Last week, I had the opportunity to have lunch with a new friend, Steve Garber, author of Fabric of Faithfulness. I have only known Steve for about a year have been blessed by the small amount of time we have spent together. During just a little “over the shoulder and through the heart” time, we discussed marriage, kids, music, education, and a number of other things. It was a blessing. Over the past ten years, I have had too few times like these.
As we wrapped up lunch, Steve gave me a copy of the Spring 2011 Edition of Comment which his organization, The Washington Institute, has a hand in. I left lunch and walked through the streets of Old Town Alexandria to meet Kim and drive back to Richmond. During the drive, Kim read aloud an article in the magazine, “Letter to a Young Christian En Route to College“ by Stanley Hauerwas. Not only does Dr. Hauerwas beautifully articulate much of what I think about books, education, and school, he provides thoughtful guidance for students (and their parents) who are about to head to college.
I found the article to be rich with wisdom and think you will too.
I am about to administer the Kolbe A to the Veritas Board of Trustees so I thought it was a good time for a quick blog about it.
When I first heard of Kolbe, I was extremely dismissive. Having participated in and been trained in numerous assessment tools, I thought “been there, done that” when it came to the Kolbe. A friend told me it was different. Clients urged me consider it as a tool. But I balked… until a client said, “I’ll pay for you to get certified with me” (at a cost of a few thousand dollars). I agreed. If nothing else, my client and I would spend a few days together moving our project forward. If the Kolbe was a “win”, all the better.
So I read the materials on the plane to Arizona and became intrigued. Unlike the Meyers Briggs, DISC, and many others, the Kolbe is NOT a personality test (or any other “affective” measurement). It measures something completely different. It measures how you will approach striving or doing. It measures how you take action or what you will do. The term for this is “conation” and thus the Kolbe is a conative (from the Latin conatus) assessment that is both valid and reliable. More than that, I have consistently introduced it to organizations and people that say it is the best assessment tool they have experienced. For many, the impact has been significant, even life-changing. I encourage you to find out more by clicking the link on my sidebar. Better yet, take the Kolbe A and begin to discover the “power of instinct”.
I have to admit I really love Reagan. He was a rare visionary, communicator, and consensus builder. I still liked the word politician in the 80′s (and would like to reclaim it for more noble purposes today). Reagan had character, vision, determination… and he was also civil to those who disagreed with him. I miss that. I love the stories of Reagan and Tip O’Neal fighting over ideas and policy, and then having a beer together afterward.
If an organization wants to last, its leadership has to think about reproducing 1st generational thinking and ownership in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generation. But holding to core ideals and principles over time is difficult, especially as structure changes and complexity increases.
How do the leaders ensure that those coming behind them will hold to the same values and principles when they are gone? Here are three things to think about:
- Intentional Values Transmission – leaders need to clearly understand and define who they are (values) and why they exist (mission), then intentionally teach and train toward those things. But think experience more than classroom and curriculum – it will be caught more than taught.
- Sacrifice – the 1st generation generally experiences great sacrifice. But it is common for the 2nd or 3rd generation to enjoy the benefits of the organizations progress or success without having had to sacrifice. This is often leads to leadership that marked by comfort, and even compromise.
- Transparency – let them see you sweat… and squirm. Ivory tower leadership won’t help develop a solid succession plan. Leaders need to bring their team members into the inner circle. Such authentic and transparent leadership requires personal security and sincere humility.
It is helpful to look at the lives of David (father), Solomon (son), and Rehoboam (grandson); they give us a good picture of common traits in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd generational leadership.
Plans are underway for Veritas’ first-ever commencement service on May 27th. What a celebration that will be! I am both humbled and thrilled that Dr. Michael Horton will be with us to deliver the inaugural commencement address. Although I have only been recently introduced to Mike personally, I have followed him for many years. I first read and studied his book Putting the Amazing Back Into Grace in the early 90′s with a few friends and have appreciated his ministry ever since.
About Dr. Michael Horton
Dr. Horton has taught apologetics and theology at Westminster Seminary California since 1998. In addition to his work at the Seminary, he is the president of White Horse Inn, for which he co-hosts the White Horse Inn, a nationally syndicated, weekly radio talk-show exploring issues of Reformation theology in American Christianity. He is also the editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. Before coming to WSC, Dr. Horton completed a research fellowship at Yale University Divinity School. Dr. Horton is the author/editor of more than twenty books, including a series of studies in Reformed dogmatics published by Westminster John Knox.
A book review sent to me by friend and colleague Bill Wortman of Fixed-Point Foundation
The Old-School Education Approach Works [Mark Hemingway]
I have a book review up on the homepage today about Crazy Like a Fox: One Principal’s Triumph in the Inner City, by Dr. Ben Chavis. Chavis has achieved stunning educational sucess. In 2000, he took over the American Indian Public Charter School (AIPCS) in Oakland, an inner-city charter school composed almost exclusively of low-income minority students. By the time he stepped down in 2007, he had turned it into the fifth-highest-rated middle school in the state — out of 1,300:
What the educational establishment really hates about Chavis is that he has achieved this success by exploding nearly every liberal myth about education. His approach to education is strictly old-school, and based on proven, effective methods. The only thing innovative about what he’s doing is that he’s doing it in the face of decades of “progressive” education. A few core tenets of his educational philosophy are:
- Heavily weighting the curriculum toward language arts and math. (Chavis’s schools spend twice as much time on those subjects as most other California schools.)
- Requiring near-perfect attendance. Continue Reading…
OK, I somehow deleted my blog today which is really OK because I had done very little with it. So here goes a do-over!
It’s a good time to start over because in many ways that is what the Nixes are about to do. After 20 years in Birmingham, we are moving to Richmond, Virginia to take on a new challenge. As we prepare for the move, we are doing some significant cleaning, purging, and simplifying – which was honestly long overdue. One of the things that will be staying behind is my 63 Corvair!