"Buck" Rodgers Presents Heffern Lecture
April 1, 2010
F.G. "Buck" Rodgers, one of USA Today's top five most requested speakers, presented the Gordon Heffern Business Ethics Lecture on Tuesday, April 4 in the Dewald Chapel of Mount Union College.
Rodgers, author of The IBM Way and Getting the Best Out of Yourself and Others, began his career with IBM in 1950 as a sales trainee. Eventually he became the president of U.S. operations and the vice president of sales and marketing. A native to Alliance, Rodgers said he was happy to speak because of the "great respect Mount Union holds."
Rodgers said that the world today is a great time of change. Out of the top 25 businesses in the country during the industrial revolution, only about two remain in that boundary today. He said, "The only thing that separates success from failure is the development of talent and correct positioning of the people."
Along with this factor, Rodgers listed four other "magics (or qualities)" that are prominent in successful organizations.
The first, respect for the individual, covered everything from returning phone calls to being on time for meetings. Treating your services as though they were the best in the world was the second factor. Expecting superiority from what people do is also important for a company to become successful was the third.
"There is one other ingredient to success, and that is the skill of leadership," added Rodgers.
Rodgers defined leadership as "the ability of an individual, through their actions, to motivate others to a higher level of achievement." Leadership comes from being able to understand yourself, therefore creating self confidence. In addition, there can never be a separating of responsibility and accountability and asking advice is, "the greatest compliment someone could ask for; you're involving them in the problem," said Rodgers.
Rodgers left the audience with his closing thoughts by saying, "There is no substitution for good human relations, but I think two things need to keep increasing."
The first was education and the second was communication. "In the United States," Rodgers said, "there is not enough money spent on continuing education. The fact is that people never stop learning." Communication is also vital to convey to people what is happening.
Rodgers has received three honorary doctoral degrees from Miami University, Mount Union College and Hartwick College. This shows his appreciation of continuing education. He has also served on nine corporate boards and three university councils.
The Gordon Heffern Business Ethics Lecture was established by Mount Union College Trustee Gordon E. Heffern. It was created to encourage dialogue about the practical ways in which spirituality can transform the workplace. Heffern presented the inaugural lecture in 2004.