4 Lifetime Lessons From An Excellent Governor

Do you ever wonder how the wheels of power turn?   How a person with millions of people looking to them for leadership manages his life, his time, and his priorities?  

I had six wonderful years holding a weekly Bible study for Louisiana Governor Mike Foster and his top staff.  He didn’t know it, but while I was teaching him the Bible, he was teaching me excellent leadership! 

Here are the 4 main lessons I observed about him that made a lifetime impact on me:

1.       Surround yourself with excellent people.

•       You are not that good at everything.  Micro-management is the death of every organization.  Your #1 skill in leadership is finding, assembling, and motivating a great team of “5 star talent.”  Then, let them lead.

•       I observed the running of an amazing team:  press secretary, private assistant, security detail, grounds and maintenance, attorneys, and legislative leaders.  High quality, high capacity leaders.  That’s what can run a high level organization.

•       When a surgeon is operating on your loved one, your first question is, “How good is the guy?”  Select the finest 8-10 people you know in the world to help you accomplish the greatest task in the world. 

2.       Never stop learning.

•       To my amazement, Governor Foster enrolled in LAW SCHOOL during his second term as governor!    He graduated from Law School while running the state because he wanted to know more about how laws and bills work in society.

•       Never stop learning.  Someone asked him, “Why are you in law school in your seventies?  He replied, “I am going to be in my seventies whether I am in law school or not!” 

Select the finest 8-10 people you know in the world to help you accomplish the greatest task in the world.
— Larry Stockstill

3.       Be a public SERVANT.

•       Governor Foster was immensely popular.  Part of that popularity came when he donated his salary to teachers.  What did that mean?  He worked for the people of Louisiana for free for eight years. 

•       The focus of leadership should never be to receive but to give.  Jesus said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.”  Get your motives right.

4.       Be the same behind the scenes. 

•       Teaching that study at the dining table in the rear of the Governor’s mansion was entering right into his private world weekly.  His mannerisms, attitude, and humour were identical there as when he was holding a huge press conference or speaking to the Legislature.

•       It is very important to maintain consistency in your demeanor.  People can spot a fake, a hypocrite, an insincere leader.  Word travels fast that you are hard to live with, demanding, and obnoxious.  Focus on sincerity with each person behind the scenes and your greatness will increase exponentially.

Excellence.  There's a reason they called them, "His Excellence, the Governor."

Be an excellent delegator, learner, servant, and person. 

These four qualities will, obviously, bring you straight to the top.