S2 E100 — Live, Love, Work, Play, Invest and Leave a Legacy

Not all my Executive MBA students hailed from large, mature healthcare organizations.  If they did, they weren’t confident that they could crack the glass ceiling, nor did many physicians really want to.  

“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:You’re an excellent student of life because of your genuine curiosity. You are interested in more than just memorizing what you need to know for life’s various tests. Your longing for deep knowledge will be sated.” Scorpio

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 100 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 21st day of August in the summer of 2020.  

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

Table of Contents

Season One and Two are a two-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic and then in this unfolding pandemic year.

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E99Why Pay Over $100,000 When You Don’t Have To? ; S2 E98 Why Your Company Simply Won’t Make It Out of Puberty ; S2 E97Frame Blindness and Decision Traps

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E100Running out of Determination and Grit by the 100th Day ; S1 E99What’s in a Name? Baby Boy Names?; S1 E98Why Can’t I Leave 26 Orphans for a Well Deserved Vacation? ; S1 E97 My Top 19 Reasons for Failing


This is a continuation of “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” a work-in-progress.

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth and Maturity stages.  But, each with the emphasis on how a specific stage provides another better fit opportunity for one or more of 16 Talent Profiles.

We described two mini case studies of what it was like working behind the scenes at a mature companies in a financial, in a consumer industries and in another century-old university system.

33. Advisor — Executive and Healthcare MBA Program 

Part Two

The business school recognized it had to compete more aggressively for students and slowly shifted emphasis to digital leadership.  The heart of their marketing told prospective Executive MBA students they’d be able to think creatively and strategically about business challenges of the future.

Separately the University launched “The Cove” to fill the Orange County start up vacuum.  More of the Executive Students I advised, even in Healthcare, felt its magnetic pull particularly to commercialize ideas flowing from medical device, biotechnology and other research laboratories. I felt it too and developed relationships with its leaders. 

Here’s what we were up against.  Most residents in Orange County with college bound young adults, if their ambitions were to turn your ideas into a business you didn’t want to attend a campus in the UC System In fact, your best fit would be the Cal State System. You don’t want research and theories,  but you need tools, tips and practical guidance.

The business school’s pitch went something like this:  We have a long tradition of training professionals to succeed at the executive level.  Are you prepared to lead transformation and embrace opportunities for innovation in your industry?

Four Talent Profiles Attracted to Systematic-Professional Organizations

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Clearly pitched at Systematic-Professionals like ourselves, the value proposition promised … you will build a general management foundation complemented by opportunities to further explore the healthcare space, enabling you to apply your understanding of business to the changing healthcare industry.

Our program maximizes your return on investment by: 

    • Delivering relevant knowledge and skills, 
    • Valuable connections with peers in other industries and
    • Prestigious credentials to accelerate your career and organization.

That’s where our group came in.

My project was so different than what my colleagues were providing that  I could independently create a unique suite of services customized for executives. Their “customers” were  students who just graduated with little or no work experience. 

For  the first five years as a Systematic-Professional 113 Idea Packager I flourished reporting directly to the Executive Director working autonomously while establishing services from the ground up as an intrapreneur: 

    • Launched the Executive to Executive mentoring program by recruiting and maintaining  a core of 45 to 50 VP and C-Suite Executives
    • Matched 35 to 45 executive students with mentors each quarter based on type of organization and stage of growth.  
    • Included 5 to 7 industry contacts. 
    • Hosted quarterly mentoring breakfast meetings. 
    • Held panel discussion with alumni and industry leaders for students.
    • Recruited entrepreneurs and alumni for frank Q&A exchanges with students considering a startup.

Not all Executive MBA students hailed from large, mature healthcare organizations.  If they did, they weren’t confident that they would crack the glass ceiling, nor did many physicians really want to. 

They wanted to figure out why certain decisions had been made for business reasons that had impacted them.  Or, they had well researched ideas they wanted to advance, but needed a better understanding of how top executives prioritized their decisions.  Still others felt certain their start up ideas could be winners.

In a way the Healthcare Executive MBA students wanted the same payoffs as did the majority number of students in the Executive MBA program.  

As I met with each one individually before matching them with the best mentor I could find we pinpointed where they found themselves in their current situation.

We’d determine how they rated themselves in terms of high degrees of:

    • Independence or Affiliation
    • Speed or Mastery
    • Disruptive Innovation or Sustained Improvement
    • Emerging Knowledge or Embedded Knowledge

Four Organization Types

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Using myself for example I preferred higher degrees of Embedded Knowledge, Independence and Mastery.  So on face value the blue box (Systematic-Professionals) would be a better fit for me.

But, not all Executive and Healthcare EMBA students were currently in the “color box” they preferred.  One decision they could make was to switch for a better fit — say, “Blue” (Systematic-Professionals) to “Green” (Emerging-Entrepreneurs).  The right mentor-match could prove to be helpful.

Next we’d explore curriculum choices:

Work For Themselves

    • Start a Business
    • Buy a Business or Franchise
    • Launch a Consulting Practice

Work for an Organization

    • Create an Intrapreneurial Position
    • Advance in Your Career
    • Change Your Career
    • Master a Career Disruption

For Executive EMBA students who worked at the same employer for several years which seemed to be plateaued compared to their competitors we would discuss reasons starting with their assessment of which growth stage they’ve stalled in.

Recognizing we haven’t profiled what works and doesn’t work in decline and reinvention stages yet my advice was to ask questions about how to address the crisis most likely constraining their employer and their career in each of the classes and from other students.

Consequences of Not Mastering Growth Crises

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Of course another source would be matched to a mentor who had met those challenges successfully.

180 – Degree Shift in Success by Stages

Growth Stage Key Success Factor Leading to a Crisis New Success Key
Start Up Loosen Leadership Tighten
Emerging Tighten Functional Loosen
Rapid Loosen Autonomy Tighten
Sustained Tighten Repetition Loosen
Maturity Loosen Control Tighten

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Unless those students were career junkies like me who worked in each of those growth stages or consulted with clients confronted with artificial barriers to their organization’s growth, most only needed to focus on the edge of one box and determine what was necessary to jump into the next box for a few years.  

Managing 180 Degree Shifts Required for Each Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Those students encountering the most difficulty when it came to changing their careers had spent  decades in a Systematic-Professional Organization Type or a long-term company in the Maturity phase.

Returning to Organization Types, we’ve already covered 10 of 16 Talent Profiles.  If you think about a company’s culture, it is made up of more of a mix of talent profiles (4) and as people come and go each organization tends to recruit  the same type.

16 Talent Profiles by Organization Type

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Let’s say you value high degrees of Embedded Knowledge, Independence and Mastery aka the talent culture you’d find at a university in the “Blue Box.” 

As one of my Executive MBA students, say a researcher on campus in biotechnology, you most likely would not flourish in the opposite “Green Box” known as Emerging-Entrepreneurs.  

Of course you could make it work, but it may feel too fluid with its focus on higher degrees of speed, emerging knowledge and affiliation.

Speaking of affiliation, the four talent profiles defining a “Tan Box” Sustaining-Associate Organization  favoring higher degrees of mastery and sustained improvement in addition to affiliation would struggle fitting into the “Red Box” of Paradoxy-Morons. 

So if you want to find a better fit, stay away from opposite color boxes.  If you’ve had it with your “box color” as in a career change, try probing an adjacent box to a medium degree of career satisfaction.

If you can’t handle the high speed, disruptive innovation “Red Box” culture, you might like the working in “Blue Box” Systematic-Professionals or the “GreenBox” Emerging-Entrepreneurs.

Two Systematic-Professionals Attracted to Maturity Growth Stage

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020


But, wait there’s more.  As in more options.

As you grow from start up to maturity as an organization my Executive MBA students the talent profiles can “break out” and add value to a specific state.  Two “red” profiles, 101 Breakpoint Investors and 103 Commercial Innovators are joined by “green” 105 Marketing Athletes.

If that Start Up jumps successfully into the first of two growth stages — Emerging Growth — two additional “green” profiles,  107 Resilient Product Teams and 108 Core Business Group, fuel further growth.

But as Emerging flips int Rapid Growth the first two of three Sustaining-Associate “tan” profiles, 111 Agile Tiger Teams and 112 Loyal Survivalists keep the wheels on the bus at higher speeds.  As Rapid Growth shifts into Sustained Growth the third “tan” profile joins the other two, 110 Analytical Specialists.

And, as we’ve already illustrated in these three mini case studies, as the company peaks and maintains their growth at the Maturity level, two “blue” profiles are required to keep the airplane routes synchronized, on schedule and systematically maintained — 114 Brand-as-Experts and 116 Institutional Traditionalists.

Where to Find the Best Fit

Talent Profile Growth Stage Organization Type
101 Breakpoint Inventors Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
103 Commercial Innovators Start Up Paradoxy-Morons
105 Marketing Athletes Start Up Emerging-Entrepreneurs
107 Resilient Product Teams Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
108 Core Business Group Emerging Growth Emerging-Entrepreneurs
111 Agile Tiger Teams Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
112 Loyal Survivalists Rapid Growth Sustaining-Associates
110 Analytical Specialists Sustained Growth Sustaining-Associates
114 Brand-as-Experts Maturity Systematic-Professionals
116 Institutional Traditionalists Maturity Systematic-Professionals

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

Next up:  we leave organizations at the Maturity Growth and describe two talent profiles who specialize and helping “pilots” pull up from their premature Decline.


“5”  Steve Zahn, 51:You’re an excellent student of life because of your genuine curiosity. You are interested in more than just memorizing what you need to know for life’s various tests. Your longing for deep knowledge will be sated.” Scorpio

Maybe this is why I’ve been drawn to figuring things out, what makes things work when it comes to accumulating knowledge and passing it on.  How to live, love, work, play, invest and leave a legacy.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5” Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Thinking counts as effort, but nothing comes into being through thought alone. Air must be moved, words spoken, written or sung, action and work of any kind completed. The more air that’s moved, the more real a thing becomes.  Aries

So that’s what this is all about?  Describing the air bending actions necessary to maneuver in Mature organizations? 

“4” Steve Howey, 42:It’s one of those days when you’ll do what’s good for you even though you don’t feel like it. It’s the sort of discipline that makes future decisions easier for you. Soon these things will require no discipline at all.” Cancer

Promises, promises. Let’s hope so…

“4” Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: Giving love the same way as usual is nice enough. But people get desensitized to typical experiences. When you give more and differently, it’s like stretching the elastic of your heart to a greater capacity for love and joy.” Leo

Now that’s what I’m talking about for this Friday night near the end of summer!

“3” Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61:You can be sweet, but too much sweetness is no fun. Sometimes, your playfulness can come out in swipes. Knowing how far to go with mischief is the essence of intimacy.” Virgo

During this pandemic don’t I get a pass or does it only serve to heighten the tension?

“3”. Steve Aoki, 41: “A whole new level of adulthood kicks in with the realization that others measure the world and themselves differently from the way you do. Accepting this nonstandard system is its own badge of maturity.” Sagittarius

Ok, riddle me this. Of what do you speak, this maturity badge?  Unique talent magnetized to this organizational growth stage, eh?

“4” Steve Harvey, 62:You know an excellent suggestion when you hear it. You’ll follow up and soon be onto an interesting project, one that seems to create its own momentum.”  Capricorn

Yeah, well that’s exactly what intrigued me over the years and is now unfolding with a life of its own. Or during this pandemic I can complete that jigsaw puzzle sitting on our dining room table. 

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @knowlabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4733 to 4807.




    • Saw the movie, didn’t realize that one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly — his detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch book series and Amazon Prime series — also wrote, “The Lincoln Lawyer” which I just finished. Gotta tell you I can’t not see his lead character (Mickey Haller, Bosch’s half brother) as anyone else but Matthew McConaughey. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate


The Knowledge Path | Know Laboratories | Knowledge Banking | Knowledge ATMs | Western Skies and Island Currents | Best West Road Trip