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USC Marshall conference charts changes in business landscape

by Julie Riggott
USC Marshall lecturer Dave Logan offers a presentation titled “Tribal Leadership: Hacking Your Organization’s Culture.”
Photo: USC Marshall lecturer Dave Logan offers a presentation titled “Tribal Leadership: Hacking Your Organization’s Culture.”

Addressing the challenges of a complex business landscape, the sixth annual USC Marshall School of Business Leadership Summit was held at L.A. Live on April 11.

“Every single day, I think I’ve wrapped my head around what’s changed in the world — technological changes, the convergence of technologies, the blurring of the windows that we have to release our product in television and motion pictures — and then things change again,” said Dean Hallett ’80, chief financial officer for Fox Filmed Entertainment. “Complexity is getting greater and greater, and it’s taking more and more deep analysis and insights and ideas in order to deal with it.”

The event drew USC Marshall alumni for a day of presentations by industry leaders and faculty covering media and health care, among other topics.

Dave Logan, a lecturer in USC Marshall’s Executive MBA Program and co-founder and senior partner of the management consulting firm CultureSync, offered a presentation titled “Tribal Leadership: Hacking Your Organization’s Culture.”

“Culture is the single-biggest determinant of success in an organization, yet only 7 percent of business tribes are wired to learn their way into changing the world,” Logan said. He described specific strategies to “hack into tribes” — small, naturally occurring groups within a company — and take employees to the point where they can think about ways the company can “make history.”

Chris Lischewski ’82, MBA ’86 has discovered a number of keys to organizational effectiveness as president and CEO of Bumble Bee Foods, North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood company. He shared five criteria for success with the audience: a motivated, strong team; a lean organizational structure that allows good communication and rapid decision-making; sticking to core competencies; pushing the envelope and taking calculated risks; and recognizing errors, admitting them and moving on.

Afterward, Sriram Dasu, associate professor of information and operations management at USC Marshall, provided background on the health care industry with help from panelists James Mintie ’81, vice chairman and senior vice president of Mintie Corp./Mintie Technologies Inc., and Gary Lauer ’76, chairman and CEO of eHealth Inc.

With the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the hands of the Supreme Court, Americans are aware of some of the problems with the system, including the fact that consumers spend more money per person on health care than any other nation in the world and that 50 million people are uninsured. Whatever the outcome of the ACA, Lauer pointed out that health care is big business. It also is becoming a consumer-centric business, with more and more individuals responsible for procuring insurance.

“There are a lot of challenges in health care, but from a business perspective, that means a lot of opportunities,” Lauer said.

In a media-focused session, Lucy Hood, executive director of the USC Marshall Institute for Communication Technology Management, shared the results of surveys on media usage and 10 technology trends to watch. She introduced David Dale, executive vice president of MTVX, which works with groups across MTV, including television production, digital, marketing, ad sales, integrated marketing and consumer products to provide content across all devices.

Paul Fejtek ’92 and Denise Fejtek, co-authors of Steps to the Summit: Reaching the Top in Business and Life, took the discussion of leadership to new heights.

After reaching the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth at 29,029 feet, the Fejteks joined a small, elite group of climbers who have scaled all of the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

Paul Fejtek, who also works as a managing director at Hunter Wise Financial Group, and Denise Fejtek, who specializes in corporate leadership development retreats, shared insights into managing risk and creating a winning team that can take an individual to the top of any field.