Belhaven On You Tube

Only 11% of high school students now use email regularly – to connect they use text, Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube.

There are nearly 200 videos on You Tube related Belhaven University – most we produced, and others come from students. You can find on You Tube everything about Belhaven from our faculty talking about their academic programs, to  sports highlights, to arts performances.

But this short outtakes video of our admission counselors is one not to miss.

BP’s Other Toxic Spill

I’m a regular contributor, writing about topics of leadership, to Faith and Leadership, the online discussion for issues of the Church, sponsored by Duke Divinity School.

Since I’m from Mississippi, their editor, Dr. Jason Byassee, asked me to write this month about the gulf oil spill.

Getting all I might want to say into their limited word count is difficult.  So here is the first part (they had to cut for space) and then it picks up with the article running on their blog:

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BP’s Other Toxic Spill

Here in Mississippi, the oil spill in our Gulf is personal.

It is our families who will be bankrupt because of tourism losses, our wetlands and beaches trashed for years to come, our fish and wildlife threatened, and our coastline home prices that will plunge.

Most tragically, it is our spirit that has been broken by BP.

After five years of tenaciously pulling our bootstraps to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina’s head-on collision with the Mississippi coast, we in the Gulf are now held hostage to an oil company who will not tell us what the future holds.

Katrina brought us to our knees.  The oil spill brings us to tears.

While their oil flow pollutes our environment and our economy, BP’s other toxic spill of misinformation has become just as damaging.  Their limited communication, filled with blaming, selfishness, and the slow drip of compounding uncertainty, magnifies the pain of the crisis.

If we had we known what was coming from the beginning (up to 40,000 barrels a day instead of only 1,000), we’d have reached for our bootstraps again and worked for solutions. All we’d ask now is to know as much as they know, even if they don’t have all the answers. Isn’t that what all of us want when we feel overwhelmed in a crisis?

In the Church, all leaders will eventually be called on to manage a crisis that is beyond our control.  And while pressing to finding solutions to the problem itself — economic challenges, moral failing, or dramatic change in direction — we must also communicate properly to those in our care, so we don’t also create a subsequent culture of anxiety that will become even more damaging than our root challenge.

A popular poster from the satirical Despair.com reads, “The secret to success is knowing who to blame for your failures.” And placing blame on those whom God has entrusted to us in ministry is just about that blatantly silly.  Leaders who carry the burden of bad news will be respected and trusted in the long run and are best equipped to offer comfort in time of crisis.

Three tools are critical for sharing bad news without placing blame.

Be Direct

Bad news needs to be shared quickly as soon as the initial facts can be gathered and the analysis of the situation is clear.

Occasionally leaders who enjoy the spotlight will rush the stage, running ahead of the assessment, but doing so creates mistrust if the information is not reliable. More typically leaders try to shield or downplay the bad news from others with the hope that a solution can be found before the circumstances become public.

Those under your care are part of the solution to any problem and you need them to know so they can help you.  Further, they are most likely to be resilient in the pain of a crisis when brought into the discussion early rather than being held at arm’s length.

Be Disclosing

The Apollo 13 spacecraft trouble became known to the world with the infamous words “Houston, we have a problem . . . ”.

Don’t sugarcoat, underplay, or discount the fullness of your challenge.  If the scope of the problem is uncertain, it is better to discuss the worst case among the possibilities and later to be pleasantly surprised than to offer rose coloring that is the first of many disappointments.

Good news can be leaked, allowing it to spread across your ministry team because it is likely to retain its integrity of factual base. But bad news must be announced, or the gossip and speculation will run far ahead of the facts.  Without the full story, those in your care will become fearful, assumptions will run rampant, and energy will be drained by uncertainty.

Be Discreet

It is important to understand the difference between correcting and blaming. The first is done in private. The second occurs in public.

Leaders must privately correct those who make mistakes and create personal growth plans to assure coworkers learn to fulfill their responsibilities. Part of that entails the leader forgiving for the mistake so they can get a fresh start and move forward rather than being weighed down by their errors. This is much different from pointing out the flaws of others publicly.

Shouldering blame won’t hurt leaders in the long term. But even if it does, the Bible clearly guides us on this point: “Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” (1 Peter 3:17).

Leadership during a crisis demands that we present the facts as fully and accurately as we can. This is a time when others need to feel confident they know as much as the leader about the challenge. Leaders may have learned to live comfortably with a high level of ambiguity and uncertainty, but others have not and they need to have as much detailed information as possible.

Leaders who cannot transparently define the problem in a crisis cannot be trusted to find a viable solution.  Having all the answers is not vital. “I don’t know” is not a bad answer if you don’t know.  But others will only trust you in the eventual solution if you don’t disguise the struggle ahead.

Whether you’re the fourth largest company in the world or a ministry leader in a crisis, trust cannot be bought with public relations campaigns.  One of these days soon, BP will tell us they have the crisis fixed and new safeguards in place to assure we will never have another oil spill like this. Will you believe them?

Roger Parrott is President of Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi.  He is the author of The Longview: Lasting Strategies for Rising Leaders (David C. Cook).

International Ballet Competition

For the next two weeks our campus is the “Olympic Village” for the best ballet dancers from around the world.  The flags of the nations of the competitors fly over our student center.

The International Ballet Competition is held in Jackson every four years and the competitors, coaches, and support team live on our campus while here for the most prestigious prize in ballet.

If you’re not familiar with the IBC, take a look HERE.  We are proud to be part of this important international event.

Founded in 1978 by Thalia Mara, the first USA International Ballet Competition took place in 1979 and joined the ranks of Varna, Bulgaria (1964); Moscow, Russia (1969); and Tokyo, Japan (1976).

These first competitions were given sanction by the International Dance Committee of UNESCO’s International Theater Institute.

Today, international ballet competitions flourish worldwide, and the USA IBC in Jackson remains one of the oldest and most respected competitions in the world.

In 1982, the United States Congress passed a Joint Resolution designating Jackson as the official home of the USA International Ballet Competition. Jackson held subsequent competitions in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Wade Broyles Picked by MLB Tampa Bay Rays

Just when I thought this incredible Blazer athletic year had come to a close, we received this news late yesterday afternoon:

Broyles Selected by Tampa Bay on Day Three of MLB Draft

New York, NY-Belhaven baseball senior relief pitcher Wade Broyles was selected in the 40th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft on Wednesday afternoon by the Tampa Bay Rays. Broyles was the 1,211th overall pick in this year’s draft which is conducted over a span of three days and is comprised of 50 rounds.

Broyles is the third Blazer in the past two years to be drafted joining Chanse Cooper and Craig Westcott who were drafted last year.

Broyles, a senior relief pitcher from Madison, MS, anchored the back end of the Blazers bullpen recording 14 saves during the 2010 season which ranked him second in the NAIA in that category. The 14 saves by Broyles is also a new Belhaven single season school record that was previously held by Kyle Medley who notched 13 saves in 2009. His save total is also tied for fourth best for a single season in NAIA history.

Broyles went 3-0 during the season and posted an ERA of 1.54 with 75 strikeouts in 41 innings of work. He allowed just seven earned runs all season and held opposing hitters to a .149 batting average.

“I’m proud of the accomplishments of Wade Broyles and being selected in the Major League Baseball Draft,” says Belhaven Head Coach Hill Denson. “Wade was one of the key components of our pitching staff this season which helped lead us to the NAIA World Series. He was nearly unhittable as a closer and was automatic out of the bullpen. It was a big day for him and we wish him the best of luck with this opportunity to pursue his professional baseball career.”

Belhaven just finished one of the most successful seasons in school history by making their first appearance in the NAIA World Series and tying the school record for most wins in a season with 44. The Blazers went 44-17 in 2010 and posted the same record during the 2007 campaign.

What A Season! – And the Next Chapter Begins in Only 66 Days

The baseball team is about home from the World Series.  They were eliminated yesterday morning with an 8-4 loss to Embry-Riddle, who in turn, beat the #1 seed in the tournament, Lewis-Clark University.

But we didn’t leave without upsetting all the predictions by beating last year’s World Series champions – Lubbock Christian University.

Interestingly, it appears as if the two teams that beat us, could be the final two schools competing for the championship in the final game on Thursday.

We finished the season with a record setting number of wins, 44, and  only  17 losses on the year.  This was our first appearance ever in the World Series.

Congratulations to Head Coach Denson, Assistant Head Coach Smith, and Assistant Coaches King and Buescher.  And congratulations to a group of talented and committed players who gave us such a spectacular baseball season.

Along with the challenges of facing the other top 9 teams in the nation, the Blazers made news at the World Series for  overcoming an incredible trip to get to Lewiston, Idaho.

As reported by the Point Loma Nazarene web site, who we lost to in the opening game:

They had a heck of a travel plan to get to Lewiston. They bused 3.5 hours to Birmingham to catch a Southwest Airlines flight to Phoenix and then Oakland and then Seattle, where they spent the night. Then they bused five hours on Wednesday to Lewiston

Looking ahead – Fall athletes report to campus in only 66 days!  It will be fun to see what next year holds.

Congratulations Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics, Scott Little, and to all our coaches, players, trainers, students, parents, and fans for making 2009-10 our most overall successful athletic year in our history.

Go Blazers!