Leadership series: John Kotter

“Critique of John Kotter”

This critique is on John Kotter who spoke on March 12, 2010 at the Southeastern University Leadership Forum.

The speaker’s main purpose in this presentation was to discuss the issues surrounding “Leadership and Change.” With the economy failing and leaders all offering new ideas of hope and change, it seemed quite appropriate for John Kotter to discuss these ideas through life examples and also business principles.

  • John Kotter presented two ideas that really captivated me. The first was idea came in the form of the story of how Mark Kay was created. He discussed how when this organization had started, he rushed down to one of the local business meetings that was being held by the owner and founder of Mary Kay. He described her as a very sweet southern girl and how the people were just captivated by her. He pointed out that she had what seemed to be a “board” of people that handled different aspects of the company. He ended up meeting one of the women that works on the business end of the company and asked her to answer some questions as to how the company runs. She answered his questions brilliantly and broke the company down into four or five main people showing where they would all be on a business chart. This story was extremely intriguing and I never knew that the company was so well organized and strategically planned out. The idea was that through delegation, Mary Kay has become a huge success and a model of a true American dream of starting something from scratch.
  • The second idea he shared was the story about a Japanese leader who grew up poor and founded many companies that we ourselves use probably daily. He told the struggle that this leader went through and how he had to overcome hardships and struggles. Through all of it, he was always the first to throw himself on the chopping block, he always took the brunt of the “blows” that his company and workers faced. His companies still stand to this day and are huge monuments and models of how an origination has to change with the times, and how it can be made up of honesty and loyalty and still succeed.

The presentation was very inspiring to me, I was given the opportunity to sit under a Harvard professor and learn from him for just over an hour. He is truly a brilliant man and creatively showed us what leadership looks like, and how those leaders must change to constantly advance. It was an inspiring presentation.

“People come to work everyday determined to exploit real opportunities and avoid real hazards.” This was taken from the notes given in his lecture; he was discussing what false and true urgency look like. He was discussing the issue of complacency; many people become complacent and don’t chase after the extraordinary because they are afraid. When true leaders step up to the plate, they must be willing to do things differently, and explore the unknown regions. Over all John Kotter was extremely interesting and his style quite different from the other speakers, it was an privilege to sit and hear him speak.


Leadership series: Marcus Buckingham

“Critique of Marcus Buckingham

This critique is on Marcus Buckingham who spoke on March 11, 2010 at the Southeastern University Leadership Forum.

The speaker’s main purpose in this presentation was to explain the differences between strengths and weaknesses. Often leaders become very frustrated with themselves because they can’t seem to perform at their best, Buckingham went into great detail, of why this is.

  • Marcus Buckingham presented two ideas that really captivated me. The first was this question of “why do we focus on trying to do or be better at weaknesses?” This question came as a shocking revelation; most everyone spends huge amounts of time trying to improve in areas that they are not good at. Buckingham was challenging the leaders in the audience to re-evaluate this way of thinking; he wanted the audience to consider the possibility that improving weaknesses are actually counter-productive.
  • Another great point that came out his discussion was closely related to the first, “we think that our weaknesses have the most opportunity for growth.” This is in fact completely the opposite of the truth, but most people look at their weaknesses and see tons of opportunity, when in fact it is actually wasted energy. The flip side is that in our areas of strength lies true opportunity for growth. In someone’s strengths/giftings, there is a multitude of opportunities and successes waiting to be had. This is a complete contradiction of society, where there are books on every subject for “dummies,” there are tons of programs and television ads that encourage you to improve in this area or that area, but maybe in fact the things you want to improve are truly areas you should work around. Great time spent in strengths equals great victories. This of course isn’t saying that people shouldn’t work on some areas of their life where they struggle against moral issues and such, but it actually applies and makes sense even in those areas too. If you struggle with certain “sins,” it would be better to find ways to avoid acting upon those urges, opposed to trying to face those sins and failing, it would be better to admit weakness and avoid being caught in those distresses.
  • I told Marcus Buckingham that this was one of the best presentations on this subject that I had ever heard. It is hard to pick one or even two things that truly inspired me from this presentation, but I will attempt to choose one regardless. I would say for me the most helpful part of this presentation was Buckingham’s points on “weaknesses.” I have spent countless hours and years trying to improve on areas that I am just not good at, and realizing that I am not good at them and accepting that is a truly liberating feeling. I have yet to reach this point but because of Buckingham’s inspiring words I feel that I am one step closer to lean on my strengths instead of my weaknesses.

“Your strengths aren’t what your good at and your weaknesses aren’t whatever your bad at.” This statement was incredible. At this point in the presentation Buckingham showed us how to break down a list of strengths and weaknesses and then create statements to live our life by. Often you can be great at something, but if you hate doing it, then it is actually a weakness. There are things in my own life that I am good at doing, but I don’t like doing them, therefore when I do them with a motivation of “have to,” then I am actually being counter-productive. Many leaders would greatly benefit from engaging in this practice of evaluation,  I can’t imagine how many leaders spend years of their lives attempting to be great at things they were never meant to be great at. How much more effective would each person in this world be if they simply did what God created them to do and stopped trying to be “great” at something that is truly a weakness.

Check out this great book by Marcus Buckingham:

Leadership series: Andy Stanley

“Critique  of Andy Stanley at the SEU Leadership forum”

This is a critique of the presentation given by Andy Stanley on March 11, 2010 at the Southeastern University Leadership forum.

Andy Stanley’s main point in this presentation as that you have to find the areas in which you are good at and stick within that area. Andy spent a lot of time explaining that often, great leaders become overwhelmed and less effective because they don’t want to pass opportunities off to other people.

  • I was not aware that delegating things you hate to do is wrong. Andy Stanley explained that there are jobs that he loathes as a person and a leader, and he feels that passing them on to other people is somewhat degrading to that person. The reality is, that often those people who feel gifted in that particular area will not only love the opportunity, but will do exceedingly well within that area. God has called everyone to specific jobs and tasks, sometimes answering the phone at a local business or church may be the one thing we are terrible at, but it may be the one thing that someone else is great at. This is a principle that Andy Stanley talks a lot about in his book, The Next Generation Leader.
  • Another thing that Andy Stanley talked about that I was previously unaware of, was that “the less you do, the more you help others.” This sounds ridiculous but in reality it makes a lot of sense. If you are constantly taking on all the jobs within your organization, not only are you overburdening yourself and thus becoming less effective, but you are taking opportunities away from others who would have done great in those positions. Leaders love to do everything themselves, and as a result they often do not leave much room for others to step in and try their hand at a task. This is a mistake that needs to be avoided at all costs.

I would say the most helpful part of the whole presentation was seeing how successful Andy Stanley is at utilizing those around him in a positive and uplifting manner. Often it is easy to pass responsibilities on to other people simply to avoid work, but to delegate and train those individuals is much harder. For Andy Stanley it is important that not only are those jobs delegated, but that those to whom they are give are trained to become leaders themselves. This is not something you see a lot of in a time when “selfishness” and “success” have run rampant. This philosophy is the complete opposite and emphasizes the importance of others and works to build them up to become “future leaders,” as Andy Stanley likes to call them.

“I am more valuable in my sweet spot and exploiting my strengths.” This quote really sums up what Andy Stanley was saying all throughout his presentation. If you are a leader and have become stressed, apathetic, and plain frustrated, it is vital that you step back and ask yourself if what you are doing is actually something you should be putting time and effort into. Often we can be good at multiple things, but if we do multiple things and neglect the “one thing” that drives us, then we are not being effective. This is all what Andy Stanley was saying through each story and illustration, and it would be best to take these ideas and concepts and put them into action. Leaders need to be effective and strategic, without being strategic your “effectiveness,” may in fact be hindering you in the long run.

Check out his latest book:

Leadership series: Patrick Lencioni

“Critique of Patrick Lencioni at the SEU Leadership forum

This is a critique of the presentation given by Patrick Lencioni on March 11, 2010 at the Southeastern University Leadership Forum.

Patrick Lencioni wanted the Audience to “get naked.” Well not literally, Patrick Lencioni wanted the leaders in the room to be open and genuine with the people they work for and those under them. He wanted the leader sin the room to understand that “getting naked” for their client or those working under them can often be challenging and uncomfortable. Sometimes you have to take the blame, or put yourself on the line in order for positive results to occur.

  • There were two pieces of information that Patrick Lencioni gave that I had not considered prior to this presentation. The first is that we have to learn true vulnerability. This means that you have to get over the fear of “losing your company.” Patrick emphasized here that you have to “consult and never sell,” often businesses make it very clear that they simply want your money, but when you consult and help those clients then often they will be more than happy to pay you for the great work you have accomplished. This is extremely vital to any kind of business or even the leaders that run them. Without being vulnerable you are constantly hiding some piece of information or maybe an agenda, which will be exposed, and cause harm to a relationship whether business related or personal.
  • Another great idea that he presented was that we have to “enter the danger.” Here, Lencioni emphasize that there are many awkward moments within business or even relationship. It is the responsibility of a true leader to enter into those moments unashamed and humble, with the intention to resolve the issue at hand. Sometimes there may be moments when a co-worker or someone under your leadership is faced with a terribly embarrassing situation, it is leader’s responsibility to stand with that person and if possible take the shame upon themselves. This is very different from a culture that teaches us to burn everyone around us in order to get ahead, but this is true “Servant Leadership.”
  • The most helpful part of this conversation for me, was that Lencioni was coming from a different world. His company is very business oriented and gives an entirely new perspective on how someone remains and or becomes a servant leader outside of ministry leadership. He was able to shed light on ideas and concepts that are extremely beneficial to not only business people, but also ministry leaders. Sometimes it is necessary to step back from the job or field in which a leader works and to look at how other individuals have implanted greatness within their specific field, which may completely differ from your own. Here in that place of uncertainty and difference, a lot of lessons can be taught and shared with multitude of leaders within many different occupations.

“We want trusting relationships.” Here Patrick Lencioni emphasized that not only do companies, clients, co-workers wanted to be able to trust a leader within the job context, but outside of it as well. Leaders not only need to be genuine at work, but also at home. True leadership doesn’t start when they walk into the doors of an office, it is when they get down on their knees and pray to God, when they love their family and friends with a servant like attitude, and when they are willing to be so vulnerable and so “naked,” that everyone around them wishes to follow them in order to learn to live such a full and joyful life.

Check out his latest book:

Top 10 from Public Relations

1. Twitter

  • This semester I learned how to use my twitter for socializing and for professional endeavors. I was able to connect with a lot of Professionals in the ministry and also connect with some friends and get to know what they are like on a regular basis. Twitter is a great tool for business, because it makes social networking so easy and fun to use.

2. WordPress

  • I use to have a blog which I kept up with regularly and often I would write a lot of emotional and “journal like” entries. There was nothing wrong with this approach, but I have learned to use my blog in a more effective way. I now use my blog for class, social connecting, and for professional reasons. I gladly put my blog on resumes, knowing that because of my Public Relations class this semester, I have learned to maintain an interesting and easy to navigate blog.

3. Hyperlink

  • This semester I have learned to use hyperlinks. Prior to taking this public relations class, I had no idea how to hyperlink. Now I have become very efficient in using hyperlinks to make connections. I am able to supply an abundance of information and also lead my readers to other amazing blogs that maybe better explain something I am struggling to convey.

4. Research

  • This semester I have learned to research topics in a different manner than I was previously used to. I was able to research topics and subjects through Public Relations News sites and other means. This has really helped me in many areas outside of the classroom and I’m really glad that I was able to learn how to use these new tools.

5. Writing skills

  • This semester I have improved in my writing skills, and have learned new techniques for blogging. I feel that I am more well prepared to enter the professional world, because I now understand how to write effective and interesting blog posts that can relate to a certain subject or field.

6. Crisis Management

  • One of my favorite topics this semester was Crisis Management. We were able to learn techniques that will help us avoid mega-disasters in our future careers. Things happen that often make our company or clients look  bad, and by knowing steps on how to handle these situations, we can minimize the damage.

7. Connecting with class mates

  • I have really enjoyed connecting with my fellow classmates this semester. It is awesome to go and read blogs that pertain to the same things you are talking about, but from different perspectives. I have see some great material and gotten to know some great people, simply by reading their blog posts. I hope that Professor Nixon will continue to require her students to read their fellow classmates blogs in the future, because it is one of the most effective assignments given for the class.

8. Realizing how much actually pertains to PR

  • I couldn’t believe how many fields, stories, companies, etc… are actually a part of Public Relations in some way. There are a lot of connections that I never would have made had it not been for this class. Public Relations is a broad field and very difficult to define, but it can easily be spotted in Media, print, and many stories all throughout the news. Whenever I see someone giving a speech, I now have to wonder if they are representing the company via Public Relations firm/dept. or if they are truly an employee.

9. Interviewing

  • I was able to interview a Public Relations professional this semester, and it was really enlightening. I learned a lot about Public Relations that I did not know prior to the interview. This was an awesome opportunity to learn not only interviewing skills, but also how to speak with someone in such a “high up” position. Being a student has a lot of perks, and one of my favorites is that I always have access to some great leaders and professionals simply because I have an “assignment” due.

10.Use of Media

  • Using images, video, etc… Really changes how people interact with your blog. this semester I have tried to include pictures in as many posts as possible, and the results are amazing. I have a consistent amount of traffic on my blog, I believe this is because it is more visually appealing than my previous blogs. When someone has something to look at or even something to compliment the post, it really makes the story more appealing and “eye-catching” for the reader.

Well these are my top 10 things I enjoyed about this semester in Public Relations Comm 2322. It has been fun getting to know all of my class mates, and learning under Professor Nixon, this blogging experience has been a real life changing activity for me, and I hope all of my classmates can say the same thing.

Flip camera

I was looking through some of the top PR stories and this one came up immediately. It’s really interesting to see that this little device has become so popular. It’s small, compact, light, and according to another blogger, is able to film in HD. This is perfect for future movie cinematographers. I personally hope to get my hands on one someday in the near future.


Today I was thinking about the Shamu attack that happened at Sea World a month or so ago. It’s amazing that in only a matter of a month or so the Shamu attack has become old news. My fiance recently went to Sea World and you wouldn’t know that anything had happened. This is really shocking to me, but apparently Sea World has some really good Public Relations professionals working for them. All of the negative news and media was kept pretty much under control. I would have imagined that all kinds of animal activists would have raided the news stations, and the family of the woman who passed away would have been suing. None of that really happened though, this is a perfect example of how to handle such a tragic crisis with respect and professionalism.  It would be interesting to study and research just how Sea world avoided worse disaster.