Bill Swanson is North America CEO of Cartridge World, but he’s also the company’s global chief financial officer. I recently asked him how he came to hold both roles, how he balances and weighs those responsibilities, and how other companies might study a similar strategy and structure.
You have a finance background and came to Cartridge World as global CFO before adding the North America CEO role. What led to the decision to take on the second role, and how important was your background in that decision?
Cartridge World needed new leadership after the company moved its North American headquarters from California to Illinois in 2011. I came aboard as global CFO in May 2011 before adding the North American CEO title a little more than a year later.
Prior to moving to Illinois, the Cartridge World system wasn’t working. We were creating negative cash flow and had far more expenses than were sustainable based on our revenue stream. (read more…)
Joe Griffin and Jay Swansson are co-founders and CEOs at iAcquire, a digital marketing agency that was founded in 2009. They have grown to 100 employees, with offices in Manhattan and Phoenix, serving 150-plus clients across industries. I recently asked them about how they handle and promote company culture.
What do you strive for your company culture to be? For instance, if perks and office space went away and it was simply the team in a windowless room, what core values would be untouched?
Joe: The core values that would remain untouched at iAcquire are in the form of the acronym C.R.A.F.T:
- Creativity: We believe that creativity and out-of-the-box thinking fosters innovation. We select and develop team members who challenge marketing status quo.
- Responsibility: We honor our clients and take it upon ourselves to always deliver results.
- Acumen: Talent and expertise with every engagement as a strategic partner to clients.
- Fortitude: We stand up for our beliefs in the face of challenge or adversity.
One thing that all leaders require is patience.
And for someone who is in charge that is not easy because it often falls to the leader to make things happen? So how can you be learn to be more patient?
Well, try adding some presence. Presence is the ability to command through the power of your example. (read more…)
A Department of Labor report on the glass ceiling noted that “what’s important [in organizations] is comfort, chemistry, and collaboration.”
Chris Argyris, business theorist and professor, says there’s a universal human tendency to organize our lives around remaining in control and winning.
Might these hidden needs be the reason most companies have failed at incorporating diversity as a normal business practice despite all the research that demonstrates its positive impacts on the bottom line?
- 49% of Fortune 1000 companies have one or no women in their C-suite
- People of color comprise 36% of the workforce but hold only 4.5% of Fortune 500 CEO positions
- 46% of people surveyed by Workplace Options believe that diversity makes a company better
Diverse voices and opinions introduce discomfort. Practicing inclusion challenges who is in control. Making diversity a business-as-usual practice requires moving beyond a culture based solely on numbers and economics to creating a workplace where both the bottom line and inclusion are equally valued, measured and rewarded. (read more…)
For those who don’t know the story of Sal Khan and the Khan Academy, a look at the back story and growth rate of the online education portal can be startling. What began as a one-on-one tutoring sessions between Khan and his cousin in 2004 has grown into a platform that touches 200 countries, includes 150,000 educators and welcomes 10 million unique users every month.
Khan’s made a dynamic presentation at CME Group’s annual Global Financial Leadership Conference this week and shared his keen insights on the current and future landscape for education:
On the rising costs of higher education in the U.S.: Khan said an education system where costs grow 5% faster than inflation is not sustainable, adding that the return on investment current students are getting is not good. “The ecosystem is right for alternatives.” Khan says the de-coupling of knowledge and credentials might help solve structural unemployment. (read more…)