This is an unusual blog for the LLC website but we agreed it is necessary.  Our professional community and the world lost a great man on Monday 12/9/13.  Many of you probably didn’t know John O Whitney and certainly didn’t know him as well I did over the last several years.  John was my friend but as importantly he was my mentor and my guide.  John was the most unassuming and quietly intelligent person I have ever met.  His accomplishments are unparalleled.  He was successful entrepreneur from Oklahoma before bringing his business acumen to Harvard University where he was Associate Dean and well known for teaching Creative Marketing Strategy.  John left Harvard to guide the turnaround of many companies subsequently authoring what was considered the turnaround bible “Taking Charge: A Management Guide to Turnarounds and Troubled Companies.  He counseled CEO’s and senior leadership of some of the largest corporations in the world and traveled the world working with Dr Edward Deming.   John joined Columbia University in the 80’s and brought Dr Deming into Columbia University where  John was Professor of Management and Executive Director of the Deming Center for Quality Management at Columbia Business School.   John continued his consulting contributions and in 1993 wrote and published his second book “The Trust Factor”.  I can go on and on with his accomplishments and his awards but I best remember John for unselfish effort to help me and many others in so many ways.  I often would seek John’s advice regarding my consulting assignments and even advice about my own business.  He was an accomplished author and offered to review the book that Jamie and I were writing, “Hitchhikers Guide to Lean”.  John was legally blind and he scanned every page of the book so it could be read back to him.  He then spent the good part of a Saturday reviewing what we did well and what we needed to do better. He was always a challenging and fair critic and I was honored and humbled that he offered a testimonial for our book.  He had many physical challenges later in his life but that never stopped him for a moment.  Until very recently he was still teaching at St Thomas University in Houston and I was with him just a few months ago visiting a company in Houston.  His sole objective during the visit was to help the company and me.  Always the teacher, coach and mentor to the end.  We will miss you John.