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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, November 5, 1998. Interview S-0016. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

David Campbell's leadership qualities at the Center for Creative Leadership

Gryskiewicz speaks at greater length about the leadership capabilities of David Campbell as a vice president for the Center for Creative Leadership, following the 1973 reorganization. In particular, Gryskiewicz emphasizes Campbell's goals for the company, focusing on the development of a three-part program that included staff, curriculum, and marketing. In addition, he describes Campbell as a leader especially oriented towards humanistic interactions.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, November 5, 1998. Interview S-0016. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JOSEPH MOSNIER:
Tell me about David Campbell's arrival in '73 and sort of what he meant.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
Really a breath of fresh air, naive fresh air. I think it was just middle western honesty fresh air, naive person.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
Naive?
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
Naive in the sense of doing things without considering hierarchy. Doing things without saying that whole thing why not, asking the why not question. And here's another little simple thing like that phone call. Campbell had some scholar in town and we all went somewhere. And it was getting late, so Campbell said, "Let's go have dinner." I had never been invited out to dinner at any place. And then, he ordered a bottle of wine at the table. I had never. And then he paid for it. Because with Holmes, we split up our beers. And Campbell said, "Sure, the Center's going to pay for it." And I remember asking Campbell about that. I said, "Do you remember that?" He said, "Yeah, I remember that, sure." Why did you? He said, "Well, I just took the bill into Tom and told him to pay me." And Tom did. Tom paid him. So I guess it was just like me making that phone call for the first time. So there was that fresh air sense of let's get on with it. I introduced David at a conference last summer, this summer, in Istanbul. And I introduced him as the Nike psychologist, "Just do it." And he just does it. And some people would say it's not refined, it's not complete. Now while these guys are twiddling their thumbs refining something, David is already onto three levels past them. And that's the way he ran in the shop as well. In that northbound train lecture that David did.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
I don't know what—tell that story.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
You haven't heard that story yet?
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
No.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
He called us al into the room with Dorn and the people working for Dorn and said, "I've been told there are three things I need and one is a staff, second is a curriculum and third is a brochure or a catalog to be an educational institution to protect it." He said, "I've been told that by the Richardsons or the lawyer for the Richardsons." And he said, "I've got a staff." He said, "I can get a catalog, but I need something to put in that catalog, and we will have a train." And remember, we were trying this and trying that. And he said some incredible date like two weeks or six weeks, I want this.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
No, I think it was two days I want this.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
Was it?
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
Yeah. I think there were a few pieces of paper that resulted from that and I think it's February, '74. And he says to Bob Dorn 48 hours, or I'll figure it out myself.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
That's right, that's right. That's exactly what he said. So that was it. That was what we called the northbound train.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
But I take it that although this is in the form of some type of ultimatum, we've got to do this, that Campbell didn't ruffle feathers in the wrong way.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
No, he did not. I don't know if it was just his style. Here's another way that made him human to me, when he gave that speech, he was nervous. I mean you sit and do this in front of a bunch of assessment psychologists, right? So we're looking at his behavior as well. And he was nervous. His voice was cracking, his hand was shaking when he said this. So he was passionate about what he was saying.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
So this is not somebody who walked in the door in 1973 and soon is in this role of vice president for research who is just stomping around as if he's a field general who's been doing this all his life?
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
No, not at all. Not at all. And because of his human quality, you were more likely to follow or do the things as opposed to a Doug Holmes or opposed to Jim Farr, for me personally. So I saw the human side of David all the time, and he was willing to talk about his human side. I have—did anyone ever share with you the list that he would read every first of January?
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
No.
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
I have that. I was going to take it with me. It's in my briefcase. I'm going to see David on Sunday night. I was going to say David, do you remember this list? And he would read over this list of what we should do to be good citizens of CCL.
JOSEPH MOSNIER:
Oh, really?
STAN GRYSKIEWICZ:
Yes, great. I've got to get it. One was simple things like whenever you're working on a piece of paper, date it. Be kind to each other. And all these things of respecting clients. And he said, "I just feel like it's a need to read this once a year so we have this as a community." And that's when we would all sit in the auditorium. There were less than 40 people here. And the other thing he would do to show his human side, which some people may have gotten twirked about, but I thought it was fine, was whenever he would travel, he would take photograph slides and he would show his slide shows. So the staff meeting would always end with another slide show somewhere. And I love to travel. I always have this urge to travel, so I loved to see his slides. There was only one time that I got a viscerally reaction to his slide show was after having spent a year in England and realizing how difficult it was to make things happen like phone calls or travel or anything like that. And he had just talked about how he had traveled across the country and been here and showing all this slide show. All of a sudden I realized there are a lot of people who can't relate to this, David, because they can't make it out for themselves. And I never had that experience until I got outside of our culture here and lived in England for a year and came back with that. And I was almost ill to my stomach. I could feel my stomach reacting. I said, "Now I understand why some people may be reacting to this, David." And he took that counsel. And he still continued to do it, but he listened to me. And we had a great run-in with each other in London setting up the program in London. And I sensed he was running that project, and he was making a lot of what we call L-1 decisions, making decisions without involving other people. And David, you can't do that here. I pulled him aside one-on-one and said, "We just can't do that here." What he was doing was making some decisions about personnel issues around running the course. And I said, "This is a cultural difference here, you don't understand this." And he was quiet. He listened to me, and he went off, and about three hours later, I had a note from him with a postcard he had found and he said, "Campbell and his damn L-1 decisions, I understand." So a lot of the times, Campbell could not come back and tell you. But I think he and I are better at doing that now. But he would always get back to you. Whether he agreed or disagreed with you, he'd get back to you on things, that kind of stuff.