Tag Archive for Leadership

Finally getting to meet one of Wayne County’s enigmatic figures

For more than a decade, I have been a reporter at The Daily Record. Up until a week or so ago, I had never had the chance to really speak to John Bowling, president of Rayco Manufacturing.

Rayco

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator Steve Buehrer (left) hears from Rayco Mfg. Plant Manager Jim Miller about a powder coating line.

Bowling is a quiet man who goes about his business, not desiring to call any attention to himself or his company, which manufactures stump grinders, brush chippers and forest mulchers. So, to say I was shocked when I received a call from Jim Pindell, the human resources/safety manager, asking me if I wanted to come on a tour of the plant is an understatement. I jumped at the opportunity.

What was the reason for the tour? Well, Gov. John Kasich was going to be in nearby Medina, Ohio, to deliver his state of the state address, so state officials canvassed Northeast Ohio. Steve Buehrer, administrator for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, wanted to visit Rayco and see how they were putting to use a couple of welding tables the company purchased with a safety grant. (Read The Daily Record story here.)

Plant Manager Jim Miller led Buehrer, his staff and me on a tour, which gave me a glimpse into who Bowling was. When Buehrer arrived, Bowling welcomed him, but deferred all comments to Miller and Pindell. Bowling rejoined the group as it was wrapping up the tour.

Bowling literally built the business from the ground up. Miller talked about how back in 1978 he had a tree service. He needed to rent a stump grinder, but he would not have access to one for a year. He couldn’t wait that long, so he built one. A friend liked it, so he sold it to him, and he built another. Thus began what became Rayco, named for Bowling’s father, the Rev. Ray Bowling (now deceased).

In the journalism business, reporters get to meet a wide-range of people. Some desire attention, a lot of attention. They call up the newsroom informing us of their every activity, asking (before insisting) we send out a reporter and a photographer. In the grand scheme of things, these people do very little, but they crave the spotlight.

Then you have people like John Bowling, who are successful, hire a lot of people, support a lot of families and enhance the local economy my exporting manufactured products and importing sales dollars, and they seek to avoid the limelight, letting their actions speak for themselves.

Stan Welty Jr., former president of Wooster Brush Co., was another one of those who preferred to work behind the scenes. I tried for years to write a story about him, but he never wanted to. The only story I ever had the opportunity to write about him was when he died (you can read that story here).

It was nice to get a chance to spend a little, and by little I mean little, time with Bowling and learn more about him. Buehrer was impressed with what he saw and what he heard, saying Bowling and Rayco are true Ohio success stories.

Here is video from Buehrer’s visit to Rayco:

Are Elections the Best Form of Term Limits?

State Sen. Frank LaRose, a Republican from Copley, Ohio, who represents the 27th District, recently visited The Daily Record to discuss some issues he has been working on. One of them is redistricting reform, which he wants to see passed. (You can read the story on The Daily Record website here.)

State Sen. Frank LaRose (left) talks with The Daily Record Publisher Andrew S. Dix

State Sen. Frank LaRose (left) talks with The Daily Record Publisher Andrew S. Dix

“The best term limit is a competitive election,” LaRose said. Some suggest term limits take away power from the voter, he added.

LaRose’s answer is to fix redistricting.

When there are term limits, there will be a lack of experience. “It takes awhile to get up to speed,” LaRose said.

With term limits, LaRose said he believes lobbyists, staff and bureaucrats will likely have increased power.

Also, term limits can give more power to the executive branch, LaRose said. Elected officials who have been around for awhile might be a little bolder in standing up to the governor, LaRose said.

Another thing LaRose would like to see is online voter registration.

“There’s no reason we can’t do it online,” he said.

Keep up to date with LaRose on his website, Facebook or Twitter.

This Democrat Wants a New Way Forward for Health Care

David Goldhill, CEO of the Game Show Network, provided a stark contrast about what the future of health care can be in this country during Health Journalism 2013, this year’s conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists, which wraps up today at the World Trade Center Boston.

David Goldhill

David Goldhill, CEO of the Game Show Network, speaks to an attendee of the Association of Health Care Journalists annual conference at the World Trade Center Boston.

Goldhill’s experience with America’s health care system has not always been a pleasant one. He spoke candidly about how it killed his father and about a difficult ordeal with his son. (He writes about his father in this book: Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father–and How We Can Fix It. Copies of the book were made available at no cost to guests of the conference.)

Below, you can listen to the audio of his talk to the AHCJ group during a luncheon Saturday. The quality is not the best. It was recorded on an HTC ThunderBolt phone.

You can read about Goldhill’s talk in this story here by Grace Rubenstein, who is attending the conference on an AHCJ-Rural Health Fellowship made possible by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. (I, too, am attending the conference on an AHCJ-Rural Health Fellowship.)

Are You Sacrificing Your Core for the Elusive Cutting Edge?

As I boarded a flight at the Akron-Canton Airport for Boston to attend the Association of Health Care Journalists annual conference, I brought with me my trusty Kindle Fire HD.

Old school notebook

‘I sat there for a long time unable to read anything. Then I pulled out a small notebook and a pen and started to write this blog post!’

I have so many books on it, ranging from The Story Template, Simply Jesus, Click Millionaires, Necessary Endings, EntreLeadership, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Princess Grace, How to Deliver a TED Talk, APE: Author, Publisher, Editor and others, it was tough deciding which would I would read on the two-hour flight.

I finally settled on Simply Jesus by N.T. Wright.

I sat down and started reading the book. I highlighted a passage I found to be particularly profound about how the teachings and sayings of Jesus made sense to some people who considered him the messiah, while those same words led others to want to assassinate him.

As I was typing in my note, the flight attendant repeated herself several times informing me and everyone else on the airplane to turn off all electronic devices and stow them away.

It seemed like it took me forever to write a very short note (I was in such a hurry I didn’t even capitalize Jesus and feel bad about it now), but I managed to get it recorded. I shut off the Kindle and settled in for the flight.

Before we could take off, the plane needed to be de-iced. It turned out to be about a 15-minute process. I sat there with my amazing and incredible Kindle (I really do love the device, you can see what I mean here, here, here and here, and if you are really ambitious, here) tucked under my left arm, and I waited and waited and waited for the plane to be de-iced so we could taxi down the runway, take off from the airport and reach a high-enough altitude so I could turn on my amazing and incredible Kindle.

I happened to notice a guy sitting across the aisle one row up who was reading The Wall Street Journal. I immediately thought he never has to fold up his newspaper and lay it down. Altitude means nothing to a newspaper reader on an airplane.

The lady next to me was involved in completing word searches printed in one of those magazines you would find in a dollar store.

The man to immediate right across the aisle was utilizing some old-school technology: He was reading a traditional paperback book.

Their encounters with the written word proceeded uninterrupted during the de-icing process. I, however, was not so fortunate.

I sat there, Kindle still clutched under my arm, and thought about how sometimes we are too quick to discard yesterday’s technologies, yesterday’s devices and yesterday’s ideas for new things that might relatively unknown, unproven and untested.

However, those old things served our parents and grandparents well. They were able to accomplish great things without computers, GPS units, smartphones, smart TVs, the Internet, Wi-Fi, Mi-Fi, Eye-Fi or Re-Fi (OK, maybe they needed Re-Fi).

As I sat on the airplane thinking about all of this, I pondered this question: Are we sacrificing our core for the elusive cutting edge?

I sat there for a long time unable to read anything. Then I pulled out a small notebook and a pen and started to write this blog post!

 

What Kind of Leader are You? Be Like Ezra

In the Book of Ezra, there is an account in Chapter 9 about how Ezra, a priest, petitions God. Ezra is ashamed because the people have sinned against God.

Church in Wooster Ohio
In Ezra’s prayer, we read this in verse 6, “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens.”

Ezra was addressing a particular sin, that of intermarriage. Ezra obviously was not guilty of the sin, but in his prayer, you would be hard pressed to tell. He includes himself in the shortcomings of the people when he says “our sins” and “our guilt.”

I viewed Ezra’s actions (and words) as signs of true leadership. He did not throw the people under the bus; he was right there with them. It was as if he were telling the people, “We are all in this together.”

On Facebook, I asked Dean Hammond, one of the ministers at Parkview Christian Church, and a couple of my former professors at Cincinnati Christian University, Dan Dyke and Jon Weatherly, about the chapter. Here is what I asked: ”… as I am reading Ezra 9, I find it interesting that in Ezra’s appeal to God, he includes himself among those who have engaged in a specific sin, even though it is apparent he is not guilty of it. I see it as a sign of true leadership and a reflection of the community aspect of being a people of God. Any thoughts?”

Dan Dyke said it pointed to community responsibility, and Jon Weatherly and Dean Hammond agreed.

Dean, though, took it a little further: “It speaks of the culture and his personal heart; (a) community worldview rather than individuality. We Americans could take a lesson from his example.”

President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that read, “The buck stops here.” It is a good thing to see leaders take responsibility and protect those whom they are leading.

If you want to be an effective leader, then you better lead with character and integrity. As Dean teaches in his leadership class, you cannot lead someone where you have not gone yourself.

To be an effective leader, those you are leading must trust you. It is hard to build up trust if you are throwing people under the bus.

Don’t be like Mike. Be like Ezra.

Update: I was on Google+ this morning, and I saw this post: Do You Still Want to Be Like Mike? I just tossed in the phrase because I liked the structure and balance between “Don’t be like Mike” and “Be like Ezra.” But, God works in amazing ways.

Leadership Lived: Seamless Succession Planning at Parkview Christian

On January 6, 2013, Brian White preached a sermon at Parkview Christian Church in Wooster, Ohio. Brian had been the church’s family and youth minister for more than two years, so him preaching was nothing new. But what he represented was totally new.

Brian White

Brian White’s first Sunday as lead minister of Parkview Christian Church in Wooster, Ohio.

That Sunday was the first Sunday Brian served as the lead minister of Parkview Christian Church. Dean Hammond was stepping down as lead minister, though continuing to serve at the church as a teaching minister and mentor to Brian and Joe Rubino, the church’s community outreach minister.

What was fascinating to see was the transition of power, so to speak. Actually, you really couldn’t see the transition of power. It came so slowly and so methodically that now that it is done, it seems as if nothing has changed; the succession planning and execution was just that good. From my perspective, as a member of the church but not part of the leadership circle, the transition has been, in a word, flawless.

Let’s face it. We are human. We might say we like change, but we really don’t, or if we do, then it must be on our own terms. However, I have not heard one negative comment about the change in leadership. That feat in an American church is nothing short of remarkable.

It is one thing for me to think something is going good, so I asked someone else in the congregation. I got a similar reaction.

I think the the leadership change has been successful for several reasons, and here are five:

  1. It was well-planned. Church leaders had discussions about two years before the transition.
  2. It was intentional. Because of the unique relationship among the church’s ministers and directors, Dean, Brian, Joe and Mel Wharton, the children’s director, it was important for the next leader to come from within and keep the chemistry rather than to bring in someone from the outside.
  3. It was well-communicated. Once the church elders approved of the succession plan, it was announced to the congregation, and we had one year to adjust.
  4. It was transparent. Dean started preaching less, and Joe and Brian started preaching more. Brian began assuming more of Dean’s responsibilities.
  5. It was a God thing. Something like this could not have happened without God being involved. It was just too perfect.
Mel Wharton, Brian White, Dean Hammond and Joe Rubino

Mel Wharton (left), Brian White, Dean Hammond and Joe Rubino

[Photo of the Day] No Shame in Failure

I went out for dinner Sunday night with my wife, Wendi, and good friend Dan Starcher at Wild Ginger China Bistro in Wooster, Ohio. This was my fortune cookie:

image

For those who might not be able to see the picture, it says, “There is no shame in failure — only in quitting.”

When I saw it, I had to snap a photo (I took the pic with my HTC ThunderBolt and processed it using the Super Photo Full app, Google Play or iTunes).

This really resonated with me. Brian White, the lead minister at Parkview Christian Church, where I am a member, addressed this in a sermon earlier in the day. If nothing else, then failure at least teaches one way not to do it.

During our Sunday School class, which I normally teach, but Ed Shultz was teaching, he challenged us to make a difference. Again, the idea was to do something and not just think we have no ability to make a difference.

My mother, Carmen, raised four of us, and she always told us to get an education and she let us know nothing was ever out of our reach. Consequently, all four of us have found success in different ways. My sister Ariel was a top hair colorist and massage therapist; she has gone back to school to learn how to work with people dealing with drug addictions. My brother Carmine rose up through the banks in Central Florida before starting his own IT and web design business, then a photography business and now he trains people who do forensic audits of mortgages. My sister Michelle was moving up with the bank where she worked before joining Delta. At Delta, she worked on reservations for the airlines’ elite passengers before starting a business with her husband that is successful in the Boston area. I have pursued a career in journalism and have received awards from the Associated Press Society of Ohio and the Society of Professional journalists for my writing.

These things don’t happen by worrying about failure. Those who live in fear limit themselves in what they will do or accomplish. Thomas Edison said he did not fail, but found out 10,000 ways something would not work.

The Apostle Paul told Timothy, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1:6-7, NIV).

Do that thing that only you can do. No more excuse.

Do You Have to Work at Getting Work Done at Work?

I work as a reporter for The Daily Record in Wooster, Ohio, and invariably when one of the writers is gone for most of the morning or does not come into the office until the afternoon, we all have the same reaction: It’s nice of you to come into work today.

 

I always get a kick out of it when I am the one walking in late, and I always say it when someone else does the same. But, each time it happens, I think of the former NBC News reporter Arthur Kent, you might know him as the Scud Stud for his reportage during Desert Storm. I heard him one time on C-SPAN being critical of NBC’s decision to build its then new MSNBC Studios. I don’t remember the exact figure, but I do recall him saying at the time, “I never saw a $40 million dollar studio break a news story.”

Those words have stuck with me for more than a decade. Buildings don’t break news stories, they don’t sell ads, they don’t design ads, they don’t lay out the newspaper, they don’t print the newspaper and they certainly don’t deliver it. People do all of those things, with the aid of computers, machines and software. But, people do it.

Ever since hearing Kent utter those words, I have always been interested in how news gets done. Even though we reporters tease each other about finally coming into the office, our real work is done elsewhere. A reporter cannot break a story from the office, it has to be out in the field.

So, it should come as no surprise that when I saw the title of Jason Fried’s TED Talk, “Why Work Doesn’t Get Done at Work,” I had to listen to it.

In the video above, Fried basically says people try to get work done when they won’t be interrupted, so they will either go into the office early or stay late or they will go to a coffee shop or try to get work done while on a flight. These are some of the answers he receives when he asks the question, “Where do you go when you want to get work done?”

He never hears, “The office.” Check out the video, especially if you are a manager. Fried advocates for giving workers stretches of uninterrupted time to be more effective. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are not why people don’t get work done, it is the M&Ms: Managers and meetings.

He has three suggestions as to how to make the office the place where work gets done, and I suggest you listen to him.

Ezra’s Path to Success: Seek, Do and Teach

More than one person with social media savvy has said if you want a path to success, then share content that adds value to those who engage you over your blog or social media networks.

ORIG0023
As I was reading the Old Testament book of Ezra, I came across this in Ezra 7:10, “For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.”

Ezra, a scribe and priest, devoted himself to 1) studying the Law, 2) observing the Law and 3) teaching the law. The Lexham Bible translates it somewhat differently, and I like what it says: “For Ezra had set his heart to seek the law of Yahweh, to do it, and to teach the regulations and judgments in Israel.”

What wonderful advice. Seek the Lord, do what He says and teach others. This is a model for becoming a faithful follower of God and multiplying the number of disciples.

But, it also has far reaching effects in any field. Want to be a good blogger? Then study about blogging, actually blog and then help others blog.

Want to be a good photographer? Seek to understand about the basics, put what you learned into practice and help others avoid the mistakes you did when you started out.

See a pattern here? The Bible offers solid advice for life and living and building relationships. By living a life of faith you should be adding value to the lives of others. Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God, but there was a second one just like it: Love your neighbor.

This aspect of love cannot be understood apart from service. If you love God, then you will serve him. Do you love your neighbor, then you will help him out.

Do you want to follow a pathway to success? Be like Ezra: Seek, do and teach. Do not try this, actually do it. As Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

What Do You Say, When You Don’t Know What to Say?

Traffic to The Z Section was higher than normal early Wednesday. I had no clue as to why. Could it be I wrote such a stellar blog post? Maybe.

wpid-IMAG3357-picsay_Tom_Street_Black.jpg
But it turned out that was not the case. I noticed that I was getting some referrals from Michael Hyatt’s blog about Intentional Leadership (check out his wonderful blog here … and subscribe to it!).

I figuratively scratched my head and wondered why I was getting traffic from Hyatt’s blog, but I was busy with other stuff, so I kept moving. Every time I checked on my site stats (and I can get OCD about them as I try to build a platform), the number kept increasing at a higher than normal pace at a higher than normal clip. (At 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, I was just three page views away from previous best. Update: I was just one page view away from my best at the end of the day.)

Finally, late in the afternoon, I checked out the referral link from Hyatt’s blog, and lo, and behold, but what do my wondering eyes discover: He posted his latest “This is Your Life” podcast about changing your story and changing your life. He had solicited questions from his blog readers, and my question about how faith played into that was selected along with six others.

Read more