Interview: Randy Mayeux
Mayeux is a professional speaker and writer, and a doctoral candidate in Communication: Rhetoric and Public Address, from the University of Southern California. He gives more than 400 public presentations annually to various audiences, groups and conferences. He is the founder, and currently a consultant for Creative Communication Network, a full-service communication company offering speeches and presentations, training and custom consulting and meeting facilitation for individuals, groups and organizations. He has served as a professional member of the National Speakers Association, and more recently Previously, he spent much of his life in ministry, serving for 20+ years as a minister in the Church of Christ, including four years at the Preston Road Church of Christ in University Park in the Dallas area. He still regularly appears as a guest preacher in Dallas area churches. After graduating from Abilene Christian University with a B.A., where he lettered four years in tennis, he earned his M.A. from Pepperdine University, where he later served as chairman of the Chancellor’s Council. He continues to present briefings at the monthly meetings of the First Friday Book Synopsis and reviews regularly at the Urban Engagement Book Club sponsored by Central Dallas Ministries. Previously, he served as an adjunct faculty member at Pepperdine University, at Richland College, the University of Texas at Dallas, and currently at Eastfield College. He is also an Instructor for the Business Leadership Center at the SMU Cox School of Business, for which he has earned the Teaching Excellence Award.
Here is a brief excerpt from my interview of Mayeux. The complete interview is also available.
Morris: You now present programs that focus on business books. Which was the first business book that you read and have you since re-read it?
Mayeux: It had to be either Megatrends or The Popcorn Report. I remember thinking that both of them seemed to open up whole new worlds to me when I read them. And I suspect that Tom Peters was important when I first started paying attention to business books. It was a Tom Peters book that I presented at our very first First Friday Book Synopsis in April, 1998: The Circle of Innovation. Have I re-read these? No – I seldom re-read any book (other than the Nero Wolfe mysteries). I probably should, but there is always another new book to read…
Morris: Of all the non-business books you have read thus far, from which two or three have you learned the most about great leadership?
Mayeux: I have to start with Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf. He wrote: “The servant leader is servant first. “It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first.” Visionary leadership is described well in the Halberstam book, The Powers that Be. His stories of William Paley are quite breathtaking – Paley’s vision for television when there were very few actual televisions in the country was astonishing. And, for a practical book, “how should I function as a leader of actual people?” it is hard to beat Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. They include “seven essentials of encouraging” that should be must reading for any leader.
Morris: How about films that examine great leadership?
Mayeux: How about films and television? I really like the President Bartlett character (portrayed by Martin Sheen) on The West Wing and Isaac Jaffe on Sports Night (portrayed by Robert Guillaume), both characters created by Aaron Sorkin. The Isaac Jaffe character is a great leader. Check out the clip from Sports Night when Isaac Jaffe takes a stand (Isaac and the Confederate Flag,
). There are plenty of great leaders depicted in movies. It really is hard to choose. I think Ben Bradlee, as portrayed in All The President’s Men, had the right mix of correction, push, and encouragement for the then young Woodward and Bernstein team. And I agree with one blogger I once read who said that Finding Forrester shows a near perfect mentoring relationship.
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