My Man, Mitch (Mitch Daniels)

MItch Daniels, Governor of Indiana, Rich Razgaitis Mentor

Some of you may know that I had the privilege of spending some of my early work years at some really solid companies–Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson. I have nothing but admiration for these excellent organizations, and appreciation for all the great relationships formed as well as exceptional training, learning, and development.

There are upsides and downsides to all companies, and large companies often share some similar characteristics. One of the best virtues of big companies are the resources. And I’m not referencing the financial resources, but really instead the human resources. Not just to help get things done, but to learn. To listen. To expand your knowledge. Yet it’s only there if you proactively take advantage of it, to really initiate and maximize the impact.

For example, during my years at working at Lilly I’m not sure I went to lunch socially for more than 5-10 times all told. I would either eat at my desk and crank, or, more likely, I’d spend an hour at lunch networking with people from all over the organization–from EVP’s to people who worked in the Call Center and everywhere in between. I started my MBA during my first year at Lilly, but in some ways I learned more over those years in getting to know the people through my lunch meetings–their skills, best practices, lessons learned, mistakes made, all while developing a wide variety of interpersonal connections. I look back and realize there are some of my colleagues that didn’t do any networking more than a handful of times; I don’t offer it as a critique of them, though I know that some of my best experiences, the best lessons, came from the opportunity to connect with someone totally apart than me, those in a vastly different role or background, and to both share my experiences but principally to listen and learn.

Why does this strike me?

I was going through all sorts of paperwork and filing this week, some of it from over a decade ago, and I found my “Networking and Learning” folder from my days at Lilly. And I found pages and pages and pages of notes from the people that I met with over the years, and it’s amazing to recognize the impact that some of those meetings have had on me years later, even to this point today; in ways that I wouldn’t even cognitively recognize, or associate, with that past experience.

One page of notes led to another. And another. At the top of several of those pages was the name “Mitch Daniels”, who was an EVP at Lilly while I was there–in a very senior position (and I’m sure was a CEO candidate but took a federal job in the Bush administration and now is actually Governor of Indiana; I know nothing about his politics, so this is not a political endorsement for him as Governor, though I can vouch that he’s an exceptional individual regardless of his public policy).

I met Mitch many years earlier at the commencement for my undergrad program, he was the featured speaker. I was off to adventures on the East Coast to go work for J&J, and after he spoke on graduation day I went up to him and shared my story and the exciting adventure I was off towards and said “Can’ you give me one piece of advice to take with me, from all of your years of experience?”

His response was simple, he looked me dead in the eye and said:

“Always do the right thing.” And that was it, along with a pat on the back, and some niceties that were exchanged apart from the advice.

So years later when I moved to Indy to work at Lilly Corporate I reconnected with Mitch and reminded him of our interchange and my desire to network and learn from him;  he mentored me for the years that I was working at Lilly. And, this week as I was filing papers, there  it was again in my notes, where he was echoing some of the same principles he’d shared with us at graduation years earlier.

-Do the right thing. Do the right thing. Do the right thing.

Knowing, of course, that it’s impossible to always do the right thing (who doesn’t make mistakes). But also knowing that it’s only through intention and consistent application of “do the right thing” that one makes any significant headway in life.

So there’s the benefit of people, and teams. Personal development. In ways you simply can’t grow otherwise. You don’t have to work in a huge corporation to get the access to these types of resources (though that is a big advantage), and if you don’t have these at your disposal you might just have to work a bit harder. Or, be a bit more intentional about it. Some of the greatest lessons are those I’ve learned through simply shutting up (which I still don’t do enough), asking good questions, and taking a few notes along the way.

Which is something that we can all do–regardless our circumstances–so that we can have the privilege of learning a lesson, perhaps invaluable, from someone else.

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Regrets

carebears-1Today at the gym I was on the elliptical machine and there was an older woman in front of me who had really short hair. I wouldn’t have noticed, apart from the large tattoo on her neck of a pink “Care Bears” fully exposed given the short hair.

If she doesn’t already, my guess is she will someday regret getting that tattoo.
So at that moment I started thinking about regrets.
I’ve got some and so do you.
For some that say “I have no regrets”, I know it sounds fashionably independent and confident–almost brash and brave. But it also says that they probably aren’t thinking hard enough about their past or their memories are too short.
When it comes down to it, I think we all have regrets. Often, decisions are based on whether we think we’ll have a regret or not as a consequence.
elililly-1
Years ago I was working at the corporate offices of Eli Lilly in Indianapolis in a Marketing role. Many of my peers had MBA’s from the top tier schools, and I remember working with some exceptionally talented people. Say what you what about Pharma/Biotech (and I do think, generally, the health care model is broken with many of these companies), but they generally have
exceptionally talented people that work in the corporate offices.
There were a few corporate guys like me who had risen up to a corporate role from the field sales position, but we were always a little bit different than the “MBA employees.” At least that’s how I felt at times–but it didn’t hold me back and it really didn’t bother me, I always acknowledged the value of higher education. Except for one time I remember getting pretty rankled, as I heard with great clarity and ringing words in my ears as one Duke MBA brat told me “nobody without an MBA has the ability to work in Business Development” (which, ironically, I later did, though with a different company).
This statement alone made me want to NOT get my MBA and prove him wrong. But that response only lasted a few minutes, and truth be told I had been wrestling with the idea of
whether to pursue an MBA.

mba

In fact, I had a three pronged decision: 1) Bypass the MBA and just continue getting some incredible work experiences and climbing the ladder; 2) Continue w/ the great work experiences but give up a lot of my personal life for a few
years and go to a part time MBA program; 3) Go to a stellar full time MBA program, giving up my full time job, so I could focus all my energies on education.
One of the great things about a large Company like Eli Lilly is the wealth of knowledge and intellectual horsepower that exists and is freely available. I worked really hard to perform while there, but I also worked equally hard to learn. And during that time I had outstanding mentors. So I used the vast network of people during the course of four months and I set up about a dozen different meetings with various colleagues to pick their brain about MBA programs and get different perspectives so I could make my own decision and take a best course of action. It was a big decision for me.
Invariably, almost without exception, I learned three things when trying to assess a no-go, PT, or FT MBA program decision.
1. Those who didn’t go to get their MBA generally didn’t think it that useful or “needed” in order to succeed. So they didn’t really recommend it.
2. Those that went part time were convinced that getting a part time MBA was the best approach, that getting an MBA was vitally important but not enough so that you should leave the workforce and miss out on those workplace experiences.
3. Those that went full time were equally convinced that getting an MBA was not only vital, but that you really “must” go through a full time program at a top tier school.
This proves a bit of the problem with selection bias. I learned a lot from these informational meetings, but ultimately the advice-giver couldn’t generally divorce themselves from personal bias–and people usually want to validate their own personal decisions.
My final information-gathering meeting was with a mentor of mine named Joe. We talked for about an hour, he had an easy and casually conversant style–peppered with lots of questions about my goals and aspirations, but he also did a great job of sharing with me various experiences and some of the pros and cons of my decisions as he saw it.
In fact, he was so objective that I can’t even recall if he had an MBA or not. He was one of the few that didn’t have such a strong personal bias. And as much as I liked the advice and his mentorship, what we discussed during the 59 minutes didn’t really help me as much as what he said in the final one minute.
As we were closing the dialgue, he made a statement so simple but provided such exceptional clarity that I remember this being the tipping point of my decision to go and pursue and MBA. Joe said the following simple statement in both a confident and reassuring way:
“Raz, I have no question that if you go back and get your MBA that you’ll never regret it. Never.”
And oddly enough, that’s all I needed to hear.
Hours and hours of deliberation and dialogue suddenly flew out the window, and I knew EXACTLY what I was supposed to do. So quickly thereafter I enrolled in a fantastic part-time MBA program while also continuing with the great experiences at Lilly (which also led to another more diverse set of experiences in Manhattan at a start-up and other adventures, for another blog entry).
What crystallized the decision for me was the simple acknowledgment and affirmation from a trusted mentor that I would never regret the decision to go back to school to get my MBA. That’s it. Clearly, a large part of my decision was driven by ambition and a thirst for learning and personal/professional development; but another part of it was driven by a very simple motive: not wanting to have any regrets.
And that’s the simple message of today that, while seeing a pink bear tattoo while working out on the elliptical machine, initiated all these thoughts that tie back to where we are today. I think the question goes through everybody’s mind at some time: “Do I really want to work in Relationship Marketing? And, if so, do I want to do it with Univera?”
Today, when it comes to this industry and our Company, I think the best advice I can give comes directly from a mentor of mine years ago.
If you join us on this journey, it’s a decision that I’m confident that you’ll never regret.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.