Let's think about leadership. You found almost all the leaders in View From the Top had a "leadership catalyst" experience. For many of them, it was a program called the White House Fellows. You've studied other leadership programs. What set the White House Fellows apart from the rest?
They did four things very, very well. I studied this deeply because I care about developing leaders at Gordon. One, it uses a cohort approach. Most of the research today will show that leadership development works the best in group settings. Leadership is as much caught as it is taught. So that's very important.
Second, they were given substantive work assignments. If you have a program for leadership development, but there's no real work assignment, it lacks the teeth. It lacks responsibility and accountability and the feedback loop that's really important.
Third is the importance of a broadening education. You have to expose emerging leaders to senior leaders. They have to be able to rub shoulders, get to know them up close. And those senior leaders also have to be willing to speak honestly and off the record.
The fourth element—and other effective leadership development programs do this well—is public recognition. You have to be able to say, "These are really special people." And we're singling them out to say that they are worth our investment of time and energy.
Is that what the Presidential Fellows program at Gordon College looks like?
Yes, the Gordon Presidential Fellows program is exactly modeled on that. We take a competitive group of students that come from all different majors, all different backgrounds, and we choose a cohort of 10 students. They have the chance to work directly with one cabinet officer. I require them to literally sit in the office of the cabinet officer. Each cabinet office has a little conference table in their office. That's where the student works. The idea is that they will pick up on things, even when they're doing their own work.
The students I work with will hear me interview people, talk with donors on the telephone, think about strategy. All kinds of things. And then we'll have a chance to ask how it went. And then I have lunch with my fellows, usually on Saturdays.
Each year, we bring about ten guest speakers to campus, and we ask them to meet with the Presidential Fellows over breakfast or lunch. We often take fellows on travel with me or with the college. We single them out. They meet with the trustee. It's clearly our top leadership cohort on campus.
Tell me about the difference you see between the evangelicals you interviewed in Faith in the Halls of Power and those in View From the Top. Did you see a difference between evangelicals and their non-believing counterparts?
Seventy percent of the people in View From the Top are Christian. Now, they are not all practicing Christians, and they're not all serious about their faith. Faith in the Halls of Power drew a larger constituency of serious Christians. So if I compare the Christians in View from the Top with the non-Christians, then in general, the Christians I interviewed tended to be more grounded. They tended to be more oriented toward relationships in the workplace. They tended to be less frazzled with disappointment or failure. Now, that's not to say that's true for everyone. I'm speaking in broad generalities.