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Saturday, June 29, 2013



Students of the 21st century are looking to expand their horizons beyond classroom learning.
Youngsters speak on how various co-curricular and extra-curricular activities helped them learn pertinent lessons in life


    Dance is a creative form of expression. And thus, people of all age groups are inspired by dance and the lessons it teaches. Dance indeed is an art that inspires.
    Among the many lessons that I learned from dance are patience, grace, expression and creativity. Dancing regularly, not only helps you keep fit, but also makes you patient. As a student of dance, it takes consistent effort and time to learn a certain dance form. For experts in the field, it is equally important to be patient since every dance form, to be enjoyed, needs to be complete, accurate and perfect. Thus, being patient is one of the most important lessons that dance has taught me.
    It is said that a dance form brings grace to a dancer, and in turn, a dancer brings grace to the dance form. As a person, it is the grace of a dance form that inspires me to dance. Dance and grace are inter-related be it classical dance (Bharat Natyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi or Kathakali) or western dance (salsa, jazz, hip hop, hard dance, and punk).
    Like every finger print is distinct, so is every dancer. This idea is evident by the expression each dancer portrays. It is through expressions that a dancer portrays his/ her feelings to connect with the audience. Irrespective of the dance form, it is the expression of a dancer that makes a performance worth the watch. Not many of us express what we feel, and it is dance that has taught me to express, whatever the situation may be.
    Last, but not the least, dance has taught me to think creatively. Creativity is the key to style. An important lesson learned is that new options, whether in a dance form or in life, is to explore and create constantly. Learning dance is a lifelong process.
    With dance, comes an opportunity to be creative throughout one’s life. While every person has different learnings from dance, for me, these are the most important of them all.

Gap year
‘Lost black sheep’ and ‘too afraid to take any competitive examinations’ was what I was labeled as towards the end of my class XII board exams when I told people that I would be taking a gap year. However, attending end of school parties, watching sitcoms and preparing for the advanced placement tests could only distract me for so long. As I struggled with the underlying feelings of uncertainty, I got an opportunity to intern with this newspaper. Not only did the experience uplift my résumé, but it also gave me the chance to gain a plethora of knowledge about writing and journalism and make new friends. Furthermore, I learnt that taking a mere hobby to the next level and making it a more significant experience isn’t really complicated as long as you have enough passion. With this new-found belief, I applied for a research project at IIT- Varanasi (BHU) and got through. A gap year doesn’t have to be a lonely struggle or steep ascension towards your dream college. On the contrary, it is an adventure, where you are free to explore innumerable options; where no path is wrong but merely different than the other! During my research at IIT B, I learnt about bioengineering. It is a vast, upcoming field that offers the best of both worlds and involves a variety of work ranging from developing biofuels and vaccines to genetic engineering. After working on a rudimentary research project in the field, I found my calling.
    The IITs are, without any doubt, some of the best institutes in India and my parents had always wanted me to study at an IIT. However to be who you are truly meant to be and fulfill your potential, you have to break old barriers and conquer new frontiers. Financing an overseas education would be a daunting challenge for my family and it took several days of convincing, arguing, and some family drama to finally get my parents’ support.
    Later, to everyone’s shock, I stopped going for JEE coaching and began working on another research project in the field of cancer and decided to dedicate my gap year to cancer. With some difficulty, I managed to become an observing intern at the Radiation Oncology Department of a city based hospital. Here I got to write for a medical journal and learn about the technology used in cancer treatment. It was an invaluable experience. Furthermore, I joined an NGO that helps cancer patients. With my life revolving around cancer, I was overcome by the realisation of the brevity of life, and how it’s never too late to fulfill all your whims and fantasies. In a way my education only began once school ended.
    I also had the pleasure of going on an all expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi, sponsored by New York University, where a selected group of applicants got to attend sample lectures, go sight-seeing, meet the Ex-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and young leaders from over 30 nations, across the globe. Upon getting overwhelmed by such diversity, I began to fully comprehend and appreciate the social and cultural differences between fellow human beings.
    My gap year has truly been an amazing journey: the most significant year of my life. And I’ve still got three months of endless possibilities left!

Internship in India
As a part of my master’s degree in international management at the Ivey School of Business, Canada, I am currently interning for the hospitality brand of a well-known corporate group. The lessons I have learned extend past my internship and begun the day I arrived in Delhi, over two months ago. Driving in rickshaws through the congested streets, observing the industrial activity in Dharavi slum, and capturing the beauty of the Taj Mahal, I began to understand the importance of culture, religion, and relationships in the day-to-day lives of Indians. I wondered how culture and religion would play into my internship and sought the advice of consultants from various companies to see if they could give amount of disparity that exists beany insights on working in India. tween social and economic class-The diversity in their opinions es, this idea of contradictions beclosely resembled the diversity in came apparent. In Goa and surthe Indian culture. One piece of rounding villages, I met inspiring advice they all shared is that In- social entrepreneurs dedicated to dia operates at its own pace. Ini- tacking this disparity. From Aktially, I attempted to force things shaya Patra – a kitchen that serves the way I wanted and expected lunch to 800 schools including them to work. I quickly realised 1,80,000 children every afternoon – that this is a country where you to clean-drinking water initiahave to be flexible and lose rigid tives, bio-fuel operations, and orexpectations. Teamwork has ganic farming, each individual is
    played a vital role as I work heavily dedicated and engaged in closely with my team members their community and positively and our clients. Through this, I impacts their surroundings. I had have become increasingly aware firsthand experience in seeing of my strengths and weaknesses how one person can affect the and value the importance of dele- lives of hundreds of others. This gation and the division of tasks. has definitely inspired me to be-Through this experience, I feel come more engaged in my comthat I have enhanced my manage- munity back in Canada. ment and leadership skills, along I will miss the rich Indian curwith my ability to adapt to this ries and spices, the chaotic streets, new situation. the traditions and culture. Howev-The first thing I was told by my er, I look forward to returning tour guide when I arrived in Delhi home where I can bring new inis that India is a land of contradic- sights that I have gained from my tions. After witnessing the experience.

Model United Nations
As a fourth year student of law, I've had the opportunity to attend a couple of Model United Nations (MUN). The last one I attended was the Mumbai MUN organised by Mukesh Patel College of Engineering and TSEC last year. I participate in such events hoping to learn more about international politics and inter-state relations at the United Nations Organisation (UNO). What I gathered from my experience was that MUNs are stipulated meetings of students from all fields posing to be delegates of different nations addressing the problems of the world at large, thus allowing young minds to come up with constructive solutions by way of working papers in each committee. At this particular MUN, I was the delegate of an African country, Sierra Leone, at the Social and Humanitarian Council (SOCHUM). The main agenda of the council was to address problems in African countries such as mining. The topics to be discussed are given much in advance so that students can research their allotted country's stand in the international sphere. This allows students to read further about different countries other than their own, and learn more about international politics and current affairs. This helps keep the students updated about the conditions worldwide. It is as if the world government is
    sitting in a classroom and deciding the
    fate of the people everywhere. MUNs not only allow you to step into the shoes of a foreign diplomat, but also let you voice your own opinions about the topic at hand.
    However, on the one hand a MUN is a pragmatic approach for students interested in learning in depth about international relations, on the other, such an opportunity if not organised seriously can turn out to be a waste of time. For instance, the delegates of SOCHUM decided to pass a 'Motion of entertainment' for the chair to dance ona popular Hindi song! At the end of the second day, the chair of SOCHUM realised that we had failed as a committee, so he forced the delegates to pass a working paper which didn’t make any sense. This could have been a platform to discuss the problems of trafficking, child labour, arms conflict, etc faced by African countries and come up with constructive solutions, but unfortunately proved to be a futile effort. This would not only help students to think about such problems but also motivate them to work towards it or to do something about them in the future.
    Despite such unfortunate organisational disasters, on a larger scale, MUNs can prove to be a very important learning experience for students beyond their regular academics.

After completing my graduation at an engineering college two years ago, I am now focusing on a career in acting and production. I am half way through an intensive acting workshop developed by SDDS in collaboration with the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), University of Melbourne. Such courses are excellent for actors who want to develop and learn the craft of acting and devote time to invest in their passion but can’t take up a full-time programme. It is even better to be able to study acting with an international focus and world renowned teachers. Though intensive courses are demanding and challenging, they force a student to give it their 100% each day. This has given me a very different way to approach acting including text, breathing techniques and dealing with stage fright. I have realised that the most realistic and believable performances, which appear simple, are the ones that require hard work. Working with other batch mates, who are talented and committed to and passionate about acting, has also given me new energy. I am very sure that my experience of the workshop will greatly aid me in my auditions in the future. Furthermore, since theatre, as a medium, inculcates skills such as discipline, trust and teamwork the lessons I learnt here will help me in other aspects of life too.

Moot court
The Indian law education system is purely theoretical. Students, once out of college, do not have sufficient practical experience or knowledge. It, thus, becomes difficult for them to adapt to the legal environment, and hence it takes them years to succeed in the industry. Educational institutes thus introduced moot court sessions that allow students to draft and plead before the dummy court. A moot court is an artificial set up of an actual court that consists of a bench of judges, a witness box and a relevant case.
    Theoretically, students get an opportunity to strengthen their arguments skills, build a researched case and fight it in the presence of judges. This, not only gives them a real-time court experience, but also makes them confident. Apart from the theoretical lessons learned, students participating in a moot court learn a number of life lessons. Using legal terms in the court room is important, but being ethical while fighting the case is important too. Participating in a moot court helps students respect the ethics of the profession. As a student of law, I learned that winning a case is important, but equally important is winning it ethically. The next lesson learned is that of perseverance and patience. As a lawyer, it is important to practice the same in court and outside. Every case that a lawyer takes up is different; some may take years to defend, while others may be simple. Moot courts taught me to stand by my word and be patient until the final verdict is announced. Time management is another crucial lesson that moot courts teach. Whether it is reaching on time for a session, or submitting legal documents in time, good time management is what contributes to a lawyer’s success. A good draft is the key to a successfully fought case. And to present a good draft, one needs excellent communication and soft skills. While good communication skills help you compile a good draft, soft skills help you present the case well in the court. Putting across a point while fighting a case is important; equally important is to do it the right way. Soft skills also play an important role in maintaining professional relations. Every law student should participate in moot courts to know the nitty gritties of the profession, as well as to learn life lessons that the court teaches you.
Ruchi Chopda and Anishaa Sahijwala EDUT130624

FOOD SPECIAL ............... Sparkle Beyond Champagne

 Sparkle Beyond Champagne 

The effervescence of sparkling wines complements strong flavours Indians prefer. That they are served cold only enhances the appeal in warm climes 

    What do Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela have in common — apart from the obvious? Their choice of bubbly libation after their historic election victories, of course. It was not champagne but a non-vintage sparkler from South Africa’s Western Cape region, called Graham Beck Brut NV. Naturally, its US sales zoomed soon after.
    Last month, Sommelier India decided to launch the Women’s Wine Circle in New Delhi with organic Ti Amo Prosecco rather than a champagne. It turned out to be an inspired choice. The ladies — as is their wont — loved the light lusciousness of the flavour as much as the light lure of the price tag. And there was no lightheadedness even after several glasses!
When in Doubt...
When it comes to value for money, there is indeed nothing to beat a carefully selected sparkling wine, even if sheer familiarity with names prompts people to veer towards Moët et Chandon or Louis Roederer. The latter are great choices, but since I believe in the axiom, ‘When in doubt, go for sparkling’, only grande marques can prove to be an expensive habit!
    Even the most diehard champagne evangelists (and I do know
several!) agree it is better to choose a good sparkling wine than bad champagne, in case the best-known labels are unavailable. Getting them to admit that there is such a thing as bad champagne at all is tough, but they do exist and cause that inevitable headache or acidity après coup….
Though standard non-vintage grand marque labels are safe bets, there is sparkle beyond champagne, even in France. The very existence of cremant or mousseux sparkling wines, in fact, points to the popularity of this style, though production methods may differ. There is clearly something irresistible about fizzy drinks — alcoholic or otherwise.
Attention to Detail
The effervescence of good sparkling wines complements most of the strong flavours we Indians prefer, regardless of cuisine. That they are served cold only enhances their appeal in our predominantly warm climes. Perfectly chilled bubbly is a far better idea than ice cubes in tepid white or red wine — an unfortunate ‘trend’ that has vocal supporters in the west and India.
Being something of a purist, I baulk at the idea of quaffing copious amounts of say, a Salon Le Mesnil or even Dom Perignon, with a slap-up Indian or Chinese meal even if I could afford it. Their complexities deserve greater attention. If the idea were to drink something with food from these culinary regions, I would always go for a good sparkling wine.
And there are a
whole lot of reasonably priced bubblies out there; enough of them, in fact, to bolster the idea that they are not only for “occasions”. There’s Prosecco, Asti, Franciacorta and red Lambrusco from Italy, Sekt from Germany and Cava from Spain, the last of which I was reintroduced to recently at the Spanish embassy in New Delhi.
    The major New World wine producing areas also have their versions, from ‘California Champagne’ to South Africa’s Methode Cap Classique sparklers, besides Australia’s fizzies from Tasmania and the Yarra Valley, and South American bubblies. Interest in them is somewhat academic here in India due to availability, but keep them in mind when travelling abroad.
    The charm of going beyond the classic Champenois combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a dash of Pinot Meunier lies in the fact that other grapes form the backbone of sparkling wines, which means a more diverse flavour profile. Also, the all-important second fermentation for the bubbles is often done in the vats rather than in bottles.
Sweetness Test
Prosecco is made from a grape of the same name (also called Glera), Asti from the Moscato Bianco, Sekt from Riesling and other varietals and Spanish Cava from Macabeo, Parellada and Xarello grapes. Interestingly, Franciacorta from Italy uses the same three grapes as champagne but soil and climate variations ensure a very different sparkling wine!
    That said, all sparkling wines are graded according to an ascending order of sweetness: Brut Natural, Brut, Extra Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux. Natural is the driest — which means no sugar or dosage was added after the yeast sediment was disgorged from the bottle. At the other end of the scale, Doux can have more than 50 gm of residual sugar per litre!
    Sparkling wine, including champagne, used to be mostly sweet in the early days to mask acidic undertones. The current reign of the dry ‘Brut’ bubbly, however, can be ascribed to the preference of the British market for that less sugary style and ultimately the world has followed suit.
    At about 94,000 cases, the sparkling wines market in India is still minuscule, and we have our Omar Khayyam, Sula Brut and more. But what more endorsement of the growing popularity of sparkling wine can there be than the fact that champagne biggie Moet-Hennessy will launch its ‘Indian’ bubbly Chandon from Nashik this year?
Wash well and wipe glasses dry. Any residue on the insides of the glass will result in the bubbles dissipating faster, making it go flat. Store sparkling wine in a wine cellar. For that optimum serving chill, put the bottle in the fridge for 30 minutes & then immerse in a bucket of water & ice in a 50:50 ratio. Don’t pour bubbly like beer, i.e. holding the glass and bottle at angles to each other. The glass should be upright, and the bubbly poured gently and in stages Don’t pour only half a glass — this is a sparkling wine, not a still wine. Flutes should be 3/4 full and cups 2/3 full at least Never hold a champagne glass by the bowl – the stem is there for a reason Don’t ‘nurse’ a single glass for a prolonged time — it will become flat and warm, two singularly bubblyunfriendly states

:: Reshmi R Dasgupta ETM13062

TECH SPECIAL .............All-solid sulfur-based battery outperforms lithium-ion technology

All-solid sulfur-based battery outperforms lithium-ion technology

A new all-solid lithium-sulfur battery developed by an Oak Ridge National Laboratory team led by Chengdu Liang has the potential to reduce cost, increase performance and improve safety compared with existing designs. Photo: Oak Ridge National LaboratoryScientists at the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)'s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have designed and tested an all-solid lithium-sulfur battery with approximately four times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion technologies that power today's electronics.

The ORNL battery design, which uses abundant low-cost elemental sulfur, also addresses flammability concerns experienced by other chemistries.

"Our approach is a complete change from the current battery concept of two electrodes joined by a liquid electrolyte, which has been used over the last 150 to 200 years," says Chengdu Liang, lead author on the ORNL study published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
Scientists have been excited about the potential of lithium-sulfur batteries for decades, but long-lasting, large-scale versions for commercial applications have proven elusive. Researchers were stuck with a catch-22 created by the battery's use of liquid electrolytes: On one hand, the liquid helped conduct ions through the battery by allowing lithium polysulfide compounds to dissolve. The downside, however, was that the same dissolution process caused the battery to prematurely break down.
The ORNL team overcame these barriers by first synthesizing a never-before-seen class of sulfur-rich materials that conduct ions as well as the lithium metal oxides conventionally used in the battery's cathode. Liang's team then combined the new sulfur-rich cathode and a lithium anode with a solid electrolyte material, also developed at ORNL, to create an energy-dense, all-solid battery.
"This game-changing shift from liquid to solid electrolytes eliminates the problem of sulfur dissolution and enables us to deliver on the promise of lithium-sulfur batteries," Liang says. "Our battery design has real potential to reduce cost, increase energy density and improve safety compared with existing lithium-ion technologies."
The new ionically conductive cathode enabled the ORNL battery to maintain a capacity of 1200 milliamp-hours (mAh) per gram after 300 charge-discharge cycles at 60 C. For comparison, a traditional lithium-ion battery cathode has an average capacity between 140 to 170 mAh/g. Because lithium-sulfur batteries deliver about half the voltage of lithium-ion versions, this eight-fold increase in capacity demonstrated in the ORNL battery cathode translates into four times the gravimetric energy density of lithium-ion technologies, explains Liang.
The team's all-solid design also increases battery safety by eliminating flammable liquid electrolytes that can react with lithium metal. Chief among the ORNL battery's other advantages is its use of elemental sulfur, a plentiful industrial byproduct of petroleum processing.
"Sulfur is practically free," Liang says. "Not only does sulfur store much more energy than the transition metal compounds used in lithium-ion battery cathodes, but a lithium-sulfur device could help recycle a waste product into a useful technology."
Although the team's new battery is still in the demonstration stage, Liang and his colleagues hope to see their research move quickly from the laboratory into commercial applications. A patent on the team's design is pending.
"This project represents a synergy between basic science and applied research," Liang says. "We used fundamental research to understand a scientific phenomenon, identified the problem and then created the right material to solve that problem, which led to the success of a device with real-world applications."

CEO / LEADERSHIP SPECIAL....... Culture and the Chief Executive

Culture and the Chief Executive
CEOs are stepping up to a new role, as leaders of their company’s thinking and behavior.

It is striking to see how many chief executives see their most important responsibility as being the leader of the company’s culture. According to Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, “Culture is your company’s number one asset.” Her counterpart at Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, has said, “Everything I do is a reinforcement or not of what we want to have happen culturally.” In another typical remark from the C-suite, Starbucks Corporation CEO Howard Schultz has written that “so much of what Starbucks achieved was because of [its employees] and the culture they fostered.” Researchers such as former Harvard Business School professors John Kotter and James Heskett have also found consistent correlation between robust, engaged cultures and high-performance business results (as described in their book, Corporate Culture and Performance [Free Press, 1992]). But most business leaders don’t need that evidence; they’ve seen plenty of correlation in their own workplace every day.
Recognizing the importance of culture in business is not the same thing as being an effective cultural chief executive. The CEO is the most visible leader in a company. His or her direct engagement in all facets of the company’s culture can make an enormous difference, not just in how people feel about the company, but in how they perform. Schultz described the CEO’s role this way in his book Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul (Rodale Books, 2012): “Like crafting the perfect cup of coffee, creating an engaging, respectful, trusting workplace culture is not the result of any one thing. It’s a combination of intent, process, and heart, a trio that must constantly be fine-tuned.”
A company’s culture is the collection of self-sustaining patterns of behaving, feeling, thinking, and believing, the patterns that determine “the way we do things around here.” At its best, an organization’s culture is an immense source of value. It enables, energizes, and enhances its employees and thus fosters ongoing high performance. At its worst, the culture can be a drag on productivity and emotional commitment, undermining long-term success. Most companies are so large and complex that the culture acts in both ways at once. Indeed, the culture of a large company is typically made up of several interwoven subcultures, all affecting and responding to one another.
If you are the chief executive of a company that is sailing with the wind and leading in its competitive race, that’s a sign that your culture is in sync with your strategy. This makes your company much more likely to deliver consistent and attractive profitability and growth results. You can tell you have such a culture because people are confident and energized. They can justifiably take pride in the results of their work. As CEO, your role is to keep the ship on course and ahead of the competition. This requires generating regular behavioral reminders about the values, aspirations, and engagements that underlie your company’s success and reinforce its strategy.
However, if your company is heading into stormy waters, facing the kinds of disruptive competition or unexpected market changes that affect every industry sooner or later, then a program of normal reinforcing leadership won’t cut it. A culture that no longer aligns with your strategic and performance priorities needs a lot more attention—from you and other senior leaders.
Many CEOs understand in principle that cultures are multidimensional, slow to change, and troublesome to control—and thus that influencing them requires care and thoughtful engagement. This is particularly true for global companies led by people of diverse backgrounds. When confronted with a cultural challenge in real life, however, chief executives tend to forget this principle. Instead, they revert to conventional managerial tactics, but with more rigor. They turn up the volume on the inspirational messages. They raise the bar and set stretch goals with new statements of the vision, mission, values, and purpose of the company. They bear down on costs and castigate people for complacency. They may also see culture change as primarily a functional responsibility, to be delegated to experts, either inside or outside the company. More often than not, these approaches leave the deeply embedded cultural behaviors largely unchanged. Only an enlightened CEO can break through that kind of cultural inertia.
A better starting point is a realistic recognition of the culture’s current status. No company’s collective practices and beliefs are all good or all bad. They have evolved over time for understandable reasons—often to deal with the challenges or malfunctions of the past. Moreover, they are firmly entrenched in mind-sets and habits. Therefore, it is essential to be rigorously selective and disciplined in dealing with cultural issues. There are several things you can do from your highly visible position at the top of the hierarchy to spark and foster the cultural realignments you want to see:
  • Demonstrate positive urgency by focusing on your company’s aspirations—its unfulfilled potential—rather than on any impending crisis.
  • Pick a critical few behaviors that exemplify the best of your company and culture, and that you want everyone to adopt. Set an example by visibly adopting a couple of these behaviors yourself.
  • Balance your appeals to the company to include both rational and emotional cues.
  • Make the change sustainable by maintaining vigilance on the few critical elements that you have established as important.
In all this activity, avoid delegating your culture-oriented actions. Do as much as you can yourself.

The Power of Positive Urgency
Time and again, we hear executives cite the importance of having a “burning platform”—a stress-producing crisis, whether externally driven or self-induced—to incite a high-performance culture. We once observed a CEO incur several hundred million dollars of unnecessary debt for the sole purpose of creating a sense of urgency for his culture change effort. For many years, we too subscribed to the conventional wisdom that burning platforms were the only way to obtain cultural impact. But no longer.
Certainly we understand the logic that underlies this point of view: Companies full of complacent people will rouse themselves only in response to crisis. But experience and common sense argue differently. Consider what people on real burning platforms do. They escape. They barely have time to act, much less change their mind-sets and habits with a view toward long-term success. In the business equivalent, which usually involves a rapid drain of cash and profitability, your options will be similarly limited—in this case, to layoffs, plant closures, responses to the press and investors, and other forms of damage control. Like BP’s recovery efforts after the Deepwater Horizon spill, Toyota’s after the Fukushima disaster, or any plant shutdown made in response to a sudden loss of business, these traumatic activities are typically seen as a one-time event, not as a way of building for the future.
There is a much better way to overcome complacency. As a CEO or senior executive, the greatest thing you can do is to marshal an authentic sense of urgency, but not one built solely on the logical reasons that change is necessary. Rather, build an emotional sense of urgency, focusing on the values that the company cares about collectively: its way of serving customers, its desire for growth and success, its positive impact on social and community issues, and the attraction and welcome that people felt when they first arrived.
Every sustainable company culture is based, in part, on this intrinsic attraction to the work—including the way it challenges people. At some point, your employees chose to be part of the enterprise. For the most part, they liked (or loved) their profession, they felt they could excel, and they wanted to gain the personal benefits of accomplishment. As CEO, you need to capitalize on those feelings, give them voice, and encourage people to spread them virally throughout the company. This may mean discarding some businesses that don’t fit your strategy, your capabilities, or your culture. But it will also mean helping people expand (or recapture) the pride they have felt, all along, in their collective strength.
The Right Behaviors
To help people capitalize on the best aspects of your culture, you have to focus attention on the critical few behaviors that you believe matter most. These are a few positive sources of energy, pride, and interactions that, when nurtured and spread to scale, will improve company performance significantly. As simple as it sounds, this approach will not only accelerate the behavior change that matters most, but also evolve and align your culture more effectively than forcing a major and potentially disruptive culture change effort on a broadly diverse global organization.
These actions are ideally small but repetitive and demonstrably significant. They signal where the company is going now. For example, early in the General Motors Company (GM) bankruptcy recovery effort of 2009, interim CEO Fritz Henderson and a handful of his senior executives launched a series of informal conversations with frontline leaders, skipping all the levels of the hierarchy in between. These examples triggered dozens of imitations, including conversations with customers, among GM employees across North America. Similarly, during a turnaround at the Mobil Corporation in the mid-1990s, then CEO Lucio Noto and five of his senior leaders personally conducted career appraisals of people at various levels whom they saw as “managerial bench strength.” This inspired similar assessment efforts throughout the company. Southwest Airlines, for its part, has continually singled out the same three behaviors: hiring people who connect emotionally with customers and colleagues, volunteering when help is needed at any level, and frugality to the extreme.
Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for finding the right few behaviors that will make a difference in your culture. There are, however, some factors to consider.
First, it is essential to emulate at least some of these emerging key behaviors yourself—to be a living model of the culture you aspire to lead. People pay rapt attention to what the CEO does, not just what the CEO says. You can’t rely on communications, no matter how inspiring. You, and ideally a few other senior leaders, have to step out by behaving in new ways that both capitalize on elements in the current culture and demonstrate a key shift in cultural alignment.
No two senior leaders are alike; what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. So do not seek to revamp your leadership philosophy, style, or personality to fit anyone else’s idea of what a leader should be. Instead, as former Campbell Soup Company CEO Douglas Conant put it, “It’s hard for leaders to realize that it’s not about showing up ‘the way I think I’m supposed to show up.’ It’s about showing up in a way that is ‘authentically me’ and can be helpful” (see “The Thought Leader Interview: Douglas Conant,” by Art Kleiner, s+b, Autumn 2012, with video interview by Jon Katzenbach [online only]; the videos are embedded on this page, below).
When Conant first arrived as CEO at Campbell’s, the company was beleaguered by poor quality and newly fierce competitors; he was hired to turn the company around. He knew he was not a master of social conviviality. “Every time I take a Myers-Briggs test,” said Conant, “it shows I’m an introvert.” He knew it would not be easy for him to interact comfortably with a diversity of people throughout the organization, but he had to find a way to do it.
At the time, the Campbell’s “people strategy” emphasized employee health, using an American Heart Association program that encouraged people to walk 10,000 steps every day. So Conant began donning a track suit and pedometer and running around the headquarters building complex in Camden, N.J., every day. Because of his constantly changing schedule, he ran at different times every day, and he made a point of running through different parts of the complex. People never knew when they would see him jogging nearby, but they always knew the reason—he wasn’t checking up on them, he was just getting his 10,000 steps in. This practice gave an introvert a highly visible, easy way to interact informally with people he would otherwise see only at formal meetings, and Conant’s running soon slowed to a walk. “It got to the point where I was so comfortable that people weren’t afraid of approaching me,” he said. He eventually dubbed this practice “management by wandering around.”
You do not need very many senior leaders to start a few critical behaviors rolling through the company. Get several well-known executives to step away from the norms of the past with you. People throughout the workforce will rapidly take notice and do the same, creating an atmosphere of approval and support. In short, by seeking out other early adopters of these behaviors, and working with them directly to sharpen their influence and deploy it more effectively, you will gain far more leverage as a cultural leader.
For example, when Lucio Noto created those new, informal “skip level” staff development opportunities at Mobil, the rumor mill took notice. People all through the company began to do the same. These career appraisals became common practice at multiple levels across the globe. Similarly, when Michael Sabia was CEO of Bell Canada, he started attending small-group working sessions of “master motivators” at the front line, and other executives followed suit. They wanted to see for themselves what he was learning.
Rational and Emotional Impact
More than 100 years ago, Mary Parker Follett wrote about integration in leadership and organizational situations. She contrasted integration with domination (“a victory of one side over the other”) and compromise (“each side gives up [some of what it wants] in order to have peace”). Integration comes about when “there is no curtailing of desire”—both sides in a dispute get all (or nearly all) of what they really wish for. We have yet to hear a better definition for the kind of integration that a CEO needs if he or she is to have impact on the culture.
When putting together a business strategy or a case for action, it’s important to integrate the rational arguments from top leaders with compelling emotional appeals at more personal levels. One without the other is unlikely to sustain cultural alignment. In other words, in addition to a rational business case for change and other formal mechanisms, it’s important to develop emotional impact through such forces as peer approval, the support of colleagues, and the admiration of friends and families.
For most business leaders, a rationally compelling argument is usually much easier to develop than an emotionally compelling one. Executives are used to quantitative analysis and logical reasoning. They understand how to send arguments through well-established formal channels and programs, and they know how to delegate assignments within that system. But emotional energy gets its strength from one’s own intuitive insight and the social support of colleagues. This energy flows through informal networks and cross-organizational interactions outside formal channels. The CEO’s role is to ensure integration of the formal and informal dimensions, so that the emotional energy generated for change is reinforced by a consistent formal accountability for performance and a willingness to pay attention to the metrics that indicate results.
Douglas Conant calls this being “tough-minded on standards but tender-hearted with people.” Early on in his turnaround challenge at Campbell’s, he realized that he would have to replace more than 300 of the top 350 people in the company because they lacked the necessary skills. In discussions and informal conversations, he held firm to this decision, but also openly acknowledged that those who were being replaced were the friends, colleagues, and teammates of those who were staying. Those leaving were treated with respect and given as much help as the company could afford. “Even through that horrible period,” he later recalled, “our employee engagement scores went up.”
Eternal but Focused Vigilance
Your role as a cultural leader starts on Day One of your appointment as CEO. It will not end until the last day you hold that office. Indeed, your persistence in emphasizing the right cultural behavior will continue to be influential after you have left.
Because cultures evolve in informal ways that are hard to track, they can easily degrade before many people are even aware something bad is happening. Chief executives in peak-performing companies almost never let this happen; they work hard to keep an eye on the critical few behaviors over time. You can either keep promoting the same few behaviors, as Southwest Airlines did, or, after the first few have taken hold, pick a few more to model and support.
In many great organizations, a kind of cultural vigilance baton is passed from each CEO to his or her successor. At Southwest Airlines, for example, it passed seamlessly from cofounder Herb Kelleher to incoming CEO James Parker and president Colleen Barrett in 2001, and  then to incoming CEO Gary C. Kelly in 2004. Each new chief executive is deliberately charged with keeping the company’s fundamental cultural identity intact (while helping the company evolve to meet new competitive and market dynamics).
This rich cultural identity is part of the competitive advantage of leading organizations such as the Mayo Clinic, Apple, Procter & Gamble, and IBM. When it slips, because people grow complacent or lose touch, the CEO is expected to step in and reignite the enthusiasm and vigor that were part of the culture originally—as Conant did at Campbell’s and as Meg Whitman appears to be doing at Hewlett-Packard.

Things Only the CEO Can Do
Most chief executives are master delegators. Some believe, as one chief executive we know puts it, that successful delegation is the single most important skill that a developing leader needs. “It is the only way a rising leader can handle increasing responsibilities, and the best way to develop subordinates.”
For the most part, we agree—except when it comes to the CEO’s cultural impact. The activities described in this article should not be assigned to others. Leaders who delegate too much will lose their opportunity to become role models and energizers for the culture they want to shape. For example, you should be personally involved in selecting the new behaviors needed by the company. Your choice should reflect the company’s strategic and operating priorities, in a way that others throughout the company can comfortably align with. However, getting down to a few critical priorities will almost always be a judgment call you need to make, because no choice will be easy to defend.
Only you can interact with others on your own behalf. Only you can speak regularly for yourself with people throughout the company, informally and outside normal channels. When incoming CEO Jack Rowe launched a turnaround journey at Aetna Inc. in 2000, he kept in direct personal contact with nearly 100 leaders in multiple levels and functions. These informal networks not only brought him up to speed on the way people thought about their work and the practices they followed, but became viral spreaders of the culture he wanted to evolve.
Because you, as CEO, have the final word on most strategic and operational decisions, the most critical aspects of cultural impact—selectivity, simplicity, and targeted persistence—are in your domain. Moreover, your role as cultural leader is, more likely than not, the single thing you will be most remembered for. That’s why so many CEOs refer to culture as their highest priority; it is the primary vehicle for establishing their legacy. 
Jon Katzenbach & DeAnne Aguirre Booz & Company