About Ken

Ken Pedersen is a multi-disciplinary, results-oriented leader, entrepreneur and trusted CEO advisor. His professional background includes far-reaching experience in a variety of business areas, from business strategy execution to IT Strategy, to the development of service models and sales technology optimization. Ken’s commitment to making companies work better has yielded consistent results in a wide array of industries, including software development, IT services, manufacturing and financial services.

An insightful, collaborative visionary strategist, Ken brings to companies and clients a direct, honest approach supported by strong critical thinking, personal integrity and an emphasis on honoring values and commitments. His business philosophy, centered around the concepts Manage, Decide, Deliver encompasses Coaching, IT Strategy, Software Selection, IT Results, and Project Triage and Recovery.

As a presenter, Ken challenges audiences with a thought-provoking, highly creative approach to strategy development, business optimization and success through honoring commitments.

In addition to his business acumen and entrepreneurial career, Ken also has a strong interest in music and theater. He has published two music CD’s, Walden and Deja Views, as well as four business and software books.

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Here are my most recent posts

Chicago Tribune Deja Views Concert 1999

May 18th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Deja Views No Responses

Here is the Chicago Tribune story about my 1999 concert in which I invited talented Glenbard South musicians to join me on stage. Click here for a rehearsal picture.

Time Magazine Excerpts Article

May 18th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 2) Writing No Responses

Sometimes you get a gift. I worked hard to write a post for a leading CIO site. One day, Time Magazine Online had excerpted my CIOUpdate.com article. Here’s the synopsis I posted upon publication.

How to Keep Business Projects on Track

 

 

 

 

Also, see my post on this topic on the Geneca blog.

Common Vision as the Pinacle of Alignment

April 18th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 2) Writing No Responses

An effective shared vision is tough like a shipyard rope

Read my latest article in CioUpdate.com, Common Vision is the Best Kind of Alignment. The point: it is not just about getting the team to follow your vision. Rather, enrich that vision with the contributions and knowledge of others. By doing so, you create a shared, more durable understanding — and execution team — that can stand up to the challenges confronting project execution.

Professional

April 14th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 1) Professional, Overview No Responses
Professional

Two themes in how I approach professional life in the dimensions of Clarity of Purpose and Commitment. On this page, I discuss my thoughts on ‘Clarity of Purpose.’

Clarity of Purpose

Execution is more important than strategy. Strategy ideas are out there for the finding. Indeed, the noise around strategic thinking is overwhelming. You get started in one direction and next thing you know someone or something is advising you of the better New Thing you should be doing.  So, for me, the trump card that drives value is to identify the One Thing that customers care about that you can do best, and then relentlessly organize around that.

You can count the number of seeds...

When you do that well, you discover the world of details that matter and you master them so the Your Way becomes second nature. When you do it with clarity of purpose, you evolve from ‘flavor of the day’ to a unique, rarified French sauce. The serving you worried might be too small becomes a world of rich opportunity. It is amazing how much opportunity lies directly before us if we slow down our gaze. Organizations need the rudder of Clarity of Purpose to avoid flitting from one thing to another.

This is the perspective I bring to my work whether it is marketing-, execution-  or IT-related. I look for the Clarity of Purpose and organize to cut through the noise. The opportunities get bigger and bigger as our world seems less and less able to focus deeply.

Geneca

April 13th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 1) Professional No Responses

A Place to Make and Honor Commitments

I am lucky to work at Geneca.  It is a rare consulting firm that invests more energy in figuring out how to ensure client success than maximizing its billings. Geneca has absolutely unreasonable hiring standards and thus we are always starved for talented people who understand teamwork and what it is to work in a commitment-based company. The flip side is that Geneca has the most talented group of software consulting people I’ve been around.

My role is to ensure that the people who do the client work have what they need to succeed and focus their energies on client success. In addition, I do my best to contribute to the ongoing development of commitment principles I co-authored with Bob Zimmerman in 2002. My current focus is on deepening our understanding and execution of what it means to be a Commitment-based company.

Luna

April 13th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 1) Professional No Responses

Raising the Bar for In-home Sales

I consulted with Luna Carpet in 2006 and then joined as its CIO. I assumed the additional title of COO in 2007 assuming oversight of sales and customer service. It was my first experience with a B2C company in a leadership role. We accomplished a whole lot while I was there and I thank Morrie and Steve DeZara for the opportunity to contribute to a big change in how the state-of-the-art of that business was conducted. Luna won the Chicago Tribune ‘Best Workplaces’ award for 2010 which was a terrific accomplishment for a company in that industry as well.

I played a key role in bringing to life Steve’s idea for an in-home tablet-based selling tool. This is years before the ipad was in the picture. Together he, I and the IT team delivered Luna’s ‘SureQuote Technology‘ which proved to be a difference maker for Luna and a breakthrough in the field of in-home sales. We also brought analytics to the assignment of inbound leads which had a substantial impact on profitability. During my time there, we opened Luna’s first expansion market in Baltimore and exceeded expectations in that market by a wide margin. After I left, Luna continue to open new markets and the success of the expansion plan ‘encouraged’ arch-competitor ‘Empire Today’ to finally just buy out Luna at the end of 2011 and remove the persistent thorn in its side after many years of competition.

Walden Reviews

April 8th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Walden No Responses

New Age Voice, April 1998

Pedersen draws his inspiration for this album directly from the famous book by the same name written by Thoreau. His piano breathes life into the writer’s passages, like the quiet rippling of the wind on the surface of the water with the sunlight dancing off of its sparkling in the morning.

Listen to the wind in the trees and the birds flying among them singing. And then we get to the place where joy so overwhelms the man who appreciates the beauty of nature that he is freespirited to dance in the woods alone, making his own melodies and rhythms from all the life surrounding him.

This is an album which is played with simple, yet expressive structures. His notes and chords convey the impressions of the simple pleasures of a day in the woods without any special effects, just elegant and well played melodies.

-Dan Liss

* * *

New Age Retailer, March 1998

Rarely has an artist-owned label released such beautifully packaged, soundly themed, and perfectly produced music. Using Thoreau’s devotion to the wildwoods area known as Walden as a means of melding natural and philosophical themes, solo pianist Pedersen has lovingly crafted an utterly gorgeous selection of pastoral melodies that engender deep feelings of tranquillity and repose.

It’s amazing he can actually play keyboards at all, since part of one of his fingers was amputated in a skill saw accident. “It was a miracle that only one finger was hurt,” he notes, and attributes his admirably inventive performance style to having to “get creative” in order to share the melodies he often hears in dreams. Beginning with a motif or improvisation, Pedersen then composes the formal elements using classical principles of development. He says “the result is easy to enjoy, while providing substance for those who want to look deeper. Tracks like ‘Solitude’s Companion’ and ‘Simplicity’s Prayer’ are about as New Age as you can get, while the ‘Uncommon Hour’ (a duet with Russian cellist Martine Benmann) has an added classical underpinning. I believe there is an audience out there that hungers for the next step in musical refinement in a New Age package. I hope they see my music as that step.”

A philosophy major who became an Assistant Visiting Professor at Purdue University, Pedersen went on to write three books, two film scores, and numerous compositions for musical theatre. Recently retired as President of the Glen Ellyn District 89 school board, Pedersen notes “We get so focused on careers, sometimes we let our own well being get swept away in society’s tidal wave. It takes true bravery to value one’s family and oneself enough to act against that tide. That was a key point for Thoreau’s philosophy.”

-P J Birosik

* * *

NAPRA Review, Spring 1998

While the title of this album may be a bit hackneyed for our market, the performance of these brilliant solo piano compositions certainly is not. Each piece is a gem of repose and response to nature, hence “Walden.” The cover is a photograph of water with leaves floating on it, a la Monet’s mural “Nymphias” — quite lovely — and the liner notes are heavily sprinkled with Thoreau’s more famous and pertinent quotes. A sure sell to the solo piano market, New Age or classical.

-Peggy Randall

* * *

Wind & Wire Magazine, November 1997

From the first notes on his debut recording, Walden, Ken Pedersen makes it clear that this listening experience will be one of warmth, understated drama, and poignant beauty. Ken involves the listener emotionally via his heartfelt compositions and expressive playing.

The first two cuts (which are indicative of the majority of Walden), ‘Simplicity’s Prayer,’ and ‘The Leavetaking,’ are slower numbers in the vein of George Winston’s impressionism, but the compositions are, at times, less minimalist than Winston can be at times. Even after just two songs, it’s evident that great care has been taken in this making this CD. The piano sounds less ‘bright’ than it does on some solo releases. The result for me was that I turned my receiver up farther than normal. However, when I did, the sound quality was very lifelike.

Ken sometimes lightens the mood and speeds up the tempo, such as on ‘Day at Walden Pond’ which brings to mind images of sunny autumn walks in the woods. Ken’s playing is much less ‘pop’ structured than someone like Jim Chappell (which is no knock on Jim – read my review of Acadia in issue one for proof of that). It’s definitely a more tone-poem compositional process. Overall, the album strikes a subdued and reflective note but seldom, if ever, a melancholic one. That’s obvious on ‘Neighbor to the Birds,’ a jaunty (but not demonstrably so) and light-hearted piece that, at times, has a very classical sound to it.

Ken collaborates with other musicians on two songs. ‘A Waltz in the Woods,’ features Jeff Kust’s acoustic guitar. This song is a bit of a departure from the remainder of the album. Here the sound is almost Baroque sounding as Ken and Jeff play off each other in a spirited fashion. The song has an edge to it that flirts with mystery but usually comes closer to playfulness.

Cellist Martine Benmann lends her able support to ‘Uncommon Hour’ and her cello is right out front, not hidden in the background. If the song sounds classical to you, it should. It’s based on the Prelude from J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Minor for Unaccompanied Cello, except the cello is accompanied here. If you dislike classical music, this song may not go down well with you. Personally, I liked it.

Ken did a nice job on the details, too, like the liner notes (quotes from Thoreau’s writings), front and back cover artwork (quite beautiful, actually, in my opinion) and overall graphic layout of the insert. One would have a hard time perceiving this as an artist’s recording debut. Walden is as accomplished a CD as you’re likely to hear this year.

-Bill Binkleman

Walden Radio Programming

April 8th, 2012 by Ken Categories: Walden No Responses

Syndicated Programs

  • Canal Plus Television
  • Dish CD
  • DMX Radio Network
  • Music For Peace
  • CKUA Radio Network
  • Music Choice (24 hr. satellite channel)
  • ‘The Morning Program’ Minn. Public Radio
  • Acoustic Digest
  • Into the Mystic

 

Alaska

  • Ketchikan/KRBD
  • Bethel/KYUK
  • Kodiak/KMXT
  • Nome/KNOM
  • Valdez/KCHU
  • Fairbanks/KUAC
  • Anchorage/KNBA

 

Arkansas

  • State University/KASU #1!!!
  • Jonesboro/KABF

 

Arizona

  • Tucson/KXCI

 

California

  • Fresno/KFRF
  • Santa Rosa/KWMR
  • Talmage/KZYX
  • Talmage/KZYZ
  • South Lake Tahoe/KTHO
  • Nevada City/KVMR
  • Mission Viejo/KSBR
  • Redondo Beach/KCLA
  • Berkeley/KPFA
  • Eureka/KQEX
  • Citrus Heights/KSSJ
  • Turlock/KCSS
  • Sacramento/KCBL
  • ·

Canada

  • Edmonton/CKUA
  • Maniwaki/CHGA
  • CKUA Radio Network

 

Colorado

  • Ignacio/KSUT
  • Aspen/KDNK

Colorado (cont.)

  • Denver/KHIH

 

Connecticut

  • Monroe/WMNR
  • Shelton/WRXC
  • Kent/WGSK
  • Guilford/WGRS

 

Delaware

  • Newark/WVUD

 

Florida

  • Melbourne/WFIT
  • Naples/WGUF
  • Tallahassee/WAMF

 

Hawaii

  • Kaapa/KUAI

 

Idaho

  • Rexburg/KRIC
  • Boise/KBSU
  • Boise/KBSX

 

Illinois

  • Carbondale/WDBX
  • Chicago/WOUI
  • Glen Ellyn/WDCB

 

Indiana

  • Fort Wayne/WBNI
  • Indianapolis/WICR (1.8 million listeners!)

 

Iowa

  • Davenport/KALA
  • Cedar Rapids/KCCK
  • Burlington/KCPS
  • ·

Kansas

  • Garden City/KANZ

 

Kentucky

  • Bowling Green/WKYU
  • ·

Louisana

  • Monroe/KEDM

 

Maryland

  • Towson/WTMD

 

Massachusetts

  • Cambridge/WMBR (One hour feature!)
  • Medford/WMFO
  • Manchaug/WCUW
  • Worchester/WICN
  • Provincetown/WOMR

 

Michigan

  • Grand Rapids/WFRG

 

Minnesota

  • Duluth/KUMD

 

Missouri

  • Cape Girardeau/KRCU
  • Kansas City/KCUR

 

Mississippi

  • Hattiesburg/WUSM

 

Nebraska

  • Lincoln/KZUM
  • Lincoln/KUCV

 

New Hampshire

  • Durham/WUNH
  • Keene/WKNH
  • New London/WSCS
  • Plymouth/WPCR

 

New Mexico

  • Portales/KMTH
  • Portales/KENW
  • Socorro/KTEK
  • Gallup/KGLP  #2!
  • Las Cruces/KRWG

 

New York

  • Binghamton/WSKG
  • Syracuse/WAER
  • North Salem/WXCI
  • West Point/WKDT
  • White Plains/WFAS
  • Staten Island/WSIA
  • Poughkepsie/WVKR
  • New Palz/WFNP

 

North Carolina

  • Roanoke Rapids/WZRU
  • Fayetteville/WFSS

 

North Dakota

  • Fargo/KDSU

 

Oklahoma

  • Norman/KGOU
  • Stillwater/KOSU

 

Ohio

  • Ada/WONB
  • Kent/WKSU

 

Oregon

  • Grants Pass/KRRM
  • Portland/KOPM (1.9 million listeners!)
  • McMinnville/KSLC

 

Pennsylvania

  • Catasauqua/WDIY
  • Pittsburgh/WYEP

 

Rhode Island

  • Newport/WADK

 

South Carolina

  • Greenville/WMUU

 

South Dakota

  • Canton/KAUR
  • Brookings/KESD

 

Tennessee

  • Henderson/WFHC
  • Memphis/WKNO
  • Chattanooga/WUTC

 

Texas

  • Harlington/KMBH
  • Lubbock/KOHM

 

Utah

  • Jordan/KRCL

 

Virginia

  • Monterey/WVLS
  • Richmond/WCVE

 

Washington

  • Lynnwood/KSER

 

West Virginia

  • Dunmore/WVMR

 

Wisconsin

  • Milwaukee/WYMS
  • Milwaukee/WMSE
  • ·

Wind and Wire Deja Views Review

April 8th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Deja Views No Responses

Review of Deja Views

Wind & Wire Magazine

April ’99

 

Ken Pedersen

Deja Views

Symark Records/1999

New Acoustic

 

Ken Pedersen has taken inspiration from twelve well-known classical pieces and created original works from them. This is a little audacious when you think about it, but Pedersen has created a real masterpiece! I expected actual arrangements of the various classics, but most tracks only hint of their original sources, and the new compositions are fresh and contemporary. This isn’t ‘Switched-On Bach ‘99’ by any stretch of the imagination! Several of the pieces are augmented with synth instrumentation, two are duets with cellist Judy Stone, and several were improvised in the studio to reflect Pedersen’s performing style. I’ve been hearing some incredible piano CDs lately, but this one rises right to the top.

The ‘inspirations’ come from all eras of piano music from Bach and Handel to Philip Glass, and the titles reflect significant moments in life. There are several favorite selections, but ‘Quest’ is such a soaring and yet gently flowing duet for piano and cello that I think it’s my top pick; its inspiration came from a rhythmic pattern used by Glass. Another real stand-out is the lively ‘Mind Candy’, inspired by the Shaker melody, ‘Simple Gifts’ – a joyous romp for piano and wind quartet that reminds me a little of Ray Lynch’s ‘Celestial Soda Pop’ in its buoyancy. I had doubts that anyone could bring anything new to the Pachelbel ‘Canon’, so ‘Reunion’ was a delightful surprise! ‘Autumn Rose’ is also a fun discovery with Pedersen’s joining of MacDowell’s ‘To a Wild Rose’ and Foster’s Oh Susanna’! The two themes run in and out of Pedersen’s piano improvisation and work perfectly together. ‘Tomorrow’s Memory’ was inspired by the often-murdered ‘Moonlight Sonata’ (it’s a piano teacher talking here!); the flowing triplets in the bass are about the only recognizable part of the original, and Pedersen’s expressive touch and emotional power make this an incredible piece. Wow! Each piece is strong and lovingly crafted in its own right, and the CD as a whole has a wonderful flow with warm, soothing qualities that should satisfy fans and non-fans of classical music. This is one of the best CDs I’ve heard!

– Kathy Parsons

CampIT IT Leadership Strategies

March 30th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 2) Writing No Responses
CampIT IT Leadership Strategies

On July 10, 2008 I gave the opening talk at the Chicago Camp IT. The theme was “IT Leadership Strategies.” My talk was entitled How to Enable CEO’s to Lead IT Effectively: The Earth, the Sea, and the Mountain.