It was great having my longtime friend and mentor, Clarke Price, on the show with me today. He’s retired now, but he led The Ohio Society of CPAs for 40 years and has been a not-for-profit volunteer and leader during much of that time. He’s developed great leadership skills and influence in the not-for-profit world and he shares much of what he’s learned with us today.
In the not-for-profit world, leadership can be quite different than in the corporate world. Great leaders spend a lot of time building a consensus and support among the organization for the direction they want the organization to take. It’s not enough to just have a vision and say, “This is where we’re going.” Great leaders have the ability to explain that their path is the right thing to do.
This takes the power of persuasion and the willingness to tackle hard conversations with your people. You must have the ability discuss the unknowns, but to be able to convince supporters that they have the capacity to succeed in new endeavors.
This of course makes relationship building a critical piece of running a not-for-profit. People have to know, see and trust you. It’s easier if they like you, but that’s not always the case. Leaders can’t be effective if their focus is on “How do I get everybody to like me?” You must have the courage of your convictions and be willing to go full-bore once a decision is made.
As a true leader, you’re going to develop a vision for where you want the organization to go, but within every not-for-profit, your vision may conflict with the views of others within. “Good leaders are not afraid to take on the tough or unpopular issue.” This is where the relationships you develop begin to pay off. The ability to address these issues and to be heard by your people is part and parcel of being an effective leader.
Part of leadership is innovation of ideas and implementing them within the organization. There’s “idea leadership” where the leader decides on the direction of the organization or products it will develop. The corollary to this is where ideas come from within the organization. In order to get this type of idea creation, the leader needs to create a place where he empowers his people to bring forth their own ideas. The great leader supports a culture where people feel free to express ideas about what the organization should do or stop doing. You know this is the case when your people have faith that you will support them or at least listen to what they have to say and know you will give it serious consideration.
One concern that Clarke has with the world today is the trend toward timidity of leadership. This is when an organization avoids controversy at all costs. They allow questions like, “Who will this offend?” and “What’s the media reaction going to be?” drive their leadership decisions. It’s better to ask questions like, “Does this make sense for the organization?” and “Will we be stronger or more profitable as a result?” These questions lead the organization on the right path.
This was an incredibly informative and valuable conversation with a great leader. I’m very appreciative of the time that Clarke granted me for this interview, and I can’t thank him enough.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:
- How story-telling and communicating your vision is critical to success
- How some people may just not be cut out for leadership
- The qualities that Clarke respects in his favorite leaders
- Some solutions to getting great people on board your not-for-profit bus
- Plus much more…
DON’T STOP HERE…
Pete: Thank you so very much, for taking time out of your schedule. I greatly appreciate you spending time with me on my podcast and I’m so looking forward for our conversation.
Clarke: Me too. It’s gonna be fun. We’ve been friends for very a long time, we’ll through a lot of different adorations and I’m looking forward to this too Pete.
Pete: That’s great. Thank you. Why don’t you give my audience a little bit about who Clarke Price is, a little bit about your background.
Clarke: Who Clarke Price is, for now Clarke Price is retired. You know I’ve been retired for almost three and half years. My career before that was essentially in the association not for profit environment. I work for the Ohio society of CPA’s for 30 years, 22 of them is the CEO. Before that I was a PR guy. I began my career with an advertising agency that specialized in resorts and sporting good accounts. Wonderful way to make that transition from college into the real world. And then Uncle Sam called I was drafted, I was very fortunate as a shooting war going on at Vietnam and I spent my time in New York City doing public relations for the first army. So my career was PR, I joined the staff of the Ohio Society as their first Public Relations director but very quickly ended up being PR was being part and parcel of my career and I really focused on what it’s like to be management in the association environment. When you’re working with members, you’re working with volunteers, it’s not like you’re selling a particular product to service and it was a great career. I love my time with the Ohio Society of CPA’s almost as much as I love being retired.
Pete: If my memory says me correctly you have a nice retirement home in Tennessee that’s on a lake and you that you have a pontoon boat and you and your wife and Charlie, Charlie is the family dog spend a lot of time relaxing. It’s a lake house in Tennessee.
Clarke: It’s great! We really do like it down there, we divide our time between Columbus and Tennessee, primarily in two and three weeks segments. Charlie rules the ruse regardless of where we are. The other positive about Tennessee is less than a mile from the golf club so that’s a nice part of that life as well.
Pete: Well you should go out and play a lot more golf. You well earned it and deserved it. The conversation today is around concept of leadership and I guess my first question or first thought is leadership. I mean you’ve been in enough in the profit world, association world, for a long time. What are the characteristics? Where does leadership in that type of environment differentiate from leadership at a major corporation.
Clarke: Biggest thing is around the concept of building consensus in a volunteer organization like an association like any, not for profit organization. You spend your time as the leader really trying to build consensus, certainly there’s some issues where you have a strong individual leader and you have to adopt that mindset or persona, but a large part of where I spend my time as a volunteer leader was building consensus among the organization. Particularly if you are talking about having the head down different roads for the organization, enter new areas or lines of service some of those you snap your fingers and you do it. But in often a lot of them you have to build support among the people whether you’re the leader in an organization or the manager in an organization, very often you are able to say, “I’ve decided we’re turning left here”. And everybody that works for you dutifully says, “Okay we’ll gonna turn left here”. There will be some grumbling at the back of the room but by enlarge they turn left. Where you’re leading a very diverse group of strong minded individuals who are volunteers and a case of the association or paying dues and a case of any of what I’ll call a disease and body part organization it’s people that volunteering in them. You can’t simply say we’re going to turn left. So the role of the leader is to explain why turning left is the the right thing to do. Where everybody is comfortable going straight or at this intersection always turning right. Well why is turning left is the right thing to do? And then that’s takes the power of persuasion. It takes building the good business case, it takes having the ability to say life’s gonna be better if we turn left. The organization will be stronger if we turn left and yes there’s unknowns if we turn left but we have the capacity and capability to surmount whatever challenges are down the road as we make this left hand turn. So as a leader that’s where you spend your time . Other things in the volunteer environment that really are difficult or challenging for the individual who’s in the leadership role is always said that our staff and me as the leader. I’m paid to think about the organization where we are going 24 hours a day. The volunteer leader may only think about the organization and where it’s going the two, three, four, eight hours that they are together for a meeting. If they’re really strong maybe they think about, think about it while they’re driving to or from the meeting. And if they’re exceptional they may actually do something between meetings of the committee or board or whatever it is, but the volunteer generally is not as focused on what is the role, purpose, direction of entity X. Whereas the staff particularly the CEO or those in management, their job is to think about it all the time.
Pete: And when you said that, I could still remember when we we’re first building our relationship and we were getting to know each other. I was doing some work for the Columbus chapter at the time and I remember emailing you, I think it’s like a 1:00 o’clock in the morning and just as I was about to – you responded right back and I just what, he doesn’t stop working. And to you, it was very much 24/7. But there is something that you as you’re describing that I hear there’s a lot of building relationship through this processes as a leader, that’s probably the strongest quality as you grip and grand, you were after meeting and membership and building those relationship because when you would have to take your organization in a different direction sometimes little controversial at times, it was right, it was in the right direction, but you have a support in doing that and you have to trust in your organization, in your membership to allow you to take those risks. Because without taking risk we’re not going to – Yes, failure’s a possibility and anything with the unknown but with if we stand still without taking risk to try to grow become better then we could disappear.
Clarke: The relationship part and particularly in the association and not for profit environment is absolutely critical. The people have to know you, they have to see you, they have to trust you, I might go so far to say it’s a whole lot easier if they like you, but they don’t always like you and you can’t- I feel leaders can’t be effective if their focus is on how do I get everybody to like me, or if I take this step people aren’t gonna like me, that’s disastrous. You do have to have the courage of your convictions and once the decisions made, be ready to go full board after making it happen. But yes, relationship component of it is ultimately critical in that environment for success. Now having said that, your issue of controversy, you can’t try away from controversy. I always said, “good leaders are not afraid to take on the tough or unpopular issue.” That’s where the relationships do pay off but to be able to articulate to whatever constituency. Yes this is controversial but here’s why we have to do it or here’s why it’s the right thing to do. Really is part and parcel I think of being an effective leader.
Pete: I like what you said there that you don’t have to have everybody to like you but there’s a piece there that’s even bigger. They don’t have to like you, but they have to have respect for you and you have to have respect for them, leads them down to their path, and I think the membership and the staff in Ohio as well as nationally have that great respect for you. I mean you’ve challenged a lot at Ohio society level, at AICPA level but it’s that level of respect. People may not have liked you but they had respect for what you were saying which I think is one of the key components in any type of leadership. It’s having respect to the people around you as that strong leader.
Clarke: What I always wanted was the ability to be heard. The more important than anything else was the ability to be heard when there was an issue to talk about whether it was with the state society, whether it was with AICPA, whether it was in my involvement in the American Society of Association Executives. Knowing that you build up credibility, you’ve build up the respect that when you rise to speak people will say, “I need to listen to what he is going to say. I may not like it, I may disagree, let’s hear him out”, so to speak. And particularly with controversial issues what you really wanted was the ability to make the case and then engage the debate and dialogue, manage the anger, dispel misperceptions and talk about the issues. Yeah there were some controversial things that we dealt with in the Ohio society that were… yeah as the leader, we had a lot of fun. You heard me Pete. I used to say, “I love a good fistfight.”
Clarke: You know let’s get people a little mad, let’s get them in a room and let’s talk about it and let them vent and they may walk out still mad but let’s at least be able to have a conversation about the issues. And that spans all sorts of things. We dealt with that, with the American Institute of CPA’s and the coalition of state CPA organizations. You know when I went into the chairs at the American Society Association Executives, we were dealing with a very controversial issue of, let’s call it a merger of two associations that some people thought just made absolute sense. I was in that corner. Others were the, “Hell no, we are not gonna go.” It’s turned out to have been a great move for the organization and the community who serves associations throughout the United States. But getting there was not without controversy. Getting there was not without anger. But the ability of the leaders, and not just me as going through the chairs but an assembly of leaders to be able to be heard, to be able to talk about the issues and why this made sense, why we end up with a better organization, better serving its members. That’s where leaders step up and are willing to take that heat. The willingness of the leader and across any organization and even if it’s the in a more traditional management sense, to be able to speak strongly, convincingly and tell a story and respond to questions and not duck issues, it’s I think one of the keys to effective leadership. You know, there is a lot of the dynamic leader out there that you know just, “Ooh, I wanna see him. Boy I would love to be working with him or with her.” The day that they leaders, the people that are getting things done, they are the ones that I think really make a difference for organizations and make a difference in the United States. It’s the willingness to say, “Yeah. I will take on the tough issue, it’s fun.”
Pete: Yeah not a lot of people would jump to that, to take on the tough issue. That’s where the rubber hits the road. But this ability to be heard, that doesn’t happen overnight. But this ability to be heard and within that the ability to tell a story around that is a big part of making that impact. That you mentioned earlier about persuasion. Though you persuade we find it, leaders find it much easier to persuade if they can build around a story versus a round cold, hard facts.
Clarke: Absolutely. I mean I have always felt that the ability to tell a story was critical and I don’t care what it is, ain’t going back to my time when I was working with the ad agency and talking to a client about how we are going to sell their product. Telling that story, creating this visual image of what it’s going to be like is a critical component of success and managing people, where you are going to make that left hand turn, telling the people what it’s gonna be like, why it’s better, how we are gonna do things differently, how jobs will change, how we are going to make the organization stronger. You know that’s a critical component of being an effective leader. Telling that story, creating the visual image for people, particularly where you are talking about change, creating that visual image for people of why it’s going to be better. The organizational leader that reports to a board as you are talking about an issue. And it can be anything from we wanna go a different way towards being able to explain why this budget is not unrealistic. Part of that is you paint a visual picture of how we are going to grow this component of the business that’s gonna bring more money in the door or how growing this component of the business is gonna elevate expenses. Not just saying it’s gonna happen and hope you believe me…
Clarke: But being able to sell why. And leadership in many respects is selling.
Pete: Oh I believe that. Oh hardly.
Clarke: And lot of people are reluctant to head down that road. I have former colleagues that I have great respect for who wanted to be the one telling the story in good times. But in bad times they are looking at somebody else to tell the story. Not that they were passing the buck. They just didn’t want that tarnish to rub off on them. And to me that’s not effective leadership. You own everything as the leader.
Pete: Right. You have to jump on the shore when you have to jump on the shore.
Pete: You have to take the [arrows 16:58] along with the roses that come your way.
Clarke: Yeah. And leadership- We’ve have had this conversation before. Leadership isn’t for everybody.
Clarke: How many people have wanted to rise to the next level of management and get there and find, “This isn’t fun.”
Clarke: “I am having to work too hard. I have gotta to make tough decisions. I have to fire people.” Whatever. You have to aspire to wanna do different things, not because you are gonna get paid more. Of course that’s always a side benefit. But what is that aspiration that you are pursuing is you are looking for more responsibility. And as you done all transition back to the volunteer environment the not for profit environment, as you volunteer to work on committees. And that’s normally the entry point if you are attorney and you are a member of the bar association and you want to volunteer and you join a committee. Okay what does that mean? You’ve got work you have do and as you do a good job, hopefully you will rise through the ranks and may be you become chairman. And after you are chairman of a committee may be you get assigned to another committee. You are some special high profile task force and you do a good job and you rise to leadership in the organization, maybe you get invited to join the board. You know there is all sorts of things that happen. But that entire path to leadership in a volunteer environment is predicated upon your work, you do a good job or what we reasonably call a good job, but you demonstrate the ability to get people to listen to you, going back to where we were earlier. You rise through the organization not just by the work you do but what you have to say. You know people who sit in a room and only open their mouth to say, “hear it rollcall” and stuff a sandwich in at it at noon, they are not gonna go anywhere.
Clarke: It’s when you talk, you know, and express opinions, raise concerns, do it construct- I always feel do it constructively. Not everybody does that and that’s not always the route to success. But leaders really want to take on more. As you look at any of the leaders in the environment, you know, you see some who are there really after is the visibility of the microphone, of the camera being shoved in their face. You have others that, what they want is peer-based recognition. Others that’s industry sort of recognition and for others it’s simply the pride of, “I volunteered, I did a good job, I rose, I made a difference.” And I think as you look at really good leaders as they reflect back. It’s they wanna look at, “What difference did I make?”
Pete: I should talk, just … who is your favourite leader?
Clarke: Ah! Wow! That is an interesting question. I can divide it in any number of examples. My favourite leader is non-traditional, at least the people who know me might say it’s non-traditional, is Tom Donohue who is the CEO of U.S Chamber of Commerce.
Clarke: And because he is a guy who has a great ability to paint a picture, you know when he is angry and you like it. Totally turned over the Chamber of Commerce in terms of what it did. Some people may say the Chamber of Commerce is as a political force abuses its power. Others will say, “Wow! They are effective.” But having worked with Tom on a variety of committees my view of him as a leader was he didn’t shy away from anything. Whether it was a fight on Capitol Hill or with regulators, whether it was saying, “We are gonna take the chamber down a different road”, he had the strength of his convictions to stand up there and tell the story and be convincing. One committee, I was on a very large committee. There would be probably 10% of the committee that were at the end of the day just be mad as can be about what he was doing and where they were going. There is another component, much larger than that 10% and this committee was a 100 people.
Clarke: That were totally on board, carrying the flag, ready to go. And the rest which may have made up the majority were convinced and supportive. They were just not gonna carry the flag and go. But Tom was, is still at the chamber, is a very strong leader. Build around a very strong persona. There are some instances I disagreed with his style where was a little bit too much on taken on the world. But boy talk about somebody who could really fire up the masses, he did a great job.
Pete: I see a lot of parallels in that story as it relates to your leadership style. You are not afraid to take on a fight and had great respect from the people around, like listen not everybody likes you but they have respect for you. Let’s take it down in the different path. Let’s talk about innovation. You know, two years ago I think it was in Fast company, there was a, about creativity and they said, one of the surveys said 73% of the leaders said that creativity is the number one skillset needed today. However only 23% of them were able to do anything with it. And when I look at innovation, I try to separate creativity and innovation into two buckets. Creativity is idea generation without censoring. Innovation is effectively applied creativity where then we will bring in our critics and say, “Can we do this? Do we have the resources?” So the innovation and managing people from a leadership perspective, leadership style.
Clarke: Two components to that immediately come to mind for me. The first one is the leader who I have the idea. You know, we are gonna do this and it may have come from discussion with people, may be something they read but I have the idea, I am convinced this is the right thing to do and we are managing people, we are going to do it. Years ago when we implemented a telecommuting program, it came as a result of, on a flight to California I am reading the, I guess it was TWA inflight magazine and there was a story about an advertising agency based in California that had implemented it, office wide telecommuting program. And as I read this story and the examples that they used, my mind went to this could work for the Ohio Society of CPA’s, and that’s one where I came back and said we’re going to do this. I had a discussion with my management team of I really like this idea and while it was effectively an open-ended discussion. Everybody knew, if they had any common sense at all, they knew, that I can say this isn’t a good idea but he’s going to do it anyway because it was an experiment.
We assembled a work group that was our pilot. We ended up implementing it office wide. I had department heads who did not like it, worked their hardest to not make it work for their people. We had some interesting counseling sessions out of that but it was something that made sense in terms of being attractive to staff. I’m saying we’re doing this in the early ‘90s so that we were on the leading edge of this notion of telecommuting. I’m still a strong believer in it. I think it’s entirely feasible for almost any organization even more so today with what technology enables organizations to do. But that’s one where there’s the I have an idea and we’re going to do it going down that road. The corollary to that is not the I have the idea, but it bubbles up somewhat organically inside the organization and that’s where leadership really becomes critical. How do you empower people to be the ones who are saying I have an idea?
Clark: All too often in an organizations I have observed that that’s the component that’s missing. That I really have strong staff but I don’t really necessarily have faith in them.
Clark: And that’s where I am the only one that can possibly have the newer good or innovative idea. Whereas if you have faith in your staff and create a culture as the leader, you create a culture where people feel free to express ideas and not just the I have an idea for something new. The, I have an idea for something we should stop doing. I have an idea for a product line we should discontinue because nobody’s buying it and all sort of things along those lines. But you build a culture among your people where they have the confidence of their own ideas, the faith that you will support them or at least listen-
Pete: At least listen.
Clark: Doesn’t mean you’re going to say, yeah what a great idea. We’re going to do it. Well, you’re going to end up saying for some of them is wow, interesting idea. We have to study that more or interesting idea but I just don’t see that being feasible for us. Those are the tougher conversations to have. But leaders really do look for opportunities to be creative, to be innovative, to go down that different road and makes a left turn, not always popular, not easy to do. I think that this notion of good leaders, strong leaders have great ideas. Yeah, they have great ideas. They also have a lot of really bad ideas, but they have the ability to self-censor to a degree.
Pete: Yes, I’ve said this with my creativity course when we’re going through an idea generation period and we built a culture that we all have faith in each other and nothing’s going come back and buy this. Bad ideas lead to good ideas. No ideas lead to nothing.
Clarke: That’s a great, great description because it’s absolutely true.
Pete: I was doing a workshop for a company in Maryland and they brought their emergent leaders from the U.S. and emergent leaders from Latin America. We were going to brainstorm session on how to increase profitability. So all these ideas are coming up and one gentleman from Latin America said I’ve got an idea. This is how we’re going to increase profitability. We are going to kill all of our competition salespeople and we all roared. Wait a minute guys, bad ideas lead to good ideas. No ideas lead to nothing. So, clearly,murder is off the table here. What if we identified their top salespeople, went out and poach them. We’re now offering from $30,000 worth and $10,000 bonus to help drive sales or whatever.
Clarke: And same effect.
Pete: Same effect. Would we have gotten through that point if he hadn’t come out with that idea? Maybe or maybe not, maybe it got us to there quicker but I’ve real fighting form for at least because I tried to build up. You can say anything you want to. We’ll have a laugh over this but it’s not going to come back and bite you in any which way.
Clarke: Often that radical statement or that radical idea, as you say, does lead to something different that is a better solution. Good leaders have a lot of bad ideas.
Pete: We mentioned earlier self-censoring, it might be organizational censoring.
Clarke: But you do get the idea that it is the process of thinking through and identifying a variety of things that you can do that then leads to that knockout punch of new product, new program, new idea, or new direction, call it what you will, where the leader is facilitating that process.
Pete: I’ve always thought it’s the idea and you feel it this might work. Well, as I write in the book, let’s just keep editing it, just keep peeling at onion back. See how far you draw down to it and then you know what, maybe it’s that 20th iteration that’s – boom.
Clarke: That’s right and going back to your comment from the book. One of the things I always enjoyed when we work together was the concept of “yes, and” rather than “but.” Everybody immediately goes to “but,” but that won’t work because, regardless of what the words are, that is what the hidden meaning is where the “yes, and” as the amplification. It really does take things down a different road and get people more engaged and involved that I think really is possible.
Pete: I just got an email yesterday from a CPA who’s partnered with regional firm and thank me for bringing out “yes, and” to him years ago as well as keeping it in firm because they’ve adopted that philosophy in their meetings and he said it worked. Everybody leaves a little bit more positive. We may not have agreed but at least we’ve entertained the idea in having shut somebody down by yes but or no because.
Clarke: And that’s where the effective leader is committed to facilitating the dialogue, not the I have the idea. It’s to be all and end all. We’re going to do it exactly as I have outlined, and again product modification, new product coming to the table, new service development, new program, whatever it is where they have the attitude of I have the answer and this is what we’re going to do in this rigid walls. That’s not effective leadership and yet to some people that is what they look for in a leader and it’s the leader themselves as often as not is I’m a strong leader, look where we’ve gone and that’s because of my dictatorial approach. They won’t say dictatorial but anybody that knows them says yeah, he’s a total dictator or she is a total dictator. Whereas, being willing to facilitate the conversation, the dialogue and the product iteration as you go along, really is critical to success in effective leadership. I’ve had any number of friends and colleagues and people that I have worked with and observed who think of themselves as a strong leader who want to be thought of as a strong leader. My reaction observing them is they’re just doing what they want and nobody is willing to stand up to them or they don’t want anybody to stand up to them and say great idea and maybe it would be better if we did this. That’s a challenge that organizations face. That’s the challenge that leaders face. You want to be thought of as having strong convictions and most leaders want to be thought of as having strong convictions. But there are some who wanted to be I have strong convictions and nobody is going to challenge me.
Pete: Right and I have always said great leaders can park their ego when needed because we all have egos but there are times that we just need to park it, listen, move forward, and you know, it might not be my idea but we’re going to make it our idea. I look at that strong leader who I didn’t do this, some of my team did something great. But when we screwed up, it was my fault.
Clarke: And that this span of leadership from manager to CEO to chair, whatever it is in there, accepting that measure of responsibility and not assigning blame to somebody down the road or down the line, it is critical.
Pete: Yeah, it is. Let’s start to begin to wrap this up a bit. But before we do that, I want to get your vision on trends and concerns that you see out there.
Clarke: There are a variety and since I’ve retired and I’ve been in the number of volunteer roles, I obviously observed other leaders. I get to spend a little bit of my time thinking and observing leaders in the national stage and everything else. In many respects, one of the biggest things that I have observed or am observing lately is timidity of leadership.
Clarke: Timidity, avoid controversy at all costs. Let’s not take a risk. Let’s not do that now. Who are we going to offend? What’s the media reaction going to be as the drivers rather than is this a good idea? Does it make sense for the organization? Will we be stronger as a result? What would be more profitable? Choose whatever it is. A timidity of leadership, now, I’m going to expand that because there, I’m talking about CEO primarily. As I look at some of the boards I have worked with of late, the same thing applies to board members. They’re sitting there where the CEO let’s say is being a strong CEO and saying we ought to go down this road. They don’t have the strength of conviction to say I don’t know if that’s the right idea. Let’s talk about that some more. I think we ought to table this. So, it’s multidimensional in terms of timidity of leadership that I see out there.
The other thing that I do observed, particularly in the volunteer environment, we’re not necessarily getting the strongest people that are volunteering to step into organizations and be leaders.
Pete: Well, how do you get this people then? How do you get the strongest leaders within the organization, within the profession to start with.
Clarke: Tough it, the very difficult issue, part of it goes to what’s the culture that’s been established and are we in fact open. I always spend a fair amount of my time trying to cultivate leaders, talking to people about would you serve on this committee. Would you be interested in being a candidate to go on aboard? I’m not just talking about my paid life inside the Ohio Society of CPA’s and my volunteer life in a variety of organizations encouraging people to volunteer inside their organization for a whole variety of different reasons. That’s one that what I like to be thought of as a leader. I wanted to cultivate that interest in commitment to serving in others and particularly if you think they have the capacity to be effective. So that’s an issue of leadership identification, leadership encouragement inside professional organizations that often means talking to senior leaders inside of CPA firms, law firms and others saying I hope you will encourage Mary, Joan, or Bob to volunteer. If they say they’re interested, I hope you’ll encourage and support their involvement because we really do need to bring more people into leadership. I’ve been involved in one board that has some board members that have been there for ages but the advantage is there’s also a fairly robust cycle of people either leaving and being replaced with new blood or decision to make. We’re going to add additional seats to the board to bring in certain people who are going us bring us different perspectives. So I think that really is important as we look around the landscape.
The other thing that this will, to some degree, be a political commentary but as a society we seem to have move to we’re going to say whomever is the loudest as a good leader. I’m not just talking about the republican presidential clown card that we’ve started with that has narrowed down. But in lots of different environments whether you talk about the state legislature or whether you talk about local government, it’s who’s loudest. Our news cycles are such that who’s loudest is going to get the microphone and camera shoved in their face so they get the facetime and build identity and people were saying they’re must be effective when they’re really not effective as leaders. In today’s environment often who’s loudest.
Then, the final thing I’ll talk about in terms of trends is the entire rise in power of social media. It used to be when people came together and the radical firebrand stood up and spewed whatever they had to say, people would be able to look at them and say well, here she’s a blooming idiot and discount what they said in social media. People are able to build the following what’s really bizarre ideas but they’ve built a following. You get some people to build that following simply because they’re controversy or whatever and we lose sight of how they got to be viewed from a comical alternative to somebody that has a platform and now I need to listen to and maybe I need to repeat and maybe I need forward or share what they have to say. When again, if you saw him in person, you’d say what a blooming idiot. That’s one that really is growing and to some I know very concerning.
Pete: The social media, there’s a very good side to it but there’s also a very dark side to it.
Pete: The ability to get followings in political or nonpolitical within an organization, that dark side is very very concerning.
Clarke: Absolutely and there are people, another advantage to it is people who just don’t have the strength and self-confidence to speak up in a live environment but should be heard, their ideas should be heard. Social media gives them an opportunity to be heard. So, there’s this filter and everybody has a different filter that they pay us things through. The person that I might think is a blooming idiot, you might think has great insights and has great ideas. We all pay us things through our own respective filters.
Pete: Right and I guess in most cases, we should have the respect of somebody else’s opinion or that is different and not going after an attack versus some opinions, radical as they are in the world view, that should be agreed upon. We need to stop that. The ISIS being obviously the top thing, think about that.
Well, I think for now, we pretty much exhausted somewhat on the topic of leadership. I know you and I can sit here for two hours or more than that, but I want to wrap this up with doing rapid fire 10 quick questions piece here for you. The first question, Merlot or Pinot Noir.
Pete: Titleist or Nike?
Pete: What’s your favorite movie?
Clarke: My favorite movie, I’m a real movie junkie. I’m going to go way back 1964, The Great Race.
Pete: Oh, wow. What’s your favorite city to visit?
Clarke: San Francisco.
Pete: San Francisco. You’ll like this one. Acme Oyster House or Mr.s B’s Bistro.
Pete: I knew that one. What’s your favorite steakhouse?
Clarke: The Pine Club in Dayton.
Pete: In Dayton, Ohio and the reason why I’ve brought in a lot of the food references is Clarke knows all the best restaurants around the country. If I’m ever in the city and he have to see my post or whatever, he’ll usually send me, hey, check out this restaurant it’s wonderful and haven’t yet to have a bad reference from you. So, thank you for all that.
Clarke: A downside and simultaneous benefit of all the traveling I did and a lot of good friends that I enjoyed a lot of good meals with over the years including you.
Pete: Thank you and I do enjoy The Pine Club. I don’t think of it as often as as I should but actually, it throws you back to the ‘60s if I remembered correctly and I’ve said that I wanted to take my mother there. Well, she hasn’t been able to visit but she’s coming for a month and I’m going to take her down to The Pine Club. Thank you for reminding me of The Pine Club.
Clarke: It’s a great place.
Pete: You can’t make a reservation though but it’s a great place. Favorite golf course?
Clarke: Just because it’s so different, the Pete Dye Club in West Virginia.
Pete: Where’s that located?
Pete: Jason Day or Greg Norman.
Clarke: Jason Day.
Pete: David Feherty or Johnny Miller.
Clarke: That one’s very, very simple. Feherty, I can’t stand Johnny Miller.
Pete: What’s one thing on your bucket list that you have yet to accomplish or yet to do?
Clarke: I pause because there are so many things that are on my bucket list. But as I mentally processed, I really do draw lines through them that I either do it now or don’t really want to. Incredibly simple, spend more time as a volunteer for organizations that are making a difference. I have a good friend, former CEO of an association who’s become incredibly active in Boston in a homeless Veterans organization. I’m a vet. I have a great feeling in my heart for vets. I think something like that, organizations that are serving a social purpose and for me, I need to commit to spending more time sharing what little leadership skill I have with those kinds of organizations.
Pete: That by far is one of the best answers that I’ve had to that question and it just goes to the nature and character of you Clarke. Once again, I got to spend 50 minutes, an hour, with my mentor having a conversation and I always enjoyed our conversations. They’ve always been thought provoking and I once again can’t begin to thank you enough for taking time out of your day to spend with me and have a conversation as relates to leaderships so thank you very much, Clarke.
Clarke: I look forward to doing it again.
Pete: I do too. Thank you.