Ohio State president discusses values, leadership at local business awards ceremony
In a Thursday address to business leaders, Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake invoked the memory of U.S. Senator and astronaut John Glenn to drive home the role of a great leader in any institution.
“He said: ‘If there is one thing I’ve learned in my years on this planet, it’s that the happiest and most fulfilled people I’ve known are those who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self-interest,’” Drake said.
Glenn, Drake said, embodied the best of what columnist David Brooks called resume virtues and eulogy virtues. He said people often spend a lot of time building their resume, trying to add meaningful roles and titles under their name, but what we remember is their eulogy virtues – how they treated and served others.
Drake discussed values and their role in leadership as the keynote speaker at the Columbus Business First 2018 C-Suite Awards. The ceremony honored central Ohio’s most accomplished business leaders.
Drake said a management training program at Harvard University helped inform his understanding of the difference between management and leadership.
“You can manage a supply line, but you lead a battle,” Drake said.
Management means the ability to plan outcomes that are organized and measurable, Drake said. Leadership often takes place when outcomes and conclusions are not clear and there is time pressure to make a decision.
Certainly there is no one leading the way – you are out front. You have to, in the moment, take new information, process it, look into a smoky, foggy future and make the right decision to move forward.
“Certainly there is no one leading the way – you are out front,” Drake said. “You have to, in the moment, take new information, process it, look into a smoky, foggy future and make the right decision to move forward.”
Reaching those decisions is ideally aided by a core set of values. When Drake was chancellor at the University of California, Irvine he said he came to rely on a list of values that helped guide his decision-making process: respect, integrity, passion, empathy, appreciation and fun.
“I tried to use values to be able to help guide decisions. In many of the most difficult decisions I’ve been faced with, that looking back at my own values and asking what a values-based decision would be has really helped,” he said.
Drake said building and maintaining relationships and choosing to do the right thing, even when it might not be popular, have also been critical to his growth as a leader.
More than two dozen local leaders were honorees at the ceremony. Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO, Greater Columbus Arts Council, and Patrick Losinski, CEO, Columbus Metropolitan Library, were the lifetime achievement winners.