Dr. Kent Ingle has learned over the last few years as the President of Lakeland, Florida’s Southeastern University (SEU), there is much more to leading an organization to greatness than simply overseeing staff and touching base with the students.
In fact, in his mind, performing at that level, corporate executives and university presidents have more in common than you might think — both are responsible for leading their organizations to success and greatness, no matter how you define success in your industry.
“Visionary leaders don’t succeed with just great ideas. They succeed because they’ve built a framework that inspires others and provides their teams with the necessary tools to perform,” he said.
He explained that part of his role at the university is to build a map — or framework — to where the organization wants to be. That map may never have been made before, and you may have very little to go off of but once created, it can lead and inspire others and help the entire outfit become successful in the way that best suits it.
Dr. Ingle has decades of experience in leadership. He’s authored books on the subject, including Framework Leadership and 9 Disciplines of Enduring Leadership. He is also the host of the Framework Leadership podcast.
Before joining the up-and-coming university, he was a broadcast sports news anchor, leading a team of sports reporters to excellence through many seasons of football, basketball, baseball, and beyond.
Starting his career at age 18 as an intern at a major TV network, higher-ups quickly noticed his natural charm, wit, and talent and gave him a chance in front of the cameras. That chance paid off, and Dr. Ingle remained at the forefront of his field for a little over a decade.
During his career, he has interviewed sports stars, including Kareem Abdul Jabar, Carl Lewis, and Michael Jordan.
Following nearly 10 years of service working with churches and various non-profit organizations, he felt his wisdom could be used to help the younger generation and made a career change into the field of education, eventually landing the coveted President’s role at the faith-based Southeastern University.
Since joining, the university has seen tremendous growth, and many credit its success, in part, to Dr. Ingle.
Below, Dr. Ingle offers the four key elements for creating a successful framework that enables top-shelf leadership.
Listening is Key
As he learned during his journalism career, you only truly learn while listening. “To know what needs improvement, where the issues are, and what others have gleaned about the situation, and its possible improvements or remedies, you must constantly listen to all stakeholders and constituencies,” Dr. Ingle said.
It’s best if you can make the time for anyone who wants to talk to you about organizational issues since you never know who will come to you with that one revealing bit of information or a great solution that no one else had considered.
Contextualize What You Hear
Once you have listened to all parties that want to speak on organizational issues, it’s time to ensure you’ve wholly and appropriately understood the situation’s context and the problem fully.
One way that Dr. Ingle likes to do this is to write it out, or create diagrams including differing ideas or points of view. You can even share this with a trusted colleague, if you like, to see if they see any missing pieces or if they think you have got the situation in hand.
Audit the Situation
Since issues constantly change and evolve, the next step is to keep an eye on the topic and continue to audit it to see what develops.
Whether that means creating a panel of interested people that discuss the issue regularly or keeping a file that you are constantly adding to, auditing will reveal things that often surprise you.
“Even if you think you’ve listened, and you think you understand the context, keep clarifying until you have certainty that there’s a shared understanding of the issue,” said the President.
Align the Vision
The final step is to put all the moving parts into place and, more importantly, into alignment. That means the strategy needs to align with the finances, which needs to align with the people involved, which needs to work under the systems in place to meet the vision.
This advice from Dr. Kent Ingle is valuable to organizations across various industries that aim for organizational success.
About Dr. Kent Ingle
Dr. Kent Ingle is the President of Southeastern University, public speaker and recognized thought leader. Ingle is passionate about creating lasting change in higher education and setting up organizations for success. He is the author of The Modern Guide to College and host of the popular Framework Leadership podcast. For more information about Dr. Kent Ingle, please visit www.kentingle.com.