Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Military Officers Who Succeed in the Business World - Profile of Bob Goodman

Most readers of the White Rhino Report are aware that as an executive recruiter and an executive coach, one of my areas of specialization is senior executives who have honed their leadership skills in the military. I have come to realize that in this age in which only a small minority of Americans have direct connection to the military, many stereotypes persist about men and women who have served in the military. These stereotypes can hamper them as they transition to life in the civilian world. It has happened to me so often that it has become a cliche when an HR professional or a company's hiring manger will look at the resume of someone who served with distinction in the military and will then say to me something like: "You'd better explain to your candidate that here in the real world he can't just say 'Jump!' and expect people to obey."

This outmoded image of the rigid, militaristic, command-and-control automaton still persists in the minds of many civilians - even though the most effective military leaders today can only succeed by being collegial and by using persuasion and diplomacy in motivating their troops and in winning hearts and minds of the residents in places where they are deployed. I have come to realize that it is my responsibility to help to eradicate those stereotypes. One of the ways to do so is to present as many stories as possible of men and women who have made successful transitions to leadership in the business world. I am pleased to offer one such story today. Meet my friend, Bob Goodman. Bob graduated from West Point, served in the U.S. Army and retired from the Army as a Major. He has had a successful career in the private sector in consulting and project management.

I asked Bob to tell me a few stories of the ways in which he has been able to apply the leadership lessons he learned in the military to his roles in the business world. Here in Bob's words are some of those stories:

The case studies that follow describe in some detail how I have added significant value to initiatives with my unique blend of problem-solving skills, innovation, leadership, team-building, and hands-on operations improvement experience.

Case Study #1

Problem: Honeywell was experiencing an issue-plagued track and trace system that had been designed and installed to combat counterfeiting, illegal importation, and diversion of its automotive products.

Approach: My role at Honeywell was technical project lead. First, to understand the process and clearly identify the problems, an assessment of the situation was performed. I investigated the solution from end-to-end by walking the production line and distribution center and talking to systems, manufacturing, marketing stakeholders, as well as reviewing available data. One of the key areas discovered was the lack of an integrated view of the system across the various nodes. I then assembled a cross-functional team consisting of software suppliers, hardware suppliers, manufacturing plant electrical and process engineers, IT, supply chain, product marketing leaders from Honeywell. We established a performance baseline of data integrity at only 20%. Using key Six Sigma tools that included a Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA), I lead the team to attack root causes of failure. Integral to this process was a focus on people. I personally communicated the value and purpose of the tracking system and why each associates’ role was important to its success. And most importantly, I sincerely listened to and acted on the shop floor associate voice of the customer (VOC). In just over 60 days, failure modes were remediated and the system became stabilized, reaching over 90% data integrity. We then designed and deployed a successful end-to-end system test, and placed the system back into production.

Result: An over three-fold increase in data integrity and the identification of $1.55 million in lost revenue. Unethical customer business practices of diverting product that were uncovered lead to legal and administrative actions by Honeywell.

Case Study #2

Problem: The US Army and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan had the need for a durable, energy efficient material to insulate temporary structures and to provide increased force protection. Honeywell owned a spray foam technology that had not yet been productized or focused on the Department of Defense market.

Approach: My role at Honeywell Specialty Materials was project lead. During a visit to Fort Belvoir, I observed a large Army tent that had been insulated to provide some relief from harsh desert environmental conditions. I returned to Honeywell and investigated what insulating capabilities existed in-house, and learned of a Honeywell patented durable spray foam technology. I assembled a cross-functional team of business development, marketing and distribution leaders to determine how Honeywell could leverage this technology. I lead the team in developing several innovative spray foam use cases (problem statements, use descriptions, environmental / mechanical specs, and deployment requirements) for climate control, insulation of supplies, improving fighting positions, and counter-IED support. This lead to the design and demonstration of prototyped insulation of temporary structures and counter-IED tactics techniques and procedures.

Result: Honeywell commercialized the spray foam technology as TERRAStrong® and delivered on contracts to Department of Defense for over $66 million of business. This initiative was recognized for its innovation as the recipient of the 2007 Honeywell Chairman’s Award. Our fighting forces have a more energy efficient and safer environment with the deployment of TERRAStrong®.

Case Study #3

Problem: A large global computer chip manufacturer was experiencing counterfeiting of one of its key processor components with an estimated annual revenue loss of $30M as well as potential consumer confidence issues due to faulty counterfeit Ethernet chips.

Approach: My role at while at GenuOne, Inc. was lead project engineer and project manager to its key customer. I deployed to Malaysia to investigate the counterfeiting problem. I assessed key areas of supply chain vulnerability to counterfeiting activity at the customer’s contract manufacturer and in its own Malaysian distribution center. Upon return to the US, I developed and presented a conceptual design of an anti-counterfeiting solution focused securing the existing chip bar code label with covert ink. Upon approval to move forward by the customer, I defined solution technical specifications and formed a partnership with a label manufacturer and with a covert material supplier. Working with manufacturing operations, the solution components were added to the bill of material and were placed into production within 90 days of the trip to Malaysia.

Results: Over 1 million security labels have since been sold annually. An effective business partnership is currently in-place with the label manufacturer. There is an undisclosed amount of savings in reduction of counterfeit activity directed at the customer.

Case Study #4

Problem: Aventis Pharmaceuticals wanted to understand what RFID could mean to their business and to conduct a detailed business case for RFID deployment.

Approach: My role at while at GenuOne, Inc. was RFID Assessment project manager for its customer Aventis. I designed a 10-step business case process which became the project road map. I assembled a team from the client consisting of IT, finance, distribution, manufacturing, security, trade, and marketing global leaders along with key technical advisors from GenuOne. I initiated weekly team and sub-team meetings and status reporting that enabled the client leadership to have visibility of progress and an ability to be proactive on issues and risks. I leveraged a proven process for Alignment of RFID Drivers, Strategies, and Enablers with the client to gain consensus on potential RFID use. I lead the cross-functional team in quantifying the expected process improvements and in identifying the economic benefits for the expected process improvements. On the cost side, I lead the team in develop the hardware, software, implementation, integration, training, and support investments required. The business case was presented to executive management.

Results: Aventis received a quantifiable business case that included several “what-if” scenarios for deployment. The global project team received education / awareness of RFID. The footprint of a global cross-functional deployment team was established. Note: This business case formed the basis of the RFID for Dummies Business Case chapter that I authored for Wiley Publications.

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Bob Goodman is a great example of the kind of innovative leaders that are coming out of today's military. HE lives in the Boston area, and is now available for consulting work or a full-time opportunity that would utilize the skills he enumerated in the stories above. He can be contacted through me at: achase47@gmail.com.


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