A message from Executive Leader Coach Dave Kinnear.
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dbkAssociates, Inc. Home of the Executive Leader Coach

March 2019


Dear Friends and Colleagues


First, there is all the discussion surrounding GM's decision to close the Lordstown automotive factory. Then, there is the latest talk about ageism being the last acceptable "ism" in the US. By that, the authors and talk show hosts mean that it is still okay to speak dismissively of "old" people.


I expect I'll write a bit more about this in the future. However, I want to start the discussion in this newsletter.

For some time now, I've been pushing back against the stereotyping of the Millennial crowd. One of the things I note is that if we Boomers aren't happy with the Millennials, we should look in the mirror. Because, for the most part, we raised them.

I've also challenged the Millennials to learn a bit about the Boomer generation. Why do we have the values we have? What can we learn from each other if we try to see individuals rather than a stereotype?


The words we use and the persistence we exhibit tells a lot about our chance of survival in this new work world. Here's what I've noticed about the connection between Lordstown, Millennials, and Boomers.

I listen to my Boomer colleagues. On the one hand, they frequently deride the Millennials for being "entitled" or "impatient" or "shallow." On the other hand, the Boomers also admit to not being willing to put in the effort to learn about the new technology invading their workspace. So they play right into the stereotype of "old" folks being obsolete. 

When I speak with my colleagues about where technology might be taking us and the threat to their work world, they often shrug and say something along the lines of, "I won't be here to see it." Great! What about your kids and grandkids? I don't think they really mean that they don't care because they won't be here. I think what they are saying is they aren't willing to put in the effort to upgrade their own knowledge because it's too hard. They are throwing in the proverbial towel.

Lordstown Symptom

Several live interviews with workers who were previously thrown out of work due to a plant closing, automation or outsourcing are quite revealing. One interviewee said, "Yes, I took advantage of the federal program to re-educate myself, but after the first week I quit. I was overwhelmed. On the first day, the instructor said, 'Let's get started. Insert the flash drive in your PC.' And I turned to the person beside me and said, 'What's a flash drive?' "

Yet, there are the stories of folks who re-educated themselves not just once but several times. They took many courses to bring themselves up to date with the skills necessary for the jobs that were available in the geographic area they preferred. I think this is about the difference between what Carol Dweck calls a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset. Darwin is right. Adapt or go extinct.

I don't think it's ageism. It's the marketplace working. Experience is expensive. Experience can also be out of date. And it's also the unhelpful weakness we humans have to take convenient shortcuts instead of looking at details. 

Check Your Assumptions

I don't mean to brag, but I know for a fact that at 72 years old, I am more up to date on technology in general than most Millennials I deal with. Not all, certainly, but most. If you assumed, base on my age, that I don't know about, use, and understand technology, you would be making a mistake. I spent most of my professional career in and around the bleeding edge of technology. Check your assumptions!

In This Issue

The articles I bring you in this issue are varied in focus. In the first article, I return to the hypothesis that slowly, but surely, we are obsoleting the need for salespeople. In the second article, I work on the concept of using analogies and stories to shape our corporate culture. The third article finds me once again returning to that sage of management, Mike Myatt, to review why values are so critical to our organizations. And finally, in the Nullius In Verba space, we address the ever-present topic of continuous improvement. I hope you find these ruminations useful.

The Economy

The slow steady drumbeat of caution continues. While the economy is still solid, it is also showing signs of weakness in some major areas. Confidence in the economy is declining, still, CEOs remain optimistic about the prospects for their business in 2019.  Hiring, market development, and productivity top the list of key decisions that small and midsize businesses are facing in 2019, according to 1,257 CEOs that responded to the Q4 2018 Vistage CEO Confidence Index survey. The latest report from Vistage research — CEO Projections for 2019 — delves into top priorities in the areas of talent, customers, financials, operations and leadership, shares the top decisions and investments CEOs are facing and offers strategies to apply to maintain growth in a slowing economy.

So that wraps things up for this issue.


Best Regards,
Dave Kinnear
Executive Leader Coach
Vistage Chair

No Salesperson Needed

A Tale of Two Purchases: We — my wife and I — do not make large purchases very often. Recently, however, we found ourselves in the position of having to replace our two aging, high-mileage cars. And we had two very different experiences. One was salesperson-intensive. One was not. In both cases, we knew exactly what car, model, and accessory packages we wanted.

The difference is, in one case we had to use a car dealership. It was not particularly unpleasant, it was just tedious and time-consuming. In the second case, not quite a year later, no dealership or salesperson was involved.

[Read the full post . . .]

Chef's Garden

The Garden is Well Planned: During a recent conference, I had the opportunity to visit the Chef’s Garden. It was a working garden for sure. By that, I mean that the Chef used the produce and herbs in her recipes.

I’m guessing that the Chef also supplemented her yield with commercial herbs and produce since the small plot of land wouldn’t support all the food that this conference center provided for the restaurants and banquets.

[Read the full post . . .]

The Resistance

Engagement: I was slightly amused at the recent NY Times anonymous editorial about the "Internal Resistance" to the President's leadership. "Welcome to our world," I said out loud to no one in particular. They are lucky that this is out in the open. We in the private sector rarely get such a heads up!

According to Gallup for over two decades U.S. employee engagement has ranged from a low of 26% to a high of around 34%. They say that on average, 30% of employees are engaged over the last 18 years or so.

[Read the full post . . .]

Nullius In Verba

Never Really Ready

The Big Stones: I’m told that “No combat-ready unit ever passed inspection.” They know they cannot be “fully ready.” The point here is that there is always room for improvement. So once the “big things” are being done to expectations, we move to the smaller tasks to perfect them. Or, perhaps, we set the bar a bit higher for the big things.

There is a continuous improvement at all levels of the organization, and all with an eye to achieving the overall mission of the unit.

[Read the full post . . .]

Leaders are

So, I had to set aside some time to insert the scintillating book known as the California Driver's Manual. Wow. I couldn't put it down!

The serious reading this month is also personal rather than a leadership or management book. I'm reading The Influential Author, by George Diehl. I'll let you know how things go and whether or not it discourages ideas of writing more than my weekly blog posts!

Local Events

ENP Institute

8th Annual Customer Centricity Forum: Leveraging Data to Gain Insights & Competitive Advantage – AI, Analytics and Customer Journey Mapping

March 22, 2019 ( UCI Applied Innovation 5141 California Ave Irvine, Ca 92697 )

Register here

Tech & Employment


The Trends Transorming Mobility's Future:

Mobility as we know it is about to change. A handful of trends will largely determine the benefits—and costs—for business and society.

Since its inception, the automobile has been a flashpoint for technological, economic, and social innovation, doing as much as any human invention to change how people live—largely, but not always, for the better. Now it’s time to buckle up again: the levels of disruption coming over the next dozen years are likely to exceed those of the previous 50 or more.

While much uncertainty remains about how, exactly, mobility’s “second great inflection point” will unfold, many of the critical building blocks, and their potential, are becoming clear. Key to these developments are four trends most easily remembered by the acronym ACES: autonomous driving, connectivity, the electrification of vehicles, and shared mobility. Another development—the prospect of hydrogen-powered mobility—is worthy of special attention because of its potential importance for electrification.

In this compilation, McKinsey experts provide quick overviews of how each trend is evolving. The mix of analysis, insight, and data-informed prognostication should serve as a useful thought starter for CEOs and senior executives, in any industry, who seek to understand what the mobility transformation underway could mean for them today and tomorrow.

Continue Reading


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CCE - Board
Certified Coach
Certified Veteran
Development Coach
Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader Coach
Dave Kinnear
Vistage Chair, CCE-Board Certified Coach, Certified Veteran Development Coach, and
 Executive Leader Coach
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