Brandman News

Doctoral students learn to be leaders at immersion

July 14, 2015

Joe Daly, chief operation office of Meritus Payment Solutions, talks about “Building a Transparent Culture” at the June Ed.D. Immersion.

For students in Brandman’s doctorate in education in organizational leadership, transformational change is more than a buzzword. It’s what they’re living day in and day out as they complete coursework, projects and dissertations.

At the June immersion, Joe Daly, chief operating officer at Meritus Payment Solutions in Orange County, offered his advice to the Irvine Marriott ballroom full of students on how leadership meshes with transformational change.

The starting point, he said, is knowing who you are.

Daly intertwined information about his life with what he sees as the building blocks to a successful company. The inspiration for much of what he’s been able to accomplish starts with his mother, who moved to New York from Puerto Rico and had three children before she was 21. A high school dropout, she never gave up on getting an education, eventually earning a master’s degree.

His mother, he said, knew who she was and what she wanted. Those traits are just as important in any institution, no matter whether it’s a for-profit, nonprofit, educational or governmental agency.  Being self-aware, particularly about what you value, helps leaders create a sustainable culture.

“You can say you’re a fun person, and if you’re not, your company will know it. A fun work culture isn’t having a birthday party once a month,” he said.

Among the tips he offered were:

  • Leaders set the tone. There must be commitment at the executive level.
  • Create a deliberate culture. Among the ways to do that are to pay attention to all five senses and make sure that rewards are tangible, immediate and consistent.
  • Have strong hiring practices. He looks for passion and integrity. “The question I ask myself is, ‘do I want to be around this person eight to ten hours a day?’”
  • Establish expectations and then follow through on them. “You don’t tell your children in January that you want them to be able to ride a bike by December and then do nothing more about it.”
  • Uphold accountability. Policies and procedures aren’t as important as each person knowing where they fit in the larger picture of the company and how their work affects everyone else’s.
  • Maintain transparency. Consistent communication, shared values, rewards and recognitions all lead to transparency, he said. “It’s just good business.”

Brandman University’s doctorate of education in organizational leadership was granted to its first group of students this spring. The fourth group of students in the program (the Deltas) begins this fall.

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