ACTE Techniques March 2012 : Page 10

L EADERSHI p M Att ERS How a Campus Culture Is Created PHOTO COuRTESY OF BROOkE BROWN, GRAPHIC DESIGNER AT MERIDIAN tiveness and innovation, community lead -ership and service, financial performance and growth, and corporate leadership and board service. “This recognition is for the entire school. It’s not a CEO that makes an organization; it’s the team that works with the CEO that makes an organization,” Major says. As CEO, Major worked to create a vi -sion for the school. He points to three key areas of focus in his approach that then al -lows employees within the organization to be successful in its mission: hiring talented people and trusting them; working toward a common goal; and showing pride in the profession. Hunter Venable, a culinary arts student, shows Doug Major, superintendent/CEO of Meridian Technology Center, his food presentation skills. Meridian serves nearly 700 high school and adult students through its full-time career training programs. Hiring Talented People and Trusting Them Duggins says the fact that he feels trusted gives him confidence in his decisions. “There are directional decisions about what kind of entrepreneurial clients we serve that I am able to make. We moved the vision of who we serve to reach a broader range of clients that included more than technology companies,” says Duggins. While some employees under a “hire talented people and trust them” leader -ship style might not feel they’re getting enough feedback, Duggins says it actually gives him freedom in his role. Ongoing conversations, both formal and informal, help him understand the direction the organization is headed. “It doesn’t matter what your job description or title is within the organiza -tion, it’s a critical position to the success of our students,” says Major. When he became CEO in 2008, Major created a structure that allowed all em-ployees to provide input. In working with By Dana Wallace DOUG MAjOR, INCOMING pRESIDENt-ELECt of the Association for Career and Technical Education, believes a strong school culture can be formed intentionally. “Culture isn’t something that just happens. Culture can be shaped and influenced. The CEO’s actions and focus on the culture plays a critical role in what employees are able to do,” says Major. Major is superintendent/CEO at Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and was recently chosen as one of Oklahoma’s Most Admired CEOs, due in large part to his leadership style; it is an award he humbly says he accepted on behalf of the Meridian team. The campus culture lives through the school’s mission of providing customized educa -tion and training services for individuals, industries and communities under Major’s leadership, according to Ron Duggins, director of Meridian’s Center for Business Development. “Leadership in his case is more about the followers than the leader. There’s a concept of follower-ship as much as leadership in the organization,” says Duggins. Duggins points out that it’s a leadership style at work that may not always be read -ily visible. “The leader is in touch with the followers and is taking his cues from them within the larger mission that the leader has cast a vision for,” he says. Selection criteria for the CEO award included leadership and vision, competi -10 Techniques MARCH 2012

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