President's Blog: Leading and Influence
I don’t have a “life verse” as some people do – I have about 50. While I cherish the authority and relevance of all Scripture, there are several dozen passages which I keep coming back to for inspiration, energy, perspective, comfort, and refreshment. On this list is Proverbs 22:29. The NLT puts it this way: “Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people.” The proverbial essence of this verse is that skillful and competent people end up in strategic positions of influence. That influence may be in a small company, a local church, or as a leader in government. Our vision as an institution is, in part, “to inspire a movement of leaders…” If we want our students to become leaders, we need to model this ourselves.
Leaders are learners. Influencers always want to influence better. Servant leaders are deeply committed to being effective in meeting the needs of the person, community, or organization that God has called them to serve. Stephen Covey uses the language of “sharpen the saw” to describe this relentless commitment to improvement and increased competency. Now, I know this is a value that is already held high in our environment, but most often we deepen our competency in the areas in which we are already quite effective. This is great; maintain this commitment! However, we are also well served when we expand and enrich our competencies in areas beyond our normal battery of strengths. So, for example, if you are in operations – learn more about communication. If you are on faculty – learn more about management. If you are in finance – learn more about recruitment. I am presently trying to learn more about the world of marketing.
We have an opportunity to do just that this week. Michel Bell has been in senior management with Alcan and has held posts all around the world (literally!). He is deeply committed to living out his faith in the marketplace and teaches for us in our business courses. Michel is a leader who reduces complex leadership theory to simple axioms and practices. Michel will be with us for some professional development this week, beginning with a session at our Employee Huddle on Thursday. He will be conducting several other sessions throughout the day (see Schedule from HR). Please do your best to take in as many of these sessions as you can. This will stimulate and provoke competency. This will sharpen your saw. And…this will increase and expand your effectiveness and efficiency as a leader seeking to model leadership before the next generation. This will honour God and serve His purposes.