Do You Have a Passion for Leadership?

Well, I've ruffled a few feathers at all the institutions I've led. But I think that's part of leadership. - Robert M. Gates

I am a graduate of Texas A&M University—fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 1994!  The Aggie Code says that Aggies don’t lie, cheat, or steal…or tolerate those who do.  It’s fitting that we consider the Aggie code following a review of the Ten Commandments over the last ten months.

Fifteen years ago, Robert M. Gates became the 22nd President of Texas A&M.  As President, he made progress toward the university’s goal to become one of the top 10 public universities by 2020.  “Vision 2020” focused on improving student diversity, increasing the size of the faculty, building new academic facilities, and enriching the undergraduate and graduate education experience.

During his tenure, Gates saw increases in minority enrollment, encouraged the addition of 440 new faculty positions, and initiated a $300 million campus construction program.

Gates detailed his experience leading Texas A&M—as well as his experiences leading the CIA and serving as Secretary of Defense—in his 2016 autobiography entitled A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service.  Gates’ track record at Texas A&M was impressive, but I was particularly impressed when after being named Secretary of Defense by President George W. Bush, he remained in the role under President Obama.  Certainly, he has some leadership lessons worth learning!

Click here to read more about Robert Gates and his passion for leadership.

Cal Ripken, Jr.’s 8 Elements of Perseverance

Ripken Get in the Game

During this fifth month of the year, I focus on my 5th Leadership Tip – “Enjoy the Journey.”  This tip is aligned with the Fruit of the Spirit of Faithfulness.  Part of Faithfulness is Perseverance—or a “steady hand” in the face of peer pressure, disrespect or contempt, distractions, busy-ness, or weariness.  Earlier this week, I wrote our 3rd Grader, Tanner, a note of encouragement as he prepared for State Testing.  I encouraged him to persevere, using 1 Peter 5:7’s admonishment to “Cast all your anxieties on God because He cares for you.”

As part of this Leadership Tip, I encourage people shooting for the stars to “Get a Mentor.”  In fact, I like to point out that you should have a Mount Rushmore of Mentors, just as I blogged about mine a couple of years back.

One hero or mentor of mine growing up was Cal Ripken, Jr.  I appreciated the way he played the game.  More than seven years after he retired, he wrote Get in the Game: 8 Elements of Perseverance That Make the Difference.

Click here to learn from the Hall of Famer.