Friday, May 14, 2010

noting excellence

Yesterday I commented to a colleague that I did not know what I was going to blog about today. When I opened the paper this morning, I was reminded that one of my own colleagues, Dr. Larry Meissner, was one of 15 state-wide recipients to receive the Minnie Stevens Piper Professor Award this year. Imagine - out of the thousands (tens of thousands?) of faculty in Texas Universities, Larry Meissner was recognized for his excellence in teaching. Larry has been at Concordia University for 37 years, and is one of those individuals whom everyone loves. He is a great teacher, he is passionate, he is compassionate, he is...what is it that makes him so amazing?

Napolean made the comment at one time that "leaders are dealers in hope." It would be easy to write about how Larry (Dr. Meissner to those of us who revere him) is a leader and dealer in hope. But today, I want to focus on how leaders should be recognizing and noting EXCELLENCE, such as the type displayed by Larry (excuse me, Dr. Meissner) over these many years. So what does excellence look like? Leaders should be on the lookout for these characteristics:
  • positive outlook
  • hard work
  • new ideas always popping up
  • dedication to the organization
  • ability to maneuver between hierarchies
  • someone to whom others listen
  • someone who recognizes greatness in others
  • committed to the values and ideals of the institution
  • always prepared
  • willingness to say "yes" to multiple requests
  • enagement with multiple constituencies
  • deep commitment to those the organization serves
  • willingness to hold others accountable (both up and down the food chain)
  • deeply held personal convictions
  • ability to laugh and tell a good joke

This listing of "characteristics of excellence" is really a listing of Dr. Meissner's characteristics...and yet, they exemplify excellence in any organization or institution. These are the type of people who help move an organization forward...these are the type of people who make the lives of leaders easier...these are the type of people who best represent an institution...these are the type of people on whom leaders NEVER lose any sleep.

My fear is that these are also the type of people who never get the attention/recognition/reward they deserve. While leaders spend their time worrying about those who make trouble...or those who harm the organization...or those who need to be trained...or those who are still to come to an organization (how many "possible" organization charts go unfilled?) - the Dr. Meissner's of the world go unnoticed, unrewarded, and unrecognized. It is time to step up and NOTE THE EXCELLENCE that these people bring to the organization or institution, through such actions as:

  • financial reward (beyond the regular raises that everyone gets)
  • vacation reward (beyond the regular vacation that everyone gets)
  • development reward (beyond the yearly conference everyone else gets to go to)
  • time reward (to develop the newest idea these people of excellence often have)
  • food reward (a celebration of excellence at the finest restaurant)
  • peer reward (noting one's excellence in front of their peers)
  • book reward ($1000.00 gift card to Border's - how cool would that be?)
  • longevity reward (beyond the regular recognition everyone gets)
  • special reward (something out of the clear blue that no one expects)

While this blog is my attempt to remind myself and others to recognize and reward excellence, it is also my personal tribute to my friend and colleague, Dr. Larry attempt to note excellence on the campus of Concordia University Texas...and my attempt to say to Dr. Larry Meissner, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Thanks for being a model of excellence for me and so many others!

No comments: