Succession Planning

There is nothing more important in the life cycle of an organization than the transition to new leadership. This is equally true both in nonprofits and in for-profit corporations. The key to a successful transition is careful and deliberate succession planning.

I am fortunate to have experienced this up close, first when I retired from Applied Materials and not long after when The Nature Conservancy was looking for a new CEO. I talk at length about those transitions in my book, Applied Wisdom. In this newsletter I want to look at what’s involved in successful succession planning.

I would say ten years is a reasonable assignment for a chief executive, whether in a for-profit corporation or a non-profit. In that period, you’ve made some good moves, you’ve made some mistakes, and you’ve worked to fix those mistakes. The trouble is, as time goes on, it’s human nature to spend more and more time defending what you’ve done rather than positioning the company or nonprofit for its next leap forward.

When it’s time for a chief executive to leave, succession issues become pervasive in a company. This can create a distraction. Executives tend to handicap the internal horses and align with the contender they think will get the job. As the various scenarios play out, lower level managers hold back making decisions while second-guessing what their odds-on favorite might want to do next.

You like to think that during your tenure you’ve helped some individuals take their skills to new levels, and so promoting from within is always an attractive idea. If an internal candidate distinguishes him or herself, has a vision for the future, has the respect of other employees, and is someone who the board thinks makes sense, then the transition can be very smooth. An internal candidate is intimately familiar with the organization, its challenges, its strategic goals, and its capabilities.

On the other hand, it’s not easy for executives to distinguish themselves above all the others. Each manager has a specialized role and may not be suited to running the entire organization. Make sure you understand which gaps in their experience might hinder them.

Zeroing in on a Candidate

By now you will have determined the qualities and capabilities of the person you need. I hope you’ll have followed my Rule of Three and kept in contact with a personal list of at least three people who you think could be a good fit to lead your team. These individuals could be the first candidates for the job.

Do not stop calling references and former employers of a candidate until you come across at least two negatives. Perhaps they’re not strong in finance. Do they listen and seek advice? You then have to decide if your organization can live with those negatives.

Advice for Succession Planning

As I pointed out in Applied Wisdom for Nonprofits, if you take the issues that most companies face and list them next to the challenges most nonprofits face, you will not be able to identify which is which. This holds true for succession planning.

A succession plan should be a joint effort between the current chief executive and the entire board. Assess what has made the organization successful so far, and what the CEO or executive director has done to make this success possible. What are the strengths of the organization under the current leader?

Now use your court sense to assess the driving forces surrounding your industry or nonprofit service and funding community. What are the challenges and opportunities the new CEO will have to deal with? At the same time, think about the whole executive team, and what will be needed in the years ahead.

For Smaller Organizations

These same considerations hold true for smaller nonprofits. They need succession plans as well. The scale of the problem may be different, but the basic requirements are the same.

A smaller organization may need hiring assistance from an outside consultant (or that expertise may be found among board members). The pool of potential candidates will be smaller, which may tip the scales toward promoting from within.

But the importance of a successful transition is identical, in nonprofits and for-profits, both large and small.

To your success,

Jim Morgan

As always, complimentary copies of Applied Wisdom for Nonprofits, print, digital, and the audiobook are just a click away.

What succession issues have your organization faced? How did you address them? Share your thoughts with me at

In the manufacturing business, “Book it and ship it” can simply mean, “We’ve finished building this. Let’s fill the orders and move on.”

But I’ve also used the expression more broadly as a way of saying, “No more dithering. We’ve done our best here; now let’s put the decision in motion and see what happens.” If problems develop, you manage them. But kicking the can down the road over and over just saps energy. Success comes from the implementation of ideas. Time must be spent on organizing, strategizing, and planning, but then you need to complete the project, release the product, hire the person, or get the donation.

Success is 10% planning, and 90% implementation.

The Cost of Perfect Information

Voltaire said, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” That’s sound advice. Time is wasted and opportunities are lost when people become fixated on having perfect information rather than trusting their instincts, making decisions, and then managing the consequences. Organizations in motion can alter course much faster than they can go from zero to 60. Decisions create momentum.

That does not mean you agree to pursue long shots or ignore troubling data just to make sure you do something. You always want good information. And you want extremely good information when you are calculating a moon shot or planning a brain surgery. But the cost of perfect information is too high for most decisions. Too many people agonize for too long making decisions and then they don’t pay enough attention to managing the outcome. They neglect to establish contingency plans and milestones and then do an honest assessment of whether the plan is working as the organization reaches (or doesn’t reach) those milestones. Once in motion, they often neglect the course corrections necessary for success.

More complex decisions require a staged process. Gather a few people with the best perspective to frame the decision needed. Assign for appropriate analysis and recommendation. Get used to not having perfect information to make a decision. Of course the decision is important, but more important is how you manage next steps. Establish a written set of milestones to assess each decision and how you are managing the consequences of the decision over time.

Stay on the Cliff

At Applied Materials, we used to envision ourselves standing on a cliff. One of three things can happen:

1) You give a correct answer to the question and you stay on the cliff.

2) Wrong answer, you’re pushed off.

3) No answer, you’re also pushed off!

This scenario sharpens the mind. Within their area of responsibility, most people will give the right answer most of the time. You just need to decide to decide.

Making Decisions at The Nature Conservancy

We accomplished a lot during the time I served on the board of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). With a mission “to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends,” it’s the largest U.S. nonprofit focused on the environment. However, a disproportionate amount of time was spent reorganizing and strategizing. I became somewhat famous in TNC for using this phrase, “book it and ship it.”

Mark Burget, executive vice president and managing director of North America for TNC, put it this way:

“At one time TNC’s biggest shortcoming was our disproportionate focus on planning, internal discussion, and so on. In ‘book it and ship it’ I hear a plea to get on to execution. This is a challenge for any organization, but especially for a mission-driven organization facing very large, complex challenges. We could easily spend the rest of our lives talking about environmental problems and feeling pretty good about how smart we are. Jim reminds us to get to work on making change happen in the world. Make the purchase, get the easement, attract the funding, hire the person, close the opportunity. As William Blake said, ‘Execution is the chariot of genius.’”

Of course, this Morganism doesn’t apply just to environmental nonprofits. Making good decisions, timed right, is a challenge for all groups. My experience says that you just have to cultivate the habit of making timely decisions and then effectively communicate them.

I often think of the quotation, “When all was said and done, more was said than done.” Enough discussion: let’s book it and ship it!

To your success,

Jim Morgan

As always, complimentary copies of Applied Wisdom for Nonprofits, print, digital, and the audiobook, are just a click away.

What blocks you from making critical decisions?

How do you overcome uncertainty and move forward? 

Please leave your reply using the comment section below.

I’ve been building my collection of Morganisms—personal nuggets of business advice—throughout my career. I’m always collecting articles, lists, notes, and ideas while reading, listening to speakers, or just talking with people.

One of my favorite Morganisms is called Who Owns the Monkey?

Let’s say that one of your staff shows up in your office with a problem—a monkey—on his or her shoulder. As a manager, you want to acknowledge that you see the monkey, and that you care about the monkey. You may even pet the monkey for a few minutes. But you can’t let that employee leave the monkey behind for you to take care of. You want to be sure that when your employee walks out the door of your office, the monkey goes too. Owning the monkey means the person responsible cannot pass the buck; they must think through the consequences of decisions and try to solve the problem. There is no need to escalate it to the top at the first sign of trouble.

Both for-profit and nonprofit leaders are often overworked and under-resourced. Problems can easily move up the chain of command. You need to create a culture of accountability to ensure that the only issues that land on your plate are the ones that are your clear responsibility. When you empower employees to make decisions, you also empower them to solve problems that arise from those decisions.

The idea of owning the monkey comes from an article in the Harvard Business Review published back in 1974, Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey? by William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L. Wass. They describe how managers should respond to employees who try to put a monkey on their back:

“At no time while I am helping you with this problem will your problem become my problem. When this meeting is over, the problem will leave this office exactly the way it came in—on your back.

“You may ask for my help at any appointed time, and we will make a joint determination of what the next move will be; and which of us will make it. In those rare instances where the next move turns out to be mine, you and I will determine it together. I will not make any move alone.”

The manager transfers the responsibility back to the direct report and keeps it there.

Oncken and Wass describe five degrees of initiatives that can empower staff decision-making.

The employee could:

  1. Wait until told (the lowest initiative).
  2. Ask what to do.
  3. Recommend an action, and wait for a decision.
  4. Act, but inform at once.
  5. Act, then report on the decision in due course (the highest initiative).

The manager’s job is to outlaw the use of 1 and 2, and to ensure that for each problem leaving his or her office, there is an agreed-upon level of initiative assigned to it.

Years later, management guru Stephen Covey pointed out in talking about monkeys, you should keep in mind that empowerment means you have to develop your staff’s skills, which is initially much more time-consuming than simply solving their problems on your own. But the investment pays off.

In a culture of accountability, employees are comfortable acknowledging reality, warts and all. Individuals do not just wait and hope things improve or spend their time crafting excuses or pointing fingers at others. They take responsibility for finding solutions and making improvements.

Make Your Management Toolkit

I have always encouraged people to develop their own sets of guiding principles. I urge everyone to do that as a habit that serves as a constant reminder that we evolve over our lifetime as managers, and there are always new ideas that can be helpful—or old ideas that suddenly apply to a situation in which we find ourselves. Learning to be a better manager is a lifelong process.

Latest Morgan Publishing News

I’m excited to launch a brand new website for my books, still at the old URL, There are two main features. First is that I’ve brought all of the content related to my books under one roof. Second is that I’m launching two new resources, an accessible, downloadable audiobook of Applied Wisdom for Nonprofits, and also a set of snappy bite-sized videos to introduce newcomers to the core concepts in the book.

Here’s the video of the introduction:

As always, complimentary copies of Applied Wisdom for Nonprofits, both print and digital, are just a click away.

I’ve always liked Kenny Rogers’ song The Gambler. It tells the story of a chance encounter with a man who he calls “the gambler.” In exchange for a drink of whiskey, the gambler agrees to offer him some advice. The advice? “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”

The song makes me think about business strategy, knowing when to move ahead, when to re-engineer a project, and when the best move is just to shut down an initiative that’s gone off track.

There are many tools and techniques that can help you develop a sound business strategy. One of them I call “court sense.”

Why “court sense”?

Basketball is an intense and fluid game. I’ve always liked it because there’s no standing around waiting for a pitch or lining up and waiting for a snap. You have a game plan, but you have to adjust on the fly. You study your opponents’ behavior and focus on seizing opportunities as they arise. Playing basketball helped give me “court sense,” an ability to pay attention to more than one thing going on, to adjust to fast-changing variables in order to predict where the next opening or opportunity might be. And also to sense the challenges that will invariably arise.

The Morgan & Sons Cannery in the 1940s.

I grew up working in our family’s canning business, Morgan & Sons Canning. Canning vegetables might sound simple. But keeping a canning factory humming demanded focus and good judgment. As the equipment became increasingly complex and powerful it also became more dangerous. Training workers and making sure they followed safety procedures was essential. A shirt-tail or a sleeve caught in the canning line could lead to a serious injury; I saw men lose fingers or even a hand by being careless near gears and motors. That was my introduction to court sense. To this day I see things from the corner of my eye and project the probability of an accident.

Court sense is the alert, action-oriented posture that sports like basketball demand for success. It holds true in business and also for nonprofits. You can’t hone your court sense in a vacuum—or in an echo chamber. It’s valuable to take the time regularly to step out of your comfort zone and the weeds of daily details and immediate issues. As you develop your court sense you’ll see more clearly everything that’s happening around you, allowing you to rapidly adjust to changes.

In making decisions about the future direction of an organization, it’s critical to use your court sense to assess the driving forces. Driving forces can be macroeconomic factors, technology innovations, industry directions, and global trends. Moore’s Law was a driving force that helped us at Applied Materials, for example. Other driving forces today include a global interest in reducing reliance on fossil fuels, or the aging of the “Baby Boom” cohort. Micro driving forces can be unique, possibly fleeting opportunities such as a competitor’s strategic shift or stumble, or new tax incentives that encourage a specific investment.

It’s a good exercise to periodically look at the driving forces related to whatever you are doing. Assess whether you are positioning yourself to take advantage of the changes. Look at the demographic that you think represents your most important customers or funding sources and seek to understand what new ideas or cultural themes matter to them. Realize that this is a “best guess” domain so when you make a decision, keep recalibrating and adjusting.

In nonprofit management, it means not only paying attention to your personal agenda and actions, but realizing that managers must learn to simultaneously track the movements and momentum of the entire team, the entire organization, local and national politics, and current societal and economic trends.

Right now we have a very strong economy in the United States. A lot of people are making a lot of money, which is good news for fundraisers. But recent tax changes could make fundraising more difficult. Although the strong economy has reduced unemployment to record levels, it has increased housing costs in many communities, which in turn has made staff more expensive for every organization. Just like in for-profits, sudden policy changes in Washington are having an impact on many nonprofits, such as those focused on immigration or the environment.

It’s critical to adopt an alert, ready posture, constantly reminding yourself to look up, look forward, and look around. The better your court sense, the sooner you will see and react to changing conditions. You have to anticipate problems, process new variables, and adjust your strategy accordingly while finding ways to move forward. You become road kill if you don’t.

Every time a federal or state administration shifts, nonprofits are among the most exposed, sometimes negatively (extra work, extra costs, or undoing needed protections) and other times positively (greater opportunities to fulfill their mission).The fast-changing political climate in Washington is creating a host of challenges for the nonprofit community.

  • Nonprofits focused on climate change and other environmental issues are facing repeal of agreements and regulations.
  • Nonprofits focused on reproductive health, rights, and justice face funding cuts and new regulations.
  • Tightened immigration policies, including deportations, disrupt communities and increase the demand for children’s services and for legal aid.
  • The repeal of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act will increase the need for charity-based healthcare.

The news is not all bad.

The Giving USA 2017 report published by the Giving USA Foundation, covering charitable giving in the 2016 election year, notes that all categories of recipient organizations saw an increase in 2016, with the largest being a 7.2% increase in giving to the environment and animal organizations.

People without a lot of disposable income gave in larger numbers than they would have in the recent past. When President Trump signed an executive order suspending refugee admissions from seven Muslim-majority countries the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) raised over $24 million from more than 350,000 individual online donations in a two-day period—six times the amount the ACLU normally handles in online donations in a year.

Planned Parenthood received more than 300,000 donations in the six weeks after the election, 40 times its normal rate.

A new nonprofit, We The Action, connects volunteer lawyers with nonprofit organizations, to “protect and defend nonprofit organizations who need it.”

The Tax Bill’s Impact

The tax bill passed in December provides generous tax cuts to businesses and individuals, but it appears likely that it will have a negative effect on nonprofit donations.

Of greatest concern is that increases in the standard deduction for taxpayers will discourage itemized deductions, and charitable gifts can only be claimed that way. Estimates vary, but somewhere between $16 billion and $24 billion (about 6-9%) could be lost each year.

The National Council of Nonprofits points out that the new $10,000 limit on the amount of state and local income taxes and property taxes that can be deducted federally is likely to pressure state and local governments to enact tax and spending cuts, leading to elimination of programs serving people in need and increasing the burden on charitable nonprofits and foundations to fill the gaps.

Doubling the exemption in the estate tax is expected to lower charitable giving by $4 billion per year because of the impact it will have on tax planning.

All of this is more troubling given the current financial health of the nonprofit sector. According to a new report, half of U.S. nonprofits had less than one month’s cash reserve. 30% had lost money over three years, and 7% were technically insolvent.

The potential for reduced funding due to tax cuts is likely to further impact the many nonprofit organizations that depend on government for half or more of their budgets.

But there’s no point in bemoaning what’s not possible. You’ve got to focus on strategy and action. You need to get into the mindset that there will always be change. Steps to be taken include increasing the sense of urgency of your whole organization including the Board for fundraising. Be sure you have prioritized your strategy so it is fundable.

Think about how you can message to your donor base (or new donor audiences) that you need their donations more than ever.

Are there cost reductions to make? Consider merging with similar organizations.


I’d like to hear from you on this topic, please comment below.


When I was in Washington, I was impressed with the politicians and the bureaucrats. As Majority Leader and later as President, Lyndon Johnson got a lot done. Presidents Reagan, Bush Senior, and Clinton were effective at accomplishing policy changes that made peoples’ lives better and made government work better. Part of the problem these days is that the extreme factions of the parties have driven so many moderates out of power.

I see a big shift at the cabinet level. Cabinets used to have people with solid experience. You don’t often see senior business people with global experience in cabinet positions anymore. There’s been rising influence among political consultants, pollsters, and young White House staffers. Somebody who’s been a CEO of a global company has a problem not being heard by the President and dealing with snarky staff people. It’s a weakness that’s evolved at the White House. Think about Lincoln and his “team of rivals.” He surrounded himself with people he knew disliked him and competed with him, but it worked because he actively sought the full spectrum of opinions, he managed the process, and he produced decisions that reflected all that input. We don’t have that today.

Government is supposed to figure out solutions for people and must collaborate to do that. I again stress the importance of my rules of collaboration. You can’t achieve the most basic element of those rules, mutual respect and trust, when you put extremists in key jobs. They don’t want to compromise to get effective solutions for the majority. I like to see groups work collaboratively, whether at the small unit level, corporate level, industry level, government level, or global level. I don’t care too much who gets credit, it’s about moving forward, accomplishing goals. Unfortunately, the culture of a government bureaucracy tends to be such that rapid change puts people at risk. Unlike the culture we created at Applied, government staff often are scared of bad news. They don’t want to go through the transformation exercises; change is not a medium of opportunity, it’s a risk to your job and promotion.

I believe a strong and fiscally responsible economy is a paramount goal, without borrowing from our grandchildren. The extremists today make me concerned that both parties are leaving moderates like me out of the process. Parties can’t just be against everything the opponents are for; parties have to be fiscally responsible and lead, govern, and solve problems for all Americans.

I’d like to hear from you on this topic, please comment below.

In my May newsletter I considered the stories about sexual harassment at the ride-sharing service Uber. At the time I saw the story in part as a crisis of management, of executives who adopt the posture of “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”

Since then the accounts of sexual harassment have mushroomed, many from the entertainment industry and many in the political arena. The accusations range from inappropriate language to more severe physical assaults. The stories seem to multiply every day, revealing a very troubling pattern across organizations, regardless of their size or type.

In the Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan rediscovered a letter to women written by Pope John Paul II in 1995. “The time has come to condemn vigorously the types of sexual violence which frequently have women for their object,” he wrote, “and to pass laws which effectively defend them from such violence.” Noonan writes, “At the heart of the current scandals is a simple disrespect and disregard for women, and an inability to love them.”

As I grew as a manager the heart of my first management insight was that respect and trust for your people is the foundation of all good management. You must build and model this culture of respect and trust. It may sound simple but it takes time.

As a leader, the character of your organization will never exceed your own. You are constantly being evaluated by your team on whether you treat people with respect and whether you walk your talk. If you are disrespectful of your employees’ intelligence or you disregard their humanity or dignity, they will not trust you and you will limit your potential for success.

Make sure you exhibit every trait and quality you want your people to exhibit. If you don’t trust and respect an employee, that person should not be working for you. That is your responsibility. If you set an example of taking responsibility for your own decisions instead of scapegoating, your people will do the same. Hiring, development, and retention culture of an organization establishes whether the organization becomes just good or great.

Learning how to respect and trust your people is the first of my Morganisms in my book Applied Wisdom. I ask several questions including:

  • Does your “tone at the top” show respect for every employee’s strengths, contributions, and personal health, comfort, and safety?
  • Are your managers clear they should avoid heroic interventions and support employee decision-making?
  • Are you asking yourself tough questions, such as: Am I being consistent in my leadership and example? Am I walking the talk?

I believe that we would see far fewer cases of sexual harassment if a robust culture of respect and trust was fundamental to our organizations.

I’d like to hear from you on this topic, please comment below.

How are you addressing disrespect in the workplace?

Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes

This blog post was featured in the Huffington Post on November 29, 2017.

Dr. Adizes: Jim, you have authored and published a book, Applied Wisdom, (2) in which you summarized your thirty years of leading Applied Material as its CEO and Chairman of the Board. Applied Material grew from a small company, with $17 million in revenues when you joined, into a company of $10 billion in revenues when you retired. You have put your thirty years of experience into that book. Why did you write it? It takes time and effort to write a book.

Jim Morgan: My first goal was to write something for my grandchildren, for them to know where I spent my adult life. But as I wrote the first draft, I realized there was enough “applied wisdom” from my experience leading the company that could be useful to people taking courses on leadership, people who do not have thirty years of experience. So, my goal in writing the book is for future leaders to gain from my experience and for it to be written so well that even my grandchildren can read and enjoy it.

Dr. Adizes: During your tenure, the company grew from $17 million to $10 billion in revenues. What were the causes for this successful growth? What do you attribute your success to?

Jim Morgan: We focused on innovating new products that would meet global customer needs and were early to new markets like Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China. We attracted very capable people, like Dan Maydan who eventually became the company president. Three major factors: great people, new markets, and new products.

Dr. Adizes: New products, new markets, and even the recruitment of excellent new people do not happen by themselves. Why did it happen at Applied Material?

Jim Morgan: It was the company culture of being close to the client. Very close. So, we always knew what their needs were and we worked hard to satisfy them. Thus, new markets. Thus, new products. And, that meant that we knew which people with which capabilities we needed.

Dr. Adizes: Having been your consultant for twenty years allows me to give you my insight into why you were able to attract good people and why you were close to the client and thus able to innovate what the market wanted. It might not be in your book because it is difficult to see the picture when you are in the picture.

Jim Morgan: Yes, tell me.

Dr. Adizes: It is your style, Jim. You allowed people to be free to think and to lead. You gave people space. The company was not top-down driven. On the contrary, it was bottom-up driven. Clients drove the sales people who drove the R&D which drove production. Dan Maydan was the same: very open-minded. And this climate of openness attracted people who were innovative and entrepreneurial. Furthermore, with my involvement, we almost annually restructured the company as it was growing so that decentralization could be implemented and sustainable. And it was. Thus, the good people came and stayed. Thus, the closeness to the client. Thus, the innovation. Thus, the success.

Jim Morgan: Yes. We insisted on decentralization, and the book I authored makes points on delegation and decentralization.

Dr. Adizes: What is the worst decision you have made?

Jim Morgan: Getting into the implant business.

Dr. Adizes: What was wrong?

Jim Morgan: The company had a good product when we bought it. But it did not succeed in its subsequent products, and it never became number one in its industry.

Dr. Adizes: Why did this division fail with new products?

Jim Morgan: They were not close to the market like the rest of the company. They were in England, and our culture did not get transmitted to them as well.

Dr. Adizes: Adizes was with you all the way, for twenty-some-odd years. What was it that Adizes did for you or for the company that made it worth holding on to?

Jim Morgan: Adizes was instrumental in leading the ongoing decentralization of the company by continuously working on restructuring. And, Adizes knew how to handle different cultures and teach the executives from different nation how to listen to each other and work as a team. Applied Material was like a United Nations in its top management: Indian, Iranian, Israeli, Argentinian, etc. You helped unite them and taught them how to work together in spite of their different cultural backgrounds.

Also, you taught us how to make the changes without losing alignment. To change a culture, you need to change structures and to change the process which will change the people and eventually the culture.

Dr. Adizes: Growing from $17 million to $10 billion through continuous reorganization and restructuring means a lot of change. How did you, as the CEO, handle those who were resisting change. You and I know who they were.

Jim Morgan: By never getting involved in the politics of the company. By always following what is strategically and functionally right for the company long-term and steering away from politics. We developed a culture that is included in Applied Wisdom: bad news is good news….. if you do something about it!! Dan and I could not remember a time bad news got to the Board, Wall Street, or the press that we did not know about.

Dr. Adizes: You had a very good Board of Directors. What are your guidelines for building the board and managing it?

Jim Morgan: I wanted competence on the board with a diversity of knowledge and of styles. We had equity fund managers, people from the industry, leaders from the accounting profession, etc. And I always worked to ensure that they would not be surprised but instead fully knowledgeable about the company’s problems and affairs. Board members should help think about solutions to problems, not be there to just cheer on the CEO.

Dr. Adizes: You retired…..

Jim Morgan: At 65, I stepped down as CEO after we hired Mike Splinter from Intel. He had a ten-year run until he retired. These were a tough ten years because the whole industry was in a downturn. But, he kept it going. Today, under the leadership of CEO Gary Dickerson, it is a $15 billion company setting new records and celebrating fifty years of global innovation.

Dr. Adizes: Thank you, Jim. It was a pleasure working with you, and it was a pleasure reading your book. I am sure future readers will find it fascinating.

Jim Morgan: Good talking to you, Ichak. Come see me when in the Silicon Valley.


1) Applied Material (AMAT) is the leading company in the world in manufacturing wafer-producing equipment. Those wafers produce the chips that drive computers. AMAT byline: “The information highway starts here.” AMAT has been a client of Adizes Methodology for over twenty years, starting when the company was at $400 million in sales. The service was discontinued when a new CEO came aboard. At that time, the company was ten billion in sales.

2) Morgan, J. C., & Hamilton, J. O. (2016). Applied Wisdom: Bad News Is Good News and Other Insights That Can Help Anyone Be a Better Manager. Los Altos, CA: Chandler Jordan Publishing.

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