles/profiles_crawford.html,
and his Medal of Honor citation can be found at www.army.mil/cmh-pg/mohiia1.htm.
Mentoring Programs: Informal
Commitment is Critical
By John Joseph, Wharton Center for Leadership and Change
Does your company have a mentoring program?
If not, it may be time to start one.
Many companies are turning to formal mentoring programs or encouraging
senior managers to informally seek out and counsel less experienced protégés.
The results include better career planning among managers, less stress
during periods of change, and faster learning in new assignments.
Academic research reveals that individuals that experience
strong mentoring relationships achieve more promotions and greater income, and
are most satisfied with their work. Effective
mentors provide their protégés with confidence-building support, broadened
contacts, and exposure to upper management.
Mentors can also provide a powerful role model and furnish invaluable
career advice, all of which build a protégé’s sense of competence and
Mentors generally benefit too: They gain personal satisfaction from helping others, a new
found respect for their own capabilities, and a chance to reflect on their own
Saturn, the auto manufacturer, actively encourages informal
mentoring but has a formal program in place as well. For the formal program, Saturn recruits managers who have
been especially successful in balancing their personal and professional lives,
leading teams, and managing conflict. The
company then links these veteran managers with less experienced managers who are
committed to building their skill set.
At Johnson & Johnson, mentoring is voluntary at some
operating companies and formal at others. Regardless
of formality, the key factor is whether the mentor is strongly committed.
When so, protégés receive, among other benefits, broader exposure to
key developmental assignments.
Formal mentorships often last less than a year, while
informal relationships often persist for many years, and the latter are less
likely to suffer from personal incompatibilities and waning commitment.
Formal mentoring programs should thus be seen as a useful supplement to
– rather than a replacement for –informal mentoring.
Formal mentoring initiatives tend to work best when they follow the
principles implicit in informal programs, including the right of both mentors
and protégés to pick their own counterparts.
The evidence also points to the value of encouraging managers to seek out
multiple mentors in diverse functions and varying levels of the organization.
Note: John Joseph can be contacted at John.Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org.
a Capacity that Matters: Management
Rerup, “‘Houston We Have a Problem’: Anticipation and Improvisation as
Sources of Organizational Resilience,” Comportamento Organizacional e
Gestao (Vol. 7, No. 1, 2001), pp. 27-44.
Leading Groups: Put Your
Heart into It
By Mark Davidson, Wharton Leadership Ventures
I’ve worked for two Fortune 500 companies and a
Big-5 consulting firm, started two new business ventures, I’m presently on the
boards of two multi-million dollar non-profit organizations – and I’m
continually surprised at how much valuable time is wasted in disorganized
meetings and on fuzzy agendas designed by ineffective leaders.
Recently I had an opportunity to participate in a week-long
learning program entitled Group Leadership Intensive (GLI), and it has helped me
appreciate how better to run meetings, teams, and agendas.
GLI provided us participants with an opportunity to test different
leadership styles with groups facing crisis and ambiguity.
It encouraged us to think beyond stereotypes, understand individuals, and
clarify our goals. It pressed us to
ask the right questions at the right time, know when to take charge and when to
get out of the way, and tap into the potential of everybody on the team.
I left with greater resolve to focus on six concepts in
leading any group or launching any agenda: