THEME SLIDE: The slide is empty except for a bold horizontal line that nearly stretches from edge to edge across the middle of the field.
Good morning. Yes, youre in for another PowerPoint presentation, thats the bad news
but the good news
is that basically, theres only one slide Im going to use
and youre looking at it.
Like many of you, I have a sort of love/hate relationship with these kinds of presentations
with the hate part stemming from some really, really awful slide shows Ive had to sit through that seemed to last forever.
As someone I used to work with once said, Power corrupts
and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.
But as you can see from my opening slide
which I like to call my theme slide
Im taking a simple approach to this.
I went to a website that promises practical, down-to-earth and up-to-date tips on the best ways to use PowerPoint. I figured Id check out how the program had changed since the last time I used it.
The most fascinating thing I found on that web page
was a sentence about a new feature in the latest version of PowerPoint.
SLIDE 2 TEXT: Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently avoid this latest improvement.
[PAUSE, LET AUDIENCE READ QUOTE AND REACT] Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently avoid this latest improvement. And this is dead serious; no one was trying to be funny.
This sentence started me thinking not about PowerPoint, but about the kinds of things I could say this morning, and how those things might be perceived.
Because Ive been in the industry for about 22 years
as a sales rep, a DM, an Account Manager, an AD of Regional Account Management
and more recently, an RSD
and AD of Marketing in my previous job.
What that means among other things is that Ive been in the audience for about a million presentations like this one. Ive seen the new people get up and talk about who they are
how happy they are to be with their new company, in their new job
how they see the future
all that kind of thing
and it occurs to me that there are many in the audience who take a look, take a listen, let out a long sigh, and think quietly to themselves
Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently avoid this latest improvement.
My achievable objective this morning is to try and not leave you with that feeling.
SLIDE THREE THEME SLIDE (Horizontal line)
Let me explain my Theme Slide.
What you see there is not just a line. Its a dividing line.
Im going to use this line in a number of ways
to introduce myself
to tell you why I am, in fact, glad to be here at Newco
and to talk about change.
Not PowerPoint-style Change so-called improvements we consider unfortunate and would really rather avoid but positive change that positions us for greater success.
SLIDE FOUR THEME SLIDE ADD TEXT: Newco (above the dividing line) Oldco (below the dividing line).
Im new here. Im experiencing this company for the first time. 22 years at Oldco on one side of the dividing line. About three months at Newco on the other.
Im not in a good position to speak with great authority about Newco; you know this company far better than I do. But I can suggest a few ways to divide the two companies
by pointing out what sorts of things separate the two, as business environments in which to work.
One of the biggest clichés in our industry actually, its repeated in every industry is to say Our people make the difference. At Pfizer, People are the cornerstone of Pfizer Success. Merck reaches its full potential if Merck people reach their full potential. And at Novartis, People are the most important resource.
Im not going to argue with any of that
how can you argue with that? But when my new boss called and said, Ann, you ought to think about working here at Newco, just for grins, I surfed over to the Newco web site and clicked the link that said Our culture, expecting to find the usual chestnuts.
I was not expecting to find this statement:
Where employees enjoy doing rewarding work.
I will admit to some skepticism about that claim, and I will tell you that the possibility of enjoyment was not what put me over the top in my decision to pull up stakes at Oldco after two decades and try something new.
Three months later, though, I am somewhat astonished to report that the statement is true. I can honestly report that Ive laughed more in the last twelve weeks than I have over the past twelve years.
You do have more fun when you get to do rewarding work.
And you get to do more rewarding work
as well as develop a broader, more comprehensive and valuable experience base
working in a company thats structured the way Newco is structured. You get to do more here.
And thats the key. Thats something that divides Newco from Oldco, in my estimation. Here, rewarding work is not only a product of a company culture that dares to use the word enjoy, right out there on the web site where everyone can see it
but also a product of the size and structure of the organization
which makes rewarding work a possibility.
SLIDE FIVE THEME SLIDE ADD TEXT: Sales (above the dividing line) Marketing (below the dividing line).
Im not going to trash Oldco; its a fine company and I had the opportunity to do good work there.
But let me tell you, there are bunkers on either side of the dividing line between sales and marketing at Oldco. Theres sentry towers and razor wire and fences ten feet high. And every so often a brave individual sneaks right up to the dividing line - under cover of darkness and lobs a memo over onto the other side. When it lands assuming it doesnt explode right then and there nobody wants to pick it up because theyre afraid someone on their side of the line will think theyre fraternizing with the enemy.
Well, I exaggerate a bit. But here at Newco, the dividing line between sales and marketing is often no more than the distance between two papers on my desk. Or the physical distance between people in this room. To be actively involved in both areas, as I find myself to be
just that fact alone opens up vast areas of truly rewarding work, and Im excited about that.
SLIDE SIX THEME SLIDE ADD TEXT: Reality (above the dividing line) Perception (below the dividing line).
But I dont want you to think that Im looking at this organization through rose-colored contacts. Im not Pollyanna, and I recognize we do have significant challenges here
significant challenges, as you all know, being the correct corporate pronunciation of the word problems.
SLIDE SEVEN THEME SLIDE ADD TEXT: April 12, 2006 (above the dividing line) April 13, 2006 (below the dividing line).
Heres a dividing line we have to deal with.
April 12th was a pretty ordinary day around here. On April 13th, we reported financial results for the quarter, which acknowledged serious issues we need to address. And Serious Issues, as you know, is the correct corporate pronunciation of the words significant challenges.
In plain language, we took a big hit. We reported a loss; the stock price fell; the financial analysts jumped all over us.
SLIDE EIGHT THEME SLIDE ADD TEXT: Montclair [Newcos location] (above the dividing line) Woodside [Oldcos location] (below the dividing line).
The next morning, I got in my car
put the key in the ignition
looked in the rear-view mirror and asked myself a question. Given the events of the previous day
all that bad news that seemed to hit at once
if I had a choice
where would I rather be driving? To Montclair
or to Woodside?
This is an example of what behavioral psychologists call magical thinking. Spending time considering choices you dont have.
That morning, though, I looked myself straight in the eye and was happy to experience no conflict whatsoever. One bad quarterly report doesnt change or even affect my deeply-held conviction that Newco is, without question, a great place to be
and will be an even greater place to be in the future