Friday, May 8, 2015

giving back

Today Concordia University Texas will be hosting one of the 600 sites for  Leadercast, a worldwide leadership conference that is simulcast to more than 40 different countries. This leadership event will feature eight different speakers, including Seth Godin, Ed Catmull, Roarke Denver, and Andy Stanley.  Last year over 250 people came to the CTX campus for this event, only a small part of the 100,000 who attended worldwide.  But the purpose of this blog is not to tell you about Leadercast - it is to tell you about the person who brought Leadercast to Concordia, John Griffin.

John is a gradaute of The Concordia MBA, having completed his course work in 2012 (one of the first two cohorts to gradaute).  When he joined the program, he and his wife were running a small business that published a guide for senior living, partnering with multiple companies across the central Texas region to help make life a little better for senior adults - and for those who served as care givers to them.  When I first met John, I quickly become impressed with his need to serve others and give back in whatever capacity that might be, including working with senior adults.

After completing his MBA, he realized that his passion for leadership was something that he wanted to share with others and help others become better leaders themselves.  He found himself drawn to The John Maxwell Team where he received training in presenting about leadership and coaching others in their personal leadership.  When I asked him why he was doing this, he voiced the idea that others had invested in his leadership development (much of it through The Concordia MBA) and now he wanted to give back to others the same type of personal involvement he had received.  

During that year, he approached Concordia as a place to host Leadercast, a win-win for everyone as it brought aspiring leaders into John's sphere of influence as well as into contact with Concordia and its MBA program.  Why wouldn't we partner together for something like this that helped each of us and raised the level of leadership in central Texas?  And so, last May 9, Concordia University Texas hosted its first simulcast of  Leadercast.

What I did not realize at the time was that John had planned on donating all of his profits from the event to Concordia because he wanted to give back to the institution that had done so much for him through The Concordia MBA.  For me, this was yet another example of how John Griffin always looked for ways to give back - whether it be to his church, his community, his family, or his alma mater.

Today John continues to give back to Concordia by teaching in our undergraduate business program.  His ability to work with younger students and help them develop their leadership capacity is another way that John is giving back, by investing in the future of central Texas through Concordia's mission of developing Christian leaders.

I would be remiss if I did not give you, the reader, a chance to learn more about John and what he does, something you can find out by clicking here.  I consider John a friend and colleague, and believe that he brings value to any individual or organization with which he is engaged.  I am thankful for his partnership with Concordia University Texas, and I pray that we will  be able to give back to John just a touch of what he has given back to us.

Friday, May 1, 2015

working with boards

Later this morning I will be in my quarterly Board of Regents meeting where we look at the state of the University and engage in discussion that supports the future of the University.  These people are my boss, and they are in place to safeguard the institiution for its stakeholders.  As the Chief Executive Officer, it is my duty to run the institution in such a way that they are ensured that the mission is upheld and that the place is still here in the future.  Having been through three meetings thus far in this first year, I can say that the Board of Concordia University Texas is supportive and works hard to live out its fiduciary duties.  Here are a few things I have learned about working with boards over this first year:
  1. Keep them informed - they do not need to know all of the details, but they do need to know the major issues that are facing the CEO and the institution at large.
  2. Don't hold back information - similar to above, but with an emphasis on providing information whether it is positive or negative; in other words, always tell the truth.
  3. Ask their advice - these are very smart people who come from a variety of backgrounds.  Use their expertise in a variety of areas and in day-to-day decisions.
  4. Treat them well - Board members give of their time and energy and should be honored for their service.  Don't be cheap when it comes to taking care of board members.
  5. Listen deeply - as discussion goes on around the table (or in one-on-one settings) listen and put into practice what they tell you.  Again, these are very smart people.
  6. Don't tell them too much - as a corollary to #'s 1 and 2, telling them too much gets them into the weeds.  Ask them what they need to know and make sure you deliver that information in a timely manner.
  7. Let them protect you - one of the Board's roles is to protect the institution...and if need be they can protect the CEO as well (which is the same as protecting the institution at times).
  8. Let them talk - similar to #'s 3 and 5, board meetings should be more about them talking and less about the CEO talking.  Ask good questions, then let them go at it.
  9. Re responsive - when the Boar chair calls with a question, respond quickly; and when the Board asks a question, respond with relevant information.  
  10. Love them - like all groups, boards are made up of human beings who come with all of thier personalities.  Loving the members of the Board is not only a good thing to do, it is the right thing to do.
I look forward to year two of board meetings and seeing what else I can learn as well as getting better at the above ten items.  And one final thought...if you do not have an official board you report to, then consider these ten items as a guide toward working with your team, or your group of friends, or even your family.  Relationships are important, no matter the setting.