There are many vital challenges that still test great companies today including forging seamless multi-national teams, motivating inspired performance, and remaining "change ready" and strategically adaptable. Many of the behaviors modern companies value today include the ability to innovate, remaining flexible and adapting constantly, setting ambitious goals, thinking globally, moving quickly, and taking risks. Now these ideas sound textbook ready but, believe it or not, many of them find their origin in the "Society of Jesus" or the Jesuits – the largest religious order in the Catholic Church launched over 450 years ago by St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Some of the aspects of Jesuit-style leadership carry the uncomfortable and even kooky ring common to provocative new ideas. But that is just it – they are not new ideas. For example, St. Ignatius of Loyola and his colleagues were convinced that people perform their best in a supportive, encouraging, and positively charged environment. Therefore he exhorted his "managers" to create environments filled with "greater love than fear." The thought or idea of a loving work environment may take some time to sink in. The Jesuit principles make a company better because they make individuals better, are rooted in the notion that we are all leaders, and that our whole lives are filled with leadership opportunities.
Leadership is not reserved for a few "pooh-bahs" sitting atop the corporate pyramid. Nor do leadership opportunities arise only at work. A… Continue reading →
Lamar became a grandfather for the third time on Monday night, March 12, so he is taking a break from blog writing to spend some time with his new granddaughter and her family. Lamar and Rita are thrilled to welcome little Claire Arkell to the world! She weighed in at a healthy 6 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 inches long. Claire's mom and dad, Sarah and James Arkell, and her big brother and sister, are most excited to welcome a healthy little Claire to the family.
On the weekend of February 17-18, Lamar and Rita traveled to Santa Fe, New Mexico to enjoy the wedding festivities for Lamar's brother, Daniel Hunt, and his bride Toni Munoz. While they were in Santa Fe, they visited the Loretto Chapel. The most famous feature of the chapel is the "miraculous staircase," which has a wonderful and interesting history. When the chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all agreed that the only way to enter the loft would be by a ladder, because the presence of a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small chapel.
Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers.
The stairway's carpenter, whoever he… Continue reading →