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You Could Have Had A Pedey!

A few years ago one of my regular clients hired a new IS Manager. Knowing his background and that he’d come from Carlson Companies, when I first met him I jokingly asked him if Curt Carlson ever liked him enough to give him a statue of himself.

My question was a joke. The guy’s response wasn’t.

"Oh, yeah, I won one of those once. They’re called ‘Curties’, about six inches tall, he used to give them out if he thought you were doing a good job".

Egad. You have to wonder about the ego of a guy that would give out statues of himself. Not that surprising given Carlon’s success, though, as he built Carlson Companies from the ground up. He also got the University of Minnesota to name their business school after him just because he gave them a boatload of money.

There’s a life size statue of him as you enter Carlson Companies, or at least there used to be, I haven’t been out there in quite a few years. There’s a bust of him at the Carlson School of Management. The key here is that when you’re successful you can just about anything you want and get away with it - even give out little statues of yourself.

Unfortunately, when you’re not successful the same ideas can make you look really stupid. Take our old buddy Steve Pederson for example. He wanted to have statues of himself made, too.

Pederson telling a former Husker player when success returned at NU that people will "put up a statue of me." (Pederson, now the A.D. at Pittsburgh, twice declined interview requests for this story through a spokesman.)

Maybe if old Stevey P got really successful he could make miniatures - little tiny ones you could carry around so you could keep him with you and remember him all the time. Reading through his bio at Pitt, you’d have to wonder why we got rid of him:

Nebraska achieved at exceptional levels athletically and academically during his tenure. In 2006-07, the Cornhuskers won the national championship in women's volleyball, while the football team won the 2006 Big 12 North title and advanced to its first New Year's Day bowl game since 2001. Overall, 15 Nebraska teams earned NCAA invitations.

Pederson was at Nebraska for five years and we have 23 teams, meaning there were 345 chances for teams get to get NCAA invitations. 15 out of 345 chances is... not very good is it?  I’m thinking there’s a different definition for the word ‘exceptional’ out there in Pittsburgh.

What this means is that Pitt’s standards for athletic success are a helluva low lower than they are at Nebraska, so there’s still a chance for Pedey to get his statues made and then we’ll be sorry.

Especially you because you won’t get one. Maybe you’d like to have had a ‘Pedey’?

One more item of interest about Pederson from that Omaha World Herald article:

A stepped-up "culture of fear" when Pederson last August hired a consultant at $15,000 a month to institute quarterly performance reviews.

Being a consultant now for about 20 years and having worked in organizations of all sizes, shapes and industries, all I have to say is

Holy crap.

The only companies I’m aware of where they do quarterly performance reviews are those that have been bought or sold or are about to be. Oh, that and those run by control freaks and megalomaniacs.