Hello, this is Will Hardy with ManTalk Radio. We are all about breaking down the walls of race and denomination. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few minutes. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening to the Truth Podcast Network.
Welcome, welcome to Christian Perspective. We're so happy that you're with us today. We've got a great program lined up today. We're going to talk about leadership. Are you a leader? Have you ever thought about what it means to be a leader or what your definition of a leader is or what good leadership traits might be?
That's really something that applies to every one of us. And we've got one of the nation's experts in that field, in my opinion, that's on our show today. So we're going to talk about leadership in a minute.
But first, speaking of leadership, I want to encourage you to never stop being a learner because leaders should always continue to learn in their life. And if you have a student in your life, a potential student who's looking for a college right now, I want to encourage you to take a look at the College of Mid-America. The College of Mid-America is in Memphis, Tennessee. It's got a beautiful campus, and they have a lot of great programs. But the neat thing about it is all the programs help you develop a biblical worldview. You're not going to get this critical race theory garbage or any of that stuff being thrown at you.
It's all going to be from a Christian perspective. Or maybe you've reached a point in your life where you let go get a master's degree, go back and get a little bit more education. And a lot of times when people talk about master's degrees, they don't think about going to a seminary. That's just a fancy preacher word.
It's a master's degree or a doctorate degree. And Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, again, has some great higher level classes that you can take. If you don't want to come to the campus here in Memphis, their online program way before COVID was kind of state of the art. So I encourage you to check out mabts.edu, that's Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, mabts.edu, to learn more about the great programs. Of course, I want to thank our show sponsor, the Citizens for America Foundation. We just held our, just a week ago, we had our great Culture Engagement Summit in Memphis, Tennessee on April 30th.
It was a great day for people across the nation came to learn more about God's Word. If you want to learn how to develop a biblical worldview, I encourage you to visit citizensforamericafoundation.com, that's citizensforamericafoundation.com, and sign up to get our newsletters and other information. We do a webcast and we have podcasts. And not only do we have our radio show, but the great Connie Alberge, who's with us on the air every Friday, she releases a podcast of her own every Wednesday, talking about issues with marriage and family and children and parenting and so much more.
So be sure to check us out at citizensforamericafoundation.com. Well, my guest today is someone that I have, well, I don't know, I don't know if it's been 30 years, but probably well over 20. I have been watching him at first from afar and then got to know him because, you know, you see people sometimes in life that, you know, we're really making a difference and you want to try to be around them and emulate them if you can. And Cory Godwin is that kind of person for me. He's worked in the realm of government in the state of Florida in several positions over the years, and I'll let him share with us in just a minute what he's done. But no matter where he's gone, Cory has transformed the organization that he's worked for.
And I've watched him, and I'm not just telling you this, y'all, over the years I've seen him just go into places that almost had a chaotic situation and he brought his leadership skills there to really transform them and make them the great public service organizations that they became and award-winning organizations. And it is my great honor to have my friend Cory Godwin with us today. Cory, welcome to The Christian Perspective. Thank you, Chris. Thank you so much for having me. And yes, it's a pleasure to visit again, even if we have to do it remotely. I'm so thankful for social media that you and I are still able to keep in touch. And what has been now, oddly, over two decades. And, you know, right off the bat, the lesson there for folks is to be intentional about these relationships with Christian brothers and sisters and people who have added value to your life.
You know, don't just let those seasons come and go. I think it's important that we stay together for times such as this, because who would have thought, you know, here we would be this many years later, connecting, visiting again, and still doing what I saw you do all those years in Okaloosa County is growing other leaders, trying to build other leaders around us. My career is an unusual one. It's unusual, and it's a different path, which, you know, tells you God has a plan for you.
And he laughs at what we think are our plans. I started out at age 19 as a correctional officer for the state prison system. Worked my way up through the ranks there to ultimately to assistant warden. Spent a great deal of my time in South Florida as a prison inspector and six years in central office, which is our headquarters for Department of Corrections, guiding several programs, drug interdiction. I was over the gang unit for a number of years and ultimately ended up as an assistant warden to state prison and did that for four years and got the call of my life that, congratulations, we're going to make you warden. And at the time that I got that call from the regional director, it was for a position that was open at Dade CI down in Miami.
And at that time had two kids in middle school, and my mother had been diagnosed with cancer for the second time. So that was one of those pathways that sort of converged that said, okay, probably not best for me, even though this was my dream, that I probably don't need to pack up and move to Miami. So I made a decision to make a change and entered the tax collector world of Florida, working for the Walton County Tax Collector and serving as her chief deputy. And then of course, that's how you and I first met because you were so gracious enough to take someone who had had a history of shotgun and razor wire and try to teach them how to collect property taxes and do license plates. So I had the privilege to work there for 14 years and then got asked to go over to the Bay County Tax Collector's office, where a newly elected tax collector there had needed some assistance.
So I got a chance to work there for two years. And then I had my Lazarus moment where what I thought was dead and buried and I'd sort of covered and said, well, I'm never going to get to do what I loved before in the prison industry. And the sheriff of my home county was lurking, looking for a new jail director and actually called me to ask me for recommendations of people.
And I did share some with him and he ultimately said, well, what about you? And so that's where I land today. I'm the director of jail operations for the Walton County Jail in beautiful Walton County, Florida, up in the panhandle. And I manage a facility of 196 bed, adult male and female facility, county jail facility.
It also houses U.S. marshal federal inmates and have a staff of about 135, just trying to protect the public and try to build better people at the same time. Chris Fennell Wow. I didn't realize that you were doing all that and that you had had all those changes in your career.
That's incredible. Well, Corey, I do want to ask you a bunch of leadership questions, but so hopefully I'm not putting you on the spot here, but I know that you're a fellow believer and you love the Lord. Something that I like to have my guests do if you're comfortable with it is share how they came to know Jesus, because I think it's interesting for people to hear. Every one of us came to know Jesus from a different way, you know, whether a friend shared or somebody invited us to church. Do you mind sharing your testimony of how you came to know the Lord?
Corey It would be my privilege. Yeah, I don't separate the two. People say, well, there's a separation of church and state and whatever, but I can't separate my Lord from anything that I do. I grew up in the church. My mom and dad were some of those good southern people that you went every time the doors opened. We went to Sunday school, Bible school, Fifth Sunday, dinner on the grounds all night, singing.
It didn't matter what was going on. We were there and we were there early. My exposure was early in life. Around age 14 was when I finally made my profession of faith and found salvation. Like all of us, we've learned that there is no magic bullet, that immediately you stop your human nature.
Entering into high school and young adulthood had the normal slips and failures that most have. I then rededicated myself emphatically, really at the time that I got married at age 25. I've tried to fight the good fight ever since. What a testimony. I know God has uniquely positioned you. For our listeners across the country, we're talking today to Corey Godwin. Corey has served in public service in the state of Florida, really all of his adult life. God has placed you in positions where others could watch your testimony and see what you're doing.
He's blessed you because of your faithfulness to him. Corey really travels not just across Florida, but is a leadership expert across the country because of the successes that he's had, where he's worked. Other people have asked him to share some of those same principles in their daily life. Our show today is really concentrating on leadership and what it means to be a leader and how we can develop some of those skills.
A lot of us, just like Corey gave us in the beginning, staying in touch with people and having connections. You have to be intentional in some of the things that you're doing. Most of the things in leadership. Corey, how do you define leadership? There's lots of different people that give answers out there, but I love yours. Can you share with us what you think leadership is?
Yes, Chris. For me, it all begins and stops. If you don't get anything else out of this conversation that we're having today as an audience, take out your Bible and go to Mark chapter 10, verse 42. I think that is the best definition or foundation for anyone to start in a leadership role begins right there. We'll all remember that story when Jesus called the disciples together, when they were clamoring over who was going to sit to his right in heaven, who was going to get the corner seat in the office, so to speak. He made it clear to them that there are those that are in those high official positions that exercise authority over individuals and that they lord over them. It becomes about the trappings of leadership versus what the true calling is that he finishes up in those verses.
These four little words he says, he said, it's not so with you. The whole world can look at it that way, but it will not be so with you that the expectation was that whoever wants to become great among you or lead must be your servant. There is where it begins with me that I think leadership is not about a title or authority. It's really about serving others around you and doing that in a way that ultimately garners influence, because that's what we're after.
No one's going to remember. Some of the greatest leaders I've ever had. I always, when I'm speaking, I speak of a mentor early on in my life, Harry K. Singletary Jr., and he was the first African-American secretary for the Department of Corrections. Mr. Singletary saw something in me I did not see in myself. He challenged me, and he got that out of me, and he pushed me, and he began to serve me, to serve me in that way. Mr. Singletary has been passed since 2010, but here I am today still talking about him, and that's what we want.
Long after the career is gone, they've replaced you. What are people who you came in contact with going to say about you and what you did to help them overcome some challenge or adversity in their lives? For me, it's about influence and about service to others.
That service point is so important. Folks, if you're listening, our guest today is Corey Godwin. We're talking about leadership, and leadership is something that Jesus teaches and that the Bible covers all throughout cover to cover, and we need to develop leadership skills in our lives.
We're going to take a quick break and come back when we talk more with Corey Godwin. Stick around. This show is brought to you by Generous Joe's, the coffee company with the Christian perspective. This is the answer that Christians and conservatives have been looking for. A coffee company that gives back to causes you care about.
Order your coffee today at shopgenerousjoes.org, and even subscribe to a subscription coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus and see the Bible come to life. This December, join nationally syndicated radio host and founder of the Citizens for America Foundation, Dr. Chris Hughes on a life-changing trip to Israel. It's one of the world's oldest and most fascinating travel destinations, luring the faithful from all over the world for thousands of years. Visit Jerusalem's religious quarters and explore Christianity's most treasured religious sites, like the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock, and the Via Dolorosa. Walk with Chris through the winding alleyways of Nazareth's old city and visit ancient Bethlehem, the place of our Savior's birth. Float in the Dead Sea, visit the Sea of Galilee and the Jewish fortress of Masada. See firsthand where the events of the Bible took place. Touring Israel with Dr. Chris Hughes is a travel odyssey like no other.
Visit citizensforamericafoundation.com and get ready for an unforgettable trip and memories that will last a lifetime. Do you desire to build family relationships that stand the test of time? Does creating a godly family seem like a daunting challenge?
You're not alone. I'm Connie Yaupers, author of Parenting Beyond the Rules and host of Equipped to Be. As a mother of five, I understand your struggles. For 35 years, I have been helping families just like yours build lasting relationships.
I'd like to invite you to tune in to Equipped to Be and visit ConnieYaupers.com, where I share useful tips and proven strategies to help you navigate the seasons of motherhood, faith, and life with confidence and joy. History was made on today's date. Stay tuned for an American Minute with Bill Federer. Unbelievable. This day, May 1st, in the year 305 A.D., the most powerful man in the world, Emperor Diocletian, stepped down from ruling the Roman Empire. Just two years prior, he began the most systematic persecution of Christians, intending to exterminate them once and for all. He forbade worship, burned books, arrested clergy, and demanded that everyone sacrifice to pagan deities or be killed. From Europe to Northern Africa, countless believers became martyrs to the faith. Suddenly, Diocletian was struck with a painful disease.
He abdicated his throne and took up farming in Yugoslavia. This has been an American Minute with Bill Federer. For a free transcript, call American Minute at 1-888-USA-WITH. Welcome back to Christian Perspective. This is Chris Hughes. My guest today is Cory Godwin, and we're talking about the subject of leadership. There's no greater leader in the history of the world than Jesus Christ and his followers of Jesus. We should try to emulate some of the things that he did throughout, well, everything that he did in the Bible, but certainly in the area of leadership. Cory, I may have butchered this. I was trying to find notes when I found out you were going to be on the show. Years ago, you gave a definition of leadership, and again, I can't read my own chicken scratch most of the time, Cory, so I probably didn't get it exactly right, but I love this. I don't even remember where I heard you say it one time, but you said that leadership is the act of honoring God by casting a compelling vision of the future, demonstrating love and service to others, growing other leaders, and holding team members accountable for their contributions towards that vision.
That really struck me when you said that. That was written one early morning about 4 30. I try to do that, rise early and meet the Lord. It doesn't say lay in the bed. One of the smartest things I ever did, and I would encourage this too, that within your home, I build out a study, not a man cave. There's no TV in there.
It has these weird things called books, and just a place to get quiet and get alone with God first thing in the morning. They tell me there's two kinds of people now, the ones that check their phone when they get out of bed, or they check it when they're in the restroom. I try not to be one of those guys, and that's where those thoughts really pour in, is in those early morning hours when I'm intentional again about laying that day out before Him. That is so important. Like you said, we don't get along with God like we should, and I think that's a great trait when you look at particularly what great Christian leaders have done. Is there been somebody, Corey, I know you mentioned Mr. Singletary, I think is what you said his name was.
Correct. Is there someone who is like a role model in your life or a mentor? I like to talk to people a lot about the importance of mentors, and you're not as old as me, but I think it's important for us, particularly as Christian men, to find other young men, and the same for women, that we can mentor along in life. Even married couples find young couples to mentor, but was there someone special in your life that was a role model or a mentor that helped you along the way? There's been several, and that's what I would point out to people. A mentor is not a single one person to do it effectively.
I'd say you need to have a board of directors of mentors, because there are certain individuals who can speak into your life from a business financial sense. Bruce Crow was one of those for me. You'll know him well from Legendary Incorporated. I think as of today in this area, they're the largest marine dealership in the United States, but Bruce saw something in me. He and I connected through work with the Boys and Girls Club, and there's another lesson.
Involve yourself in community service, particularly young people, because it'll automatically expose you to some of these people who are doing that kind of work out of social responsibility. My number one mentor from just a hard work perspective was my dear mother who passed away last year. I mean, this is a lady who worked 36 years in a chicken plant.
Now, our more sophisticated listers, that's a poultry production facility, but she worked in that chicken plant for 36 years, and I never heard her grumble. She taught me the difference between finding joy in what you do versus happiness. Joy being that that's going to come internal.
Happiness means you need some external influence to make that happen. I'm not saying this gratuitously just because it's your show, but I watched you over those years, and one of the first things you did was pour into me as a young chief deputy tax collector to say, this is the path. You know what else you did? You were vulnerable.
Say, here's some mistakes I made that I wish I hadn't. I remember that first meeting. Don't go down this path because it's a dangerous one. James Upchurch is one who was my bureau chief for security operations who really, really showed me the ropes as it relates to the, you know, you need to master the industry that you've chosen, and he really, really stretched me that it's not enough just to know the things that you grew up in.
You need to also go learn a little bit about the mental health side of this criminal justice system, the substance abuse department, those folks who deal with that, and that has helped me immensely over the years, and certainly in the role I have now where we touch all of those things. Yeah, you mentioned having a board of directors. I think you know Andy Andrews, who lives not too far from you. He's an author who's written a lot of leadership books, and Andy likes to say, you know, that we all ought to have what he calls a personal board of directors, which I think is kind of what you were alluding to. I've got about 10 or so people who don't know that, you know, I don't tell them they're on my board of directors, but it's people that I've identified that are successful. Like you said, we've got to find people in different areas, you know, like, you know, for like good married couple or maybe somebody that's good at managing money or someone that's got a close walk with the Lord, kind of a broad spectrum, because that's what a corporation does is try to bring together good people on their board of directors, and these are people that I just want to hang out with, have lunch with, or breakfast or whatever, you know, coffee with them, and just learn from them. And again, they don't know that I consider them to be on my board of directors, but they are and we need to surround ourselves with those kind of people. And I love how you were talking about service and being involved, like in the Boys and Girls Club, or Kiwanis Club or Rotary or, or whatever. So maybe if you're listening, I think we've got a generation at ACORE who doesn't even really know what some of these service organizations are, which is sad.
It's really sad. Yeah, I was in Rotary Club when I lived in Florida and now in North Carolina. I'm in Kiwanis Club. And that was one of the first things when we moved to our current home in North Carolina is Vicki, my wife and I, we kind of divide and conquer. I'm like, okay, we're going to get involved in our community.
And you pick one and I'll pick the other one. And I would rather, I'm gonna get in trouble for saying I would rather have been in Rotary just because that'd been my background. Okay, I love my Kiwanis brothers and sisters.
I can't believe I just said that on national radio. I love Kiwanis. Great work helping children in the community. But my background had been, you know, for years in Florida in Rotary. And so Vicki joined Rotary and I joined Kiwanis.
And so maybe you're listening, you don't know what those are. There's there are others, Lions Club and others I'm missing. But there are these organizations in every community that I would encourage people to get involved with. One, both with at least with Rotary and Kiwanis that I'm familiar with, Corey, they meet for lunch every week. And they bring a speaker in, you know, somebody like you did. And so we get to see different leaders in the community come in and talk about, you know, whatever charity they work with or what business they have. And so one, it helps you become more intelligent, you're learning, you're learning about your community, you're learning about topics and subjects, but also you are then having lunch on a weekly basis with other leaders in your community. And I just think it's really important to surround ourselves with people, you know, that we want to be like.
I don't know if it was Andy, somebody or might have even been you. Years ago, somebody was saying, and I've read this in books as well, you know, the 10 people that you hang out with the most are going to kind of be like how you are. So, and not just in work wise, but like income. So if you want to be rich, not that that needs to be the focus of our life, then you should be hanging around rich people.
If you want to be close to the Lord, you need to hang around other people that are close to the Lord. Do you see that when, because I know you've studied a lot of the characteristics and leadership traits. I tell you what, Corey, I'm going to save that question. So you'd be thinking we're going to take a break and then we'll do a longer segment and talk about maybe some of those traits that you've seen and leaders that you've studied.
Y'all, we're talking about leadership today. And my guest is Corey Godwin. If you missed part of this show and you want to get later on, Corey's got some great insight. And I know you're listening to your radio right now, but later today, this is released in podcast format, wherever you get your podcast, Apple or wherever.
So download it and then share it with your friends because Corey Godwin knows what he's talking about when it comes to leadership. We'll be right back with more of The Christian Perspective. The United States of America has a strong Christian heritage, but most Americans don't know the truly important role that God in the Bible played in the founding of this great nation. This June, join nationally syndicated radio host and founder of the Citizens for America Foundation, Dr. Chris Hughes, for four amazing days in our nation's capital. With Chris, you'll embark on a journey of discovering the hidden secrets of Washington, D.C. and rediscover much of America's forgotten Christian heritage. Your tour will include an up close and personal look at the nation's establishment and how it's evolved over the centuries. Learn about the government and the men who helped forge this new kind of republic, one that acknowledged the creator from its very inception. Know the truth about the creation of the United States of America, about the faith of the founding fathers and how Christian principles were used to establish this form of government. Visit CitizensForAmericaFoundation.com today and secure your spot to join Chris Hughes in Washington, D.C. this June.
to a subscription coffee plan and never forget the coffee you love or the causes you care about. Welcome back to Christian Perspective. We're talking about leadership today and, you know, we try to cover all different areas of life that affect us and hopefully you're all aspiring to be leaders and certainly if you're immolating Jesus Christ or having a biblical worldview, you want to try to follow what Jesus has taught you to do and Jesus was the greatest leader that ever lived. And my guest today, Cory Godwin, is one of the greatest leaders I've ever met and he teaches a lot of classes around the country and particularly in his home state of Florida, just because of the success that he's had working with people in his organizations and transforming them. Cory, before the break we had started to talk about leadership traits that you've seen and some of the great leaders. Can you share some of those things that might be helpful for us as we want to become leaders?
Absolutely. I would start by saying, just ask yourself, who is the most, who was the most influential person in your life? And in some cases that may be a school teacher, if you're fortunate it would have been a boss, could have been a father, father, mother, but who had the most positive impact or influence in your life? And when you do that and then point back to that person inevitably you'll see that two things were always present. Number one, it's someone who challenged you, pushed you beyond what you saw in yourself and what you could be. And the other thing that was always present is that they would give you the truth in love. This is someone who knows you and would also shake your head, know you and hold you accountable. So those two matrix, if you will, on a chart, it's sort of what I lock in on and what makes great leaders. That's where influence is going to come from. Everybody says, you know, I want trust and loyalty from my team.
All right, here's the rub with that. Trust and loyalty are emotions. It isn't enough to say you will be loyal. Be loyal to what? You know, if they don't fit, without trust and loyalty you're not truly leading and the only way to get at that is you have to tap into an emotional reaction of that human. So how do you do that?
Then you have to be intentional again, there's that word, you have to be intentional about establishing emotional connections with the team that you lead. That looks like you getting up, walking around and asking three questions. How are you? And mean that.
Look them in the eye. How are you? Number two, how's the team?
That gets it to work. Are there some barriers that you can use your power, position and influence to remove, to smooth out whatever that project is or whatever's going on with that team? And the third question is how can I help? Now the buyer beware on this is that it gets messy because when you're sincere and you look at people and you ask them how are you and they're vulnerable, you're going to get to hear the whole story because at the end of the day it doesn't matter how good these processes are, these systems are, how greatly appointed your office space is, at the end of the day it's the humans, human beings who are coming in out of those doors that are making the results and getting the results that you need. And everybody's walking through something. If everybody on this listening to us right now had a cartoon bubble over their head showing what they're walking through today, there'd be enough baggage that would rival the Kardashians going on a ski trip because everybody's going through something. So listen for those opportunities about how you can add value, help them overcome a challenge, a struggle.
And it's not just me saying it, that's 60 years worth of neuroscience that say if you can tap into that limbic portion of the brain and speak on an emotional level with those folks, that's how you're going to be successful. General Colin Powell had a great quote and he said if people aren't coming to you with their problems, and that includes personal problems, then either one or two things are happening and neither one of them are good. Number one, they don't think you're competent enough to solve the problem. Number two is even worse, they don't think you care.
People should cry in your office because that shows vulnerability and you get the truth at what's happening. We spend far too many times looking at the humans who work for us and say, well, you know, Chris has not been focused. Something's going on with him. He's got a poor attitude.
He's not a team player. Well, when the reality is what we might not know is he's walking through some adversity in his personal life that's inevitably going to bleed over. So it's important to do that and it's difficult, it's challenging, and it shouldn't be because leadership should never be easy. Holding people accountable, you need to have an equal balance on relationships and results. If you're leaning too far to relationships, then that's your benevolent leader. That's the one who never wants to have a difficult conversation with anybody. They want to be loved.
They want to have likability and that will not sustain itself. On the other hand, if you've got someone who only has a results focus, then they're the ones pounding their fists saying, we got to get this done ASAP. This has to be done ASAP. Well, ASAP assures problems and avoids solutions.
That's my definition of ASAP. So what you got to do is have an equal focus on both. Never stop giving people feedback when it's critical. Don't avoid that, even though it's difficult. That's one of the things that one of our favorite authors, I know you pay attention to him, Patrick Lenciani, just covered in his new book, The Motive, that talks about what is your motive for leadership. Those are some examples of what I think is important about being exceedingly human, if that makes sense.
With connecting with the people who you work with. Yeah, I liked all of what you said, but one part just kind of hit home because my son and I were just talking a couple of days ago about somebody in his life who would grouch you. We'll just say grouch you about something, so I won't give away what it was. I told him, this really comes, Corey, a lot of this comes with gray hair and trial by error and learning, but I look back at a lot of the mistakes I made as an early leader, and God blessed me to be in some good positions, but I didn't always make the best decisions looking back with my people sometimes, and part of it was, like you said, everybody's got something going on in their life, and a good leader will be, now I'm dating myself, old TVs had an antenna on top of them to be able to pick up the reception of the TV before we had cable. You need to be in tune with your people and know them well enough that you know when something is off, and sometimes you don't just bite their head off.
Their wife could have been diagnosed with cancer this morning, or it could have been anything that happened. If we didn't learn anything during this pandemic, Chris, I hope that we learned that our well-intended rigid policies, rules, and restrictions that we, you know, in a lot of cases we have to place within our organizational structure for legalistic reasons or whatever, but you know, they fail you in times of crisis. You know, how audacious is it to think that you're going to write a single policy to deal with every human related to leaving attendance? Related to leaving attendance, for example.
We all have bereavement leaving our policy, but what do you do when you know that person's going to pass away? It's imminent. It's going to happen in days. Wouldn't that be the time to grant the leave for them to spend those time? That's one example. I remember one quick story where we had an employee that they were always 15 minutes late, and the manager was ready to fire this person. They just can't get to work on time.
Okay, why? Why are they not getting to work on time? Well, they hadn't asked.
I said, go ask. The manager called me back literally in tears and saying, this person has a special needs child that has to go to a certain school. That school doesn't open till eight, so she's killing herself to get here by 8.15. I said, you tell that valued employee that what we want her to do is get her child delivered to that child care, get here safely, and we'll work it out during those lunch hours on the differences. That employee went on to be employee of the quarter for that particular segment of time. Probably the loyalty level from that employee.
She probably wanted to work much harder for you because of what you did for her. We had work to do on the front end because if we're doing that right, she would have trusted us enough to be that vulnerable and tell us that up front, but because of her past experience, she didn't want to be rocking the boat, didn't want to violate the policy. We've had to deal with HIPAA over the years. Well, how did that work out during the pandemic when every conversation we were having was about someone's medical condition, whether or not they had a temperature?
Yeah. Boy, that really changed things, didn't it? Well, Cory, in one of my first positions when I was just really a kid, but God gave me an opportunity to apply for this really good job. They brought in a team of psychiatrists. It's a miracle they didn't just go ahead and lock me up in some asylum. They brought a group of psychologists in, and they tested the finalists for this position.
In the report they wrote about me, one of the things they said at that time, and I was really young, but said I was driving with the brakes on, which was probably a mistake to tell because I took the brakes off. But Cory, and that's what I'm talking about is risk. I know some people are very risk averse, and then there are some leaders, some of the greatest things I accomplished in the world of government were when I risked to do things that had never been done before, but it can also get you in trouble. Do you think leaders are people that take risk? What are your thoughts about taking risk as a leader? They absolutely take risk. I've done those personality styles, and I need to be mindful of that because I am one who has an aversion to the status quo and the way we've always done it.
Certainly, we need to be calculated in it so that we don't run the train completely off the tracks, but I love what I call the difference between shooting rifle balls and cannon balls. Jim Collins talked about this in one of his many great books. Incremental risk, where you're taking small segments of your organization. We did this in the tax collector world with some of our call center technology and things we did.
You implement it in sort of a plan, do, check, and act scenario to see if it's going to work before you start blasting the cannon balls at it. Okay, now we're going to do this across the entire organization. Take those risks, but take them in a way that's smart, calculated, maybe in a segment of the organization. If you're in the private sector, the same thing with a segment of a market strategy that we're going to introduce a new product, but we're not going to go all in on it. We're going to be methodical. Be methodical about your risk taking.
Yeah, that's great advice. What about, I know some leaders are intimidated, or I don't know if they're really leaders. Sometimes people are in positions that aren't really leaders and they shouldn't be there, but some people are afraid to hire people smarter than them. What are your thoughts on, so if I'm the president of the company, do I need to be the smartest person in my company or should I be hiring people smarter than me? You should definitely be hiring people smarter than you and don't clone yourself. The first thing we need to do as leaders is we need to confront our own reality.
What am I weak in? I absolutely, Chris, and I'll admit this to you on the open air in front of everybody, even after spending 16 years in the tax collector's world, I don't have an affinity towards finance, spreadsheets, and all that. I know that going in and I have been very deliberate about the position I'm in to make sure that I've got one of these people created in God's own image with his express purpose that love that and that they're good at it.
I'll make sure they're around me. We need to be hiring talent, not people. Absolutely. One of the best ways to do that that I found in the last 16 years, Chris, I haven't conducted a single interview for a new hire. I just don't do it. I let the team do it. I get a cross-functional team of our members and I say, if I'm expecting them to make the dinner, then shouldn't I let them shop for the groceries instead of me taking someone and plugging them in and say, well, this will work for you.
And then six months later, I'm climbing up the walls because I'm not getting the results. They pick their people. They are invested in their people. And I make it clear to everybody in the organizations that I've had an opportunity to lead in to say, everyone here has a responsibility to recruit, hire, and celebrate talent. That means I want them looking when they go in and out of these restaurants with people with a customer service acumen. At the same time, if they've got friends who apply to work for our organization, and I have some of these dear friends that'll be lifelong friends. There's nothing that I wouldn't do for them. They'd call me at 2 a.m. I'll be there, but they ain't never working for me because they don't believe what we believe.
They wouldn't be a good fit. So it's everybody's responsibility and be inclusive of your team to let them help you find that talent and hire that talent. And two of the greatest words you can ever say to one of your team members is to look them in the eye and just say you decide. That's powerful. Folks, we're talking to Corey Godwin.
He is just a wealth of knowledge when it comes to leadership principles. And I'm so glad he's here with us today. We're going to take our final commercial break. We'll come back. We're going to talk a little bit, so I'll let you think about this for a second. Corey, succession planning. At what point do we start raising up other leaders or should we be threatened by somebody who's coming up in our organization? Y'all stick around.
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We're talking about leadership today. My guest Corey Godwin is just, I don't know if you've written a book Corey, have you written a book yet about this? I have not. I've got a blog I've maintained, not as diligently as I should, but I have maintained it for about 15 years and there's probably enough content there to figure out a book but I've just not slowed down enough to do it. Well brother you need to do that.
I mean maybe, I can't remember, I read somebody, I don't remember what book I was reading earlier this year and I've, like you, I mean I've got like 20 books floating around in my mind and I haven't been disciplined with it, but he said you know if you'll just write an hour a day you know it doesn't take long you finish a book in a year. God's given you so much wisdom in this area I would encourage you to think about doing that. Before the break we're talking about hiring hiring smarter people than us and whether or not we should hire, whoops, my fat face keeps hitting our phone Corey and I'm sorry about that. I had too much barbecue yesterday. So I love when you were talking about your people interviewing, you said you don't interview prospective employees anymore, you let the management team do it because you expect them, if you expect them to cook the dinner shouldn't they buy the groceries for it?
That is great. That could even be the title of a book for you and I love the wisdom that you're sharing with us. Well Corey, a lot of people, we talked about risk and we talked about hiring people that are smarter than us. Another thing that I think really is a downfall of some so-called leaders is they don't plan ahead and so you know I'm now in the preaching world and particularly a lot of preachers do not really develop a good succession plan when they're getting older in age to help their church transition smoothly but it's not just a problem in churches and a lot of businesses too.
I don't know why we feel threatened sometimes when we want to bring somebody up. At what stage in your leadership career should you start thinking about a succession planning? Day one and the people who are just coming through your door often have the greater capacity to lead because they don't have any preconceived opinion or notion about how anything in that organization should work so take advantage of that and whatever experiences that they bring. It's healthy to go through this exercise, look at your organization, look at your organizational chart and the individual humans that do the work and say if that person left today for whatever reason which one of these positions within my organization would it have the most dramatic impact and it will shock you sometimes the ones that you will highlight. It won't necessarily be the guy that's even in retirement. It won't necessarily be the guy who's next up in line for the CEO position. Oftentimes it'll be that one individual that possesses so much institutional knowledge in that one area.
Technology people certainly fit that bill that have specialized skill sets that if they walked out it would it would it would paralyze you at least temporarily. So that's where the real succession planning starts is to identify those high impact positions that if they left that would cause you a problem and then in every position and particularly in your senior management positions you should have what I refer to as bent strength. Under each of those positions have at least two preferably three people that are sort of the farm team. Make them know that you view them in that way. It's not a guaranteed promotion and that's not there's no contractual obligation that says it you know you're going to get this thing eventually but we've got our eye on you for this particular reason and make that known so that your managers will start pushing those people. Let them lead that project. Let them lead that particular meeting that important meeting. Let them be the ones to go to that conference maybe that you you would have liked have gone because you like the destination. No send them. Let them have the opportunity to lead. There are several times I get called upon to attend the professional associations and tell them about a great inmate work program or something that we've got going on here at the jail and my first instinct on that has become now 30 soon to be 34 years of public service is to to find find that person closest to that work and send them let them go get that public speaking experience and they're nervous as heck about it and they don't think they can do it and then they come back on cloud nine and and there's nothing if you want self-gratification watch that happen where they got a chance to lead that project and and actually move the organization forward and for the young people you know you find yourself in a position so well I just got there I just got on the job or maybe I just recently got a promotion so I know for the next five years there's sort of a a cap or a ceiling on me then if you can't grow up then grow wide learn a new skill set go out and learn a hobby learn something of interest and continually be on this pattern of I'm constantly growing and reinventing myself and my leadership that is so important and I want to continue on that in just a second but I want to go back to something well two things you were talking about one how you were sending young people to conferences you know it took me a while to learn that Cory but little things like that make such a huge difference in the morale and in the future training of those potential leaders down the road to show that you have the confidence in them to go to a meeting and represent your agency or your private company or your county or whatever it may be and the positions are in and that's really helpful then you were also talking about people who had institutional knowledge and they might be the only ones that had it that's a mistake that I made big time one time is I had this one employee for me and I hired her because of what she knew and she knew I mean she was an expert and really the best at what she did in her whole career field but she refused to train people under her because she saw it as a threat you know if I share what I know then I won't be as valuable to the organization anymore and it really almost destroyed our organization because she had so much of that institutional knowledge and just flat out refused to share it with somebody and particularly in an area this was an area of software we end of it you know eventually part of the big reason we changed software is because we didn't have that situation I mean if she fell down dead we wouldn't have been able to operate you know so you know that can be a problem for us well Cory what about we've got about four minutes left I know you read a lot you've mentioned several books during our conversation and we've talked about how leaders need to continually learn and I think reading is a very important part so I'm kind of interjecting my belief on you here but I know you agree that reading is important why do you think that's important for leaders and could you maybe recommend a few books to our listeners who might have never read anything before and they don't want to get deep but you know just something to give them some good principles absolutely you have to read great leaders read because it just it continues to grow and expand there's no single book that you're going to find that has all the answers I've learned that over the years there's no single book that someone's written it's going to give you everything but if you if you consume a ton of them you're going to say you know what that that piece in that chapter will fit me that will fit our organization will fit a change that I need to make in my leadership style years ago and this was again admiring your relationship in 2007 you hosted the tax collector association conference and brought in a guy that a lot of people are going to be somebody I'm thinking about never go ahead who had hurt a gentleman by the name of Mark Miller who worked particularly he was so big at the time he was in a breakout session he was not even the keynote and I went down and I listened this guy talk about his book The Secret that he co-wrote with Ken Blanchard let me interrupt you before you continue with that but y'all there there was a book that came out a couple years ago called The Secret the movie was made on it that's not it this this is by Mark Miller and Mr. Blanchard and it is an incredible leadership book I'm sorry go ahead Cory and you will breeze through it if you say well I'm not sure if this reads for me what get that book and then read everything he's ever written after that right up to his latest book which is actually sitting on the corner of my desk right now smart leadership and Chris I haven't Chris I haven't shared this with you but over the years I've maintained a close relationship with him I have his cell phone number right now and so Mark Miller if you don't get anybody else and he's written a ton of books on high performing teams how to make your organization a talent magnet a lot of the stuff that we just talked about my next one would be Patrick Lencioni L-E-N-C-I-O-N Patrick Lencioni you can find him at thetablegroup.com all of his books are fantastic his book The Advantage talks about organizational culture is tremendous Dr. Henry Cloud all of his books but his book Necessary Endings is is absolutely fabulous can't talk about it without talking about Andy Stanley he talks about this notion of beyond you leadership which speaks to this servant leadership model that we've been talking about for the last few minutes that is so helpful and you know a lot of these books like you said Mark Miller's book he worked at Chick-fil-A is he still at Chick-fil-A today he's still there he's the vice president of training and professional leadership development is sort of is what he does now he was one of the first six employees ever hired for Chick-fil-A yeah his book that secret I don't think it's even 100 pages and it's not a it's also a smaller size page so it's easy to digest and it is incredible all these guys are on podcasts too obviously so you can you can search search that out Mark Miller does a little chess club email with a short video vignette once a week that's fabulous yeah that shows a rookie mistake I made Corey because you brought up that conference I hosted and we had a bunch of world-class speakers but in my opinion probably the best speaker there and I put him in a breakout session because I didn't know who he was incredible he was life changing for me too it was great Corey I just can't thank you enough for being with us today on the Christian perspective you've had a huge influence in my life you are a great leader and you're a great servant for the public in Florida everywhere you've worked you've turned those organizations around and and I know you give God the credit for that and and I just want to encourage you God's given you a great skill set there and I know you travel and speak but just thank you for what you've done and and you model service leadership you don't just talk about it you do it and and that's why everything you touch is transformed in a positive way so thank you so much for being with us today my pleasure sir and that same right back at to you one of the most admired people that I know and let's do this again let's talk about the difference between grilling and barbecuing because they're not the same that's another affinity you and I share boy it does brother I'm in Memphis right now I had some good barbecue yesterday well thanks for being with us folks listen here's your favorite radio station each and every day and he shows this was a good one so be sure to go download it on podcast and share it on social media with your friends now let's go impact the culture for Jesus thank you for listening the Christian perspective with Chris Hughes learn more about impacting the culture for Jesus visit 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