May 1, 2012
Panel Discussion: Glen Jackson, John Richie, Todd Williams (moderator)
Accepting Responsibility & Ownership – Session Summary
PANELIST: GLEN JACKSON
Glen Jackson co-founded Jackson Spalding in 1995 after leading the Atlanta office of an international public relations firm. He provides leadership for the firm, many of its clients and also serves as a motivational speaker for organizations looking for inspiration.
He has been recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Atlanta’s most talented public relations professionals and was honored by the Georgia chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for his campaign for the Jimmy Carter Work Project of Habitat for Humanity. Glen was nominated in 1991 for President Bush’s “Thousand Points of Light” community service award for a fund-raising project he implemented for midtown Atlanta’s needy families.
An Atlanta native, he is a member of the Atlanta Rotary Club and currently serves on its board of directors. He also is a board member for the Chick-fil-A Bowl and USO Georgia, as well as on the advisory board for the Good Samaritan Health Center and Growing Leaders.
Glen graduated from Washington & Lee University, where he played varsity soccer and was elected to Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Society.
He and his wife, Claire, have three children – their youngest daughter attends The Lovett School, their oldest daughter is a graduate of the University of Alabama and their son is attending New York University.
PANELIST: JOHN RICHIE
John has been an entrepreneur and executive in Atlanta in the technology and service business for over 20 years, having been part of both start ups and successful exits. John is now a Chair with Convene, working with CEO’s to develop business results and eternal perspective. In this capacity, he works with CEO’s from all over Atlanta helping them build great businesses, increase leadership success and honor their heavenly Father in the process.
John was most recently the CEO of Tax Partners, the largest sales tax outsourcing firm in the US. As CEO, John gave overall direction and leadership of the business from its infancy until its sale to Thomson in February 2005. Prior to joining Tax Partners, John was President of Roundtable Partners, a successful Atlanta based management-consulting firm, concentrating on the financial and operational health of organizations he served. John has also been the COO of Interserv and the CFO and SVP of Gerber Alley. He began his career with the Kimberly Clark Corporation where he held a variety of finance, operations and management positions.
He is a graduate of Presbyterian College and earned his MBA from the University of Georgia.
John and his wife Martha have three married children and five grandchildren.
MODERATOR: TODD WILLIAMS
Todd Williams has nearly 25 years of business development and leadership experience. Currently, Todd is president and co-founder of The Leaders Lyceum, a management consulting firm dedicated to personal and leadership development. His role is focused on managing business operations and technology support for the Lyceum.
Todd spent six years as an executive with The Home Depot and is a graduate of the company’s Accelerated Leadership Program. He held positions within their strategic business development, business operations and business process improvement groups. In one role, Todd led a team in the creation of a new business unit, building an 11-store/two market concept. As the business leader, he managed from startup to a nearly $70MM operating unit with over 300 associates in just over 18 months.
A graduate of Michigan State, Todd has been a long-time, active proponent of strong public education having served as past president of the Riverwood Foundation in support of Riverwood International Charter School.
Todd and his wife Celia have been married for 27 years and have three teenage kids. They actively serve as leaders in the middle school and elementary age programs at Buckhead Church.
How would you define “responsibility”?
• Godly men are responsible
• Charged to do things with excellence
• Common denominator for responsibility = relationships
• Responsibility is asking the right questions:
- What relationships are most important?
- How are things going with those relationships?
- Your wife?
- Your children?
- Your coworkers?
• The essence of masculinity is taking responsibility
• Most big questions in life are full of ambiguity
• You must remember God and lean into the mystery
• Wife was re-diagnosed with breast cancer recently
- Years ago – all I wanted to do is ‘fix it’
- Now – realized it is more important to ‘feel it with her’, and communicate that she means everything to me
What would you want to tell these guys if you only had 24 hours to live?
• When I was in my 30’s, my identity was wrapped up in my work and family
• Early in my life and career, this wrapped-up career focus served me very well
• Now, I wish I would’ve asked myself 4 important questions: (more on these questions here)
- To whom have you given the authority to judge your life? (audience)
- Why do you matter? (identity)
- Who are you? (identity)
- Why are you here? (significance)
• Ephesians 5:2: “live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”
• I currently have 85 employees and want everyone to know that I love them
• Psalm 112 is a great example – ask yourself if someone would want to read that about you during your eulogy
• Proper ownership and responsibility requires the proper “grip pressure”
- Give everything to God
- Love more, judge less, give God the rest
How do you balance everything in life without losing anything?
• You must make choices
- “What do you want?” (We all want everything)
- What do you want to pay for? (We’re only willing to pay for some things)
• Will you make the sacrifice?
• There is a price to pay for all choices
• Key point: don’t set an expectation at work that is at variance with your responsibilities at home
• Don’t be afraid to say no
• Think about the ‘rhythm’ of life versus balance (Decision Makers likes this TED Talk on work/life)
• Your quiet time is essential for setting the priorities for the day
• Christianity is an individual commitment but a team sport
• If I had my 30’s to do over again, I would’ve created a team of allies to live within the transparency of community
• View your wife as your biggest ally in life
• Trust your wife’s discernment and submit to her judgment
• With my biggest business failure, my wife said to me afterwards “I never really thought you were committed to the business”
• Did not treat her like an ally and trust her discernment
• Had a really tough stretch with my family for a few months…
• During quiet time one morning, felt God telling him to go see his son in NYC
- Cleared calendar and went and visited his son
- Key takeaway: wife and biggest ally saw him put his family before work
• Must be open to hearing God’s whisper
• If you align with your wife as an ally, you can double the fun of successes and only share half of the angst of a loss
What are a few key signs that you’re not taking responsibility in your life?
• Watch closely to see if you have an inappropriate emotional response to a stimulus
• If you’re not taking responsibility, your emotions will be out of line with the stimulus provided
• Always watch your desire for ‘character success’ versus ‘circumstance success’
- Gauge to see if you are on-kilter with your responsibilities
• The devil is most aggressive around areas in your life where you’re the most responsible
When do you step in when you see someone failing versus letting them fail for a learning experience?
• After the second failure, initiate a hard/easy discussion (one that starts difficult and gets easier)
• As a father, it’s so hard to watch your child fail
- Like Glen mentioned, loosen your grip and allow failure
- Be intentional about challenging your children
• As a father, teach your kids to achieve – don’t praise your kid for things they can’t help – praise them for something they did
• As for boss, you can let your employees fail as long as it doesn’t put the mission at risk
In the business world, how do you manage the idea of being ‘equally yoked’ with your partners?
• Write down your values early in the process
• Commit to your values
• Never underestimate how closely you’re being watched by your co-workers
• Never cross the line into ‘disrespect’ with your partners
• If your values don’t align with your partners, it’s going to be a tough road
• Be very careful with partnering with non-believers
• Trust your allies
- Key takeaway: Godly allies help much more in decision making than my personal thoughts of industrialism
• Go to scripture with humility
• Early in my career, my marriage was struggling
• We avoided disaster via blunt truth and turning to other couples for advice
• Your marriage is your basecamp – if you’re not happy at home, you’ll be vulnerable in all areas of your life
• Your children grow up in the space between you and your wife
• With our 4th child, my wife miscarried
• After the surgery, I made the mistake of going back to work that day
• My wife served and prayed for me during that selfish period of my life – and the Lord intervened and rebuilt my life
What was the biggest mistake you made during your 30’s?
• Put my business before my wife – was not ‘gentle and humble in heart’
• Personal pride – I never took the magnitude of the Cross personally
- My claim to my life and myself relies on what happened at the Cross
• Did not develop a structure in my marriage so that we could share our hearts
- Learn to feel, not fix