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Q You excelled at product development. In hindsight what would you have done differently given the same set of circumstances?

A There are a number of things that I did that I enjoyed very much. I loved football, basketball, and track, but I was mediocre at best. I still enjoyed all of them, I learned a lot and I benefited from all three. I love to fish, but I’m a lousy fisherman. I like music, but I’m tone deaf and not allowed to sing loudly in Church. Having put in all of those disclaimers, I can say that I absolutely loved the PD arena. I was exceptionally good at it. My university friends and my industry friends (competitors) told their bosses (and mine) that Monsanto had the best Product Development team in the world. My people thought so, and graduate students looking for jobs thought so too. I had good people, exciting products, and a real need from the farmers. There were so many factors in my favor, that there is a valid question: How much credit does Will deserve? It is probably not that important, but if the corollary is asked, was Will good because of success, or was the success due to excelling? One of the nicest compliments I received was that one of our best competitors had an ad hoc team of three who routinely reported my actions to their management. I didn’t discover this until years after retirement. The short answer is: I think that my fundamentals would stay the same.

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