All posts by John Psarouthakis

drjohn11aDr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com, Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, publisher of www.GavdosPress.com and Founder and former CEO, JP Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation

Dynamic Business Growth


Dr.  John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor,
Founder and former Chairman-JP Industries Inc and JPE Inc as well as Founder and Managing Director of JP Management Center, llc.

In the world of business nothing ever stays the same. Today’s competitive advantage may be copied by competitors and rendered useless tomorrow. Developing new products and entering new markets are two ways to maintain a competitive edge. But in a fast-paced market, imitators can often quickly follow: even patented items are difficult to defend in a global market. The globalization of commerce has stimulated a shift in thinking about competitive advantage. In many industries a competitive position can come from underlined organizational abilities, in others it could come up from a strategy model of financing, acquisitions, licensing, geographic expansion, or a mathematical model that enables you to integrate several of the above components of growth.

Dynamics:

A business can be considered as a dynamic organism that reacts or acts on its environment in accordance to preset but also changing parameters that affect performance in direct relation to the simulation and controls incorporated in it. Being a dynamic organism / system it also means that its overall performance is a multiplicative function and not a summation function as it has been considered by classical growth models. These multiplicative functional relationships will be a significant part of the content of this seminar / workshop.

Continue reading Dynamic Business Growth

“Changing Relationships: The City (Society) and the University” —A Path to the Future—

Dr. JohnPsarouthakis,
Executive Editor The Business Thinker., Internet magazine and Founder and Managing Director of JP-Management Center, LLC.

 

This is a posting of an invited seminar I gave at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Acknowledgements
Following are the Institutions and Persons with whom I have had discussions and worked with in committees and advisory boards over the years on the topic of today’s discussion. Preparing this presentation I have borrowed liberally from Dr. Charles (Chuck) Vest’s writings:

Univ. of Michigan: James Duderstadt: President; Lee Bollinger: President (currently President of Columbia University): Mary Sue Colman: current President; Gilbert Whittaker: Dean, Provost; B. J. White: Dean and acting President (also President of university of Illinois); Panos Papalambros: Department head (engineering); Robert Boyland: Dean School of Music, Theater and dance; Karen Wolff: Dean of School of Music, Theater and dance.

MIT: Paul Gray: former, Dean, Provost, President, Chairman Charles (Chuck) Vest: President, Chairman, American Association of Engineers Warren Rohsenow: Department Head, Engineering Nam Suh: Department Head, Engineering, President, Technology Institute of S. Korea George Hatsopoulos: Sr. Lecturer, Founder and CEO, Thermo Electron Corporation

Carnegie Mellon University: Richard Cyert: Dean, President, Hebert Simon, Professor (several fields), Nobel Prize Laulreate-Economics, Bernard Goldsmith: Associate Dean

Eastern Michigan University: John Porter: President; Stewart (Stu) Tubbs: Dean; David Mielke, Dean

Michigan State UM., Peter McPherson, president

City of Ann Arbor Mayors, James Stephenson, Gerald Jernigan, Ingrid Sheldon

State of Michigan: Governors: James Blanchard, John Engler, Speaker: Gary Owen

Kellogg FoundationJohn Daly, Board Member, Corp. CEO 

PAIDEIA FoundationAntigoni Kefalogiannis, Director 

Industrial Technology InstituteBoard Members 

Michigan Manufacturers Association: Board members 

And Several Mayors, and school Superintendents where JP Industries and JPE had facilities were located (USA, UK, Europe, Mexico, Canada, and Japan)

PRESENTATION
Some Thoughts
The New Era of Humanities,
Arts and Social Sciences
New Innovation Systems  Will Come From New Partnerships Leadership
Future Settings for Leadership
Looking ahead on Leadership
A Vision for the “University”
Conclusions

SOME THOUGHTS
Today, we find ourselves in a fast-paced, globally-interconnected, knowledge-driven times. This has its own instabilities and dangers, but also is rich in promise and opportunity driven by an unprecedented acceleration of knowledge, understanding, and technology, with ever more open national borders. As the information and genetic revolutions gather momentum, and great environmental challenges loom ever larger, society will, as always, look to university graduates, faculty, and staff for fundamental research, and for creative understanding and application of the knowledge they generate and engaging business, industry, governments, and other social institutions in new endeavors of learning, research, and problem solving. This will be an important element of the leading universities of the future. It is an exciting time for universities.

The New Era of Humanities
Our world has a rapidly expanding population, an economy that increasingly is integrated on a global scale, a world environment faced by a variety of threats and disparate cultural values. In order to live and work successfully in such a world, individuals, organizations, institutions, and nations must work together.

We have entered an era in which knowledge and the people skilled in its use are the key elements of sustainable growth in the complex environment we live in:It is an era of intense international competition.

Corporations are continually changing, merging, and dividing.
Employment is in flux.
Major immigration waves are in motion
Time scales are reduced.

In such times, we will succeed by our knowledge and wits rather than by our power and natural resources.

Key dominant technologies in times ahead–things like:

•wireless networks

•all-optical networks

•intelligent software

•high-speed rail

•new spacecraft concepts

•gene therapy

•artificial organs

•self-assembling materials

•microscopic machinery

•high-temperature superconductivity

•industrial ecology

•sustainable agriculture

•the information economy.

will shape the longevity and the quality of life we will have.

Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

The role of the humanities, arts, and social sciences has expanded in recognition that these are essential intellectual and cultural components of the creative spirit and ethos of education and scholarship at universities and particularly at technological institutes such as MIT. The humanities and social science faculty have played leadership roles in extending the global reach of many of the programs and in broadening the perspectives and expertise needed to engineer, manage, and set policy. MIT’s world-renowned strengths in economics and linguistics continues to build and evolve. Writing and the performing arts have continually expanded their importance and, in addition, have played a notable role in developing an appreciation of the role of diversity in living and learning. The visual arts have evolved in new directions and have expanded their strength and centrality in our institutions.

New Innovation Systems Will Come From New Partnerships

We need to strengthen the relationship systems that involve active partnerships with the communities. One way to do so is for universities to establish strong partnerships with industry as well as with other organizations—non profit foundations for example. An example is MIT’s Leaders for Manufacturing Program. This is a program in which a group of American industries have joined with MIT to build research and educational programs that are providing new approaches to the practice of manufacturing while preparing students who have both the technical and managerial expertise to lead tomorrow’s manufacturing industries. Inventing more such partnerships will allow us to capture the benefits of new ideas on the horizon. The University of Michigan has organized similar activities and centers of excellence.Many emerging areas of research hold real promise for significant economic and social benefit. Examples are the brain and cognitive sciences, information technology, environmental technology, and biotechnology.In the brain and cognitive sciences, for example, we can look forward to the day when advances in these fields will offer respite and even cures for mental illnesses, in much the same way that research in molecular biology has led to dramatic progress in the fight against a host of physical diseases. Such advances will provide the real path to reducing the social and economic costs of health care.Fulfilling these promises requires support of the research that takes place in universities, to be sure, but it also requires the participation of industry in transferring the research results from the laboratory to the economy. Long term success also requires active involvement and appropriate support for industry and academia from our state government. In sum, new partnerships in new fields hold the key to our economic vitality.

Leadership

The future will demand new leaders -leaders with a deep understanding of science and engineering who possess the ability, values, and desire to apply their knowledge wisely and creatively to the betterment of humankind

Let me begin my observations on leadership with a brief rundown of some of the varied expectations of a university president these days.

He or she should be a: scholar, politician, fund-raiser, budget cutter, salary-raiser, father confessor, negotiator, diplomat, parental substitute, guarantor of safety, provider of wholesome and tasty dorm meals, dedicated researcher, conservator of age-old values, politically correct and hip leader, director of big-time athletics, witty spokesperson to the press, expert on all things, humble servant, charismatic leader, eloquent speaker, sophisticated host, example of physical fitness, well-read, scientist, historian, literary devotee, arbiter of musical taste, expert on waste disposal, investment guru, friend of the city council, towering public figure, and “just one of the guys.“ Perhaps, such a person might not be expected to walk on…..water!

But we are not here today to discuss the roles of university presidents, although that list does reflect some of the issues about the nature of leadership in today’s World.

Today’s theme is very timely. However, as we look at the state of the developed world, there is no question that strong and wise leadership of the universities will be needed.

But there are some other questions that we must ask:

Are universities exercising the leadership that are capable of?

Are the students being prepared to be leaders?

Leadership takes many forms. Namely organizational leaders: people who lead companies, banks, universities, government organizations, major political entities, and so forth. We tend to talk about who works for whom. This certainly is one definition of leadership, but let us explore some other aspects as well.

Components of Leadership

These components of leadership are: ideas, vision, motivation, and command. These have been necessary conditions of leadership. I do not know whether they are sufficient today…or tomorrow.

Let me begin with a few words about each of these components, and then explore the conditions which will call for leadership in the future.

Ideas may come from the leader; they may come from within the organization; or they may come from external sources. They may come from analysis; they may come from intuitive understanding; they may be new or old, but understanding their significance, their relevance, and their potential application are critical. Ideas are essential.

Visionis an amorphous thing. Most who study leadership believe that it is very important. It may originate in the leader, or it can be collectively established. I suspect that the former is more prevalent. Vision usually should be simple to articulate and to translate into goals.

Motivation seems that is made possible by innate human qualities such as charisma, eloquence, and energy.

Finally, the power to command usually is possible only in clearly understood, hierarchical organizations. The prime example, of course, is the military .

Future Settings for Leadership

What will be the societal and organizational nature of leadership in the future? Looking ahead, the world is growing with contrasts and complexity. Are world’s people coming to understand our common stake in the global environment and the global economy. There is a terrifying resurgence of nationalist and ethnic conflict in many countries. We are experiencing both scientific progress and economic advancement at the same time that there is growing stratification of wealth and divisions among peoples–both between nations, and within nations, but hopefully not between cultures.Inspitehowever, the trend seems to be toward more democratic, less hierarchical institutions–particularly as individuals gain greater access to advanced communications technologies and knowledge–and the information, organizing abilities, and power that such access provides.In a world challenged by issues of such growing magnitude and complexity, it will be increasingly important for people to be able to communicate effectively and freely, and to work together to integrate the efforts of many to achieve common goals. This will be even more important, and more challenging, as our institutions come to terms with the fact that our society, and our future, depend on the full participation of people from the full spectrum of cultural and racial backgrounds. So group work, or team work, will be increasingly important and on the international scale.

Looking ahead on Leadership 

Ideas will become more important, especially with wide-spread, instantaneous communications to propagate them. The more democratic the organization, the more important sound ideas will become. Visionwill become more important, insofar as it leads to organizing principles, which will be badly needed as organizations flatten and become more democratic, or at least more accepting of broad dialogue. Motivationwill remain important, but will be derived more from group spirit and consensus, and less from individual leaders than in the past. The power to command will be a less viable option for leaders in more democratic, “flatter” organizations. An interesting question will be the nature or necessity of command in distributed and virtual organizations. Lead Universities, indeed, have been responsible for some of the most far-reaching and profound changes in our society.

The need for leaders to solve the complex problems of the modern world requires a new paradigm for the research university itself -one in which industry, academia, governments and other institutions work together in effective partnership. For example, the quality of our environment, the sustainability of economies, and the efficient use of our material and energy resources, will depend upon sound scientific and engineering knowledge leading to action by all partners.The flow of information will be instantaneous and ubiquitous, as the technology, applications, and benefits of computer, information, and intelligence sciences evolve, expand, and become more central to human activities.Information technology will dramatically alter learning and working. Many faculty are changing their teaching role from one of lecturing to one of shaping and guiding the use of electronically-available information. Our security and quality of life will require that all people work together to form a coherent, productive society, built on common values as well as rich diversity. This will not occur unless it is fostered within our schools and universities.Finally, the future will demand indeed leaderswith a deep understanding of science and engineering who possess the ability, values, and desire to apply their knowledge wisely and creatively to the betterment of our societies.

There is a growing body of research on qualities other than intelligence that appear to be critical to an individual’s success and particularly for a leader. For example, persons who have excelled in rapport, empathy, cooperation, persuasion, and the ability to build consensus are regarded as those with great potential for effective leadership.

I believe that these observations have implications as well for the qualities of leadership that will be needed in our other institutions, governmental organizations, and society.

Looking to the Future

We stand at the brink of many new scientific adventures. Understanding the brain and the mind, for instance, will be one of the most profound and productive scientific ventures in the years to come -one that will have great implications for maximizing human potential and for living long and living well.The strength of economies, regions, and nations will be determined in large measure by technological and organizational innovation. This innovation must be built upon a foundation of new research in science, engineering, and management and communicating / transferring all that effectively to our societies.Humankind’s advances will depend increasingly on new integrative approaches to complex systems, problems, and structures. Design, synthesis, and synergy across traditional disciplinary boundaries will be essential elements of both education and research. Engineering, for example, will provide instruments and techniques to facilitate the rapid advancement of the biological and physical sciences. Biology and physics, in turn, will create revolutionary new approaches to engineering and production, as well as to health care.Research universities will grow in importance as the primary source of fundamental research and scholarship in the United States and the developed world.

A Vision for the “University”

Attract the best and brightest students and faculty and support them with a stimulating and effective living and learning environment;-Be committed to excellence, yet thrive on change;-Be steeped in fundamental scientific inquiry, yet lead the new, integrative modes of scholarship, learning, and action;-Be dedicated to scholarship, inquiry, and criticism, yet adept at bringing together industry, government, and academe to explore and solve major problems facing the world;-Recognize that its educational, scholarly, and leadership goals, as well as the quality and effectiveness of its intellectual dialogue, require the continued presence and engagement of strong programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences;-Be dedicated to expanding technological and organizational capabilities, yet be concerned with exploration of attendant moral and ethical issues; and-serve our nations first and foremost, yet recognize that to do so now requires substantial global engagement and cooperation as well as competition. These, I believe, are the essential goals that will enable a top U to be the quintessential university for this century.

CONCLUSIONS 

As our natural world evolves, and as societies continue to change and grow, it will be an ongoing challenge to achieve and maintain a sustainable balance across the entire planet. There will be no single or simple response to the challenges to achieving a sustainable economic growth while maintaining a desirable quality of life. The University’s work is never complete. To quote Vannevar Bush, a very influential public policy intellectual of the ‘40’s and ‘50’s, they forever seek the endless frontier.

Small Business Growth

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor

The Business Thinker. LLC Internet magazine and Founder and Managing Director of JP-Management Center, LLC.

A Lecture Given at Hillsdale College

some long time ago that I believe is relevant today

The subject was

Small Business Growth

I am pleased to be at Hillsdale College for many reasons not the least of which is that the subject of this talk seems particularly appropriate. I am concerned about the factors that lead to employment growth, something that should be of vital interest to every student. So often discussion about employment or business focuses on the largest companies. Yet I think that we have not looked at the relationship of company size to employment growth and value to the society as a whole. I’m sure you were all pleased to see that Money magazine ranked Hillsdale College  among U.S. colleges and universities as a best value. One can raise the question of whether Hillsdale College is a best value for its size or does its size make it a best value. This relationship of size to value is an important one that is often distorted by mythology and misperceptions.

“Small business is the economic backbone of the nation.” “Small businesses are the only ones that are creating jobs in our economy,” “The future belongs to the person working at home connected to the outside world with a modem, computer, fax machine and a cellular telephone.” If all this has a familiar sound to it, it should. The last few years have produced endless streams of prose about small business and the new economy. Most of it glorifying the role of small business. Yet, for all the discussion, the concept of small business is more of an ideological construct than an economic or analytic one. One could argue that the ideological pull of small business is not a new phenomenon but a cultural mainstay of American life.

Continue reading Small Business Growth

Managing Growth

PREPARING YOURSELF FOR MANAGING GROWTH

How do you manage a growing company? What can you learn from other CEOs facing the dual challenges of maintaining growth and profitability?  What issues are you likely to face and how can you best resolve them?  We address these questions and more.

We believe our book is unique.  We combine extensive interviews and data from nearly two hundred companies along with first hand experience in building J. P. Industries (JPI), a Fortune 500 company.1  Our diverse research and management experience confirm that companies are dynamic and must be managed that way.  We sum up our guidelines in the Dynamic System Planning Model that we will show is practical yet based on well-tested theory.  We especially address challenges faced by small growing firms.  But the model applies whether or not your company is growing right now.  It applies whether you have five employees or five thousand, whether you face a maelstrom of growth and change or stagnation and decline.   The model provides a means to develop a more successful company strategy for higher profits and growth.

THE DECISION: TO GROW OR NOT

Consider this unusual concept: you don’t have to grow to be self-employed and financially secure.

Ron started several businesses during his life, but once each venture was underway, he eventually reached a point where the business managed him rather than the other way around.  While adept at identifying new markets and making sales, when it came to working with other employees, assigning tasks and coordinating their efforts, he never seemed quite able to make the transitions needed to assure business success.  After several such failures, Ron hit upon a suitable niche for his talents–as a promoter of trade shows.  He has no employees to contend with, each show is of relatively short duration, and he can move on to the next project before he gets bored or runs into complex management challenges.

Continue reading Managing Growth

THE BUSINESS ENTERPRISE AND TODAY’S SOCIETY “Article 2”

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThinker.com,  publisher of www.GavdosPress.com and Founder and former CEO, JP Industries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial corporation.
For details go to: http://linkd.in/1AF7El7

We have been in the midst of a fundamental and historic shift of how the economies around the world develop.  With the collapse of communism, the centralized and state control model of the economy has also collapsed. Other socialist State models, i.e., Sweden, UK before Margaret Thatcher, have also collapsed.  What we have now, however, imperfect it maybe, is the model of the “Free Market.”

This shift is occurring in parallel with two other sociopolitical expressions:

  1. Smaller government, though the last couple years this seems to have moderated quite a bit, and
  2. the need, indeed the demand by our society to provide assistance, protection, and distribution of economic benefits a “fair” way

What we are witnessing is a major shift on “how we can fulfill our expectations of a humanistic society” while we keep the state’s interventions and control power at minimum.

Before I deal with this question (shift) let me digress in to a bit of history .  .  .  .  After all, how can a Greek get up to talk about such matters without referring to HISTORY .

Continue reading THE BUSINESS ENTERPRISE AND TODAY’S SOCIETY “Article 2”

A Few Notes on Mergers & Acquisitions

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor of www.BusinessThnker.com, is the Founder and former CEO of JP Industries, Inc, a Fortune 500 industrial group. that acquired 28 operations in USA and western Europe before  merging with T&N, a British group.

Because the content of this article is still relevant today as it was in 2009 when it was first posted we are reposting it today.

The successful mergers and acquisitions require a great deal more than just analysis of the financial statements of the candidate. Digging in deeply in the operating details and asking the right questions is a fundamental component of evaluating the candidate. A very involved and intense discussion of all aspects of the business is necessary.

The M&A team will be faced with many challenges and numerous time-critical deadlines and milestones to be met. Customers want to know what is going on, suppliers similarly.  During the early stages of the integration process   the board’s executive committee must closely oversee and evaluate the effectiveness of the process..

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What Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Really Means in the 21st Century

Dr. John Psarouthakis, Executive Editor, www.BusinessThinker.com and former founder and CEO of JPIndustries, Inc., a Fortune 500 industrial group.

 

For CV details go to:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnpsarouthakis/

The preface in my book “Technology Imperative: What Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Really Means in the 21st Century”

My editor and I sat over coffee discussing several possible book projects.  If pressed for a working title that day, I might have tried to jam in as much content as possible to describe the concept—something like Technology, Unemployment, Globalization and What America Must Do to Regain Prosperity, Bring Its Economy Back to Life, and Survive in the New Century. That mouthful sums up the plot (if a non-fiction commentary can be described as having a plot) I had in mind.

In truth, every time I began to explain it I became distracted by the subplot   That is, these “must do” priorities for confronting and conquering an impending national crisis have failed to capture the public imagination despite dire consequences if we fail. Our politicians seem not to understand what is happening. Some ignore the clear facts, while others bark and circle like sheep dogs herding the populace toward the worst possible outcome. The daily mainstream news report has done little to help. I thought I was conveying frustration as I discussed these things, but my editor saw more and offered his own brief working title. “For the moment,” he said, “I am going to call this your ‘Angry Book’.”

Continue reading What Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Really Means in the 21st Century

History Funnel: How Athenian Democracy Made People Stretch Beyond Their Comfort Zones

Thomas Katakis, he is a business executive with 14 years of experience in 5 blue-chip companies. He has an impeccable lust for art, sailing, history, and traveling.

Athenian Democracy was an unprecedented social experiment that prevailed over time. But how come this system go so far? And was Athenian Democracy the epitome of empowering leadership?

Laying the Ground for People Power

We all know that democracy was born in Athens. Athenians were the civilized, the philosophers, the democrats, the dreamers that built the Parthenon. The daring sailors who travelled far and wide to infect others with their ideas and… their trade (after all, money speaks louder than words). But what we might not all know is that although the golden era of Athenian Democracy was associated with the leadership of Pericles (great marketing by the way), its foundations were first laid by Cleisthenes (508 BC). He was the one who broke up the system of political power based on nobility and wealth and handed it to the common people. That – quite literally – is what democracy means: “demos” means people and “cratos” means power. So to us Greeks the People’s Republic of China, for example, translates as “People’s People’s Power”. Sounds weird to us, but we’re not judging.

Continue reading History Funnel: How Athenian Democracy Made People Stretch Beyond Their Comfort Zones

News Clip

Dear Colleagues, Associates, and Friends,

The last 2.5 months I had to take care some maladies that kept me very much in continuous treatment at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Now I am in full recovery mode.

The above kept me away from my computer and unfortunately I could not post articles or news, regularly, in the www.BusinessThinker.com , or in my “Dr. John’s Newsletter”.  

Starting this June I will get back on my regular schedule and the above publications will be current again.

Many of you know that the Business Thinker has an archive of well over 500 of “Knowledge Transfer” business related articles that can be visited at any time free of charge as in the past.

I appreciate your continued support by visiting the above publications as many of you have done so far.

Best regards

Dr. John Psarouthakis
Executive Editor and Publisher