Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Monday, October 31, 2011

NBA lockout part 2: The best and worst case scenarios for the Utah Jazz

Following last week's blog on the NBA Lockout, several folks emailed me asking what is the best-case and worst-case scenario as far as the Utah Jazz are concerned with the new collective bargaining agreement in terms of luxury tax, salary cap, etc.

The best case for the Jazz will be three-fold:

Eric D. Schulz
1) A hard salary cap, which will force the "have's" (the big market teams like the Lakers, Knicks, Bulls, Heat, Mavericks) to compete on a level playing field with the have-nots. The big-market teams have such a financial advantage that they ignore the salary cap/luxury tax and consider them a cost of doing business. For example, the Lakers last season paid total salaries of $110.4 million, including $20 million in luxury taxes. If you look at the teams with the highest payrolls, they consistently are the teams in the Conference Finals/NBA Finals.

The National Hockey League (NHL) has a hard salary cap, and it appears to have restored competitive balance. Since their lockout season in 2005-06, of the twelve Stanley Cup Finalists, 10 different teams have appeared. In the same period in the NBA, the Western Conference champions have been only San Antonio (05 and 07), Dallas (06 and 11), and the Lakers (08, 09, and 10). In the East: Miami (06 and 11), Boston (08 and 10), Orlando (09), Cleveland (07), and Detroit (05).

2) Increased Revenue Sharing: The NBA currently has two revenue sharing mechanisms. First, all the monies collected from luxury taxes are distributed equally among those teams that do not go over the luxury tax limit. There is also a pool of money that small-market teams can earn based on a complicated formula that uses "performance & effort" criteria based on the teams sales and marketing efforts. If the team is deemed to have done all they can do in these areas based on their market size, they receive a portion of the pool -- but its a relatively small amount, one to two million dollars per team on average. And only a handful of small teams get these dollars every year.

The small market teams like the Jazz want to move to an NFL revenue sharing model, where teams get to keep their "premium" seating revenues (luxury boxes, Hollywood "Courtside" seats) and local sponsorship dollars, but the rest of the ticket revenues are pooled together as a league and shared equally. Small market teams also want local TV/radio rights monies included in the shared pool as well, since there is such a wide disparity among the values of those in cities like Los Angeles vs. Salt Lake City.

3) Franchise Player Designations: The NBA is on a slippery slope, with players now colluding to form their own All-Star teams. Boston started the trend with the trade for Kevin Garnett, followed by the Lakers acquisition of Pau Gasol. 2010 was the tipping point, when LeBron James, Chris Bosh and DeWayne Wade decided to join forces in Miami, and Carmelo Anthony forced a trade to the Knicks to join Amare Stoudamire, and together they are lobbying hard to get Chris Paul to the Knicks.

The NFL has Franchise Players, and it has worked well in keeping "stars" put. Had Cleveland been able to designate LeBron as their franchise player, Denver designated Anthony, and Utah designated Deron Williams, most of what has happened this past season in terms of "star" movement would not have. But under the current system, the good ol' days of Karl and John playing for a Utah team their entire career is never going to happen again. The Jazz will be able to do what they did with Deron - re-sign him to his first max contract, then be forced to trade him or watch him walk in year 6 or 7 (just when he is reaching All-Star status). Small market teams will constantly be in rebuilding mode, unable to compete.

So what is the worst-case scenario for the Jazz?

No salary cap. In other words, keeping some form or variation of the luxury tax, and not reducing the basketball related income down to at least 50 percent. The big market teams have such a huge advantage financially, it's akin to Zions Bank trying to compete with Citibank. As long as the big market teams can "buy" their advantage and have owners like Jerry Buss, Mark Cuban, and other rich people, the Utah's of the world will never be able to compete. Sure, they may have a one-year blip like the Jazz run to the Western Conference Finals in 2007, but nothing sustainable. Money always wins in the NBA.

The other thing that needs to get fixed are the outlandish salaries paid to mid-level players…guys who fill up the roster, but aren't putting butts in seats. Guys like Al Jefferson ($14 million), Mehmut Okur ($12 million), Andrei Kirilenko ($17 million), and Paul Millsap ($8 million). Sure, these guys are good, but people don't say "Gee, lets go drop a hundred bucks to see Andrei Kirilenko tonight"; they DO say that, however, for guys like Kobe, Kevin Durant, LeBron, and Dirk.

To fix it right, a hard salary cap, where the total team salary can't exceed X no matter what, would by default drag down these mid-range guys salaries. Teams would end up doing what Miami did last year - pay the three "stars" good money, and everybody else makes minimum wage. That's how it should work – and THAT would restore competitive balance to a league of have's and have nots.

- Eric D. Schulz

Eric D. Schulz is the Co-Director of Strategic Marketing and Brand Management at the Jon M Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Prior to joining the University, he spent five years as Vice-President of Marketing for the Utah Jazz (NBA); he previously was VP of Marketing with the XFL Football League, and served as a General Manager in minor league baseball. He can be reached at

Friday, October 28, 2011

Study abroad: the highlight of my college experience

This past week, a group of Huntsman Scholars got home from a 3 ½ week long trip to Europe. I literally thought about them every day and reflected on my own experience on that trip two years ago.

Bungee jumping in the Swiss Alps wasn't the only great
thing I did on my study abroad.
My study abroad experience was the highlight of my college career. I spent a majority of the trip trying to convince myself that I was actually experiencing everything that was happening. I did a lot of fun things (see the picture at the right), but I also learned about things in a way that I never had before. It’s one thing to talk about international economic policies; it’s quite another to talk to a European Union official in Brussels, Belgium.

There will be a Go Global information session on Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. The first 300 people to show up will win Best Buy gift cards ranging from $5 to $50. If you haven’t had the chance to “go global” with the Huntsman School, I highly recommend that you attend this session. I am a firsthand witness to the value of these study abroad trips. We have a world-class global enrichment program, and my education has been greatly enhanced by their efforts. In the words of Huntsman student Whitney Dastrup, the world is too interesting to stay in one place.  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Space, the final frontier

Everyone has submitted their projections for the kind of space they’d like to see in our new Huntsman Hall. They calculated and recalculated, thinking of what life could be like in 2025. Each group making recommendations figured out such things as:

• how many classrooms they need,

Ken Snyder
• what kind of classrooms (tiered or flat) will work best,

• how much office space is necessary,

• how many meeting and break-out rooms would be optimal,

• how much open space for students should be part of the plan,

• and where we might plug in a place to get some nourishment (eats).

We took all those estimates and gave them to our architects to see just what kind facility we were cooking up. We have funding for a building that will be about 90,000 square feet. When our architects estimated how many square feet it would take to meet everyone’s forecasted needs, it came to about 123,000 square feet. Our vision exceeds our resources.

Am I surprised? Nope. This is exactly what we predicted. Most of the schools I visited experienced the same thing. Part of doing great things with this new building will be figuring out where to say no and where to say yes. It’s time to prioritize.

The engagement and contributions of our advisory teams have been impressive. We will be turning to them to help us separate our needs from our wants. Because I have seen their unified desire to focus on how to best serve our students, I am confident that our next step will not be about giving up things but refining our ideas so that even better ones can come forward. Stephen R. Covey, the Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Chair in Leadership, calls this synergy, or, as he describes it, when one plus one can equal three. When it comes to this building, we need it all to equal 90,000 square feet.

It’s all good. We’ve got the right people in place so that, in our case, I am confident space will not be the final frontier … only the beginning.

- Ken Snyder

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Fourth Class

I used to not be a big fan of change. Now, that’s not to say I didn’t like improvement or growth. I’ve just always been a firm believer in the idea that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” And there are many aspects in my life that don’t need fixing as they do fine for me.

Rob Goates
A couple weeks ago, my wife and I had a beautiful, healthy baby. Now, for those unaware of how college life is separated at USU, there exist four classes. There are freshmen, single students, married students and students with kids. They don’t generally mix, except for class projects, and if they do, it’s because either party doesn’t know of the other’s situation; when they do, thus ensue two situations, the awkward “How’s that treatin’ ya? Do ya like it?” conversation or a comment like “Cool,” with a looming silence afterward. I’m now in the final class; from this point on I am that guy with a kid.

Anatole France, a French novelist, said “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” Those who read that might think a small part of my “married student” life “died” when we had our baby and, in some essence, you’d be right. Life has become less spontaneous and more prearranged. Do I regret it? Not a chance.

A person with a narrow perspective longs for and wishes to continue living the experiences of a previous class, looking towards their peers there and imagining of how much more fun they must be having (except for freshmen to single students, that is a change where many don’t look back). But adulthood is a fickle beast that hides itself and waits to descend upon the most unsuspecting, whether it is in the first meeting with your future companion or the two lines on a pregnancy test, it waits.

As the degree of responsibility increases, so does the potential for joy. I have lived them all and can say, unequivocally, the most joy, and the most stress, is found in the fourth class.

Now, with a baby, there is change every day, and I’m okay with that.

- Rob Goates

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why the NBA will lose this season

For the past five years, I was the Vice-President of Marketing for the Utah Jazz. This position gave me insight into the finances of not only the Jazz, but the NBA as a whole. With that perspective, let me tell you why this lockout isn’t going to get solved any time soon.
Eric D. Schulz
Enough has been written about the negotiations over the split of BRI (Basketball Related Income). In the last Collective Bargaining Agreement, players received 57% of BRI, and as a result, 24 of the 30 NBA franchises lost money. Let me put that into perspective.

On a good night, an average NBA team – selling out their arena – takes in about $1 million in ticket revenue. The teams in the larger cities – New York, LA, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Miami – make almost double that. So for a 43 game home schedule, a team makes about $43 million or so in revenue.

Teams also make money from sponsorship sales, selling their TV / Radio rights, and to a lesser extent, food and beverage (depending upon their deal with their arena). For the average NBA team, there’s another $25 million or so from these sources. Again, the larger city teams make about double or triple that amount.

The final source of revenue is from the NBA itself. Teams split evenly 30 ways the revenue from the league TV / Broadcasting deals (about $10 million per team), and also NBA licensing (another $6 million).

So, add it all up, and the “average” NBA team takes in about $84 million a season. The Lakers, Knicks, Bulls, Celtics, Mavericks, Heat – they take in about $150 million each.

Now let’s look at the expense side. Player salaries top the list. Last season, the top team payrolls belonged to the Lakers $95 million; Orlando $90 million; Dallas $86 million; and Boston $83 million. The median team salaries paid was around $67 million.

Add on to that the expenses for the coaching staff (about $5 million); travel ($2 million); front office ($5 million); marketing ($1 million); taxes ($5 million) and general expenses ($1 million). The “average” NBA team, their expense side totals around $86 million.

So the “average” NBA team loses about $2 million per season. But if the team payroll is over $67 million – and 13 teams exceeded that level last season – you can see there isn’t much room left for profit – UNLESS you are one of the “haves” – Lakers, Boston, Chicago, New York, Miami – where you make significantly more than everyone else. And for teams that have large sections of empty seats every night – who are only taking in $500,000 per game in revenue – you can see how their losses pile up much faster.

Now, you can say that the reason player salaries are out-of-whack is because of stupid owners handing them out – and that is absolutely true. Nobody put a gun to their head. Kobe Bryant is scheduled to make $25 million this season; Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett $21 million each. In the grand scheme, those salaries are fine – because THEY put butts in the seats. Fans pay to see them play. Where it gets messed up is when big contracts get handed to players who DON’T put butts in the seats – Rashard Lewis at $22 million; Gilbert Arenas $19 million; Elton Brand $17 million – to name but a few.

Under the current system, the only penalty for acquiring a roster full of all-stars and overpaying them is a dollar-for-dollar “tax” for teams that exceed the luxury tax limit – which last year was around $77 million. But if you are one of the “haves” like LA, Boston, New York – which have far greater revenues than the average team – it’s just a cost of doing business – and leads to a league where the have-nots can no longer compete with the haves.

The All-Star aggregation that began in earnest three years ago when Boston acquired Kevin Garnett, and accelerated last season when players started making their own teams – Miami with LeBron, Bosh and Wade; the Knicks with Amare Stoudamire, Carmelo Anthony and rumored to be joining them soon, Chris Paul – has further exacerbated the problem. The big cities already had an advantage with their large wallets; now players are picking their own teams in those cities, and the rest of the 20 or so other NBA teams are out of luck. Utah’s trade of Deron Williams to New Jersey was the beginning of the slippery slope. Deron had big-city dreams, and Utah had no chance of keeping him when his contract expired after next season, so rather than letting him walk, they traded him for “potential”, NBA speak for “I just got robbed, but I have to sell this to the fans so that they’ll keep on paying”.

So, the owners are putting it onto the players to save themselves FROM themselves. Cut the players guaranteed dollars from the BRI, add in a “hard” salary cap, and in theory, it will level the playing field for everyone. The NBA cites the NFL as an example of success, where every team has the ability to compete for a championship. Not so in the NBA. You can pretty much pick the Conference Finals before you play a single game --- in the West, Lakers and Dallas. In the East, Miami and either Boston or Chicago. Notice the trend here? They are all “haves”.

For the vast majority of NBA teams, they are far better off losing this season and fixing the system than they are by playing it. They still have to pay their coaches and front office, but most of the other expenses go away. For a team losing $20 million, the prospect of not playing this season and only losing $10 million is a breath of fresh air. That’s why you better enjoy this NFL season, and find a good college team to root for in basketball. Come January, that will be your basketball for 2012.

Eric D. Schulz is the Co-Director of Strategic Marketing and Brand Management at the Jon M Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. Prior to joining the University, he spent five years as Vice-President of Marketing for the Utah Jazz (NBA); he previously was VP of Marketing with the XFL Football League, and served as a General Manager in minor league baseball. He can be reached at

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's time to make some educated projections about how many students we will have

I’ve talked about envisioning the future several times as I’ve blogged about the creation of Huntsman Hall, our new building. It’s one thing to talk, in general terms, about our upward trajectory, but it’s another when we have to start thinking about actual numbers. One of the things we have had to do in this process is project how many full-time students we think will be here by the year 2025.

Ken Snyder
Our architects, who have experience in this sort of thing, say that it’s not realistic to try to project the needs of a business school 50 years into the future. There are too many changing variables and who knows what technology, education or even the typical student will be like 50 years from now. Our architects have learned, however, that projecting needs about 15 years out makes better sense, so that’s why we picked 2025.

At last count we have 1,523 full-time-equivalents on campus. (No one has ever seen a full-time-equivalent even though we are always counting them. That’s a way we have of measuring how many students we have because some students go part-time and we may combine two of those part-timers and count them as one full-time-equivalent. They are people but sometimes they are composite people. Try not to think about it and just trust me.) Based on Utah State University’s growth estimates and our own enrollment trends, we believe that we’ll have about 2,371 full-time-equivalent students on campus in the year 2025. We consider this to be a semi-conservative estimate because it’s based on assumptions that we won’t continue to grow as fast as we have the last five years.

That’s the easy part. Each department head and program leader is tasked with figuring out not just how many students will be entering their areas in the next few years but how many professors we’ll need to teach them. We need to calculate what the demand for classrooms will be and what kind of technological advances we may need to accommodate. Each of the program areas need to figure out just what kind of space and staff it will need to deal with in their programs.

We need to come up with the best projections we can about what our needs will be 15 years from now. We won’t know for sure how we did until the year 2025, but the good news is that, at least initially, when we move in we should be a pretty comfortable fit in Huntsman Hall and there should still be plenty of room to grow.

- Ken Snyder

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The wild, wild web

Connor Child
If I wanted to know who got voted out of the top 8 on the 2007 season of American Idol, I could find that information on the Internet. If I was looking for information about the origins of bubble gum, there's a website for that. If I was interested in what kind of car Lightning McQueen is, there are numerous online discussions and comment boards devoted to the subject.

Simply put: there is a lot of stuff out there on the internet. So it makes it even more impressive when I talk to people like Raine Christensen, a Huntsman student who runs, a website that has climbed the ranks to become one of the top bank evaluating websites on the web. A Google search for "best banks" will bring up nearly 300 million results, and his website is currently the second one listed.

I wrote a short story about Raine's website for the most recent edition of the Huntsman Post, which came out yesterday. The Post also includes a story about our MBA students scoring in the 90th percentile on a national test given to 225 institutions. And did you know that a student club in the Huntsman School has achieved a "superior" designation for national record 35 consecutive years? Many of the people reading this weren't even born before then.

All of these stories, along with many more, can be read here.

- Connor Child

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Experimental classroom is cool but not yet the future

BUS 318, which for the last 18 months has been our
"experimental classroom"
Even though I have been writing about the programming process for just the past few weeks, the process actually started a long time ago – 18 months ago to be precise. That was when we formed the advisory team to start working on our recommendations for classrooms for the new building.

I asked for volunteers from the faculty of the school and got a tremendous response. Several senior professors volunteered to help. We also have some junior professors on the team who are very in tune with what can be done with modern technology in the classroom. We have at least one professor from every department. In other words, we have great representation from across the school.

We took one of our “worst” classrooms (as determined by the faculty) and decided to completely redo it. We wanted to test all sorts of different things in this classroom. So, we put in the following features:

Movable tables and chairs
• Portable furniture – including portable chairs and tables – so the professor can easily re-configure the class at a moment’s notice.

• Four projectors – so the professor and/or students can project different things at the same time.

• An experimental white board known as an Egan board which is supposed to work well both as marking surface and as a projection surface.

• White boards on the threeother walls in the room so there are white boards on all four walls.

Four projectors
• An in-ceiling, document camera.

• We buried the classroom technology in the corner of the room, out of the way, and then built a portable podium that connected to the technology only through a WiFi connection.

We worked with the campus classroom scheduling people to make sure that the faculty members on the advisory team were assigned to teach in the experimental classroom this past academic year.

Believe it or not, not all of these experimental items worked well. Some big hits include the portable furniture, multiple projectors (although four may be too many), white boards on all four walls, the fact that we moved the technology off to the side, and the portable WiFi podium.

We also experienced some problems: the students complained that the portable chairs were uncomfortable, the Egan board didn’t work well as either a marking surface or a projection surface – and it got bubbles on the surface, and the document camera failed to perform up to specifications.

Thanks to the faculty members on this advisory team who researched features and then worked through all the problems. We now have a real good idea of what we want to put into the classrooms in the new building.

- Ken Snyder

Monday, October 10, 2011

The most wonderful time of the year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

I’m not talking about Christmas, although I like Christmas. I’m talking about now. Fall. When the weather cools and it’s time to retrieve heavier clothing, my heart grows fond of the opportunity to sip hot chocolate and, this year especially, seek shelter under the ribs of my umbrella.

Rob Goates
Thomas Hood, the English poet, said “I saw old Autumn in the misty morn stand shadowless like silence, listening to silence.” How often is that noticed? Our homes are left, in the early morning, and one pauses to feel the crisp, cool silence present in “old Autumn.” The animals are gone; wintertime hides herself and waits to descent upon the unsuspecting Utah State students and faculty.

Many literary minds pay homage to this time of year. Albert Camus, a French philosopher, stated that “autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” Those who have had the opportunity to drive or hike through any canyon in Cache Valley are well aware of the eruption of color that bursts from every tree and shrubbery from the surrounding hills. To smell the earthy, damp scent rush with the wind. To feel the crunch of dried leaves underfoot.

Utah State athletics have the feel of autumn throughout the whole year. Most of those in attendance don’t realize the significance of the seats, believing the “nauseous” colors are indicative of the era in which the arena was built. However, when the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum designer worked on the building before its dedication on December 1, 1970, he decided to immortalize the feeling we experience now at every event by creating those same colors found in Sardine Canyon.

There is a harmony in autumn not seen nor heard through the summer, then vanished in winter, when nature herself orchestrates the beginning of a long, emotionless rest. During that time, it is, in my opinion, the most wonderful time of the year.

- Rob Goates

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs worthy of superlatives

As a society, we are obsessed with superlatives. Every memorable moment or accomplishment must be labeled “the greatest of all time” immediately after it takes place. As a sports fan, I have probably watched 30 different games that have been christened the best of all time. Dozens more have been tagged “the worst collapse in sports history.” I take issue with such pronouncements because they are based on emotions rather than pure analytics. The old adage, “What have you done for me lately?” applies here – we tend to overvalue what we have just witnessed.

Every once in a while, though, a person, feat, accomplishment, etc. is worthy of superlatives. By now, thousands of publications have paid tribute to Steve Jobs. All of today’s major newspapers featured front-page stories about his passing. Tech industry giants and major politicians have chimed in with universal praise. He has been compared to historical behemoths like Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison. Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google Inc. and former Apple board member, said Jobs will be remembered as “the greatest computer innovator in history.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a baptized and confirmed convert to Apple products. I fought it for years, and I still like to poke fun at the Apple culture that The Onion satirizes so brilliantly, but I just happen to believe their products are better suited for me. But it doesn’t take an Apple enthusiast to recognize Jobs’s brilliance as an innovative thinker and business leader. The fact that one of the most heartfelt statements concerning his passing came from Bill Gates, his chief rival, speaks volumes.

So yes, I believe Steve Jobs is worthy of every hyperbolic statement uttered about him. Let me add one more such statement (although I’m sure I am not the first to say this): the world is a much better place because of him.

- Connor Child

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

There’s room at the top at the Huntsman School of Business but not enough

There’s a room in the George S. Eccles Business Building that is not often used as a classroom, yet it is where some of the most educational events of the year take place. Most of our VIP visitors end up there and some of our student clubs do their best planning there.

Ken Snyder
I’m talking about the O.C. Tanner Lounge on the ninth floor, a meeting room that offers the best view in Cache Valley and serves as a place where the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business hosts some of its most important visitors. It was originally slated to become a mechanical room and the windows to the east and west were bricked over. But Obert C. Tanner saw its potential and donated funds to make it much more than that.

One of the problems they had back then was they didn’t know how to put the 10-foot, by 8-foot windows in. They wouldn’t fit in the elevators or stairways. So Mr. Tanner solved the problem by bringing a helicopter up from Salt Lake City. The helicopter lifted the windows to the ninth floor.

That was in 1970. In 1989 Mr. Tanner paid to have the room renovated. When he first saw it after the renovation, he reportedly said, “This is the most beautiful room in Utah!”

I think others agree because the ninth floor is often double booked, meaning that if someone cancelled their plans there would be another group ready to jump in and use the space. The room is used, on average, by four different groups a day, nearly year round. The school hosts more than 50 executive visitors a year and nearly all of them make it to the ninth floor before they leave.

For example, just this past year the list of people who were hosted on the ninth floor includes Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who has become an ambassador from the new nation of South Sudan; Mark James, the senior vice president of human resources and communications for Honeywell; Edward C. Prescott, Nobel Prize winner; Elder Stephen Snow and Elder Yoon Hwan Choi, both general authorities for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Andrew Chern, the founder and chairman of the Panda Restaurant Group; Scott Davis, the president and CEO of Mountain West Small Business; and Dell Loy and Lynnette Hansen, of Wasatch Property Management.

The type of meetings held on the ninth floor often give students a chance to meet and network with some remarkable people. Visiting professors give lectures there, as do many of the business leaders the clubs bring in to speak.

So, it’s no wonder that when we met recently with groups who are helping us plan what to include in our new building, they all agreed that we need more space like we have now on the ninth floor. We could use a place that could serve as a board room for important meetings like those held by our National Advisory Board. And a room that would be big enough to host larger events that would not fit in a room the size of the O.C. Tanner Lounge would prove valuable.

The O.C. Tanner Lounge has a great view of the valley. I’m looking forward to the day when that view will include our new Huntsman Hall.

- Ken Snyder

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We did it!

What is it that we did? We raised $16,000 for the Huntsman Cancer Institute, beating last years total of $9,000!

Business Week 2011 was a great week, and the Huntsman School enjoyed being in the spotlight. The crowning moment was when Scot Marsden, our student senator, presented Jon Huntsman with a giant check for $16,000. Mr. Huntsman and Mrs. Huntsman were both deeply touched, and Mrs. Huntsman even went to the microphone and made an impromptu speech thanking the school for its support. We have witnessed the great work Mr. Huntsman has done to make the world a better place, and we would be selfish not to find ways to raise money for one of his favorite causes.

Just before the check was handed over to Mr. Huntsman, a video was shown depicting students in the Huntsman School who have benefitted from the Huntsman Cancer Institute. The video, made by Huntsman students Sterling Morris and Brent Meacham, was top quality and deserves to be seen by anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Thanks to everyone who made Business Week a success, and here's to hoping we beat $16,000 in 2012!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A business professional talks about Honest Abe's influence on business

I had the opportunity to see Jerry Bussell's presentation on leadership skills at the the Partners In Business Operational Excellence Conference that the Huntsman School put on.

Paul Lewis Siddoway
His whole lecture was based on Abraham Lincoln and his influence on Toyota. I never knew this, but apparently Lincoln is very popular in Japan, and it's because of his leadership skills and integrity. After Mr. Bussell's presentation, he came and talked with a couple of students.

Mr. Bussell told us that while scholars and politicians have gone back and forth praising and criticizing Lincoln, nobody has ever been able to attack Lincoln's honesty and integrity. He said that only about a third of employees trust their employers. And unfortunately most employers don't merit it; Bussell also said that three quarters of employers have done or saw a colleague do something unethical. I think it's ironic that I just saw a great example of integrity.

Mr. Bussell said the key to good, ethical business is mentoring everyone in the company, not just mandating from the top down, and he uses Lincoln as his guide. Just like Socrates taught Plato, Mr. Bussell said he never gives any answers, he just asks more questions. It makes everyone else earn the answer, because they have to think it through for themselves. Mr. Bussell doesn't have 200 employees who work for him; he works for his 200 employees. By putting the organization before himself and by remembering that he serves others, Mr. Bussell said that he strives to maintain ethical leadership. Just like Lincoln.

Now all he needs is to grow Lincoln's chin curtain.

- Paul Lewis Siddoway