Description of the video:
Well, I was born in a farm town outside of Bakersfield, California, which seems a little redundant because it is. They'd say there were 3,000; I think they counted sheep. So fundamentally, I come from a place where not only do people matter as individuals, but things better be pretty pragmatic. And that's pretty much been the cornerstone of everything I've done moving forward. I was lucky enough to go to college on a debate scholarship. So I spent my time at the University of Southern California. Unfortunately, had a little bit too much fun and did not graduate when my eligibility was complete. So my degrees are actually from Kean University in New Jersey because that's where my parents were teaching at the time and I got to be supervised for my senior year. So my undergrad degrees are in philosophy and religion. I started with Arthur Andersen long before anything bad happened or shredders were even invented, I promise. But went into their people management program, which essentially was human resources consulting, and stumbled into that. There was just a program to look for honors liberal arts graduates. And I happened to get caught in that interview net. Spent five years with them, five years also doing HR consulting with a smaller firm in Long Beach, California, and burned into a very, very crispy critter. And so after long conversations about how I couldn't do consulting anymore because I had no life and all my plants were dead, my father suggested graduate school, and since my parents both got their PhDs here at Indiana, this is where I came. I did my master's degree in rhetoric and very quickly realized two things. First, I did love academia, and second, I was not the kind of person who needed to study rhetoric. I was delighted there were people in the world doing it. It wasn't me. So, did my PhD at The Ohio State University (no, I don't know why we say that), that's in management and human resources, and then came back and joined the faculty here in 2000. So I've been here for 23 years. What's interesting, I think about this weird combination of rhetoric and business is that it really lends itself to the study of negotiation. And that's predominantly what I teach. The class is power, influence, negotiation, and obviously knowing the political system of an organization, as well as knowing the ways that people are persuaded and the kinds of things that make them listen. Really, those two things dovetail into negotiation better than I could possibly have imagined. So that's really been my passion and my favorite thing to teach. I also co-teach inclusive leadership and have a passion in that area as well. But fundamentally, most of my time is spent with the negotiation course. I think the big way to be successful in one of my classes is just to bring yourself. And I know that sounds pretty basic, but I consider it a bonus when during a class, a kid comes in to kiss their parent goodnight, or I get to meet a critter who's jumped up and said, "Hi, I'm not getting enough pets because you're in class." In other words, I really want, and part of what I like about teaching online, is this idea that we can just be people together and very much find a sense of real that often doesn't happen in a live classroom when people are in an artificial environment and maybe even feeling a little bit more stress. So the best things that people do in my class, which also makes the experience way more fun for me, is just to bring themselves and their sense of humor and the things that they're actively working on at work and let's talk about that. The thing I like the most about teaching negotiation is how applicable it is. People can learn something one night and go use that or try that at work the following day. And so when they do that and then come back and report on it, man, that's nirvana for me. I feel like they have absolutely done what I've asked them to do, which is to take what I teach and try it out in the real world. There's no right answers when it comes to negotiation. There's finding your own style and there's finding and experimenting with the things that are going to work for you. So when a student really embraces that, when they truly say, "I'm just going to take some risks and I'm going to figure out what works in the low-stakes environment of the classroom so that I can be a better human and a better persuader and negotiator in my real life," that's the most rewarding thing of all for me. It feels like I've made a difference and that's why I do this. It's funny after being around this long, you would think that something like a teaching award would be not as important, that maybe you'd get used to them. And the reality is that you never do. I've never taught the same class twice. I can't leave anything alone. I'm always trying to make it better, change it up, make it more relevant for the students. And so when I'm recognized with a teaching award, it truly is for that year's work. And it's truly for something that I've tried to innovate that semester. And so honestly, I will say that the Teaching Excellence Award from KD is the thing I'm most proudest of over the course of the last year because it says that the work I'm trying to do is meaningful to people. It means, it means everything. Only other thing that I would give you is a quick explanation of what of the items that I've got to share with you is a quotation from a former partner at Arthur Andersen who was my first boss. It says, "Conduct yourself so that the people around you will want you to succeed." That has been on my desk my entire career. And I'd argue that that's really the philosophy that I think people ought to lead and manage with. It's a team, it's always a joint effort. And we can do so much more together than we can potentially do on our own. So the idea that your job as a leader is to be someone that people want to support and want to celebrate with, to me is the essence of what the positivity around leadership really means.