Belmont University’s Scarlett Leadership Institute (SLI) recently hosted a CEO panel on courageous leadership. Held at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Green Hills and moderated by SLI founder Joe Scarlett, the panelists included Kent Adams, president of Caterpillar Financial Services Corp.; Doug Cahill, CEO of Oreck Corp.; Bob Fisher, president of Belmont University; and Brett Rodewald, president of Comdata Corp. The panel discussion served as a precursor to the upcoming SLI Fall Leadership Breakfast on Nov. 18 featuring American historian Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America.
During Wednesday’s panel, Rodewald said, “The most important thing we do as leaders is hire the right people… Be a verb, not a noun. You’re a manager–manage people. You’re a leader–lead people.”
When Scarlett asked the executives to discuss transparency and communication within their organizations, Cahill responded, “Why do we think our people cannot handle the truth? We tell folks everything. The rumor mill dies because people know there’s no spin. We want employees to understand completely what we’re doing right [as a company] and what we’re doing wrong.”
The executives were also asked to share a favorite book on leadership, and Fisher offered Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose. “To me, courageous leadership means having a reason and purpose and being totally undeterred in accomplishing it.”
Michael Beschloss will appear at Belmont’s Curb Event Center Thurs., Nov. 18 from 7-10:15 a.m. Tickets are $45, and the ticket price includes a continental breakfast, admission to the program and talk back session and a copy of Beschloss’ book Presidential Courage. Click here to register.