Improvisation And Innovation – An Intersection Of Personal Passions
Almost two years ago, Celanese was embracing its transition into a company focused on innovation, collaboration and customer-orientated opportunities; and I was enjoying my own transition into a new role to support that innovation built on strategy, marketing, and – a personal passion – improvisation.
How can I suggest that good business can come from improvisational acting? Easily. When we discuss unmet needs of the marketplace and debate possible solutions, we are embracing an unscripted environment where the solution doesn’t exist –quite frankly, we’re making it up as we go.
Strategic thinking, a “Market-Back” perspective, and “Stage Gates” improve the success of innovation development; similarly, there are core elements that make improvisation more successful. As I outline below, there are three improvisation skills which can…
Returning To Elementary School
I was thrilled to participate recently in two Junior Achievement teaching days with my Celanese colleagues Gretchen Rosswurm and Phil McDivitt as we co-taught a kindergarten and a third grade class at MC Lively Elementary in Irving, Texas.
It was a blast! Junior Achievement is a well-organized, straight-forward program that allows career professionals the opportunity to share their life experiences and make a difference in the lives of elementary students. I have taught children in the past, but no experience is required to volunteer. From my recent experience, I would like to share a few helpful tips…
Leaders Communicate, And Communicators Lead
This week SmartBrief published a guest blog post about leadership and communication by Gretchen Rosswurm, Celanese’s vice president of communications and corporate social responsibility.
The full post is re-published here for the convenience of Celanese’s audience:
I’m lucky. Having been with a number of Fortune 500 companies, I’ve worked with some incredible leaders. They may not be names you know, but these are a special few who lead and communicate so well they bring people together to achieve amazing things.
From CEOs to supervisors and everything in between, these leaders have a few common communication habits that any of us can take to persuade, inform and encourage teams to be more successful. I’d like to share them with you…
Perception Can Be The Elegant Missing Key
I have for a while now successfully replaced TV watching with watching TED videos. It makes me feel virtuous, although I do spend equal amounts of time on the couch — and by extension — not exercising.
Recently, one particular stream of thought spread across a few videos resonated with me strongly. It is this notion that often times what you should be solving for is the perceived problem and not necessarily the “described” problem. Let me give you a few examples (courtesy of TED and my own experiences).
Example: Six million pounds were spent on Eurostar to reduce the transit time between London and Paris by 40 minutes. For 0.01% of the money they could have instead put Wi-Fi on the train making…
Ask Yourself Three Questions When Managing Processes For Productivity And Efficiency
To effectively and efficiently manage a process, one needs “end to end visibility”. Too many times, we “compartmentalize” ourselves, do our own little piece, and toss it over the wall to the next person, without seeing the full process or understanding the objective.
I once lead restructuring in one of Celanese’s largest manufacturing facilities. It involved five individuals, three from the same department that had no idea what the other was doing. Each week, one individual collected quarters…
Busy And Loving It
This is always a busy time for marketing professionals because there are many trade shows. As marketing communications manager for Celanese Emulsion Polymers, part of my job is the organization and oversight of our trade shows. I was in India, Russia, Germany and Las Vegas – all within four weeks this year. And, I loved it all. Well, maybe not that cancelled flight out of Delhi at 3:30 AM, but I digress.
Trade shows are critical activities in our integrated marketing communication strategy to build awareness of our company, bolster our brand initiatives and communicate our…
My 3rd Grade JA Nerves Turned To JA Joy
I usually get a bit nervous right before a big presentation at work. Little did I know I would have the same nervous feeling getting up in front of an elementary school class! For business presentations, you get ready for it by reviewing your materials and preparing answers to questions that you know will probably be asked. However, it is much different preparing for an audience of 3rd graders… anything could happen!
Volunteering for Junior Achievement (JA) really challenged me to step out of my comfort zone. Are they listening? Will they understand me? Will I make a positive impact in their lives? These were thoughts that went through my head when I entered the classroom. All eyes were on me. I took a deep breath and said…
Vive La Difference!
During a recent trip to a Celanese European-sites workshop in Sulzbach, Germany, I had time to reflect on the good fortune I’ve had to visit many sites and enjoy the cultural differences that only a truly global organization like Celanese offers.
Aside from the more popularly accepted and incontestable distinctions (milling in my head whilst sitting in the workshop classroom): the Germans make great cars, the Dutch and the Belgians are incredible linguists, the French and the Spanish are culinary connoisseurs, and all Englishmen wear bowler hats…
Innovation Tastes Sweet At Celanese
Frankfurt – Last week I was in Europe visiting with employees and customers. I met many talented people and am learning more about Celanese’s innovation capabilities. I like what I see. The teams there are enthusiastically developing solutions for customers that address the needs of our society today and in the future.
Take beverages for example. In 2011, five out of the top ten carbonated soft drinks in the US had zero calories thanks to artificial sweeteners. These “light beverages” are gaining popularity because consumers these days want less
Competitive Dynamics Require More From Us In Singapore
Recently I was in Asia visiting key government officials in China and Indonesia with our Advanced Fuel Technologies (AFT) team. At the end of the trip, I stopped by our Singapore Acetyl facility on Jurong Island. The plant has been in the spotlight recently. Industry conditions and a challenging feedstock position have necessitated the temporary idling of the acetic acid unit. My objectives in visiting the site were focused on our people.
Historically Singapore served as our initial gateway to the East. We launched production in 1997 with vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) and now also produce acetic acid, ethyl acetate and butyl acetate. The plant has a rich history of process and safety excellence and has been a cornerstone of the…
Trying To “Keep It Simple” (KISS)
In my 20-year career since leaving undergraduate engineering school, I have run into various forms of the KISS principle many times. Whether in product design, communications or organizations, the KISS principle states that most things work best if they are kept simple. Therefore, simplicity should be a key goal of almost any activity.
In Celanese’s EVA Performance Polymers business, trying to make things simpler has been a key driver of nearly everything we do. When emerging from the tough economic conditions experienced in 2008 and 2009, we had…
The Job Offer I’ve Been Waiting For: CEO for the Day
In all honesty, what first attracted me to the “job offer” was a chance to do a good deed, to learn a bit about finance, and the wonderful promise of a trip to the Big Apple. Little did I realize how rich of a learning experience I would be receiving. Fortunately I was able to place the winning bid in the silent auction benefiting the Dallas United Way and was in for the greatest and easiest promotion of my life, albeit shortlived.
This year’s CEO for a Day was a trip to New York City to attend the Barclay’s ROC Star conference on May 3 with Mark Rohr,Celanese’s chairman and chief executive officer. The conference is attended by investors from…
Investor Relations By The Numbers
Recently we visited with Wall Street investors. Mark Rohr, the new chairman and chief executive officer of Celanese, has a tremendous reputation on Wall Street and investors wanted to hear first-hand his vision for our company.
In forty-eight hours, the Celanese team attended investor meetings in Boston and New York. These meetings are a gauntlet of physical and mental endurance with long days followed by dinner meetings fielding probing questions from investors and sell side analysts.
And with a new CEO, demand was overwhelmingly high when we hit the road…
Celanese Leadership Program – The Summer Job Of A Lifetime
In a few short weeks, eleven summer interns and five full-time associates of the Celanese Leadership Program (CELP) will make their way to Dallas. They will come from Austin, Ann Arbor, Salt Lake City and Charlottesville. They are chemical engineers, CPAs, mechanical engineers and econ majors. They will hold passports from China, countries in Africa, India, the US and more. They want to be general managers, CEOs or CFOs. They are incredibly diverse. But they share a common objective: they all want to develop their skills and talents to accelerate their careers with the types of opportunities that Celanese can provide.
With Michael Stubblefield, the general manager of our Ticona business, I have the pleasure to serve as the executive sponsor the the Celanese Leadership Program. Our objective is simple: …
Employee Opportunity And Development In Celanese
As an HR professional, people often ask me: “How can I develop my career at Celanese? What are the traits the company truly likes? “
Through my job, I have had the opportunity to discuss this idea of talent with senior leaders. I’d like to share some of their unique insights on talent and what makes a successful manager.
First, what’s the most impressive trait an employee has? I had that conversation with a senior executive once. Here is what he said. “We have many employees who graduated from reputable universities with good professional knowledge. Their second language English is better than mine. All these are good. But what I really like is their passion on the job. I don’t care what…