My name is Peter Osborne, and my goal for this blog is to help you find ways to simplify your personal and work life. There’s been a lot written about simplicity and what it means. I believe people are suspicious of complexity. They want clear goals — goals that are clearly defined and clearly (and concisely) conveyed. John Maeda (The Laws of Simplicity) condenses his nine Laws into one that says: “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” This blog reflects on ways we can do that.
What makes me an “expert” on this subject? Well, I have 25 years of increasingly responsible leadership and P&L experience in sales and account management, strategic communications, production management, curriculum development and delivery, and business journalism — most of it at Bank of America and before that MBNA America Bank. Put simply, I’ve specialized in taking ownership of problems that keep executives awake at night, assessing reputational and operational risk, and implementing solutions that enable them to get a good night’s sleep. And then I help them articulate those strategies so employees, customers, and investors get a good night’s sleep too.
As Seth Godin describes it, I’m a linchpin and it’s kind of a relief to have one word to describe my value proposition. Linchpins “invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They figure out what to do when there’s no rule book.”
A bit more detail if you want to keep reading: I fix broken or overly-complex processes, bringing consistency and synergy to business development activities that are being handled differently across marketing sectors or business units. I have developed an online sales package with customizable sales templates and objection planners; created a marketing-production unit to reduce errors in the midst of a corporate downsizing; redesigned regulatory control procedures; led RFP responses for 22 successful endorsements from blue-chip partners; and developed more than a dozen multi-module educational programs. My approach has been compared to a bulldog (more on that on my website).
I helped reverse three years of portfolio deterioration in the bank’s Collegiate credit-card sector, amid serious economic and regulatory headwinds. In that role, I managed partnerships with universities, alumni associations, and athletic departments across the United States. My team drove profitability in the face of rising loan losses by gaining access to new products and marketing channels; spearheading development of relationships with on-campus banking centers to reduce marketing expenses; realigning staff assignments to reduce travel costs and improve partner service; and, perhaps most important, driving an aggressive yet disciplined contract renewal strategy. Under this approach, our team extended 100+ collegiate relationships, reducing sponsorship-fee exposure by 25% while increasing partner-satisfaction scores by 20% by maintaining, growing, and enhancing relationships in the midst of challenging times.
I’m most proud of building a world-class negotiating organization at MBNA, transforming the focus to an organizational core competence that impacted relationships with thousands of affinity programs in the sports, co-branded, professional, collegiate, and financial institution markets. You can read more about our approach in the Negotiations Support section of my Bulldog Management Solutions website, but the bottom line is that we reduced expenses by nearly $75 million and identified many cases where the bank held steady on offers or walked away from bad deals as a result of our extensive preparation and strategizing.
Prior to joining MBNA in 1982 as the director of media relations and internal communications, I was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor within the American City Business Journals and Gannett chains, and a military officer who served as an Air Defense Artillery battery platoon leader and executive officer, directing my battalion’s relocation to Fort Polk, LA, from Fort Bliss, TX.
I am a 1981 graduate of Syracuse University with a B.S. in Newspaper Journalism, which means I suffer through football season, enjoy basketball season (although the promise of this past season turned out to be pretty painful), and celebrate during lacrosse season. I have been married for 21 years and have four children ranging in age from 8 to 19. I enjoy coaching youth sports, playing fantasy baseball and football, and driving my kids to their various practices, games, and dance classes.