Legacies from Legends in PR

 

In 2007, the Plank Center, with direction from Betsy Plank, began work to recognize PRSSA’s milestone year of 2007-2008 by asking legendary professional honorees to write brief personal messages of counsel, wisdom and experience for publication as a gift to students. Thirty-four of those honorees answered that first call – a remarkable response and reflection of caring for students.

The success of the first edition of Legacies from Legends in PR prompted an ongoing and unique project. Respected professionals who have received one or more lifetime honors from three major public relations organizations – Arthur W. Page Society’s Hall of Fame and Distinguished Service Awards; Institute for Public Relations’ Alexander Hamilton Medal; and PRSA’s Gold Anvil Award and Educators Academy Ferguson Award – are invited to contribute their message.

We hope these PR Legends inform and inspire you and shape the next generation of public relations leaders. Download the second edition of Legacies from Legends in Public Relations.

LEGENDS AND THEIR LEGACIES

 

* Deceased

Plank Legends & Leaders: Dr. Bruce Berger, Part II

 

Dr. Bruce K. Berger is a professor emeritus of Advertising & Public Relations in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama. In addition to being the Founding Director of The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, he serves on the Center’s advisory board.

In this interview, Berger goes in-depth with his vision for leadership in PR and his own journey in both the professional and teaching realms.

DR. BRUCE K. BERGER: I was teaching at a small community college in Michigan. I love teaching, I always wanted to be a teacher.

My wife had a lot of school debts. We had two young boys. The money I made teaching couldn’t pay the bills, honestly. I did it for three years and I said, I have got to find something that pays a little bit more money. So I actually took a job as a speechwriter for a pharmaceutical company, the Upjohn company.

That led into a 21-year career in public relations; I never imagined it would. My intention was to save money for a few years, go back to school, get a Ph.D., and teach. But I was lead into public relations, and I had a great career that took me all around the world, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The reason I left the corporate world was that I had been in it for 21 years, I had achieved a lot. I was at a point age-wise, late 40s, where I thought, if you’re ever going to go back to school and get a Ph.D. to teach at a university, you need to do it now. So I left, as I said, at a fairly advanced age. I went back to school, got a Ph.D. at Kentucky, and began teaching at the University of Alabama.

Some of the accomplishments that I think I’m most proud of, and that frankly I enjoyed, were team related kinds of things that I did with others. For example, in the early 1980s, I became the Public Affairs manager for the Upjohn company in Brussels. My primary responsibility was to develop a Public Affairs Council for public relations Upjohn operates in 10 countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. I pulled that together and we soon became an effective team. Frankly, that was the introduction for me to diversity and the concept of diversity.

Nobody was talking about it 30 years ago, but there were ten people of different nationalities on that Public Affairs team. The accomplishments that we made together and how much we learned and understood from each other, made us realize very quickly that, hey, the ten of us can do a lot more, a lot better, than any one of us individually could within a country. I was very proud of that accomplishment, it was a great learning experience for me.

There was a similar experience later at Whirlpool, probably a decade later, when one of my assignments was to develop, implement, and evaluate the company’s first global strategic employee communication plan. The company had expanded into Europe, Latin America, and Asia. I was charged with doing this, so I put together another cross-cultural team of folks from eight countries. We had other teams that were working for us. Again, it was this global team, this cross-cultural team, that developed an incredibly successful employee communication program for the company.

So those are a couple of things that I’m most proud of because they involve working with different people on some tough issues. Those were difficult tasks, especially the global employee communication plan, and we all became great friends out of that. That group that worked on the global project, we’re all retired now, or mostly retired. We still have a reunion every third year somewhere around the world because we became very close friends in the process of that work.

I think some of the qualities, values, or characteristics that have been important for me in my career are the passion and energy, if you will, for what I do. I mean, I love teaching. I love being in practice. I think you have to have passion and energy for anything you do. I don’t mean you have to be a cheerleader, but you can have a burning passion inside of you. But you know, doing something that you love doing is really important.

A second characteristic would be that I’m an individual who has a lot of empathy for others. I mentioned some of the team projects that I have worked on. I think passion, energy, empathy, discipline, and focus are all valuable qualities. A great lesson for me from my couple of years of military experience was the ability to be disciplined and to focus on a mission. That becomes really important, certainly in the corporate world as well. You have to know what your mission is and how you’re going to accomplish it. So I think those are three things that have been important to me.

For students, I think some of those same things are going to be important for them. In fact, I often tell students, you know, you’ve got to do something you have some passion for, something that you have energy for. There’s nothing greater that you can bring to an employer or to an interview than positive energy. Bring that to work, bring that to the interview, and you’re likely to be successful so that I think is really important.

I think students need to be good critical thinkers. I think there is sort of a gap in our world today, which is good critical thinking. I think that’s important for students. Listening, and other personal kinds of communication skills are really, really valuable, even those that are apart from, or outside of their major or field.

If I think about who’s had the greatest influence on my vision, if you will, for leadership, it’s two people, it’s two women. One was my mother, my mother was a schoolteacher many, many years ago. I once asked her, I said, “Mom, did you have a philosophy for teaching?” And she said, “Yes, I did, and it was this: every child who walked into my classroom represented a bright promise, and it was my job, as a teacher, to try to bring that promise to life.”

The other lady who had a lot of influence was actually my first boss in public relations, Margaret Lee at the Upjohn company, a wonderful young woman who died way, way too early from cancer. Margaret was probably the best listener I’ve ever met, she was incredibly empathetic. Her total focus on being a leader was literally on being a servant. She was a classic example of a great servant leader.

She focused on how she could help her employees and her team members learn, grow, develop, and be successful. How could she do that? As I talked with her about leadership, she said, you know, it’s an incredible responsibility, but it’s also one that has great rewards. One of the greatest rewards, she said, “If you’re a good leader, you can make a positive difference in the life of your team members on the job, in the community, and in the profession.” The notion of bright promises that people hold and the notion of trying to make a difference in their life has had a lot of influence on how I see leadership.

I’ll mention the three or four key issues that I think affect the field today. One of them is certainly technological changes, the technological changes that mark almost everything we do in communication, and generally in our lives as well. I think that’s a big issue, trying to stay on top of that, trying to manage it. There are lots being written about data analytics and big data, and what do you do with it; it’s pretty overwhelming.

Diversity in the field is a big issue, a growing issue that needs to be dealt with in ways that it has not been dealt with yet. I think the issue of ethics may be the central issue of the day for us, in terms of how we deal with ethical dilemmas. Honestly, I’m always amazed, not by companies and organizations that report crises, because many of them do, and many of them experience crises, but I’m always wondering, now, where are the public relations folks on this issue? You know, are they involved?

I’ll give you one concrete example, the recent Wells Fargo crisis. This was something that affected some hundreds of employees in that organization. It was known what was going on, at least in some parts of the organization. I’m wondering why somebody didn’t step forward sooner, and why some of the people in public relations might not have played a larger role.

Now, I don’t know enough about it to have any kind of an answer to it, but that’s the kind of question I think of when I think about ethical dilemmas today. Regarding the current ethical state in our profession, I think it’s really a central issue right now; I’m not sure that we’re on top of it.

There was just a new call by one of the leaders in the field for a new code, a tougher code — a way of self-policing the industry better. Well, actually for the Public Relations Society of America half a century ago, they had a very strict code. They had just self-policing function. In the end, it was largely ineffective because nobody wanted to punish someone else in their same profession.

So it’s a huge issue in this age of distrust, fake news, and dishonesty. How do we deal with those issues inside our organization? So I think the ethical dilemma for our profession and its future is really a central one today.

Some ethics, or ethics in some senses can be taught today. For example, we can teach people to understand codes of ethics in practice. We can teach people to understand moral reasoning, how you make decisions when you confront ethical dilemmas. We can teach people based on actual case studies that we might review.

So we can teach people certain things, but it’s more complicated than that, and it finally goes back to self. Each of us in the public relations profession have four dimensions that we have to deal with, or that are part of us, in making decisions. One is our self-ethical orientation, we have our own individual values.

The organizations we work for, number two, have a set of values and ethics. The profession in which we work has a set of ethics, a code of ethics and practices. The societies that we work have them as well. So there’s really four dimensions or four sides to ethical dilemmas. I think the most important one is the individual dilemma. That’s where the action takes place if you will.

I would always tell my students in class talking about ethics, that the first time you confront an ethical dilemma is the key time. That’s the big decision-making moment. Most students and most professionals draw a line in the sand and say I will not cross that line ethically, if you will, or morally.

So, the first time you confront that and you’re staring at that line – if you make a bad decision that first time, then the second time it’s easier, and the third time it’s even easier to make that decision. Finally, there’s no line in the sand anymore.

There are lots of big changes in the PR industry since I began my career. I think the biggest one, of course, is technologies in every sense of the word. There’s a great deal more in education today, good educational programs. 40 years ago, only a few existed but there was not much being done in the way of education. I think the volume and the quality of research about public relations practice is great today.

Again, comparatively speaking to 40 years ago, there was very little of it. I think the recognition for what public relations does today is better than it was, it’s not perfect, but better. So I think those are four big changes.

New technologies touch every aspect of practice literally, as well as our personal lives. New technologies, the volume of information that is available to us, the pace of that information, data, big data, how that implicates messaging, how it implicates strategies and particular plans, and how we evaluate things in organizations is based on technology. So it’s had a dramatic effect on virtually every aspect of practice. I can remember talking with others 20 years ago when people said it’s just another channel. You know, social media, for example, are just another channel. But of course, it’s much more than a channel.

Trends are emerging or developing, today that are going to affect the profession in the future. I’ll go back to technology and the significance of that. I think the concerns today are about trust, truth, honesty, and ethics. I think that’s going to become a bigger dynamic all the time in what we do, it becomes a bigger issue for us to wrestle with as professionals.

I think figuring out how to be even stronger counselors for the leaders that we consult with and deal with is an emerging issue. Of course, the issues of diversity are something that are very pronounced today, but they’re not going to disappear. They’re going to become more significant, I think.

In this age of integrated marketing communications, if you will, I think it’s really important for public relations people, frankly, to be better, to be bigger, and to do a better job. I think we’ve made tremendous progress in terms of convincing people inside of the organizations of the value of public relations. Now, the public image of public relations is bad, and maybe always will be. The more important dimension to me is how do people inside of your organizations view the value of public relations?

The only way we can improve and continue to maintain independence, or the value of public relations, is to demonstrate it, to demonstrate it on the job. We have to demonstrate that we do adds value, that certain other approaches in integrated communication do not.

On the other hand, at the same time, we need to realize, and this is sometimes difficult for us to do, that we are part of an integrated communication effort in the organization. So we need to do a better job of integrating ourselves with and working with the other communication functions.

I met Betsy Plank in the 1990s, I think the early 1990s, at a conference, a PR conference. I only had a chance to speak very briefly with her. We promised we would communicate more. Well, we didn’t much.

I first met her there, and then I joined the Alabama faculty in 1999. The dean of the college, at that time, met Betsy in Chicago at some event. He came back and he said, “Do you know Betsy Plank is a University of Alabama graduate?” I said, yes, I did. He said, “We have got to get her back down here.” She hadn’t been to the university since the 1960s, I think, or some long time ago.

So he said, I’d like you to pull together some kind of an event to get Betsy down here. We put together a two-day event that we called the Betsy Plank forum to bring her back to Alabama, to talk with students, and the local PRSSA chapter to make presentations. We did an industry roundtable while she was there to sort of get her re-acclimated, if you will, to Alabama. That was really the beginning of her much more significant involvement with the University and with The Plank Center, of course.

My favorite memory of Betsy Plank, I’ve got a couple, but there’s one that is most vivid and powerful. In 2007, at the PRSSA conference in Philadelphia, it was the 40th anniversary of PRSSA, I had worked with her that summer to produce a booklet called Legacies of Legends in Public Relations, that held brief messages from 40 legends in the field. We were going to present these to the PRSSA students at the conference in Philadelphia. So here I am with Betsy, and with eight or ten students, and these boxes of 1,200 booklets that we had to place on the dinner table for each student before they came inside.

So we’re sitting, waiting by the door for somebody to unlock it, getting closer and closer to dinner time, and it was a great big door, it was barred. I went up and I knocked on the door, I tried to push the bar, but it just wouldn’t open, and nobody would respond. Betsy got increasingly frustrated.

Now, she was at this time 80 years old. She had a bad arthritic hip. Betsy finally said, “I’m going to open that door.” She climbed up, and with her cane, walked to that door and literally took her hip and threw it against the bar on the door. Now when she did that, the door magically opened. This huge security figure, this guy, stood in the background, opened the door, and she said, “Sir, unbar the doors and step aside, my children and I have work to do.”

Now whether he, at that exact instant, happened to open the door, I will never know. But to see that lady walk up there, so passionate about things, and throw her hip against the door and have it pop open was a memory I’ll always have.

Two things that I think people can take away and learn from Betsy are, one, her mentoring willingness, her mentoring heart, if you will. I’ll give you another example of Betsy. This was at the conference in Philadelphia. Well, we were walking somewhere to go to a session and this young lady came up and introduced herself and started talking to Betsy. The young lady said, well, let’s pick a time to talk.

Then Betsy said, “No. Bruce, you go on ahead to the room. I’m going to sit down and talk to this young woman.” She did, 60 minutes later, she was still sitting there. She had an incredible interest in mentoring and understood the power and value of it. So I think that’s one important thing we can take away.

The second thing closely related to that are her listening capabilities. She’s somebody who, when you talk to her, you know that you have her attention. She is listening to you. You can tell when people are or are not listening to you. With Betsy, it was very obvious. So I think those are two great things we could take away.

Betsy Plank was very passionate about, as far as I know, public relations education, public relations students, public relations research, and the profession itself, including the advancement of the profession. As a huge professional advocate, she was one of the founders of the Public Relations Students Society of America. She was the first woman to co-chair the Commission on Public Relations Education in the United States.

Were she alive today, she would continue to be a passionate champion for education, research, the profession, mentoring, and diversity. If Betsy were building her career today, rather than half a century ago, one big thing would be different, she’d have to learn how to use a computer. That woman refused to learn how to use a computer.

When I was the chair of the department at Alabama, I sent two different people up there, technicians and specialists, to teach her how to go online, email, and those kinds of things. She ultimately refused to do it. OK, I’m kidding, that’s one thing that would be different, she would have to be more technologically oriented than she was. Otherwise, I think many of the same qualities and characteristics that embodied her half a century ago would still be very much with her. That’s her passion and love for the field, students and education, and diversity.

If I hadn’t had a career in public relations, I would have been a teacher. I was a teacher, I’m a teacher now. So that was something that I always wanted to do.

The other thing I would do if I weren’t in the profession is, I love to write, I would be a successful, bestselling novelist, or would have tried to, in any case.

I think through my career what’s been important to me and what I would like to be remembered for, maybe the biggest thing is the importance of feeling passionate about the work that you do. I think people sense that, those that I’ve worked with over the years. I think they feel it, and sometimes it moves them, I think, to do more.

The other quality that I would like to be remembered for is that I was always there. I was always available to students and to professionals, literally any time of the day or night, if an issue came up. They knew that and would sometimes take advantage of that. But being there, I think, especially with students, is really, really important, because that builds trust.

I think that if you’re available, then people trust in you more. I think the other important thing would be what I would call, the legacy of the team. I believe so strongly in the importance and power of the team. That’s how things get done, is with a good team. So I think those are three things that would be important.

What constitutes a good education in public relations, I’m going to respond to that. Then, I’m going to change one little word there, which I think gives us a different sort of view. A good education in public relations, I think, is available today in most places we have in this country, and it’s all developed over the last 40 years, we have any number of major universities.

We’re sitting in one of them. They have terrific education programs about how to write, design, edit, develop strategic plans, develop messages, do research, and evaluate. We have programs that we didn’t have 40 years ago that are teaching public relations majors how to do things that are really, really relevant for the profession, things that they need to get a job. So, a good education in public relations, I think we’re dealing with that pretty well.

Now if I take out the word in and not say good in PR education, but say good for public relations education, then we’re looking at something that’s bigger. It’s not just those core courses that I mentioned, but it’s the other pieces that are involved to make you a better leader and a better person. For example, we do very little in most programs in terms of listening skills, it’s in nobody’s major.

We know that one of the greatest issues in the world today is that people are not good listeners. We’re all guilty of that, we’re not good. Most universities have a listening course or training in development that you can take, so I think that would be valuable.

I’ve talked earlier about some of the major ethical dilemmas today, which is also related to me and the ability to think critically in our courses. We don’t teach that much, we talk about ethics and the importance of it and we teach ethical codes. But how do you think through things? How do you critically evaluate things?

One area that you can study that deals with critical thinking and ethics is philosophy. Do students take a course or two in philosophy? I don’t know of any better courses to expand your mind, if you will, or to learn how to think strategically and critically. So I think if we can add that dimension, we can add the listening dimension, we can add team leadership skills and development that again, we don’t usually get.

So there are other areas, other non-PR major focus areas that I think really enrich and broaden us. So what I’m speaking to, to some extent, is the reflection of my own undergraduate studies, which was liberal arts education, a humanity study. There’s some value in doing that. So I think as we look at a good PR education, we need to think a little bit beyond the practical, mechanical courses that exist in the major today.

Public relations professionals, do they share a persona? I think I’ve heard both sides of that. My own feeling is that they don’t, they don’t share a common persona.

They are different, people are diverse. I know many, many leaders and professionals in the field, they’re different, they have different styles, they have different values, and they have different forms of self-presentation. They’re not all happy and cheery, they have different personalities. So they don’t really have a common persona.

I think what they do have in common is a love of, and fascination with, a belief in the importance of words, language and communication inside and outside of organizations today. So they share that rich belief in our value, but I don’t think there’s a common persona.

Recorded: November 2017

Plank Legends & Leaders: Ofield Dukes

 

Ofield Dukes began his career in journalism, then opened his own firm in 1969 with Motown Records and Lever Brothers as his first clients. Throughout his career, Dukes has been a role model for black public relations students and professionals across the country. Dukes organized the first congressional black caucus and has served on the boards of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Change, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

In 1993, he founded the Black Public Relations Society of Washington and currently serves on the Diversity Committee for the Public Relations Society of America. Dukes won the National Public Relations Achievement Award from Ball State University’s department of journalism. And received the Gold Anvil Award in 2001 when he was inducted into the National PRSA Chapter’s Public Relations Hall of Fame.

He was born in rural Alabama and earned his degree in journalism at Wayne State University in Detroit. Dukes passed away in 2011 at the age of 79.

Define what leadership in PR means to you.

>> First, I think we need to deal with the qualities of leadership and it represents an individual’s ability to know what he knows and to convince other people that he knows what he’s doing.

And leadership also requires a progressive vision, and the ability of a person to be effective in communicating. Also, leadership really means producing results and having the ability to inspire others, and to have confidence in one’s ability to make prudent decisions. So when you take those qualities of leadership and apply them to public relations, they’re very, very clear.

And a person who has those qualities can be very effective, whether it’s in public relations or any other industry.

What are the three or four most important characteristics or qualities of excellent leaders in public relations?

>> One is having a progressive and clear vision and second is a strategic plan of action and number three is being able to take the initiative and having the courage of one’s convictions to proceed and implement whatever plan of vision you have. And the last is being productive, leadership really demands positive results.

As a recognized leader in the field, what factors most contributed to your personal success?

>> I remember when I was in Korea during that Korean conflict, and I spent 13 months there. And it was, for me, a period of introspection. And I read Socrates who suggested that the first principle of life is knowing thyself, then Aristotle said be thyself and Shakespeare said to thine own self-be true.

And for me, it was a matter of becoming intimately aware of who I was and having a sense of what I wanted to do in life and I developed the vision. And it’s important for a person to be very much aware of one’s self because many of us are introduced to ourselves by the people and we go through in life needing to be validated by the people.

And when you know who you are, you have the sense of confidence in your ability to deal with all kinds of challenges. I remember when I was teaching as an adjunct at American University. I invited Michael Deaver to speak to one of my classes and what he said about President Ronald Reagan, I think, was most compelling.

He said that Mr. Reagan got up every morning and knew exactly who he was, and that’s very, very important for young people in PR, to be aware of who they are and what their assets and liabilities are. And they have a sense of confidence in their ability to deal with all problems and challenges.

What’s the most powerful learning experience you encountered with respect to leadership in the field?

>> In 2001, Kathy Lewton, then President of the Public Relations Society of America, called me the first of January and asked if I would be willing to chair the first task force on diversity for the Public Relations Society of America, that was 2001. And I accepted that challenge and it involved reaching out, getting input from others, and then spending quite a bit of time developing a mission statement for the first time for what PRSA in terms of diversity and then developing realistic objectives.

And then I spent quite a bit of time traveling tens of thousands of miles throughout the country speaking to different chapters and explaining to them that the 2000 U.S. Census indicated that our country, America was more diverse than ever before. More multi-racial, more multi-cultural and more multi-ethnic and that the job market requires the kind of diversity that reflected the demographics and the psychographics of the consumers.

And that was very, very challenging and I think we provided a pretty solid foundation for PRSA and the chapters to move into the 21st century in dealing with the challenge of diversity.

Name one individual whom you believe to be the most outstanding leader in the field today. What makes this individual such an outstanding leader?

>> That’s easy. My dear friend Betsy Plank. Betsy has been an amazing, a remarkable, an insightful visionary person in terms of public relations.

The fact that she was the first female to be president of the Public Relations Society (of America), but her record and history at the University of Alabama in terms of all of the things she did there. But she continues to be very active in providing a foundation for young people and her worked through the (PRSA) College of Fellows, and the various things that she’s presently doing.

And she’s really inspired me to become more active. But I can’t think of anybody else in the field of public relations who has the passion, the interest, and the compelling desire to improve the standards of the field of public relations, and that’s Betsy Plank.

In your view, is there a historical figure who exemplified outstanding leadership in the field? Why?

>> Yeah, since I’ve taught the subject as an adjunct for 18 years at Howard University and eight years at the American University here in Washington, I think there’s one person in particular who stands out.

And that’s Edward Bernays, whose career in public relations span three-quarters of a century. And I think in 1923, he did his first book that defined the means and methods and techniques and social responsibilities of public relations. And then, later on, I think in the 50s, he did another book refining the practice of public relations.

And I think he, in the 20th Century, did more to provide the foundation for the modern practice of public relations, that was Edward Bernays.

Do you think that leadership skills and values in PR are different in any way from those in other professions? If so, how and why?

>> I’m not certain that the leadership skills are different, but the set of circumstances is much different because public relations is one thing in Washington. It’s lobbying, it’s public information, it’s public affairs, it’s media relations, and when you move to New York, it’s media relations of publicists in Los Angeles and the important thing is that public relations people are highly visible. And we have to deal with all kinds of communication, different levels of communication, whether it’s employee or government relations, or international relations.

So public relations people are very visible. And we have to deal with the integrity of communication. We have to deal with certain ethics. So, there is incumbent on public relations practitioners to be transparent and to be honest and open and that is very, very, very important.

What can a new PR professional do to begin to develop the kinds of leadership characteristics and skills that you described?

>> Well, the first is having a passion to be excellent in the field of public relations. And in addition to that, developing the time and interest to become involved in the various issues of public relations beyond one’s work responsibility. And investing the time and becoming involved with the local chapter, whether it’s the PRSSA, the school chapter, or the local professional chapter, and becoming involved in the local activities, volunteering for a committee and from a committee, moving to be chairman of a committee and becoming one of the officers.

And eventually, becoming involved in the national office of the Public Relations Society of America. So, there’s an evolution and the evolution is based on the extent of one’s interests and the level of one’s investment of time.

What can university educators do to help PR students develop important leadership skills and values?

>> There’s a big difference between the classroom and the world of work in terms of PR, and there are some highly qualified educators in journalism and public relations who have not had an opportunity really to be out in the field, to practice, to understand what it is to be a practitioner.

And when you have that level of experience, it becomes more insightful and your knowledge base is expanded based on the reality, the real issues, the challenges of PR. And I would suggest that for the professors, the educators in journalism, public relations, in addition to writing and researching, to take a little time to get out in the field and to work on a project on behalf of a client to get the feel, the real feel, for what it is to be a practitioner in public relations. And then that person would be able to share those kinds of experiences with his students or her students.

Do you think that leadership can be taught? Or is it inherited, or something else?

>> I just think it depends on the individual and a person’s own interest. And it goes back to a person’s feeling of security, of his ability to relate to the public.

And some people are shy, and other people have a good sense of who they are. And they have the courage of their convictions, and they would like to assume leadership. They volunteer and they are doers. They have the ability to initiate action, and they have the respect of their peers in terms of their ability to make prudent judgments.

So there are characteristics of leadership that a person can learn and some learn from their parents. And some learn from their mentors and some may even learn from other instructors who are not only very good instructors, but they are active and very much involved in the Public Relations Society of America.

Some have argued that there is a shortage of outstanding leaders in PR today. What can the profession do to help new practitioners, or those with experience in the field, develop greater leadership skills? How can we address this leadership deficit if, indeed, it exists?

>> It’s an interesting question because I don’t think the problems are peculiar to the PR industry. And if you look across the spectrum of life here in America and people can suggest there is a shortage of political leaders that could be a deficit in terms of religious leaders or civic leaders.

These may be the worst of times for some categories of leaders. And when you look at the polls in terms of the popularity of the President or the disapproval of the President, it is a record low. And the same for the Congress. And it is true that there may be a lack of leadership in PR now compared to 10 or 15 years ago, but I’m not really certain that it’s peculiar to the field.

I think that are any number of circumstances contributing to that and I don’t think I would have enough time to explore all of those circumstances. Haven’t been very much involved in the Public Relations Society of America and that society is going through its own challenges in terms of its ability to inspire senior people in public relations to become actively involved in leadership positions.

Can you give a concrete example or illustration of leadership at work in practice?

>> I remember a few months ago when Jet Blue had to cancel a number of flights and people sat on the runway for hours. And then its president came out the next day to accept responsibility for the problems of the airlines and to apologize. But then, the second or third day, he came out with a new set of program strategies and incentives for the customers not to leave Jet Blue.

And he was on TV, he was on radio and there were full-page ads in newspapers throughout the country. So, an outstanding example of a crisis situation and the president, a CEO of Jet Blue Blue responding in a very positive and productive way.

What’s the one best book on leadership you would recommend to young professionals?

>> One can think in terms of the Bible and the Bible reflects, whether it’s Moses or David, all kinds of leaders in the Bible.

But one of the contemporary books that I appreciate so very very much, and I’ve bought dozens of copies of, was Dr. Richard Carson’s book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. And it was so insightful, so informative. And it provides so many insightful and inspirational gems that would be helpful for people to deal with the challenges of life.

And it’s just wonderful and it reminds me of my favorite book in the Bible, Proverbs. And Proverbs, third chapter says that in all of thy getting in life, get knowledge, wisdom and understanding and Richard Carson’s book reflected that type of common sense approach to dealing with the daily problems of life.

What’s your best advice about a career in PR to students who are just entering the work world?

>> When I opened my public relations firm here in Washington at the National Press Building in 1969, I got up every morning with a passion to be excellent. Also, I developed a type of work ethic, and I had a vision to achieve certain goals. So my advice to students, first of all, is to develop a passion, not to be good, not to be outstanding, but to be excellent, not once a week, but every day.

And also to develop a vision, a five to ten-year vision of what they want to do, what they can contribute to public relations, what they can get out of it. And then to identify some type of leadership responsibility whether it’s in the next five years as they develop a foundation for their own knowledge, and experience, and expertise, and using that as a springboard in the next five years to give something back, and to share the things they have gained from public relations with high school students, and college students, and whatever.

But, I think that type of commitment to excellence and to the field of public relations would be a wonderful foundation to produce the kind of leadership that we are discussing in this interview.


More from Ofield Dukes:

 

Plank Legends & Leaders: Jack Koten

 

The retired Senior Vice President of Corporate Communication for a $22 billion telecommunications company, John A. Koten has had a distinguished career in public relations. Koten earned his degree from North Central College and Northwestern University. Prior to his successful career at Ameritech, Koten served as Vice President of Corporate Communications for Illinois Bell and New Jersey Bell and as AT&T Public Relations Director.

Koten was also the founding member of the Arthur W. Page Society, is a past President and served on its board of trustees for 20 years. He was the President of the Ameritech Foundation, is Chairman and Director of the Great Books Foundation, and Vice Chairman of District 220 Educational Foundation.

Koten has authored and is the editor for numerous articles, including the Page Society’s recently published book, Building Trust. He has spoken at management conferences, academic seminars, and civic meetings throughout the United States. Koten’s dedication to his career and love of public relations has not gone unrecognized. He was elected to the Page Society’s Hall of Fame in 1995 and as a life trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, North Central College and the Associated Colleges of Illinois.

He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Quincy University in 1990 and North Central College in 1991.

Define what leadership in PR means to you.

>> Leadership in public relations is a very broad subject and it covers many different aspects of the public relations. First off, I’d say that anyone can be a leader. And there are different ways that leadership can be achieved.

Part of it is being knowledgeable, being regarded as someone’s who’s authoritative, and if you had these kinds of attributes and people look to you, that leadership comes to you naturally. Another way to be a leader is to be someone who produces or writes material that other people can respond to and follow.

Whether it’s Rachel Carson with this Silent Spring type book or a book like Boys and the Band where somebody describes what it’s really like to be in a field of changes in behavior and reporters around the world. So, the leadership can stem, a person can be a leader. A painter like Da Vinci or Monet or somebody like that can inspire a whole new thing without actually physically being someone that people come to and respect.

So, I think when it comes to public relations that there are many opportunities for leadership and there’s many ways to be a leader. But no one will be a leader unless they make the effort to want to be that, and I think that is one of the keys to leadership.

What are the three or four most important characteristics or qualities of excellent leaders in public relations?

>> Well, knowledge is, to me, one of the key factors. Being articulate is another important factor. The ability to motivate others to do something one way or the other. These are critical factors that involve being a good leader and someone that people will respect. Because, if you don’t have that and you don’t have integrity there’s no way that you can be a leader.

As a recognized leader in the field, what factors most contributed to your personal success? 

>> People, as peers and people that worked in groups that I was involved with, was important. I may have been regarded as someone who was innovative, creative, came up with ideas, had a lot of solutions for problems when they were presented. But when it really got right down to it, having great people was the key to any success that I may have achieved.

What’s the most powerful learning experience you encountered with respect to leadership in the field?

>> I think there are many different ways to look at that. And I would say that first, to be a good leader, you need to lead by example. And I recall working for a group of different presidents. I actually worked for nine over my career, reported directly to them. And I learned in that aspect that there’s no single way to be a leader, that to run something that there’s a wide variety of things.

And I can remember when Charlie Brown was president of Illinois Bell we had a strike. He was out there on the line, climbing poles and fixing things just like anybody else. Leading by that kind of example, to me, was the way that sent a message to the troops all over.

If the CEO can get out there and do it then everybody else can do it. Joe Cook was another person who saw a problem in Chicago, the Chicago public schools were bad. He organized a group of business people and other civic leaders and created the Better Schools Committee.

I was his assistant at the time. He appointed me Executive Director of the Better Schools Committee and we actually went out and won a referendum to increase the amount of money for public schools. These are examples you see as recognizing a problem, coming up with a solution for it, and then hopefully achieving some degree of success. People look for others to see what they’re doing and they will follow if the examples of good.

Name one individual whom you believe to be the most outstanding leader in the field today. What makes this individual such an outstanding leader? 

>> Well, I would take two different types of examples. One would be, Scott Cutlip who wrote the definitive book on public relations, which is still 30 years or 40 years later, the best book that’s ever been written.

Now that’s a form of leadership, to be able to create something that people years and years later keep following and use as an example. But my own personal hero would be, Arthur Page for example, who was the first person in the public relations field, to hold the title of Vice President of Public Relations, and he was for AT&T.

In that role, he was able to significantly influence the American Telephone Telegraph company, which at the time was the largest company in the United States. And because he was so effective at doing that, other corporations around the United States sought him out personally to come and talk to their companies and to their boards of directors about what they should do when they encountered various things. Now to me, that’s about as good an example of leadership as one could find.

Do you think that leadership skills and values in PR are different in any way from those in other professions? If so, how and why?

>> I think that you can be a leader in virtually any kind of profession. And what it takes to be a leader is someone who’s creative, someone who wants to be able to take the initiative, and it doesn’t really make too much difference what the field is that you’re in.

I think that leaders are leaders, and they are people who have evolved the art of helping others do better jobs themselves, and in turn, those people come and seek advice and counsel from those persons. So I don’t care whether you’re in public relations, whether you’re working for a corporation or you’re working for an agency, a non-profit corporation, or whatever it is.

If you have and are respected as being someone who is knowledgeable, who has the answers, and who can articulate the answers. We have a lot of people that have answers, but nobody understands what it is they’re saying. But if you can either write or speak well and get people understand what it is you’re solving or what problem you’re solving or helping with, you’re going to be an increasing source of inspiration to others.

What can a new PR professional do to begin to develop the kinds of leadership characteristics and skills that you described?  

>> Well, you have to want to do this like I said it’s not going to be something that just happens, that’s not going to be bestowed on someone. If I were a young person, I would look for activities, organizations, or things where I could become involved in an organization and maybe eventually work up through the chairs to become into a leadership role.

I would say that one of the things that could happen in, I’ll say a college or high school environment, is that if teachers or others give people opportunities to be a leader of a project or an assignment. Or something where they’re responsible for it and they’re accountable for it, and they can develop the practice of being responsible for leading some kind of group doing something, that eventually they’ll become a leader. If they don’t respond at all, and the chances are that there’s nothing that’s going to happen later on that’s going to make that person a leader.

Do you think that leadership can be taught? Or is it inherited, or something else?

>> I think that leadership is a skill that is acquired by being a leader. And they can start out, I’d say it, like in my own case, I was a Cub Scout and I was made a Denner.

And then when I was in the Boy Scout I was troop leader and then one thing led to another and I was president of my class in high school and college, etc. And at each stage of the game you learn a few things in how people behave and respond in different types of situations, and so I believe that anyone, I mean I’m a perfect example, if anyone can actually become a leader, if they’re willing to work hard at it. It just doesn’t come because you’re anointed. It becomes because others. If you don’t have followers, you’re not a leader. That’s about as simple as I can say it.

Can you give a concrete example or illustration of leadership at work in practice?

>> I was involved with and basically responsible for a crew a number of years ago when Phil Donahue on his program, devoted it to a very anti-telephone company tirade. About the rates being high, being restrictive, the company was uncompetitive. And was really gouging customers and the full hour, Phil Donahue at the time was the Oprah Winfrey of today. And his show every day was listened to by millions of people around the country. It was a syndicated television program, so it wasn’t broadcast every place at the same time.

I did not see the original but within an hour after he’d been on, there was a troop of people that came into my office and said do you know what Phil Donahue just said about our company? And he was actually talking about the Bell system at large, it wasn’t just strictly Illinois Bell.

And they said no, and so, fortunately, somebody had actually recorded it, I didn’t see the visual, but I heard all the complaints were on. So the answer said that in my opinion, was, we have to do something right away and respond to that right away. Well, naturally everybody said yes or you can’t do that, you don’t attack somebody who buys ink by the gallon, and this sort of thing.

And they go, the TV people got control of everything. I said, no, we have to get equal time on that. Well, make a long story short, within a week we were able to do that and we had at the time, the most articulate and genuine president, a fellow by the name of Chuck Marshall, who was absolutely terrific.

He went on the show, a lot of negotiation went on to get this to happen. It wasn’t just a very easy thing to do. But, the upshot was the fact is, and we did this with 60 Minutes and other programs as well. And this is the first one that came to my mind.

But the upshot of it was, that we were on, Marshall did such a terrific job, that people were calling in from all over about saying thank God somebody spoke up for the telephone company. Well the vantage from our standpoint, because the program was syndicated and broadcast in different, we were able to run advertisements in every community when the show was going to appear.

So watch Chuck Marshall on the Phil Donahue show. The other programs didn’t get nearly the visibility that we did, and as a result of this, we carried the day on a number of states and the commerce commissions, and we also did in Congress. But it’s too long of a story to tell you.

But response quick, not being afraid when somebody attacks you in the public eye. You come right back and deal with it, is my best quick story for you. I could tell you some others, but that’s the first one that appeared to me for a special reason.

What’s the one best book on leadership you would recommend to young professionals?

>> Well, there’s no question in my mind what the number one book would be and that’s General Patton’s book on leadership. That book has more good advice about how to be a leader and how to be a commander, and how to be effective at all levels in an organization than any other single book that I’ve ever read. And I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to be a leader or ever thought about it.

My favorite book is one Bob Green wrote which is called The Servant Leader. And the idea here is that all leaders are servants of the people. And if you’re not a servant, you are not going to be a leader. If you don’t have that concept of what you’re trying to do.

But, if you want to know how to really lead the troops or an organization, Boy Scout troop, Girl Scout troop, Brownies, whatever. Patton’s book has got the answers.

What are the most crucial issues confronting the PR profession today?

>> Acceptance is a major one is that public relations is still not accepted by everyone as a legitimate profession. Public relations people do this to themselves when they call what they do as PR.

PR is a pejorative term, it’s associated with spin, it’s associated with exaggeration, associated with stunts, promotions of one kind or another. It’s an adjunct of the marketing department or marketing and sales efforts and I’ve done all of this stuff so I know. That reputation for public relations being that’s what it is, is the thing that keeps it from being what it truly should be.

And people should aspire to be is where their advice and counsel is sought, to solve problems. And I don’t care whether it’s an environmental problem or a legal problem of some kind or with the government, or with the international scene, or whatever. Good public relations people, and people who are knowledgeable and have a breadth of knowledge and experience, should be looked upon as advisors and counselors, as to how do we solve this problem, what’s the best way to do it. How can we communicate what our position is and how do we understand better what the opposition’s case or customers who don’t like us, or the problem. The public relations person at that point becomes the intersection between information coming in, delivering it and sending information out to.

What’s your best advice about a career in PR to students who are just entering the work world?

>> Work hard, take every possible assignment that one can get, work overtime, do not be intimidated by the fact that public relations activity is 24/7, it’s always been 24/7.

But the content, everything moves faster now. And for anyone coming in that looks at it as an eight to five or nine to five job, nothing’s going to happen. But if the person is willing to put forth themselves and energy and overachieve, ask for extra work, things to do, they will eventually, if they’re good, I mean, there’s a lot of different ways to qualify this.

But if anybody has talent and if you know yourself as an individual and that you have abilities and capabilities to do things, then I think it’s up to the individual to put that forth and show that that’s what they can do, and if they’re asked to work late, I’d say, when do I start?


More from Jack Koten:

 

Plank Legends & Leaders: Jack Felton

 

A University of Michigan graduate and former Public Information Officer with the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command, John W. Felton has had a distinguished career in public relations. After the Air Force, Felton joined Interstate Brands Corporation as Director of Public Relations and Public Affairs in 1969, where he was responsible for the promotion of the Charlie Brown specials, among others.

He then joined the ranks of the McCormick Spice, where he and his staff were responsible for public relations activities at 85 locations around the world. He was also the Freedom Forum Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. And for ten years served as President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, headquartered at the university.

He is a Past President of the Public Relations Society of America. Felton has also been recognized for his professional writings that include two books and eight plays, several of which have received awards. His dedication to his career and love of public relations has not gone unrecognized. He has been awarded the Outstanding Professional of the Year by PRNews and was named the recipient of the Gold Anvil, PRSA’s highest award.

His most recent honors include the 1999 David Ferguson Award for Outstanding Contributions to PR education and the Alexander Hamilton Medal from the Institute for Public Relations in 2004.

Define what leadership in PR means to you.

>> Well, leadership in public relations is not that different than leadership in other fields. I think Dwight Eisenhower did a good job before the D-Day in trying to get his generals together. And he walked into the room and shocked everybody by pulling a string up a long table. And they looked at him, wondered what he was doing. He went to the end and tried to push the string. You see, a string doesn’t push. You’ve got to lead and you’ve got to pull. And I think leadership is developing the right kind of pulls of talents from people. You pull, if you can, the best talent you can and make that work.

What are the characteristics needed in to be an excellent leader in PR?

>> I think truths would have to be number one. Integrity, you have to be trusted. And if you’re trusted by the CEO, by the financial officer, and the other people, and by the employees, then you have a much better chance of getting your communications through.

I think you also have to be someone who keeps digging. Perseverance is part of the job, too. I think a lot of PR people give up too easily when someone says no. And I think sometimes you need to come back again and say, but what about, or how about, and keep trying.

Persevering is really, I think, a part of what we do. And the other thing is a sense of responsibility. You’re in charge of projecting the image of an organization. And you have a responsibility that you better feel you carry, and feel it’s really an important part of your job.

As a leader in the field, what factors most contributed to your success?

>> I got in the field after thinking I was going to be a television producer and write and produce television shows. The Korean War was on. I was assigned to a general and they said, “Lieutenant, I understand you can write.” And I said, “Yes sir, but what?” Because I wasn’t sure where he was going.

And he said, “Well you see these stack of OERs? And I said, yes sir. He said, those are officer’s effectiveness reports. He says, “I have the best dog-gon officers in the air force. But I can’t get them promoted because the reporting officers can’t describe their performance well enough to get the promotion.”

He said, “Here’s what I want you to do. First assignment, take these reports, go back to the reporting officer. Write what the officer really wants to say about that particular pilot. And get him to sign it, agree to it, and then bring it back to me and let’s see what happens.”

I said, “Yes sir.” So, I did just that, brought them back. And about three weeks later, the sergeants came to my office and said, “Lieutenant, the General wants to see you in his office right this very minute.” And I thought, uh-oh, what’s happened? And I walked in and they were all sitting at his desk.

And I didn’t know the General, at the time, had a great sense of humor. And as a brand-new second lieutenant, why he was teasing a little bit. He said, “Lieutenant, you see these,” with a real serious look in his face. And I said, “Yes.” He said “I want you to know everyone you rewrote got promoted. You now have a job and you’re going to write anything I want you to write. Do you understand that?” And I said, “Yes sir.” And so, I got into the PR field through that kind of writing. And then working with a general, at that level, was the best executive experience you could ever have. Because he really knew how to be a leader. He knew how to be effective. He knew when to give the orders and how. And I would say for someone to have that kind of experience would be a tremendous benefit in starting a career.

What’s the most powerful learning experience you’ve encountered with respect to leadership in the field?

>> When we had a president at PRSA who was in office, and he misbehaved in the stock market. And I suddenly, because he resigned, had to take over the presidency of PRSA. And we were suddenly thrust into that kind of a situation where you have to clean up a pretty unhappy mess. And you have to try to get communications back on track. It’s a very difficult time.

And that’s when you really know where your friends are. And who will come in and give you a hand and say, “Jack, I think you’re doing a great job, how about trying this and that?” And that’s when you really know whether you have friends in a profession or not, is when you get into that kind of situation.

Is there any historical figure that you believe best exemplifies leadership in the field?

>> I don’t think many people think of Lincoln as a public relations person. But I do because, I guess, just a recent Harvard Business Review quotes Lincoln as saying, “Character is the tree. Reputation is the shadow.” Now that’s pretty perceptive for someone in that period of our history. And it shows how strategic he was in planning things like the Emancipation Proclamation.

And my other hero is the former Treasurer of the United States, in his early days, Hamilton, who wrote so many of the Federalist Papers. And he did what some historians call the best PR in the history of the world when he wrote strategic messages to each of the states as they met to vote.

And those messages were all tailored to the particular interests of that group. And written to persuade them to vote in favor of the kind of government we have. And he wrote those along with Madison, and it became a historic class of tailoring the message to the right audience, at the right time, to get the response you want.

Do you think leadership skills in PR are different in any way from those of other professions?

>> I’d like to believe, and I’m not sure it’s true, but I’d like to believe we, in some ways, carry more responsibility for being the truth carriers in organizations. Lawyers and accountants can get away sometimes with saying, well we disclosed. It was in footnote J on page 37 of the annual report two years ago.

Well, to me, that’s not complete disclosure. We all know the annual report, maybe, the shareholder looks at it eight, ten minutes, and very rarely reads footnote J. And yet to the lawyer, he, for legal reasons, has to disclose properly on paper to the accountant, he’ll say, well, we disclosed properly. Yet we didn’t get the message to the person that was supposed to get the message. And we didn’t make an effort to tailor the message to them so they could understand it.

Do the requirements of PR leadership vary by type of organization?

>> I think truth and trust and responsibility are still the things that are hallmarks of people who perform well and who succeed in the field.

What can a new professional just entering the field do to help develop their skills as leaders in?

>> I think volunteering for charitable organizations. I think volunteering for a cause you really believe in puts you in the right kind of a framework. If you really believe in Boys and Girls Club or helping children with disabilities, or whatever your cause is, I think work to where your heart is. And I think then the other things are going to naturally follow. Because you’re going to be truthful. You’re going to be dedicated. You’re going to take responsibility for what goes on.

What can college educators do to help develop leadership skills in their students?

>> I think they really need to do what a lot of them have been doing. Finding the right kind of internship that’s right for that student. We can say, well let’s just give them internships. Well, as you know, there are all kinds of internships. There are internships where you really get hands on experience, and really get your hands dirty, or clean, or washed in the field. And I think we need to put them in more real life situations. And sometimes they’re hard to find. They’re very hard to find. And I think part of the job of the educator is to sell the really good organizations on the idea of their responsibility to train future leaders. And get them to take interns in positions that they maybe didn’t think they wanted to do.

Can leadership skills be taught or are is it inherited?

>> I think it’s both. I think it can be taught. I learned from the General. I think there’s an inherent feel that people have certain charisma that attract other people. And I think the leaders also have that kind of an aura about them. People like to be with people who are successful.

And I think you want to be with someone who you think and believe you can follow and you’re going to get somewhere by doing it.

Can you give a concrete example of leadership in practice?

>> I think Betsy Plank in selling the concepts, and I tried to help her. We were at the stage, at PRSA, where only three courses were required for someone to say on a diploma that they had a professional training in Public Relations.

And we thought that needs to be jumped up to at least five or more. And we worked very hard. Now a lot of the people at the assembly weren’t going to vote for it because they thought if we make the requirement five courses in public relations, they’d lose their job.

Or the school would lose its ability to be accredited because they didn’t think they could sell their dean on the importance of five courses. Well, Betsy and I lost the vote the first time it went to the Assembly. And we did some research and investigation to find out why and found out that’s why.

And we came back to it at the next assembly, and I said, Betsy, get your boa, we’re going to sell this one this time. And by golly, Betsy sold that. And it changed the profession because suddenly five courses became six courses and seven courses. And the deans of the journalism schools discovered that that’s right.

That it takes more than just three courses to turn someone into someone who has real qualifications for public relations. So, I think that was a turning point for the whole profession.

What are the crucial issues facing the industry today?

>> I think we’re back to that very critical issue of truth. That’s how ENRON got in trouble, that’s how many companies and organizations got in trouble.

They don’t tell the truth to the shareholders and to their employees. And I found through all kinds of experiences that you’re always better off if you tell the truth. Now sure, there are ways, to tell the truth and there are ways to inoculate the audience as some people call it by telling them ahead of time what they’re going to tell them and everything else.

But I think if you basically tell the truth as you best can, you’re going to succeed.

What’s your best advice about a career in PR to student’s preparing to students who are just entering the work world?

>> Well, after teaching writing at the University of Florida for ten years, I’ll tell you I think writing is the essence. And you need to be able to write all kinds of things, and you need to explore different kinds of writing.

But you also need to follow up your writing of speeches by working with the man who’s going to give the speech, or the lady that’s going to give the speech. Too many times a great speech is written, but whoever is going to give it never practices it and doesn’t read it out loud until they get in front of a podium.

And then they sound like, the cat saw the dog and you know it’s not their speech. So, I used to make a pact with people I was writing speeches for. I did a lot of speech writing. I used to say, look, I’ll write the speech and I’m going to make it sound as much like you as I possibly can, but I need to hear you read me that copy back to make sure what I’ve written sounds like you and the way it sounds when you say it. And by simply doing that, I never said I was going to rehearse, that would have insulted them, but I said, let’s try it.

And then I would change words as we went along every once in a while, I’d say well, let’s change that word, I think you should say this there. So, I tailored the speeches to fit the person like a good tailor can tailor a suit of clothes. It has to fit, and it has to fit properly.

It has to drape just right and has to be appropriate for the setting. And if you can learn to write speeches like that and train the speaker so that he or she could become even more effective at the podium, you don’t have to worry about a job. Somebody once said to one of my bosses, what’s Jack do for you?

And he said, well, number one, he makes the corporation look good. Number two, he makes me look good when I do speeches. And the third thing, he writes the best damn no letters of anybody I’ve ever seen. So, I think writing skills is crucial. That’s why for my contribution, I went back to teaching.

I loved working with the students and helping them hone their skills in writing.

If you were hiring an entry level professional, what factors would most influence your decision making?

>> I’d want to find out something about how dedicated they were. And I would get to that by asking them what kinds of things they had done in high school and young adults that really sort of turned them on.

And I want to see some kind of a spark of dedication with somebody I’m hiring. I think that and I also then will say well okay because of that, what did you do, What did you accomplish. And I would tie responsibility on to that sort of a person who comes with a commitment.

If they’re going to do something, they really are going to do it.

Recorded: March 2007


More from Jack Felton:

 

The Summit Conversation

Read what others thought about the Plank Center Leadership Summit as it was happening.

Follow Us