I hope this brief bio will help you understand who I am and what makes me tick.
My family is very important to me. My wife Bonnie and I have been married for over thirty years. Bonnie taught English as a Second Language and is a poet. We have two sons, Douglas and Matthew. Doug is finishing up his Master of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana. He is an adventure photographer and ski instructor. To learn more about Doug visit Doug Davis Adventure Photography. Matthew is pursuing his PhD in Paleontology at Yale. We both retired from our full time jobs in 2008 to be able to spend more time consulting, travelling, writing, managing our rental businesses www.sunfunbeachcondo.com and www.vactiontheboat.com and taking care of our elderly parents.
I am an author, entrepreneur and Organizational Development Consultant. My consultancy specializes in creating Scanlon Plans, gainsharing, labor relations, lean systems, teambuilding and Servant Leadership.
I have been extremely fortunate to have many fortuitous encounters and mentors in my life.
Dr. Carl Frost helped me to understand the EPIC Principles of the Scanlon Plan and his student and business partner, Dr. William Greenwood III helped me to understand the Scanlon Roadmap Process for creating individual and organizational development. I served as President of the Scanlon Leadership Network from 1993-2008.
I became a frequent speaker on Leadership and Scanlon. I have been an invitational speaker for the European Foundation, the Academy of Management, the Conference Board, The Japanese External Trade Organization, the American Society for Training and Development, The Ecology of Work Conferences, The Greenleaf Center Conference and Dyad Development of South Africa.
I worked with Scanlon Network members throughout North America—consulting, training, and developing Scanlon programs and services. I created the Scanlon 101 and Scanlon Leadership Programs, the E.P.I.C. Culture Inventory™ and the Scanlon Roadmap learning map. I assisted in the development of the Network’s Listening Program, the Lean Sim Machine™, and Hoshin Quick Start™. I have served as the chief consultant in the development of Scanlon Plans at ELGA and Watermark Credit Unions United Building Centers and Meier Inc.
Also in my role as President of the Scanlon Network I wrote many articles, books, white-papers and chapters on Leadership, Gainsharing, Scanlon and Innovation. My friend Larry Spears and I coedited the definitive anthology of Scanlon thought and practice Scanlon EPIC Leadership (2008). We also coedited The Human Treatment of Human Beings: the writings of Scanlon Steward John Donnelly. Our most recent work is Fortuitous Encounters which should be published in 2012.
My article “Leadership from Theory to Action” appeared in Leading-Edge Magazine. “The ABC’s of Gainsharing” appeared in Physician Compensation and The Employee Ownership Law Review. My article “Hoshin Planning” appeared in the Lansing Business Journal. I coauthored with Dow Scott and Chuck Cockburn “Scanlon Principles and Processes: Building Excellence at Watermark Credit Union” which appeared in the World of Work Journal and Incentive Compensation. Dow and I coauthored Scanlon Gainsharing a chapter in the fifth edition of the Compensation Handbook. I wrote a whitepaper on Innovation which resulted in me being asked to speak at several conferences including the first innovation conference hosted by Queens College.
As President of the Network I was honored to work with many Scanlon Business Leaders and change agents. They all taught me how leaders should lead. People like Max DePree of Herman Miller, Dwaine Baumgartner of the Donnelly Corporation. Dr. Mitch Rabkin of Beth Israel Hospital-Boston, Rob Sligh of Sligh Furniture, Buz Kersman of Lorin Industries, Keith Benson of National Manufacturing, Dick Levan of Westcast, John Chipman, Becky Fulgoni and Bill Main of Landscape Forms, Chuck Cockburn of Watermark, Myron Marsh of Thomson-Shore, Walter Cox of Xaloy, Ken Huck of Sears, Tim Tindall of Spring, John Bungert of S & L Plastics, Carl Brown of Nicholas Plastics, Bob Martel of Cerdec, Dr Charles Koenig of Limerick Veterinary Hospital, Richard Meier of Meier Tool and Engineering, Tom and Jack Haag of SGS Tool, PJ and Pat Thomson and Karen Spaulding of Trans-Matic. They all shared their time and expertise with me and showed me the wide variety of ways to practice the Frost/Scanlon EPIC Principles.
I was honored when the Scanlon Network presented me with the Scanlon Stewardship Award. It is with deep respect for the Network and the Scanlon movement that I continue to use as my title Scanlon Steward and Advocate.
Prior to joining the Scanlon Network I spent eight years working for GMI Engineering and Management Institute. GMI was the oldest corporate college in America and as part of General Motors restructuring that was going on in the 1980’s it became an independent college. (Today it is Kettering). I arrived at GMI in the midst of the divorce from GM and I served as Human Resource Director as we worked to rebuild all the HR systems that were lost when GM no longer performed the function. During those years we had to create a new compensation system, and negotiate labor agreements while transitioning from GM pay scales to those of a small college. We did it without strikes or stoppages even though we had to make huge changes in the way things were done. After the Human Resource function was stabilized I moved to a newly formed Continuing Education Department where I created the Management Development Program. GMI was a coop school where students went to school and were also sponsored by over 500 different corporations or divisions of GM. Our Continuing Education Department served those organizations.
Manufacturing was in a tailspin and automobile manufacturing was hit the worst. Japanese car companies were taking more and more of the big three’s market share. We discovered the teachings of W. Edwards Deming. We studied teamwork. Our clients were demanding help in changing their cultures. I discovered three tools that made a major difference for my clients and in my life. The first was the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It provided a framework for understanding differences. I would later be invited to take the MBTI to South Africa where we used it to help pave the way for the end of apartheid. I worked with Dr. Mary McCaulley and Bill Neale to design a game to teach the MBTI and the game is still sold by the Center for Applications of Psychological Type. The second tool was the Level 1 Life Styles Inventory created by Dr. Clay Lafferty and sold through Human Synergistic. It helped my clients see how their inappropriate thinking got in the way of effectiveness and it showed them what they needed to do to improve. The third tool was experiential team-building. Working with several of the pioneers in this field I learned how to speed up group dynamics to help develop teams.
I used all three tools to work with Buick City. This was a large manufacturing plant in Flint that had been intended to be a team-based plant. The UAW began to lose faith in the concept when they saw the management team constantly fighting each other. They threatened to pull out of the team process and I found myself as a young consultant being asked to turn the culture of the plant around in one day. Of course I could not do that but with the three tools in one day I was able to get the management team pointing in the same direction and willing to work together. Over the next year the team continued to bond and they were able to improve the quality of Buick to the point that Buick’s market share rose by 15%.
As a result of my work with Buick I was asked to do the same type of work for AM General the maker of the famous Humvee.
This was also the time that Toyota began to manufacture in the United States in a plant in California that was called New United Motor Manufacturing. Inc. (NUMMI). I found the researcher who was hired by Toyota to study the plant and we began offering seminars in Flint. Today what we had discovered is called “lean” but when we were doing our work we were only beginning to discover how Toyota made things. I also helped to lead a mission to Japan to study their methods. This was the beginning of my lifelong study of lean sysrtems and methods.
I interned at Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change where I studied the civil rights movement and the history of nonviolence. I had the chance to share dinner with Mrs. Coretta Scott King in her home. I am still committed to change and the dream of Dr. King after all these years. I continue to search for better ways for us all to live on this precious little blue planet.