Luncheons with Leaders - Jonathan White

Uploaded by gvsu on 24.02.2011


I have the honor of introducing Professor White
today, and I've had two classes with him.
That's why I wanted to take the opportunity to
introduce him today.
I had Religious Terrorism and History of Warfare with him.
And I have an interesting story.
When I signed up for History of Warfare-- you probably
won't like this --but I really didn't sign up for the class
because I cared about how the Greeks and the Romans fought,
but because I wanted to take another class with you.
So that's just a little secret.
But I did enjoy the class afterwards.
That's a disclaimer.
Professor White earned his master's degree and bachelor's
degree in history from Western Michigan University.
He holds a master's in divinity from Western
Theological Seminary.
He also has a Ph.D.
from Michigan State University in
multi-disciplinary social sciences.
In his earlier career, he served in the SWAT team with
the Jackson, Michigan, police force.
He was a former dean of the social science and director of
the School of Criminal Justice at Grand Valley.
He serves as a professor and chair of the liberal arts
studies and as an executive director of the Homeland
Defense Initiative.
Professor White is the author of Terrorism and Homeland
Security-- this was published in 2006 --and Defending the
Homeland that came out in 2004.
But his writings on extremism and terrorism dates back to
the mid 1980s.
Today Professor White consults widely on terrorism using his
predictive models and since 9/11 has been a frequent
advisor to thousands of police departments, the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the U.S.
Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security.
And he has received awards from the Department of
Justice, the FBI, and the Michigan House of
Representatives for his work after 9/11 directing the state
and local anti-terrorism training.
He also won awards for teaching courses in history
and in the criminal justice department.
And he's one of the world's foremost authorities on Middle
Eastern extremism and religious terrorism.
Just a little note on-- when you have a class with
Professor White he will literally tell you every
single day how much he enjoys teaching.
And for some people it sounds like, what is he doing?
Why is that?
But if you read his teaching philosophy it really reflects
on he deeply cares about his students and really cares
about what he's doing in the classroom.
And I think from his classes and also from talking to him,
this is his passion, teaching and passing on the knowledge
to the younger generation.
His teaching philosophy, he says teaching in the liberal
studies is simply the greatest, most rewarding job

It's the fulfillment of a spiritual and intellectual
quest. I have worked in zones torn by religious violence and
terrorism in different parts of the world.
One of the best preventative actions against such mayhem is
to learn to approach problems with justice, understanding,
and unbridled human compassion.
And he really, really reflects that in his classroom with all
his students, even outside of the classroom.
And please help me welcome Professor White.

OK, I'm used to these.

Wow, thanks Petra.
Wow, that was very nice.

Actually I just like to be plain old Jon who happened to
study the right thing at the right time and too old and
broken down to be in the Marine Corps.
I trained a lot of marines.
I'm really glad they're on our side.
They're scary to look at.
But it was a chance to serve.
President Murray gave me that chance to serve by creating
the Homeland Defense Initiative.
And I'm very grateful to him.
In fact a new book just came out in January and it's
dedicated to President Murray in gratitude for that.
And it's really a pleasure to teach.
I get to do everything.
And President Haas and the provost have allowed me to
continue, and I'm extremely grateful to
Grand Valley State.
Well I came here today to talk about leadership, and our
camera is on right now, is that right?
We'll leave the camera on right now and then we're going
to turn it off in just a little bit.
Cause what I'm going to do is talk about leadership and I'm
going to draw on my experiences as my class
commander in ROTC, as the commander of our cadet
commando company, as a leader on the Jackson Police
Department, later as the founding director of the
school of CJ, and then because they couldn't find anybody, as
dean of social science.
And just reflect on that.
I am trying very hard to get out of leadership positions
because I enjoy teaching so much.
But there's a responsibility with it, and it's going to be
your responsibility now.
President Lubbers took me aside-- this was all before
9/11 --because he was convinced that I was going to
be a provost or a president somewhere.
And that sounded pretty good to me.
9/11 changed a lot of ideas.
But he gave me a series, just a list of things that one
needed for academic leadership.
And I kept it.
It was very important to me.
President Lubbers was very important to me.
And this is just wisdom from, well these are thoughts,
meanderings of an old man who was not doing it quite as well
as President Lubbers.
First of all you guys are part of the one percent.
One percent of the world has a college education.
Petra, I know you've heard me say that before.
Ian I know you've heard me say that before.
So what are you going to do?
What are you going to do with that?
That's leadership.
First is responsibility.
You have to be responsible for everything
when you're a leader.
You cannot pass it off to your subordinates.
You gave them the assignment.
They screwed it up.
It belongs to you.
You can hold them accountable, but the
mistakes belong to you.
Delegating authority.
Try to get the authority down to its lowest level and solve
problems at the lowest level.
That's a wonderful way to handle problems. Select the
best people that you can select.
However, you're not going to get to select everybody,
especially if some of the people you're
selecting have tenure.
--deal with the people you have and meet
them where you are.
George Patton said if a person has given you everything that
he is capable of giving you, there's no sense in asking him
for any more because he can't do it.
So deal with the people that you have and try to inspire
the people.
Have administrative courage.
Make decisions.
You do not have the luxury many times of getting all the
information to make the best decision possible.
Just make a decision.
Just do something.
Lead from the front.
Know yourself.
I'm not saying that in a Socratic sense.
I'm saying that know what your strengths and weaknesses are.
I tend to be a leader, but you need leaders and
I am the world's worst administrator.
If you looked at my office or asked my wife,
she will verify this.
Every time I've taken a leadership position, I bring
an administrator with me.
Some people are administrators.
I've mentored those people, and I tell them bring
a leader with you.
Some people have a rare gift.
They are both administrators and leaders.
I've seen very few of them, but some
people have those gifts.
But know where your strengths are and bring people to help
you manage because they will complement your strengths.
And then what I intended to speak on, but as we talked at
the table I'm going to cut this short and just kind of
open things up for you to ask about what's going
on around the world.
What I wanted to talk about was leadership and compassion.
Before he became the Honorable James Webb, senator from
Virginia, he was an official in the navy department.
Before that, he was an author.
Before that, he was a marine corps officer.
And before that he was a plebe at the United
States Naval Academy.
He wrote a series of books before re-entering public
service and the political life, and one of those books
was A Sense of Honor.
I read this book in 1983.
I read a passage in this book, and as soon as I read it I
wrote down in the margin words to live by.
I think this has everything to do with leadership, especially
for the one percenters.
The one who have a college education.
The book is about a young man who wants to be a
marine corps officer.
He's in Annapolis.
His name is William Fogarty.
His nickname is Wild Bill because he is gung ho for the
corp. Most marines are like that.
And he just cannot wait to be a United
States Marine Corp officer.
His hero, two term assignment in Vietnam, decorated combat
veteran, wounded, is Captain Lenahan, and Captain Lenahan
has taken Fogarty under his wing and he's teaching him how
to be a marine corps officer.
The day comes in the senior year for branch assignments,
and the young midshipmen are walking in to Smoke Hall.
If you've ever been to Annapolis, you know it's down
there on the end of campus.
They're walking into Smoke Hall to get their commissions.
Webb picks up the story, or I'm going to pick up Webb's
story when Fogarty is walking into Smoke Hall to get his

Fogarty walked down the hallways that had sucked up
his youth like a dry sponge.
Basking in memories, little pockets varnished with so many
layers of his own energy and pain that he knew a part of
him would always stay in Bancroft Hall.
He walked into Smoke Hall as if he were
marching in a parade.
Midshipmen and officers bustled about, giving the huge
old room a frenetic undirected energy that reminded him of an
open air marketplace.
But he had not come to shop.
The marines were set up in a small side room to the left as
he entered the hall, as if they had opened
a recruiting office.
A marine corps flag hung over the rooms doorway and a half
dozen officers stood at the entrance, like sirens luring
them into their sanctum.
They were fathers.
They were mothers.
They were brothers.
They were sisters.
After years of waiting at their fringes, he was finally
going to join them.

But in a moment it was over, like a marriage ceremony.
Years of anticipation and years of union linked together
with five minutes of formality.
Captain Lenahan was waiting for him by the doorway.
He put an arm on Fogarty's shoulder and handed him a
marine corps tie clip.
Take care of your troops Mr. Fogarty.
Not congratulations.
Not obey orders.
Not even welcome to the corp. Take care of your troops.
It was a commandment carried in Lenahan's combat scars as
if they were etched in stone.
Fogarty fingered the tie clasp.
It seemed an almost trivial gesture for such an
overwhelming moment, as if he had just won a trinket at a
carnival instead of entering a life's work.
But the emblem gleamed at him.
Lenahan patted his thick shoulder again and he felt
warm, thrilled, and explosive.
Take care of your troops Mr. Fogarty.
I will sir.
I swear to God I will.
Compassion for the people you serve whether you go into
business, teaching, spiritual life, the military, medicine.
Compassion for the people you serve and compassion for the
people you lead.

How strong of a team are you guys going to build?
You're going to be leaders.
You're destined.
You can't get out of it.
The dean's going to call you in and say I want you to start
a school of criminal justice and you'll say I
just want to teach.
But you have to do what you are destined to do.
How are you going to lead one percenters?
Well I can look in your eyes right now and
I'm getting an idea.
It is compassion.
A few years ago, a long time ago, golly I'm getting old.
My kids were really little, and I was teaching them the
great American game of Monopoly.
We were having fun.

They looked at that money.
They thought they were as rich as rich could be.
They thought it was the greatest thing in the world.
We were buying and selling and going to Park Place, going the
Boardwalk, and just having a great time.
And my daughter Katie, she's always lucky.
She's winning everything all the time.
My son Charlie wasn't being so lucky and he finally lost all
his money and I said OK.
I said Charlie your bankrupt.
That's the game.
Daughter looked at me and said what?
Charlie looked up at me, a tear was forming in his eye,
and I said well those are the rules.
You try to bankrupt the other person and then
they leave the game.
Charlie looked and said that's OK Dad.
That's OK Katie.
Katie looked at me like, what kind of game is this?!
And she looked at Charlie and said wait a minute, what if I
give Charlie half my money?
Well I guess we could keep playing.
OK, and she just scooted it over the board.
Charlie OK!
And we were rolling the dice, going to Park Place, going to
Boardwalk, and having a great time.
I was trying to teach them a board game.
They were trying to teach me leadership.
I hope it took.
We need people to go into the professions.
This world needs people so badly.
In a minute we're going to talk about what I think is a
new way of fighting.
I think war transformed in the French Revolution and we're
living in another transformation of that today.
We need people who understand this because the last thing we
want to do, if I can draw on my old law enforcement
background, the last thing any police officer
wants to do is fight.
You want to come home alive at the end of the shift.
We need people who understand.
Who understand much more than cable news presents.
Who understand that we don't need to spend our time yelling
at one another.
We need to spend our time talking to one another.
Who understand that there's diversity in the world.
At the Federal Investigative Academy in
Islamabad, I loved it.
The Imam would see me each morning, and he would say
peace be with you and my response would be asalaam
alaikum or wa'alikum asalaam.
And if I saw him first, I would go asalaam alaikum and
he would respond and also with you.
There's room for understanding.
What are you going to do one percenters?
Take care of your troops.
The world needs it.
Take care of your troops.