A month ago, I announced I was leaving Temple after five years as VP and CIO. The outpouring of appreciation and well-wishes has been overwhelming and wonderful.
The thing that I am most proud of during my time at Temple is the deliberate crafting of an empowered and positive work culture. This was a team effort with many people stepping up to help.
The HR development team created and delivered the “Wiser Way” leadership training that taught common language with concrete tools to improve communication and habits. A self-nominated team developed the mission and later formed the culture committee that included me and our HR partners. A recognition committee developed the “Cheers for Peers” program. We dived into DevOps and Agile practices. We read and discussed books. We created “Wonderful Wednesdays/Whenever” to foster innovation and uninterrupted work time.
Here are a few of the comments from team members about the impact of these cultural changes.
“You’ve lit a spark and set things in a new direction. You’ve made a difference in so many ways starting with ‘seeing’ your staff and other Temple colleagues and encouraging us all to ‘see’ each other, too.”
“I just wanted to say THANK YOU for everything! ITS culture is more open-minded, more empathetic, technologically more forward-thinking, and it feels like our collective self-esteem is reaching upward.”
“You’ve made a profound impact on my professional and personal life through your leadership and example of strength through vulnerability.”
One colleague cited the book “Stewardship” by Peter Block and the value of service over self-interest. The sentiment summarizes the lasting impact that I and so many leaders in our organization desire to have.
“The book says that ‘Stewardship is to hold something in trust for another. It is the willingness to be accountable for the good of the larger organization or community of which we are a part, by being in service to, as opposed to in control of, those around us.’ I think the way you carry yourself, ‘leadership’ could directly replace ‘stewardship’ in that quote. You truly have left us in a notably better place than when you arrived on many levels that are not articulated by data and statistics. Now it’s up to us to make sure we continue the momentum and example you set. I believe that measure is the simplest yet most important aspect of successful leadership.”
I am now passing the torch of positive leadership to the Temple ITS team. Will the culture that we created together continue to thrive and improve? I am leaving it in your capable hands.