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Lois Quam Essay

This case discusses the career, vision, and life of Lois Quam, CEO of Tysvar. Tysvar is a “Minnesota based New Green Economy and health care reform incubator.” After a successful career in the investment banking world, Quam was moved by climate changes she saw while on a trip to Norway and decided to start Tysvar. Tysvar is about universal health care reform, as well as contributing to “a viable, profitable, and socially responsible industry of clean technology and renewable energy sources. Quam is a very passionate person, and truly believes in the vision of Tysvar.

Discussion question and answers:

1. How does Lois Quam use emotions and moods in her speeches to convey her viewpoint? Cite examples to support your statements. In order to look at how Quam uses emotions and moods, we must first look at what emotions and moods are. Emotions are strong positive or negative feelings directed towards someone or something. Moods are generalized positive and negative feelings or states of mind.

In reading the examples from Quam’s speeches, it is clear that she is a positive individual who shows both positive moods and emotions. “I am an optimist,” she states. This is a clear example of Quam coming out, and letting you know her mood. Her positive mood reflects the type of work she does. She is attempting to grow the New Green Economy, and in order to do something of this nature, one must have a positive mood and state of mind.

The text lists the following as the six types of emotions: anger, fear, joy, love, sadness, and surprise. In reading the case study, it is clear that in her speeches, Quam exhibits both joy and love. “I enjoy sharing… how we can all use these key capabilities as a platform for doing something you love. Imagine: helping to build the NG with a purposeful passion. It doesn’t get much better than that!” This is a clear example of the joy and love she has for the work she is doing, and a great way for her to convey her passion to the audience.

As the text states, “harsh is out, caring is in.” Quam clearly is a caring person, and shows her emotion and passion for the work she does. It is this that has made her one of America’s “50 Most Powerful Women”.

2. Based on what you have learned about Lois Quam, create hypotheses about the attitudes of her colleagues at Tysvar while using the three basic components of attitudes in your theories.

I would postulate that Quam’s colleagues at Tysvar have a very similar attitude to their work as Quam. They are likely very commitment to their beliefs and have a great sense of internal volition to do good work since they truly believe in their cause. Cognitively, I am sure they feel strongly about their cause and are diligent in their study of laws and topics surrounding the initiatives they work to promote (ecology and healthcare), much as Quam is herself. From an affective perspective, Tysvar employees undoubtedly have a high level of job satisfaction and experience the successes and failures of their company very personally; with such a socially-responsible company mission, the employees certainly feel compelled to do their best and invariably take joy in their work. Behaviorally, due to the strong emotional ties the worker have to their cause, they are most likely predisposed to act responsible and put forth a concerted effort to succeed and follow through to the end. Overall, Quam’s organization and the employees within it are likely as committed as her to the future of society and making it a better place.

3. Research Question: Search news reports, Web sites, ad blogs to find out more information on Lois Quam and Tysvar. How is the company faring in its quest to make the world cleaner and safer for future generations? What implications might that have on Tysvar’s employees, their attitudes, ad job satisfaction?

An update on Lois Quam – She launched the new company Tysvar in the spring of 2009. In November of 2009 the company landed their first set of clients including a leading manufacturer of industrial heat pumps. Shortly after Quam announced she would be hiring a new CEO early the next year (The target was February 2010 and the hiring of Terje Mikalsen was announced June 4th 2010). She remained with the firm as a non-executive Chair of the Board taking an annual salary of $1 and relinquished her equity stake in the company. Her reasoning for leaving was due to her Husband, Matt Entenza, running for Governor of Minnesota. He was seeking DFL nomination; he did not get it and eventually pulled out of the race. Quam wanted to devote more time to the race and eliminate any potential conflicts of interest.

Tysvar continued on without Quam as CEO. The company has gone on to work with health care practices and technology practices. However, I do think Quam’s departure could have had significant implications on the Tysvar employees and Tysvar itself. I imagine the employees that came to work for Tysvar did so largely because of their passion for the company mission. They bought into the message Quam delivered and felt they could contribute to her ideas. Watching Quam walk away from her company and ultimately her goal to help make the world safer and cleaner could have caused negative attitudes in the company, lowering job satisfaction and job performance. Quam did not even last a year before announcing her pending departure. That means all of the employees were new to the company, and potentially just left another company. They may have felt abandoned, like they were lied to, and even like they were taken advantage of. These emotional feelings can cause very poor results within the company.

Key Problem/Issue:

The problem Tysvar has, if any, is that they are trying to apply empathy and emotional responsibility toward the environment and healthcare to a very unsympathetic society and government. Trying to get big business and government organization to “go green” just because it is the “right” or “nice” thing to do is very difficult. Also, regarding the work environment at Tysvar; not everyone is passionate about green technologies and the climate changes. This can lead to lower job satisfaction and worse job performance if they are not excited about the mission statement of the company. There are many issues at play here. Quam is walking a thin line between emotions and business in a very volatile industry.


The first thing Quam and Tysvar must do is hire the right people. Tysvar needs to concentrate on hiring employees that have a passion, like Quam, for the mission of the organization. You can argue that this would limit your pool of candidates and that the company can land a more talented employee without focusing only on those that share the passion. The response to that argument would be the additional job satisfaction the employee would have over someone that does not share the passion would lead to a better performance even if they are not as talented. It would also help reduce turnover within the company. Also, as far as using emotions and empathy in business; Quam needs to use self-management to hold back when she realizes that not everyone cares as much about the environment and universal healthcare as she does. She needs to put it in dollars and cents. How can “going green” benefit a business, not just the environment? Even green businesses have a bottom line and investors that they need to satisfy. Use relationship management to see things from the opposing perspective. And utilize relationship management to promote your initiatives.

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