Torch, Fall 1988

An interview with William Molinari , President and Chief Operating Officer of Van Kampen Merritt, a Xerox Financial Services company in Lisle, Illinois. Q• How do you evaluate leadership? A. Rating a leader, whether in business, government, athletics, education, or in any field , involves three aspects. First, what is the leader's vision for the organization, especially in view of how the organization fits into the whole scope of things? This probably is the most important contribution of a leader because from his vision come his goals . The vision has to be broad enough to allow the organization to be all that it can be, but not so broad that it is trying to be everything to every– body, and therefore accomplishes nothing. Second, what are the results of his leadership over a reasonable period of time? No one takes seriously any leader who has produced no results. Third, what integrity was displayed in achieving those results? Has the leader played the game fairly and ethically? I think there are people in all walks of life who have achieved signifi– cant results but did not achieve them honestly. Q• Recognizing that leadership occurs on many levels, how do you use the evaluating process to enhance leaders in your organization? A. The best way is to focus on results in light of the goals. Another way is to look at the team he or she puts together. Anybody in leadership of any scale at all knows he can't do it by himself. What kind of people does he attract? How does he motivate those people? Another principle is consistency. In our world, no matter what sector you are in, the landscape changes very rapidly. A good leader makes strategic decisions that stand the test of time. Q• Are there specific biblical principles by which you are consciously driven as you evaluate? A. I saw a recent poll that asked for the most important quality in a leader. The overwhelming answer was integrity. Non-Christians are often truthful , hard-working, and good stewards. A Christian who is really committed has an even deeper reason for developing those characteristics. His life should reflect God. A good leader knows he must spend most of his time with only a few. Of Christ 's 12 disciples , He really had an inner circle of four with whom He spent the majority of His time: Peter, James, John, and Andrew. Then there was another group of four with whom He spent some time, and a group of four with whom He spent very little time. If a leader is going to do his job well, he has to pour himself into a small group of "direct reports ." I think it is really difficult for a senior manager to have more than five or six people reporting to him. Christ did it that way. He discipled a few who in tum reached out to the multitudes. That same principle works in all organizations. "Servants , obey in all things your masters according to the flesh: not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart.fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Colossians 3 :22 ,23 10