Last weekend the Challenge4Charity student club hosted a friendly competition between student groups, and faculty. It was a delightful day spent in friendly competition between brands to raise funds for a worthy cause. Here are some photos of the event. We competed in basketball, dodgeball, ping-pong, and a beanbag toss.

 

While the entire day was enjoyable, the highlight was that the old guys led by starting center Brad Livingstone, dodgeball master Shelby Livingstone, and bean bag toss champions Paul Gift and Joe Hahn brought home the hardware. Better luck to the students next year as they try to recapture the glory. I’m just saying… they better bring their “A game” because it got a year to prepare.

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One of the highlights of our fall each year is the day we break out the Beach-themed holiday decorations and spruce up the lobby with the festive lights of the holidays. We got a headstart this year by putting it up the week before Thanksgiving…

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Congratulations to our FT Students Brett, Hannah, Kamika, and Matty for their third place finish in the Baylor Case Competition!

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Congratulations to all those who engaged in the 2010 Values-Centered Leadership Lab Case Competition.  The First Place Team (and winners of a good sized cash prize!)…

  • Royce Kunze
  • Robert Bikel
  • Jihan Quail

Congratulations!  Enjoy your winnings and keep up the good work!

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Graziadio Ethics case team

Business schools tend to focus their energies on a few core competencies to establish their unique position in the market.  For instance, Wharton=finance, Harvard=strategic leadership, and so on…

At the Graziadio School we have traditionally focused on ethics and values.  Our mission is to “develop values-centered leaders and advance responsible business practice”, so this competency makes sense for us.

One recent accomplishment in a long history of achievement in this regard is our outstanding performance in the premier US Business Ethics Case Competition over the past few years.  This weekend is the 5th annual Business Ethics Case Competition at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University.  Over the past few years we have won, or placed in the top-3 teams every year.

As our team prepares to leave for Waco tomorrow, I wish them the best of luck.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with several of them and am confident that they will continue the winning tradition, and maintain our distinction as a school of business committed to “a higher purpose for business practice than the exclusive pursuit of shareholder wealth.

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football__2_

You’ve heard the old adage that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?  Current research on traumatic head injury seems to undermine that assumption.

Several recent studies have argued that repetitive sub-concussive blows can lead to degenerative brain functioning, or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).  CTE has often been associated with those whose livelihood requires repetitive moderate head trauma.  In fact, CTE was formerly known as dimentia pugilistica for the boxers, or pugilists, who suffered from the disease.  If you’ve seen “the greatest of all time”, Mohammed Ali anytime over the past 15 years you understand the impact of CTE.  Even the most graceful, athletic, and articulate performers can find their quality of life dramatically deteriorated at an early age due to the effect of repetitive moderate (e.g.., sub-concussive) blows.

The challenge of addressing this tragedy is that CTE is a cumulative effect of numerous (or perhaps innumerable) mild-to-moderate traumatic incidents.  There is no single event to avoid or be on guard for.  Rather, it is the litany of impacts that occur during the course of a career that lead to long-term, irrecoverable loss of function, vitality, and ability.

That is why the NFL is facing such a challenge in handling the “helmet-to-helmet” collisions.  They have to change the social and economic incentives of their business so players rank long-term health above the short-term rewards of being featured on the ESPN “hit-reel”.

What does all of this have to do with business, technology, & higher ed?

I believe many of us in higher ed and technology are suffering the effects of chronic sub-concussive blows accumulated during the past 50-years of rapid growth, infrastructure expansion, and tuition increases.  Are any of these impacts familiar to your experience?

  • At the time, the additional debt required to complete a “needed” renovation of our facilities seemed like a necessary cost of doing business.  Now that cash is tight those debt payments keep us focused on infrastructure and support costs rather than strategic initiatives.
  • Market forces have lead many to believe that enrollment growth is a “natural” end that can lead to ever-increasing revenues and sustainable double-digit growth.  These assumptions have left us with unrealistic expectations that may cause us to choose between quantity and quality.
  • Poor IT governance through the boom years left many firms facing the daunting task of choosing which rogue systems to eliminate, which to incorporate into enterprise systems, and which to pray continue working without creating additional costs.

None of these impacts by alone are concussive.  That is… alone they can not knock us “out of the game” for any length of time.  Sure, we may need a little breather here or there, but alone they are just a part of the game.  Like the college linebacker who continues to make tackles head-first without regard to the impact of repetitive minor blows, we have lumbered straight ahead through these minor challenges.

Perhaps now is a good time for an audit… what are some of the sub-concussive blows that are affecting you today?  What choices of the past 5-10 years had a relatively minor impact at the time, but are now creating a cumulative degenerative effect on your ability to put points on the board?  Where are you beginning to feel shackled by choices of the past that seem to prohibit your effectiveness today?

Once you’ve identified a few of these issues, take a few hours for contingency planning.  What can you do today to release some of the pressure these choices have created?  How can you lay the foundation for a better future?

It may be true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… but only if you learn from it and stop doing it before it DOES kill you!

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It's finally fall break!

All together now…

inhale…

exhale…

repeat.

I imagine that you, like me, are still trying to catch your breath after these last seven weeks. As the first session of the fall semester comes to a close we can take a few days to catch our breath (and catch up on our sleep!).

I want to grab your attention before you head off for a week of decompression and we start all over again on Oct. 25.

First, congratulations to you.  You’ve made it through the hardest days of the year.  In my eight years of graduate school I generally found that the first few weeks of fall were the most difficult. Those first few weeks were characterized by transitions… from work to school, from “home” to campus, and from having a life to just recalling the good old days.  I assure you, it gets better.  As each week passes you are likely to find it easier to balance the many competing demands of graduate school.

There are a few items I need to update you on as we move into the second session of classes…

  • Congratulations to Dr. Hahn! Congratulations to Dr. Joe Hahn, Asst. Professor of Decision Sciences for winning the University’s highest teaching award, the Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence.  Dr. Hahn received the award at the University Faculty Conference on Friday, Oct. 8, 2010.  All those who have studied under, or worked alongside, Dr. Hahn realize this is well-deserved accomplishment.
  • Are you up for the Challenge? One of our student clubs, C4C (Challenge for Charity), hosts a variety of activities designed to raise money for charity. This year, my office is sponsoring a year-long challenge to raise $20,000 or 1000 hours of volunteer work from our student body. If you all rise to this challenge, I will reward you with an end of year celebration!  Several proposals for the celebration have been put forth… a faculty dunk tank, an In-n-Out truck, or a karaoke dinner party. I’m not sure of the details, but I’ll throw a big end-of-year-party if we hit this milestone.  Watch a video announcement of the challenge here – http://bit.ly/9zcP2u

  • Emerging Leaders: As you may know, every year we select a group of 15-20 “Emerging Leaders” who are recognized by classmates, faculty, and the Alumni/Career staff as opinion leaders in the first-year class.  We will begin the nomination process for this year’s class of Emerging Leaders within the next few weeks.  Stay tuned for more info soon…
  • The best internships are going fast… I know it’s only October, but many large firms hire their summer interns in November to January.  You should be spending a few hours every week working your connections and strengthening your resume to land that ideal internship.  Use GTO, talk to colleagues, and attend alumni mixers…. (you can find a complete list of alumni events here http://bschool.pepperdine.edu/alumni/events/ , or career specific events here http://bschool.pepperdine.edu/career/events/).  Landing an internship or “real” job should be “job one” for every business graduate student.  As our benefactor, George Graziadio, was fond of saying, “Today, not tomorrow”.

Finally, I’d like to remind you that you are well on your way to becoming a “master” of business.  The content you are learning, the colleagues you are working with, and the connections you are making today will play a vital part in your future.  Embrace each opportunity that this special place provides to master the leader in you.

Also available at: http://bit.ly/9T9qJg

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A few months ago I grew weary of a short-lived experiment using Windows Live Spaces.  While it had some initial promise… after all it brought together a full suite of cloud-based services that are quite useful, if not market leaders… it simply never did it for me. The interface was clunky, the tools were not intuitive, and it still seemed to be designed best for an installed world, not SAAS.

Based on my own experiences, and the fact that there were no plans for a similar “Bing Spaces” after they phased out Windows Live, I figured time was running out for the Spaces project.

Today I received word that the whole experiment is shutting down… They’ve partnered with WordPress to migrate all the existing customers over to WP and will cease operations on the Spaces project in March.

RIP, Windows Live Spaces.

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Bagel Time…

Originally uploaded by DrWilliamsIsIn


A big THANK YOU to Diane Singel, Carrie Gilchrist and the rest of the Full-Time Programs staff for providing bagels, coffee, and OJ to everyone this morning as we move into finals week.

Also, props to Dr. Paul Pinckley for spending the morning visiting with students, staff, and faculty.

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GCAL

As I blogged about before, I’ve spent most of the last 15-months using a completely cloud-based computing platform.  It was a wonderful experience that ended abruptly in July when I transitioned into a new role at work.  Because the University supports MS Exchange, most of my co-workers are on Outlook and I simply found it was too frustrating for them if my calendar wasn’t available via Outlook.  So I switched back to Outlook and spend the last few months assessing it’s utility and efficiency.  I’ve formally settled on my assessment of Outlook in my organization.

I want to speak slowly and clearly here so I’m not misunderstood… Outlook sucks.  Here are the top things I hate about Outlook…

  • Resource hog: When I have Outlook open, it absorbs a noticeable chunk of my computing resources…memory, processes, and disk space.  It is so bad that I find it difficult to leave my email open all day in the background.
  • slow, Slow, SLOW!: There are two significant ways that Outlooks slows down.  First, it takes several minutes to open up in the morning.  I’ll start Outlook, and then move on to other activities for several minutes while the software opens up, loads the inbox(es), and syncs across all my identities.  This often takes 2-3 minutes.  It also tends to slow down throughout the day if I leave it open.  So every few hours I find that I have to shut the app down and restart it to free up resources and speed up performance.  Compare this to Google Apps/GMAIL that opens immediately from any browser at any location.
  • Each PC requires setup: The biggest pain with Outlook was that it requires being installed and setup on every PC I routinely use (that’s somewhere between 4-6 PC’s every week).  That’s really inconvenient if I’m at the library or PC lab and want to check my email/calendar.  Again, compare this to GMAIL/GApps that I can access from any PC anywhere on the net.
  • Limited utilization of collaborative capabilities: Truthfully, Outlook is awesome.  I’ve designed and developed a number of client solutions in Outlook that automate workflow, create efficiencies, and save time & money for users and organizations.  These apps, however, require users to utilize a good bit more of the Outlook’s features than most organizations are even aware of.  I find it’s an uphill challenge to get most users to use the “shared calendar” feature, let alone the shared tasks, meeting requests, and custom forms.  Due to network externalities, these value-adding features are essentially useless without broad organizational adoption.  Thus, in my experience, Outlook is essentially an email + calendar app in practice.  That’s a shame… it’s like using a Maserati to commute work in bad traffic.  You get all the negative impacts of Outlook without the collaborative features it offers.
  • Limited integration with smart phone: I’ve got my smartphone setup to access my exchange account. It works.  I can read my mail.  But all of the other features of Outlook are essentially useless from my phone.  I can’t access my tasks or notes from my phone.  This severally limits the mobile utility of Outlook.  I can still check my mail, but I can’t be fully productive.

Given these frustrations, I was delighted a few weeks ago when I discovered that the new Google Calendar Sync was tweaked to work with GApps for Domains (e.g., google.pepperdine.edu).  Now, I can go back to using GApps/Gmail and my assistant can continue to access/modify my calendar in Outlook.

There is only one problem with this approach, and it’s related to point 3 above.  Since Outlook is PC/Install based, the Google Calendar Sync only works on PC’s that are set up with the appropriate Outlook profile.  To avoid redundancies, I’ve decided NOT to install the Sync app on more than one PC.  That means my Outlook/Google calendar can only sync when my office laptop is on and connected to the Internet.  That works most of the time, but when I travel, I leave my office laptop at work and thus have no real visibility into my most up-to-date calendar without connecting via Remote Access to the Outlook calendar my assistant keeps.  A bit of a pain, but a compromise I’m more than happy with on balance.

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