Communiqué June 20, 2012

Show Loyalty - Behavior #5 of High-Trust Leaders

-Keith Smith, associate vice president, Agricultural Administration and director, OSU Extension

“Trust is “confidence born of the character and the competence of a person or an organization” (per Stephen M.R. Covey in The Speed of Trust).

As Covey says, behavior matters and one can change his or her behavior. There are 13 behaviors that characterize the general actions of high-trust leaders, and high-trust leaders consciously work to improve their behavior. I think it’s important to note that we are all leaders, and each of us can personally hold the organization back if we engage in untrustworthy behavior. And we’re doing ourselves and each other a huge disservice if we undo their (and our own) hard work and good intentions. 

“Show Loyalty is based on the principles of integrity, loyalty, gratitude, and recognition” (page 166). To show loyalty is to give credit freely, acknowledge contributions of others, speak about people as if they are present, and represent others who aren’t there to speak for themselves. 

One interesting story Covey mentions is about Southwest Airlines’ policy that the customer is NOT always right. The airline has high standards for employee performance; but the president and COO of Southwest has also earned significant trust from employees, because the company actually holds customers accountable when necessary. Read about the Southwest perspective on page 166. 

Giving credit to others is a very fundamental way to show loyalty. Those who give and share credit create good rapport – between team leaders, between leaders and their direct reports, and between co-workers. An atmosphere of trust is conducive to hard work, better exchange of ideas, and progress toward goals. The opposite is true too – an atmosphere of distrust creates a divide between employees, a lack of desire to work hard, little or no willingness to work together, and no forward progress. 

Another principle of showing loyalty that Covey discusses is speaking about others as if they were present. Talking about people who aren’t there to defend themselves can propagate misinformation among those who are having the conversation, as well as a major disconnect between that group and the employee who was talked about. 

Covey provides several real-life examples of how sticking to this principle creates a high level of trust between leaders and their teams, as well as a great deal of respect that the leader has the organization’s and employees’ best interests in mind. I encourage you to read more about Covey’s trust tips for showing loyalty and improving one’s behavior in this area if necessary. 

Strategic Plan Review Team

“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.”

—Fitzhugh Dodson

In 2008, OSU Extension embarked on an organizational journey guided by the strategic plan titled, “See Yourself in Extension’s Future.” Four years later, it's time to assess our progress. In January, Director Keith Smith came to the OAEP meeting and shared his desire for a group of OSU Extension professionals to spend some time assessing the organization’s progress with implementation of the strategic plan. Based on his request, members of OAEP, ESP, and CES volunteered to serve on the 2012 Strategic Plan Review Team.  This 20-person team is a cross- section of positions within the organization. Three members of Administrative Cabinet (Brian McClain, Bev Kelbaugh, and Ryan Schmiesing) were asked to participate as resources, and Director Smith assigned Emeritus Barb Ludwig as the scribe and to assist with the construction of a final report for OSU Extension Administrative Cabinet.

The team has met on a monthly basis since February to review each goal and action step of the strategic plan.  Goals and action steps were categorized as “completed," “in progress," or “not completed." The team also prioritized those steps that were not yet implemented. In August, the Strategic Plan Review Team will participate in a two-day retreat with Administrative Cabinet to review the priorities and develop a plan to move those priorities forward. The Strategic Plan Review Team has worked very hard and their efforts are much appreciated.  

Thanks to Kirk Bloir, ESP; Joe Boggs, ESP; Kathy Booher, ESP; Kaye Clay, CES; Deb Delp, CES; Mike Estadt, ESP; Lee Ann Johnson, CES; Bev Kelbaugh, Adm; Jackie LaMuth, OAEP; Kathy Lechman (chair), OAEP; Kate Lobley, CES; Mark Light, OAEP; Barb Ludwig, Adm rep; Brian McClain, Adm; Joseph Maiorano, OAEP; Rose Fisher Merkowitz (chair), OAEP; Becky Nesbitt, OAEP; Kara Newby, OAEP; Ryan Schmiesing, Adm; Kris Simpson, CES; Treva Williams, OAEP.

Ask An Expert Update

Since going live on April 17, more than 800 questions have been resolved on the OSU Extension Ask an Expert system. Close to 90% of the current questions are being answered by Master Gardener volunteers, and the majority of questions are coming in via the state Web site. Complete directions for AaE and other eXtension initiatives can be found at go.osu.edu/training (http://training.cfaes.ohio-state.edu/). See the eXtension link on the lower lefthand side. Here are some tips to consider:

  • All employees should not only sign up for AaE, but also set their geographic preferences for their county(ies). This helps us direct county specific questions to someone in the county.
  • If you are assigned a question, please take action. If you can answer the question, please reply. If not, reassign the question to someone else or hand it off to a wrangler.
  • If you are assigned a question, you will receive an auto-generated email with the subject header “Do Not Reply - eXtension Ask an Expert Notification <aae-notify@extension.org.” Be sure to follow the email’s directions and take action.

Contact Jerry Thomas at thomas.69@osu.edu or 419-306-9400 with any questions.

Promotion Training - Save the Date

If you are thinking about promotion, or if you serve on an A&P promotion committee or the faculty promotion and tenure committee, you might want to attend one of the two training sessions scheduled. The dates are December 18, 2012 and January 16, 2013 at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center. Morre details and registration information will be available at a later date.

Director Of ATI Leaving for Kent State

Stephen G. P. Nameth, the current director of ATI, has accepted the position of Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the Salem and East Liverpool campuses of Kent State University, effective July 1.

Dean Moser will be coordinating the leadership transition soon.

National eXtension Meeting and Call for Proposals

The 2012 National eXtension Conference is October 1-4, in Oklahoma City. Conference registration and a call for proposals are available at: http://nexc2012.extension.org/. If you are doing any technology-related work, please consider submitting a proposal.