The Higher Ed Marketer
The Higher Ed Marketer

Episode · 5 months ago

Leadership Lessons: Clarify Vision & Tell Authentic Stories

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

An essential part of a leader’s job is setting a grand vision for the organization and imbuing its people with a shared purpose. That goes for any organization, whether it be a church or a higher ed institution.

Dr. Mark Jobe, President at Moody Bible Institute, has experience leading both.

In this episode, he shares what he's learned about leadership over the course of his career, including why clarifying vision and purpose is so important.

We discuss:

- How Dr. Jobe frames leadership in terms of growth and impact

- The importance of proactively telling authentic stories

- The Vision Script Initiative

Mentioned during the podcast:

- Bold Steps

- PastorMarkJobe.com

- Solving For the Right Things in the Right Way: IU Strategies to Retain Students w/ Eleanor Berman

- How To Win The Loyalty of Your Students w/ Exceptional University Offerings w/ Ethan Braden

To hear more interviews like this one, subscribe to Higher Ed Marketer on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your preferred podcast platform.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Higher Ed Marketer in your favorite podcast player.

I want a double portion of your spirit. It's a challenge you prayer to pray a double portion, and so we started to ask ourselves what would a double portion of impact that Moody Bible was it to look like. You're listening to the Higher Ed Marketer, a podcast geared towards marketing professionals in higher education. This show will tackle all sorts of questions related to student recruitment, don't a relations, marketing, trends, new technologies and so much more. If you are looking for conversations centered around where the industry is going, this podcast is for you. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the High Ed Marketer podcast. My name is troy singer and I'm here with my cohost and honorary super bowl referee, Bar Taylor, where each week our quest is the seek out higher ed marketers and executives and gain from them, to their stories and through their advice, tangible things that you can take back and implement right away. Today we are graced by Dr Mark Joe. He is with Moody Bible Institute and we're going to talk to Dr Job about leadership lessons for major impact in growth. He gave us a semester of leadership lessons within forty minutes. Yeah, I think it was a really great conversation and I'm really excited to share this with everyone. And again, you know, mark has a tremendous amount of of leadership experience as well as what he's doing today at the Moody Bible Institute. It's a hundred and thirty five year old institution, massive in the size. I mean many of you might think about it's just that Little Bible College in Chicago. They've got, you know, a massive radio network, they've got a print publishing division. All that falls under the leadership team that Marcus put together, and so I think that it's a it's a great conversation about leadership. It's also a great conversation about authentic storytelling and how to do that in different environments that were in today. And so, you know, regardless of your type of institution, I think that this episode would be really, really pragmatic and beneficial for you. Yes, here's our conversation with Dr Job. It's our pleasure to have Dr Mark Job, president of Moody Bible Institute, here on the hired market a podcast and before we go into our conversation with him about the leadership lessons for a massive impact and growth. Would like to know, mark, if you could give us overview of the Moody Bible Institute and what all comes under your authority. Yes, thank you, troy, and are great to be with you today. Moody Bible is stitute probably, like many organizations of higher institution, is complex. We are in the hot part of Chicago. We have been around for a hundred...

...thirty six years, started by a high powered evangelist by the name of D L Moody who was quite a force to be reckoned with. And so currently moody is a both a school. We have an Undergrad school with students living on campus downtown, about fourteen hundred students that live on campus. We have a total about threezero students. We have a seminary, seminary in Michigan. We have an aviation school in Spokane, Washington, and that's education. Of course, online education as well. But we also have a publishing arm that sells about three point five million books the year in the religious Christian nitch area. And then we also have a broadcasting network. So we have one point five million listeners listen every month and that goes throughout all the country. We own various stations and that works. So it's all under one umbrella called the Moody Bible Institute, but it has three full stool we like to call it. That literally impacts tens of millions of people every year. That's great. Thank you for that that introduction there, marking, really appreciate having you on the show and it's it's fascinating to me. I mean that's obviously a lot, a lot of under your purview and your team's purview, but the same time, I think you know, being being a new president at Moody in the last few years, I understand that there's there's some ways that you kind of look at it from a leadership standpoint. That really kind of helps with that idea of how to massively grow, how to, you know, provide massive impact for the mission. Once you tell me a little bit about how you frame that and and how that works from from your experience. Yeah, so first of all let me say that I do not come from higher education background. I do have a doctorate degree. I come from the ministry background. Pastor in Chicago for thirty five years, urban setting started a non for profits so that's been my world and so when Moody First asked me to come and consider, I was reluctant because I thought I love Moody. But you know, that's not the world that I live in. But what I've come to realize is that every ministry, every organization, whether it's Tire Institution, higher at institution or whether it's a church, the principles are very similar. Leadership is leadership in whatever fields you're at. And so when I started at Moody, I thought what would I like to see, what would we like to see as a team in the next decade? And so I'm a terrible...

...maintainer, but I get very fired up when there's a challenge that I think that's worth investing in. And so we started to envision and pray of bold prayer, and our bold prayer was that of a lie shaw the profit when there was a transition between a senior profit to the next guy. He said I want a double portion of your spirit. It's a challenging prayer to pray a double portion, and so we started to ask ourselves what would a double portion of impact at Moody Bible is it to look like? And so, for us. It look like doubling the number of the students that were in pacting. It meant double the number of listeners that we have via radio and digital, doubling the number of books and readers that we have, which seemed like a very, very challenging prayer to pray, vision to have, but we felt like that's what we want to do. So from thirty seven months ago, when I started, we have been focused on that. What does it mean, not just numerically to double our impact, but spiritually, impact of students, impact on leaders, leaders, and so that's what we've been going for and it has been a has been a great challenge and the team has bought into it. We're on the same page. Someone told me you must be doing something right because I heard a janitor talking to someone else and we said, well, this is about doubling the impact, and so the janitors are talking about doubling the effect. You know that it's seat down the ranks into the mass of employers. We have a great team working on that way now. I think that's great and I love the fact too, that I think you just pointed out there with that story of the janitor even talking about it. I think sometimes I mean the leadership, whether we're the president of an institution or whether we are, you know, a director of communications or a project manager, there's still leadership that's involved in that and I think that kind of what you're saying is having some clarity of that and and making sure that you can kind of help guide those that are that are a part of the team. It's not this and it's also, like you said, bold visionable prayers, but I think that we, you know, sometimes I think we get kind of confused that, well, I'm the leader, I'm supposed to know everything and it's supposed to be on my shoulders to make that happen, even even if I'm a leader within my small department on Campus and we're talking to hire ad marketers. They're still this idea, though, that as leaders, it's our responsibility to know where we start and stop with what we know. Is that true? Yeah, you know, I look at leadership. I have a limited responsibility. Sometimes people look at what I'm doing and they say, how do you do so much? How can you keep...

...track? But good leader has to narrow down, I think, what are their primary responsibilities? And so I view my primary responsibilities as number one. Number one clarifying vision. Where are we going and what is our mission? And so vision and mission are a little bit different. Mission is the purpose why we exist. Vision is in a timely fashion. Where are we going? Vision can be five years out, ten years out. How are we implementing that mission? So I think it's a it's the responsibility of a leader to say this is where we're going. Max Dupre, who taught a out a leadership, said the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. If you don't define reality, if you don't define our current state, where we're going, someone else will define it for you. So we started to define this is who we are. Let's be clear about who we are and who were not, and let's be clear about what we want to accomplish in the next ten years. The second responsibility, I believe, of a leader, at least in my case, is to gather the team, the right team of competent leaders to be able to implement a strategy move things forward. And that's not always easy to do, but that was part of the response ability when I stepped into Moody. And then, I think, finally, part of the responsibility of a good leader is then to embrace a strategy. Once you have the vision, you have the team, you articulate a strategy together. I believe that's formed together, and then metrics to say how are we progressing towards that? So those are my three pime primary responsibilities. Now I may do a lot of other things in subcategories, like do podcasts for Barton Troy, but my primary responsibilities fly in those three areas. That's great. I also know from a previous conversation that you take pride in knowing what you don't know and you use the story of how, when you first took over the leadership role for Moody, that there were a recruiter to that was crucial to your success as you set out on the journey. Could you share those stories with us? Yeah, absolutely. I think that comes under the category of bringing together the right team. When I started at Moody, Moody had just well, there was several people that had transition out of their office. The three top roles really the president, the COO and this and the provos. So those are very important in a higher edge education setting and all three of those had trend asitioned out around the same time, and so I...

...stepped in and I looked over Moody and I realized, okay, I come from a pastor background, a leadership background. I believe in the mission. I can articulate that I can inspire people to train men and women to live on purpose, on mission for the cause of Christ. I understand that. But this is a big business operation as well. There's organizational dynamics, there's strategies, it's there's quite a few employees, were multi campus, were scattered around the country. I need someone that really understands business. And so there was a gentleman on the board by the name of Mark Wagner and he had been the president of all dreams and obviously he had worked his way from way down in the mail room all the way up to the presidency and I thought he would be a great cooo. I talked to some of the other board members about it and he had stepped into some volunteer responsibilities and I said, hey, you think he would consider it? They laughed at me and said he's not going to take on that responsibility. But I sat down my wife and I sat down with him and his wife in October. I started in January and I said, mark, I'm stepping into this role and I know that you have the decisions to make. I had heard that he wanted to transition maybe into retirement, and I need someone like you, with your skills and your understanding, to come help help me make an impact for the kingdom. You've helped walbreves make a lot of money and but come help make a spiritual impact with me. And we talked for quite a while that would look like and he said I'll pray about it. Five days later he called me up and said I can't get away from the idea of making an impact, so I'm going to say yes. And so I told him, Hey, mark, I don't even know if I can hire you because I'm not eat. I haven't even started yet, but I think we can work out those details. And so mark, who's never worked at a non for profit, never worked in higher education, he's worked in the business sector, the pharmaceutical sector, he was just a great guy to bring a balance to my gifting that I did not have. And so and then we needed someone to head up education. Neither mark nor I were experts in education, and Moody, you know, as primarily an educational institution. And so we were able to recruit and hire someone that was seasoned and education by the name of Dr Dwight Perry. That was his field, he understood it, and so those are some of the top lead leaders. But it was my responsibility to say who...

...needs to form this team, and they're just doing an outstanding job. It's hard to go places if you don't have the team to help take you there. That's great. Love that story and love how that, how that I'll plays out in place together. I think that's so, so important and again I think it can apply to so many different ways and I think that you know, just kind of also tell me a little bit about you know, over the course of the last thirty, six, thirty seven months, you know there's obviously some challenges that all of us is faced with with the pandemic and and with, you know, the the economic issues around that and even you know, whether whether it's retail sales or whether it's people coming into into higher education, everyone's had a challenge. But tell me a little bit about how you and your team kind of work through those physical challenges. Yeah, well, I have to echo everybody else to saying this has been one of the most disruptive challenging times for institutions, organizations and leaders to navigate through. And, by the way, if you're leading something right now, I want to just commend you. It won't always be this way. It hasn't always been this way. I had to remind my twenty eight year old son that stepped into pastor and recently. Hey, these last three years have been in intense crash course on leadership. That probably puts you ahead ten years into the leadership curve because you had to deal with challenges and political polarization and racial issues and economic issues and virus issues and well, when we stepped in, obviously I didn't know that a year after we had begun to announce and pray for a double of the impact, that we would be hit by a massive global pandemic that would seek to almost shut everything down. But we actually viewed it a bit as an accelerator. It's been disruptive, but I also see it as the great accelerator. It has thrust US forward a decade. Technology has sped forward some of the trends that were happening, even off site or remote working. I think that was coming anyways. I think the virus has just kind of accelerated it. For so we've been in this capsule of time that has compressed the speed of change. Leaders have felt that, you know, in the midst of this. A couple of things I would say. One, I think Mark Wagon Arcoo. He had the foresight to believe the created task force to handle this disruption and in the beginning of the Task Force made...

...of about twenty thirty people met every single day. Every single day they were meeting overcommunicating. That was just some good experience. That said, we need to overcommunicate during this time, as we got into this volatile season, we also discovered that it was a time where there was a lot of very strong opinions about a lot of different things and it was a time where people were people were expressing their opinions, often times in a very strong way, towards the leadership and what we were doing. And for a little season I felt like we just were responding to negative social media post to negative comments, to negative stories, and it felt like for a while we were just on the defense and I had a long conversation with our head of marketing and I said, you know, I feel like we're just not saying much, but just waiting to have to respond to the next critical, negative reaction. We need to be much more proactive in telling what is going well, telling our stories of our graduates and the impact that's happening. And so we did. We determined we're not just going to wait around for the next negative story to pop up, that we're going to start telling these great stories that we have to tell. We told the story of one of our graduates who, during the pandemic in the city of Chicago, was able to roll up his sleeves with a bunch of volunteers and feed, at one time, thirtyzero people a week. Over the last twenty months, fed two million people. A Moody Graduate of rolling up his sleeves engaging in the community. Many of this in immigrant communities, and well, we realize is we have so many good stories to tell and we need to be proactive in telling those stories and compelling ways, rather than just saying back and trying to play the defensive. I love that idea because I think that, especially in today's environment, it's very easy. It's so there's just so much polarization of everything and I think that if we can be proactive and telling the stories of our institution of the mission that we represent what we're doing. I think that's going to be so much more impactful for those constituents that we have, whether they are already constituents or they might be willing to become a prospective student or family, those types of things. So are you what kind of ways are you telling those stories? I mean, I guess this gets into a little bit more of the pragmatic and practical ways because, I mean, you have those stories. From a practical standpoint, how are you getting those stories out? About About Moody Bibal Institute? Well, you know, you have the traditional ways of telling stories, with alumni magazines and so forth, and so they've been that's been happening a little bit more aggressively, but we've also sought to tell the stories a little bit...

...more visually and video being able to capture the images, I think is crucial for institutions nowadays. Most higher education institutions, I don't think, are probably that good at that. I just had a talk just this morning with our it people and I was responding to some improvements that we could make and the head of it, Johnson, say that he told me this. He said I get it. He said. What I realized is that we have to operate much more as a production company than an audio visual support team. And I said, you know, John, you got it, because nowadays are streaming, like we for example, we live stream our chapels. We have events on campus that become the windows to the world. Not only are we disseminating a message outwardly, but we are also giving people a peek into the institute, into our world. And so our team, and he told me, Hey, we've been playing a lot of catch up, but our team has become much more, much more adept at telling stories with students creatively through visual content and through our different online platforms, are social media platforms. That has become much more the way that we're telling stories. Now. Now you have an older, older constituent that maybe aren't as versatile and adept to social media, so you don't want to disengage them. There still going to be the printed exactly. So people that are, you know, in their S S S, they may not be as adept to social media, so I think print is still important for them. I told our marketing guy, hey, I'd like to I'd like to have a video videographer right in the car with me my first day at Moody and just capture some of my thoughts as I'm starting on campus, what it looks like. So he wrote around in the car with me and I'm driving to the institute. Try Not to get to distracted. Don't want any car accident and he just traveled with me in the car and I'm talking to him about to start. This is my first day. I'm excited about it. This is why I took this position. Parked the car followed me out and I'm walking into the institute, go into the office, I'm saying hi to people. You know, I think there was a there was a time when the stories that were told were very clean cut, formalized, very produced right, and that was what people expect. That I think the greatest stories nowaday, are authentic, the raw a they're...

...less produced, the real, their unedited and people have a sense of I can I get who these people are, and so I believe that we need to be telling more raw, authentic stories, especially the our video platforms. That's great. I must admit that I find you inspirational and you are a wonderful storyteller. So I'm sure if that's permeating through your organization that you are very effective of getting those stories acrossed. Earlier you had talked to joy. You're welcome. Earlier you had mentioned the give me double and I would like to go to what I believe is titled The Vision Script Initiative, where you've taken that concept and then you utilize that and kind of formalize that with your team for massive impact and growth in the organization. Could you explain to the listeners the Vision Script Initiative? Yeah, again, I think that it's a responsibility of the leader to try to paint a clear picture of the future and typically we set goals that are numeric, which I think they should be. We have to measure our progress and so we had, almost from day one numeric goals. What does it mean to double publishing? What does it mean to double education? What does it mean to double broadcasting, listeners, readers and students? But most people, to be honest with you, are not inspired by numbers per se. Most people are inspired by the three dimensional picture of what that means. And so I started to realize as people dug in a little bit more and say Hey, what does the doubling impact really mean? I realized I need to do a better job at painting the picture, and so I believe I first heard of this concept through Michael Hyatt, who does some coaching and so forth, and this was much more for personal development, but I thought it would be great for organizational development. I was in Mexico with my wife and I was thinking about our marriage and our children and our family and I was inspired through some of the reading about that to paint a picture of what it would look like over the next ten years for us. So I did a vision marriage script for us, like I want to laugh more than ever before. I want to have some adventures. When I look around, this is what I want to see. This is the kind of relationship I want to have with my children, this is how I want us to be experiencing our life in Taine years from now. And it was...

...a and then we read it together. It was a very compelling, powerful description of the future that I thought it was helpful for us in our marriage and our family. But I was inspired by that actually to say, you know, this is the same thing that I need to do for Moody, and so I got away, set down and I wrote out if I were to step into the year two thousand and twenty six. I did a little bit shorter because two thousand and twenty six is our hundred year aniversary of our first broadcast, it's our hundred and forty anniversary of existing as an institution, as a school, and so I sort of went forward into the future. I said, if I were to look around in two thousand and twenty six, what would I want the culture to look like? What would I want our team to be celebrating? What would I want the students to look like? The atmosphere on the school are finances, our engagement with our society? What are we celebrating? What are people coming to learn from us? What are we highlighting? And about a two page paper I include education, broadcasting, publishing, culture, dynamics, finances, spiritual health and atmosphere on our campus, impact and then I read it to our executive team, I've read it to our board and I've read it to our staff as well, and I've had so many people come up to me after it and say now I get it, now I get it, and you know we're wired that way. Troy, if you're listening to a story, there's a lot of stats, a lot of good information. You can disengage, but your mind is wired to engage as soon as you hear a story of picture is painted and I believe that many of us, as we go forward into the future, we need a clear picture. It needs to connect with our emotions, it needs to we need to be able to see it more clearly as we move forward and I think that's part of the responsibility and job of the leader to do so. And so now we have a clear picture of the challenges and people refer to that. Hey, in the vision script you mentioned this like one of the things we want to do is honor people better on their way out, that retire or transition, and we just had a phenomenal honoring of a couple that's been around for forty years and I just thought this is part of our vision script. We want to honor people well as they transition into this next season. That's great. It's very inspiring and Dr Joe, we...

...end every episode by asking our guests if there is a quick piece of advice that they could offer that could be implemented by a listener right away. What would that be? If you're the leader of a team, I would challenge you to clarify, clarify, clarify where you're going and what your mission is. I believe that there's a lot of vague fuzziness, lack of clarity, and it makes teams not function at their best, and so if you're a part of the team where there's lack of clarity, then I would encourage you to set down with wherever's leading the team and maybe give a little nudge and say, you know, I'd like to I really believe in this place, but I feel like we need to be more clear about who we are, what we're trying to accomplish and what does it mean to win in our setting. Wonderful, well said and again very inspiring. For our listeners that would like to find out more about you or maybe even reach out to connect with you, what would be the best way for them to do so? Yeah, well, there's a lot of ways of following me. If you would like to. I'll mention a couple of them. I have a instagram account. I have, of course, of FACEBOOK, AC out. I'm on Linkedin. I also do a daily radio program called both steps. There's a lot of information message that you can get there, and they can even go to pastor mark jobcom and I have a website there as well, and all things movie. By the way, of course, you can just Google Moody Bible Institute and there's a lot of stuff that's there. Thank you, Dr Job. I've sincerely enjoyed our conversation and listening to your leadership advice. Bart do you add any final thoughts or words that you would like to share? Yeah, just a couple things I wanted to kind of pull out of our conversation just as our final points. Really appreciate what Dr Job talked about with authentic storytelling. I think that that's something that you know, just you might go back and listen a little bit more about that, about especially how, if we can be authentic in our storytelling, and especially storytelling that is visual and and creates emotion and we'll really allows people to kind of Peek into your institution. I think that's going to be so critical and really a nice pragmatic point to take away. And I also really liked a lot of what he talked about with leadership. And again, if you'RE A if you're president of a college or if you're a leader of a marketing team, I think that clarity of vision and the way he articulated that was so important. It's what we've heard from so many of our other guests, whether it was Elin or Bierman from Indiana University. She's marketing off stree talked about the clarity of vision is what keeps the silos at bay and their institution. We've talked to you...

...and brightened a couple times at perdue and he's often talking about the idea that, you know, having that vision being the drivers of the marketing in the brand on campus rather than just the driven to make something look prettier by Monday. It all comes back to that clarity of vision, whether you're receiving it, whether you're giving it. I think that the more clear that we can be with each other, the better off effective that we're going to be in our jobs, and so really appreciate that and really appreciate the time today. Thank you, Dr Job. That brings us to the end of another episode of the High Ed Marketer podcast. Our show is sponsored by Taylor solutions and education marketing and branding agency and by thing patented, a marketing execution company combining personalization and customization for engagement success. My name is troy singer. On behalf of my cohost, Bart Taylor. Thank you for joining us. You've been listening to the Higher Ed Marketer. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you're listening with apple PODCASTS, we'd love for you to leave a quick rating of the show. Simply tap the number of stars you think the podcast deserves. Until next time,.

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