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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, January 15, 1999. Interview S-0017. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

McCall, DeVries, and Lombardo at odds with Hawk

Gryskiewicz discusses interactions between various leaders at the Center for Creative Leadership, focusing primarily on the mid-1970s. In particular, Gryskiewicz describes how Morgan McCall, David DeVries, and Mike Lombardo developed applied research during those years and how those three men later found themselves at odds with Don Hawk, a consultant brought in by David Campbell. The brief resistance demonstrated disagreement within the Center over the best application for research.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Stan Gryskiewicz, January 15, 1999. Interview S-0017. 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

DeVries, McCall, Lombardo, they had about two years. I think Campbell brought them on in '74, so this was two and a half years later and they were up and running. They were about to receive, I think at that point, the Looking Glass contract or the grant from Office of Naval Research to start Looking Glass. So they now had a product that they were about to offer that was designed—Looking Glass, to my understanding, is designed to provide a vehicle for collecting research data. But it turned out also in the long run as we know now, to be a good training vehicle in the simulation of running an organization for a day. And the Looking Glass, of course, was simply looking at yourself getting the feedback, high intensity feedback. So that was the next major product that the Center pushed out. First, the Leadership Development Program and then Looking Glass. And that was a direct result of those researchers putting that together, Morgan McCall, Lombardo, and DeVries.
Right. Can you tell me how the three of those folks—what sort of institutional weight, what sort of space they took up so to speak, [unclear] in those years?
Yeah. It was a little bit of the applied research looking at each other askance. The researchers are saying you guys are not doing stuff based on research or you guys don't pay attention to collecting data. And we're looking at them and saying hey, you guys aren't earning any money. Some of that. But they really insulated or encapsulated themselves in the organization and they used that time, which we know now was so valuable, because now that we don't have that ability to do that. They went off for a year and a half to think through and design a damn good simulation. And they interviewed managers to collect data on what would an organization look like. I remember they walked into a senior executive at an oil company and said, "What's your day like and what's your in-basket like?" The guy said, "Here's my in-basket. Look at it." So they were out there collecting real data that they used to put together the simulation. Again, it was to be a research vehicle. But here's the interesting thing. We started to see the value of the potential of being a training vehicle so a real significant event happened. There was a man named Don Hawk who was brought in. Have you heard that name yet?
I think I have, yes.
He stayed here about two years. He was sort of a dark character. Campbell, I think I told you the story that David Campbell was a talent junkie and he would hire lots of interesting people and he was one of the ones that just wanted to get a real business manager in here to help run this place. So they brought in Don Hawk from a company out of Chicago called—it will come back to me. It was a pharmaceutical company out of Chicago. And so brought in a real manager to work with us weirdos here. So he wore a suit and jacket every day. He went over in a big way. But it was this point where research wanted to hand off the Looking Glass simulation to the trainers. So what essentially was the whole thing of throwing something new over the fence. The trainers hadn't been involved in it and now they're being asked to teach it. And there was a decision made that they wouldn't take it. And Hawk was part of that decision. So researching said screw you, we'll do it ourselves. And they took it back in and developed their own training program out of it and started generating money.
What do you think motivated the resistance?
It was purely a lesson that we were actually teaching in our leadership program was that if you involve people, they don't own it. And you could point fingers both ways. If research really wanted us to—they had to encapsulate themselves to produce this. And in their encapsulation, they alienated but they also didn't get buy-in from the people who could train it, because when it initially started out, it was not meant to be a training tool. It was meant to be a research tool.