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Corning, Wendell Weeks & Fast Growth

by Doug Davidoff | Feb 21, 2007 11:50:19 AM

USA Today published an interview with Corning CEO, Wendell Weeks.  It is truly a profound interview and I encourage everyone to read it.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

  • Commenting on the key lesson learned from the fall in fiber optic business:  Our big lesson learned was, for one, it's not enough just to be the best at what you do. You also have to understand your customers' business model and your customers' customers' business model.

  • Talking about dealing with change:  At our peak at that time, we were worth $120 billion. Right at the bottom, in 2002, we were probably worth $1.5 billion. So that's a little bit of change.

  • On rebuilding (and I would add growing):  You can't be wed to whether you were right or wrong before. You have to make a decision for the whole institution about the right thing to do.

  • On purpose and values:  The core of our company is our values and our people and our innovation culture. We're never about the products that we make because the products that we make … will always change. What won't change is the core of the company being about values and about innovation and the culture. A crisis in a way is too good an opportunity to waste. We took the opportunity to decide what type of company we were going to be for the next decade. A lot of companies when they get in that spot change fundamentally what they are. We instead really embraced the core of what we do, which is to create and make keystone components and to grow through innovation, and acknowledge at the same time there are inevitable downsides. We put ourselves in the position of being a better version of Corning. Not a different version of Corning.

I'll let you read the rest.