Act Justly, Love What Is good, Walk Humbly With Your God

Once again, this week’s material has provided much food for thought for all aspiring leaders. I think this is especially true for those of us among this group of doctoral students who are older. I will be celebrating my 60th birthday this month and I certainly consider myself among that group of old-timers. Needless to say, I am not a digital native. I am constantly reminded of this fact and this week provided me with yet another reminder. As I watched the videos on Google Glass, which I had read about but had assumed were simply a product in the prototype stage in the same way that we have engineers working on driverless cars, it occurred to me that these may actually be on the market. I quickly got on Amazon and found that for $1,500-$1,900 I could buy myself a new pair! My point being that what I assumed was still in the “science fiction” stage had already reached the open market with unprecedented speed.

Shirky’s epilogue (2008) offered a reflection on some advantages of youth in the tech arena and I wholeheartedly agree. However, aspiring leaders cannot forget that the workforce in the organizations that we lead are made up of lots of people such as myself who are reasonably well educated and yet consistently surprised and overwhelmed by the technological capabilities that are suddenly placed at our fingertips. Sensitivity to the steepness of the learning curve for some is called for. We should be less tolerant of those who show no interest in learning or no desire to change their ways. If we are to remain productive at the level that competitive societies demand, these new tools have to be learned and incorporated into our daily means of living productive lives. Just show a bit of patience with those of us born in the 1950s!

My other bit of advice to aspiring leaders is to not be overwhelmed by the flash, bells, and whistles of technologies to the point that we think that our job as leaders is to simply provide these tools for a modernized workforce. I believe that good leaders must always be well grounded in a personal integrity that is blended with a set of interpersonal relational skills that allows for good communication and an ability to convey a vision about the ultimate purpose of the work of an organization. Vision, and the ability to articulate it , remains critical.

There is a passage from Scripture which has always been referred to by many spiritual teachers as a succinct summary of what is asked of all of us.

“You have been told, oh Mortal, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: “Only to do justice, love what is good, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

No matter how much change technology brings to the world, nor how fast it comes, great leaders will still 1) act justly 2) love what is good and 3) remain humble. The past two years at Creighton have taught me that this set of principles for living are deeply congruent with Jesuit values that have stood the test of time for the past five centuries – a time of tumultuous technological advance. I am fully confident in placing my trust in these same three principles written 3,000 years ago.

Reference

Shirky, C. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations. New York: Penguin Press.

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4 thoughts on “Act Justly, Love What Is good, Walk Humbly With Your God

  1. Julie Fickas says:

    Joe –
    What an excellent verse for leaders! Changes will come and go as you have alluded to, but using a consistent mission and consistent set of values allows one to have more discernment regarding decisions around technology (Bryson, 2011). If we, as leaders, also employ cura personalis, we could follow the advice in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 to help bring those along that are not as well-versed in technology. Loving them with patience, and kindness, and persevering while they learn. Madrigal and McClain (2011) also noted that “When late adopters do take up new technology, it’s typically pushed on them by a more tech-savvy friend or family member—someone they trust who influences them directly”. I guess that this means our best help is to be trustworthy and pushy to those lagging behind.

    References

    Bryson, J. (2011). Strategic planning: For public and nonprofit organizations (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

    Madrigal, D., & McClain, B. (2011, August 8). The challenge of targeting late adopters. Insights from Research: Walking in Your Customer’s Shoes. Retrieved from http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2011/08/the-challenge-of-targeting-late-adopters.php

  2. Excellent post, Joe … and if it makes you feel better, I am four years OLDER than you! 🙂

    Your points, though, are well taken and spot on! The verse from Micah (as well as Julie’s First Corinthians) offer sound guidance for leadership!

    • Thank you Britt. I have thoroughly enjoyed this class and it has helped me to be proactive in ways that encourage those who are providing technology leadership to our school.

      I am a bit of a “late adopter” personally and have focused my professional efforts more on assuring funding is there when we need it for tech expenditures. However, this class has given me a lot of incentive to stretch in ways that I otherwise would not have considered. Thank you for that and for your encouragement of all of your students.

      Thanks also for being such a great role model for those of us who are nearing the status of seasoned citizens!

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