OPENING REMARKS AND KEYNOTE ADDRESS
(Monday, June 8, 8:00 a.m. -8:30 a.m.)
Good morning. My name is Bill Byrne and I'm the director of athletics at the University of Oregon. I've been lucky enough to serve as president of NACDA this past year and I want you to know that it's been an enjoyable experience trying to represent as many different facets of this organization as I possibly could. One of the things that I found this year was an answer to a question I've always had. Why do we have 1893 on the front of our logo? It turns out in 1893, Harvard University had its fIrst athletic director. That was really the start of our profession. Next year will be our 100th anniversary' of college administrators. This is our 27th annual Convention. It is something that will offer a lot of different opportunities. We have marketing representatives, fund raisers and we're going to have a series of round tables over the next two days trying to address issues that many of you requested.
Today, we have some very important issues that are facing intercollegiate athletics, not only for this year, but
we think for many years in the 90s. It should be a wonderful Convention. To start it off, I'd like to introduce Jack Lengyel, our past president and director of athletics at the U.S. Naval Academy, who will introduce our keynote speaker .
Thank you very much, Bill. Vice Admiral William P. Lawrence, USN (Retired) is a native of Nashville, Tennessee. Vice Admiral Lawrence graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1951 where he played three varsity sports and ranked eighth academically in a class of 725 mid-shipmen. He was the flfSt naval aviator to fly twice the speed of sound in a navy jet and was selected as one of the top 22 candidates for the Mercury Astronaut's Program.
Vice Admiral Lawrence served two combat tours in Vietnam and was held a prisoner of war from June, 1967 until March, 1973. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the country's third highest military award, for his inspirational leadership to his fellow roWs while under constant pressure and mistreatment from his captors. He also received the Legend of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Silver Star awards. He is a recipient of
numerous awards and honors including the 1979 National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Gold Medal, awarded to a former player who has distinguished himself by his personal qualities and professional life and contributions to his country. In 1984, he won the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Theodore Roosevelt Award, recognizing him for his dedication to college athletics and combination with a career with national significance.
Vice Admiral Lawrence has long advocated striving for both academic and athletic excellence. He has published and spoken frequently about this and related topics while emphasizing that physical prowess and vitality are traits critical to America's national character. A distinguished graduate of the National War College, he holds a 1974 master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University. He is a former superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy and chief of naval personnel. He currently occupies the chair of naval leadership at the U.S. Naval academy and is president of the Association of Naval Aviators.
He is also associated with many professional affiliations which include consultant to the President's Council on Physical Fitness, the U.S. Olympics Training Center, San Diego Campaign Steering Committee, the NCAA Honors Committee, the Naval Academy Foundation and the Naval Academy Athletic Association. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce to you, a great naval officer, a great American and a great friend of college athletics, Vice Admiral Bill Lawrence.
VICE ADMIRAL WILLIAM LAWRENCE:
Thank you very much Jack, for your kind introduction. When I came in this morning, someone asked me if I had the text of my speech and I said that I don't like to read speeches. One of the reasons I don't is because of something that happened to a senator in Washington. Most senators have these teams of speech writers. This particular senator was not very considerate of his speech writers. If he gave a speech that was well-received in the media, he wouldn't even give a pat on the back to the speech writer. On the other hand, if he gave a speech that did not receive good reviews, he would castigate the particular speech writer concerned quite severely. So, this one
speech writer who determined that he had taken enough of this bad treatment, said he would submit his resignation. However, he decided he would prepare one more speech before he resigned and he did Of course, the senator was very busy and never reviewed these speeches in advance. The speech writer put the speech on the podium and the senator started reading it. It went on to say, "Some people say we cannot easily transition the former Soviet
Republics to democratic government and free market economy. I say we can and I will tell you how. Some people say we cannot reduce the national debt without raising taxes. I say we can and I'll tell you how. Some people say we cannot stop the flow of drugs in this country .I say we can and I will tell you how ." The senator was doing very well and he thought he was going to deliver the speech of the year. He turned the page and looked down to read, "O.K., you little SOB, you're on your own." That's one reason I don't have people prepare speeches for me.
President Bush, at the naval academy graduation, made a good comment and I want to tell you this. This speaker was droning on and on and was wen beyond his time limit, so the master of ceremonies picked up the gavel and he threw at the speaker just to remind him that he was well beyond his time limit. The gavel missed and it hit a lady sitting down in the front row. She said, "Hit me again, I'm still awake."
Seriously, it is a great honor and a great pleasure for me to address you. I have many good friends in this audience. My former coach, Ben Carnevale, is here. Ben certainly exerted a tremendous influence on me as a young midshipman and many others who went on to successful careers in the navy. That's the impact that those of you
who have been in coaching and who are in athletic leadership positions have on the young people. The function you perform is influencing young people who are the future of our country .
As I've stated many times, physical prowess and vitality are important to the national character of our country. Competitive athletics is a very important influence in our society. It's important to our national sttength. The commitment you have made to young people is very noble and very important to this country .Men and women, such as Ben Carnevale, have an immense impact on young people.
As I travel around the country today, people in both the public and private sector are just crying out for leadership. They feel that our country has very serious problems that will only be solved, if from our society, emerge strong leaders that are willing to lead us on the right path to articulate the sacrifices that we have to make to get our country back in the leadership position that it has occupied throughout the world's history. I think it's important that we go back to the basics with regard to the leadership.
I'm not opposed to the concepts like total quality management, total quality leadership and these types of approaches, but I think we have to go further back to this with regard to leadership. We need to go to those basic qualities that people must possess to be good leaders. I realize that in this profession of coaching and athletic administration, probably more than any other profession in the country , you understand the importance of leadership. It's the inspiring and motivating of people on those athletic fields that is the key to success. I realize that when I talk about important qualities of leaders to you, I'm in some way, preaching to the choir. But, you can help carry that message back throughout America as we really strive to improve leadership and to have those strong leaders emerge from our society. In talking about these important qualities of leadership, it's important that we all know precisely what we're talking about, so I'm going to defme my concept of leadership.
Leadership is an art as compared to management, which is a science. Whereas management involves the control of systems and processes, leadership is the art of inspiring and motivating individuals to attain worthwhile objectives, while also enabling them to realize increased self esteem, fulfillment and personal enhancement It's important to understand that motivating persons to achieve without their gaining personally from the experience is not leadership, but a form of exploitation.
In the organizational context, leadership is a subset of management. While good management can exist without good leadership and vice versa, the two areas are mutually supporting and synergistic. The most effective
organizations, in the military, public and private sectors, give equal emphasis to both aspects of their responsibilities.
Good leaders realize that the success of their organizations depends on the perfonnance of human beings more than on any other single factor. I know I don't have to tell you this because you understand it, but there are a lot of organizations in this country that don't understand it Good leaders devote major effort to those actions that
encourage and enable their subordinates to perfonn at optimal levels. They know that the key principle of good leadership is the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you". I'm surprised at the number of people in leadership positions who don't understand that. It's so simple and it's so basic. Good leaders make a point of learning about those under their charge --their family situations, hobbies, interests and the like, and they take those timely actions to foster good morale and spirit They are very discriminating in their actions, knowing that each of their subordinates is a distinctly different individual who responds uniquely to various stimuli.
Good leaders are compassionate and, while requiring their charges to meet their responsibilities and to be accountable for their actions, know they are humans with weaknesses and problems as well as strengths and talents
and require understanding and assistance from time to time. As the expression goes, effective leaders are able to walk in the shoes of those they lead.
Good leaders must be skillful communicators who are able to provide their vision for the future and articulate the goals of their organizations in terms their subordinates can clearly understand. They are well known and highly visible to those at all echelons of the organization. They don't hide themselves in the executive suites as I see in so many corporations in this country .Good leaders are always the symbol of pride and excellence of any organization.
Most good leaders eagerly seek responsibility. You can't be a good leader unless you're striving for and take
on the responsibilities and challenges. They have the attitude that somebody has to be in charge, and it might as well be them. They enjoy authority, the power that goes with that authority and the ability to achieve worthwhile ends through the exercise of that authority .They willingly accept the increased accountability that goes with increased responsibility. They are risk takers, who know that they will seldom be able to take meaningful actions with absolute assurance of success. They are very fiercely competitive and possess a high degree of pride and they satisfy that pride by accomplishing meaningful things.
Good leaders, of course, must be professionally competent. You have to know your job above all else. They have to clearly understand the mission and goals of their organizations and how best to achieve them. It means that, while they don't necessarily have to be aware of the intricate details of all of their subordinates' jobs or the working of equipment under their charge, they will know how their subordinates and equipment contribute to the overall performance of the organization. Anybody who has any degree of responsibility has to be able to delegate effectively. I'm often asked by young people if I have any formula of leadership because young people are often looking for simple approaches to leadership. I do have a form of leadership and I've always been dedicated to physical fitness and try to carve out some time most days of the week to work out and try to keep in shape. In order to do this, I had to develop an approach to leadership which I call 3D leadership --decide, delegate and disappear. You have to be able to delegate, but before you do, you have to insure that your subordinates are well trained in their responsibilities.
Any good leader is also a good teacher and trainer who prepares the people who work for him to accept responsibility. Nothing enhances the feeling of morale in the young people who work for you when you give them a job and then you have the confidence to stay out of their hair and let them pursue that to completion. So. 3D leadership is a good approach to take and it also enables you to get out there on the squash court.
Good leaders are intelligent. This of course, entails a breadth of knowledge on many subjects but, most significantly, intelligence is the ability to perceive the important One of the early things I learned is that there are a lot of well educated people that are not very smart and have a tremendous number of degrees, but they don't meet my defmition of intelligence and the ability to perceive the important Most good leaders can assess a very complicated problem and a mass of details and pick out from that the gut issues. They then make f1rnl, timely decisions and apply the necessary resources to get the job done. They are able to see the forest as well as the trees and they do not become so wrapped up in the urgent that they ignore the important, a common failing of many inexperienced leaders and those of us who have worked in the Pentagon.
Certainly, intelligence is, to a large degree an innate quality , but it can be improved. How? Observe with great fervor occurrences around you, read broadly and attempt to diversify your base of knowledge, so you can establish the relative importance and value of events. Remember the old adage "genius is five percent inspiration and 95 percent perspiration". Avidly study the history of your field of work, because the events of history tend to be very repetitive. If you learn the lessons of the past, you'll be better prepared for the future. I can give you a personal example. I've always been an student of naval history. I've read biographies of most of the military leaders and it's really helped me significantly in my career. When I was a commander of a fleet in the Pacific, we were in port at Pearl Harbor and we had numerous ships in port at that same time. A staff meteorologist came to me one day and said, " Admiral, we have a typhoon that's just been detected 200 miles southwest of Hawaii. You don't have to worry. There has not been a typhoon in the recorded weather history here in the Pacific that didn't curve and change course to the northwest when it passed 19 degrees north latitude, so you don't have to worry. We're not going to be bothered by that typhoon." I started thinking about some history and specifically about the man who had commanded this U.S. Third Fleet 50 years earlier in World War n, Admiral Bull Halsey, a great naval leader. On two occasions, Admiral Halsey, in World War n got his ships caught in a typhoon. On one occasion, four ships capsized and we lost over 700 men. I started thinking about this and after several hours of contemplation, I called my staff back in and told them, "We're going to order all the ships here in Pearl Harbor to sea so they're free to maneuver and avoid the typhoon. We're going to fly all of the airplanes up to Midway Island." In a very respectful manner, they said, "Well Admiral, you really don't need to do that. We're going to have to call all of the sailors back from liberty and we have extensive maintenances going on that we'll have to terminate. And history has proven that the typhoon will definitely change course." I said, "Send the ships to sea." They were very obedient. Lo and behold, for the flJ'St time in recorded history, that typhoon did not change course. It tracked right across Pearl Harbor. Extensive damage was done to houses, but there wasn't a single ship or airplane damaged. My staff had a very sheepish look for several days. They thought I had some mystical power. But, if I had not studied history, I'm sure that I would have followed their advise. Study history, because you'll learn a lot.
Certainly, fme leaders are highly disciplined. They have learned that they simply cannot control others unless they can fIrst control themselves. They are able to make well-defmed goals and then channel their resources effectively in meeting those goals. They set strict priorities and resist temptations to engage in non-productive pursuits. They have "won't power" as well as "willpower".
Good leaders also have a high degree of what I call intellectual discipline. They are able to organize their thinking to analyze complex situations, develop a course of action and then apply their efforts to getting the problem solved. It is commonly thought that discipline applies primarily to physical atbibutes and behavior but, intellectual discipline becomes increasingly important as one advances to higher positions of responsibility.
Most good leaders have a high degree of stamina. They seem to be able to drive themselves as required to get the job done. They are not constrained by an eight-hour day in any sense of the word. I learned very early, particularly from combat and the prisoner-of-war experience, that there is a very close relationship between the psychological and the physiological. The relationship can be very synergistic or it can be mutually degrading. I observed in the POW camps of Hanoi that those guys who did not want to get sick and were determined not to give in, somehow did not It was not because they had any greater physical attributes than anyone else. It was because they had the will and the strength, both spiritually and physically, to keep themselves going. A positive mental outlook is very important in developing the stamina and drive that one needs to accomplish significant tasks.
Good leaders understand dIe importance of loyalty. First and foremost, dIey are intensely loyal to dIe organizations in which dIey serve and dIey seek to foster dIis attitude in dIeir subordinates. They are equally loyal to dIeir seniors and dIose under dIem. They are never loyal to one at dIe expense of dIe odIer. The old adage that we have in dIe navy is, "dIe loyal up and dIe loyal down". They seek to develop widIin dIeir organizations a high degree of peer loyalty, cooperation and communication, which are absolutely essential to dIe success of any group. I have found in my experience bodI in military and private sectors, dIat one reason many organizations have problems is not because of vertical communications, which conforms to dIe organizational chain, it's because of lateral
communications. People don't willingly come forward, out of loyalty, to coordinate and communicate widI dIose at dIe same level. That causes more problems in an organization than anydIing else.
A key aspect of loyalty within organizations is the willingness of personnel to be completely open and honest and when necessary, voice their disagreement with policies and decisions of their superiors. Good leaders foster a climate which encourages such frankness, and welcome the views of all in their organization. I remember the statement by the great movie mogul Sam Goldwin, when he said, "The last thing I want to have is to be surrounded by "yes" men. I want people to tell me what they think even if it costs them their jobs." That's being facetious, but any good leader encourages subordinates to be open and frank without being maverick or disruptive to the organization. It's that frankness between leaders and subordinates that's so important
Although one could argue that a sense of humor is not a prerequisite for a good leader, I found it to be a very valuable leadership quality .I could give you all sorts of examples of good leaders who did not have a good sense of humor. Humor makes a leader appear more human and it helps to reduce tension and keep things in the proper perspective. More than anything else, it will alleviate subordinates' greatest fear --that an overly intense leader will overwork them or not be concerned about their welfare and interests. Always remember two points when using humor --don't be a stand-up comic and avoid making anyone the butt of a joke.
There are two qualities of leaders which are clearly the most important and essential to effectiveness --courage and integrity. If you don't have these qualities, all of the other qualities you may possess are of little value. Courage is the ability to perform difficult, onerous, high-demanding responsibilities, even when great risk is involved. Integrity entails knowing right from wrong, doing what is right regardless of the consequences and maintaining standards even though at the time, they may be unpopular. One of the most important manifestations of courage and integrity is the ability to admit a mistake. More problems, grief and suffering are caused in the world by the failure of leaders to readily own up to errors and correct wrong decisions.
One cannot be an effective leader in our society without a high degree of patriotism based on a deep love of country and a strong belief in our way of life and our system of free, democratic government. Leaders should always be motivated by desire to contribute more to society than they take from it. They must know that our national freedom and independence are not rights but privileges that must be constantly earned and protected.
Nothing sustained us as roWs in Vietnam any more than our very high degree of patriotism. Our overriding desire was to do nothing to bring dishonor to our country .That is why "Return With Honor" became our motto. More than anything else, we wanted to return under honorable conditions. Our love of country was the principal factor that sustained us during those difficult years.
One often hears the saying that leaders are born and not made. I heartily disagree. Certainly, individuals have inherent attributes that enhance their leadership potential. But, if one engages in serious self-analysis, measuring strengths and weaknesses, and strives to acquire or improve those qualities mentioned here, he or she will be well on the way to becoming an effective leader.
In conclusion, I want to commend all of you for the important work that you're doing. I can say as one who interfaces with many activities in our country, I don't think there is a profession in our country that is more respectful to maintaining high standards, to being openly honest and having a high degree of integrity as you address the problems and the challenges that you face. Intercollegiate athletics has gotten some bum raps because you are so
open in identifying your problems or mistakes. Compared to many organizations I'm associated with, intercollegiate athletics is in superb condition. You are all highly dedicated, openly honest and possess a high degree of integrity as you approach your important tasks. I can tell you that your commitment to the student-athlete ideal is very important to this country. The student-athlete ideal is vitally important to the strength of our great nation.
In conclusion, I thank you for the wonderful hospitality that you have extended to me. I wish you the best in the very important work that you're doing and God bless you all.