The Lead: Nobel Prize, Trade Agreement, $9.2m Contract to Boeing

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded to Cancer Researchers

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for $1 million will be split between two cancer researchers: James Allison and Tasuku Honjo. At the University of Texas, Allison discovered that a certain protein inhibits the immune system from attacking cancer and developed an approach that released the break on the immune system, and at Japan’s Kyoto University, Honjo found a different protein that acts as a brake on immune cells. Both discoveries led to several effective cancer fighting therapies. The Nobel Committee said, “the seminal discoveries by the two laureates constitute a landmark in our fight against cancer.”

Our View: Awards and recognition are excellent tools to recruit and retain talent. Corporate awards can bolster your company to an industry leader, and awards from major trade groups and associations are excellent public relations tools that get your company’s name out in a cost-effective way. Awards are a magnet for customers and also attract new business-to-business opportunities. Stakeholders at all levels want to be associated with award-winning organizations. Seek opportunities to nominate your team for existing awards and create internal awards that boost morale. Further Reading

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United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement

After a frantic weekend of talks aimed to beat a midnight deadline set by the White House, Canada agreed to join the trade deal that the United States and Mexico made last month. The new agreement is expected to be signed by Trump and his Canadian and Mexican counterparts in 60 days, with Congress likely to act on it next year. Instead of NAFTA, the new treaty will be named the “United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.”

Our View: Deadlines motivate and propel projects forward. Remember Hofstadter’s Law (things always take longer than you think), and allow enough time for complex projects. Write down the deadlines and set reminders. Another piece of tactical advice is to break down your final deadline into smaller, easy-to-accomplish tasks that build momentum toward the final goal. Further Reading

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$9.2 Billion Contract Awarded to Boeing for New Air Force Training Jet

Boeing was chosen to build the U.S. Air Force’s next training jet with a contract worth up to $9.2 billion over the life of the program. Landing large defense contracts has been challenging for Boeing, and this award from the Air Force follows Boeing’s past struggle in delivering to the Air Force its new in-air refueling jet, the KC-46.

Our View: Don’t let setbacks discourage you. A mark of excellent leadership is tenacity and refusal to give up. Work is challenging and leadership is hard, but don’t let the fear of failure stop you. Failure can be an excellent guide. Speaker and author Dr. Steve Maraboli said “as I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.” Further Reading

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Lessons from Prehistoric Art

Thousands of petroglyphs (rock carvings) were recently discovered atop hillocks in the Konkan region of India’s western state of Maharashtra. According to archaeologists, the artwork is believed to be tens of thousands of years old and could hold clues to a previously unknown civilization.

Our View: Seemingly infinite lessons can be garnered from history, and sometimes building your own history can yield equally valuable insights. Experiment with prototyping your process before attempting complex projects. Create smaller, simpler versions of your projects that take less time to accomplish in order to work out the kinks and pave the way for a smoother process on the project that really matters. Avoid going with the first idea that works before exploring alternatives. Further Reading

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California Law Requires Spots for Women on its Corporate Boards

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a law that requires publicly traded companies to include women on their boards of directors. California is the first state to mandate that its public companies have at least one woman serving on their boards. The California Chamber of Commerce argued that the composition of corporate boards should be determined internally, not mandated by government, and senior vice president for policy at the chamber, Jennifer Barrera, commented that “it creates a challenge for a board on achieving broader diversity goals.” Governor Brown wrote “I don’t minimize the potential flaws that indeed may prove fatal to its ultimate implementation. Nevertheless, recent events in Washington, D.C. — and beyond — make it crystal clear that many are not getting the message.”

Our View: Leading diverse teams effectively is just as important as assembling them in the first place. Take the constant effort out of making good diversity decisions by systematizing good practices into your day-to-day operations. Using the hotel industry as inspiration, Frances Duffy, VP HR at Capgemini, shared “hotels wanted people to turn the lights off when they left their rooms, but often guests didn’t. So they started using technology that meant when you took the key card out the lights went out. Similarly, HR can build-in change, like anonymizing CVs, so leaders don’t even have to think about it.” Further Reading

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