Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ballard's Small Unit Leadership

The IBJ's Peter Schnitzer takes a look at the leadership style Indianapolis residents can expect from Mayor-elect Greg Ballard over the next four years, relying on his self-published book, The Ballard Rules: Small Unit Leadership, from which he taught his students at Indiana Business College. Schnitzer writes:

It’s a slender paperback, with 71 pages. But the principles it embraces, and the hard-line approach Ballard used in his classes, speak volumes about how the former lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps is likely to lead the city of Indianapolis.

Expect a hierarchal approach. The Republican, who was the surprise winner of this month’s mayoral election, clearly expects the buck to stop at his desk.

“People want to be led,” he wrote in “The Ballard Rules.” “They may say they want to do their own thing or that they hate their boss, but the truth is they want to be led by men and women of integrity and competence who possess a positive, forceful leadership style. Never forget this.”

“The Ballard Rules” draws heavily on Ballard’s 23 years in the Marine Corps. After retiring in 2001, he served as North American operations manager for the health care firm Bayer in Indianapolis. He then moved on to teach. Ballard wrote the book to use as a private consultant and corporate coach for new middle managers.

“The Ballard Rules” is no military field manual. It leans on the theories of management gurus he admires from other spheres—such as Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, and Robert Greenleaf, the Terre Haute native who founded the servant leadership movement . . .

For example, “The Ballard Rules” repeatedly emphasizes the need for subordinates to adjust to their superiors when they clash.

“If you disagree on substantive material versus just style, meet with the senior leader and discuss it,” Ballard wrote. “If, after hearing the rationale, you still disagree, it is your responsibility to carry out the senior leader’s wishes as if you completely agreed with his position.”

Career bureaucrats may not respond to Ballard’s authoritarian, goal-oriented ideas, Will said. “He’s used to having a team of people who are trained to be followers. In the Marines, a good leader is partly a good leader because people have been to basic training. They’re trained to be followers,” said Will, associate dean of the university’s business school.

“That is not necessarily the case with a government employee who has been there before you arrived and will be there after you depart. They’re not vested necessarily in your success.”

Similarly, Ballard might have trouble when he faces political resistance from other branches of government, Will said.

Schnitzer's story makes clear the buck will stop at Ballard's desk under his administration. “Two people cannot be in charge,” Ballard wrote. “There is only one head coach, only one president, only one Pope. Even when equivalent employees get together to decide something, it is really their senior leader who approves or disapproves the group decision.”

A particularly encouraging part of Schnitzer's story is his recounting of Ballard's relationship with his students at Indiana Business College. "Students complained about Greg Ballard when he taught college business courses, Schnitzer writes. "The man they called “the Colonel” had strict rules and high expectations." "Frustrated, undergraduates sometimes tried to go over his head." "His boss, Indiana Business College administrator Marc Konesco, encountered them in his office." "But students never got far. Konesco refused to overrule the Colonel’s decisions." “I always said, ‘That’s his classroom,’” recalled Konesco, the college’s vice president of marketing and enrollment. “His style was one where the students didn’t necessarily like him through the class. But when they got done, they always had so much respect for him." "And his evaluations were through the charts.”


Wilson46201 said...

The Lt. Col. also knows how to backpedal:

"Indianapolis Mayor-elect Greg Ballard said during the campaign that he would like to see property taxes eliminated. But he acknowledged this week that such a move doesn't appear doable. He now speaks favorably of the governor's plan."

Gary R. Welsh said...

No backpedaling, Wilson. The mayor is powerless to repeal the property tax. Only the legislature can do that. Sadly, the Kenley Commission has made it clear it won't attempt a repeal. The dirty little secret behind the blocking of the repeal effort is the industry which thrives off the existence of a property tax and their efforts to protect their cottage industries. You see the same thing happening with effort to repeal the inheritance tax. You have groups of lawyers, accountants, specialized software firms, consultants, etc. whose existence would be threatened if those taxes disappeared. Time will tell whether the legislature and the governor will take sufficient action to avoid the taxpayers' wrath next year. I would be plenty worried if I were them.

Doug said...

>>“Two people cannot be in charge,” Ballard wrote. “There is only one head coach, only one president, only one Pope. Even when equivalent employees get together to decide something, it is really their senior leader who approves or disapproves the group decision.”<<

That's a problem in our structure of government -- checks, balances, coequal branches of government, and all of that. Gov. Daniels hasn't been very comfortable with sharing power. President Bush hasn't been very comfortable with sharing power. Ballard may very well be different, but I'm getting tired of these authoritarian schmucks occupying our executive branches.

Anonymous said...

Hello! All of a sudden the mayor has no control over property taxes. True enough, but this blog of hate-mongers has spent the past year bithing about any/everything Mayor Peterson has ever done, and has tried to paint him as a 'tax and spend liberal' who's somehow responsible for every tax out there.

As we've now been reminded, Mayor Peterson's ideas were good ones, and appropriate. How ya gonna pay for services?

You all got what you wanted, now you're gonna have to live with the consequences.

Anonymous said...

Wilson STFU! you piece of snake crap. Col. Ballard has more integrity and honor in his shoelaces than you, your worthless Bartlies and the entire ghetto mafia combined.

Wilson46201 said...

Anonymous nobody STFU! you piece of snake crap. Col. Ballard has more integrity and honor in his shoelaces than you.

Once again, an obsessed stalker tries to distract the thread onto discussing me instead of politics and policies.

Gary's blog is so trashed by such hysterical personal outbursts from cowardly haters like 6:56pm

garyj said...

OK Wilson, I'll say it for 6:56...
Wilson STFU! you piece of snake crap. Col. Ballard has more integrity and honor in his shoelaces than you, your worthless Bartlies and the entire ghetto mafia combined.

Hows that. And you know that I'm not anonymous

Wilson46201 said...

Classy blog you're running here, Gary - are you now in competition with the Star's Talkback forum for hysterical, inane and libelous comments?

I guess the racist crazies that usually comment at IndyU are now driven in desperation to come here...

Anonymous said...

Truly amazing the crazies on this blog. They no longer have Bart to bitch about and now, in their paranoia about not being 'invited into the party's inter sanctum' are lashing out at any and everything they consider different than themselves.

Again, as I said before, you all have yourselves to blame (if you can handle it) for what happened on election day. Don't cry because the elitist Republicans are kicking you aside now. What'd you expect. Did you really think they'd welcome you inside their circle from your trailer parks?

Of course, if you could exhibit some civility and sophistication you might have a chance. But as screamers and haters, you're never going to get very far. You're all destined to continue to sit at your cheap laptops in the front room of your trailers typing away and venting on blogs like this one.

Carry on!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to read his book and see how it compares with my own philosophy of ethical leadership and control.

It's not like the personnel under Ballard has to work for the city. In fact, each consents to be there.

Perhaps the short 71 page "Ballard Rules" needs to be mandatory reading for all personnel who wish to stay.


Anonymous said...

By the way...I only recall Greg Ballard stating again and again that he was pro repeal and would like to see them elminated. I don't recall that he ever stated that he was going to do it himself.

As a taxpaying homeowner, isn't he entitled to an opinion about property tax just like the rest of us?

Wilson46201 said...

Yeah but he flip-flopped and is backing Mitch Daniel's plan instead of Melyssa's total property tax abolition plan...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the short 71 page "Ballard Rules" needs to be mandatory reading for all personnel who wish to stay.


Great idea to force subordinates to line the pockets of the mayor. Jack Cottey and Tom Schneider would be proud.

indyernie said...

"The Lt. Col. also knows how to backpedal"

Wilson your ignorance and arrogance are shinning through.
Marines never backpedal and seldom retreat.
Something you know nothing about.

Wilson you haven't earned the right to dress down Col. Ballard and never will. The way the proper way to address a Lt. Colonel is Colonel, as in Col. Ballard. Then again we shouldn’t expect respect from someone who made excuses not to serve. If you ever have the chance to meet Mayor Ballard you should thank him for his service to our country.
You owe him and every other veteran that respect.

Anonymous said...

"You owe him and every other veteran that respect."

Two words that will never flow together. "Wilson" and "respect". Why? Wilson was to busy stoking the fires on the PEACE TRAIN to serve. He was chicken too. Respect for a veteran from Wilson?
Never, that would require him to admit that he was wrong at some time and that will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Respect has to be earned my friend. The jury is still out on Mayor elect Ballard. You have to agree with that.

The mere fact he was in the military is not particularly important. You may want to hang out around the entry to the VA Hospital and talk to other veterans. You'll find that they're people just like you and I, no different. Certainly not to be put on a pedestal merely because they served.

Get off your high horse.

Anonymous said...


When spoken, you would address the Mayor-elect as "Colonel". When written, you use the entire rank, Lt. Colonel.

Wilson46201 said...

As an American citizen, I can show Mayor-elect Greg Ballard as much respect as IndyErnie & GaryJ and the rest of the "Bart Lies" crowd showed Mayor Bart Peterson.

Sauce for the goose and all that...

Anonymous said...

Hey Wilson watch a few re-runs of JAG.
You might learn something.

indyernie said...

Wilson Mayor Bart Peterson gave up any right to respect when he decided to lie to the citizens of Indy.
That said the few times that I questioned him at the town hall meetings I still addressed him as Mayor Peterson or his Honor the Mayor.
I didn't support him but I always showed respect for the office.
Criticize all you want the office was his to lose and he did a good job of it.

BART LIED! Cry all you want, you can’t change the facts.

indyernie said...

"I can show Mayor-elect Greg Ballard as much respect as IndyErnie & GaryJ and the rest of the "Bart Lies" crowd showed Mayor Bart Peterson."

That would require knowing the definition of "respect" and then knowing how to apply it. Wilson lacks that knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Wilson, don't ask dont tell.

garyj said...

When I was in meetings with Peterson, I addressed him as "Mayor" or "Mr. Peterson"
(I'm so happy there are only 2 more meetings with him as mayor)
Bart has gotten the respect his POSITION deserved.
he MAN deserved none, the OFFICE does.

Anonymous said...

I've read the book, I work for the City, and I'm anxious to see how this plays out. Wilson? BTW, I'm a Democrat, and voted for a Republican for the first time. I miss the days when I was naive enough to think that those in power cared what the citizens thought. Working for the Peterson admin has been an eye-opener, to say the least. Let's see what happens now that the deals aren't sealed at Barringers or Sisters. And Wilson? I don't want to spout vitriol, I don't hate you, I simply can't understand your motivation. You appear on every blog imaginable, and seem to be able to do not much better than name calling. Why don't you start your own blog?

Anonymous said...

6:57--home run!

I fell out of my chair laughing at Melyssa's admiration of the "control" portions of the Ballard book.

I, too, voted for Peterson, but am willing to give this new mayor a decent chance. But Ernie--saying the mayor lies, which he did not do, is not showing respect for the office or the man.

If you think it is, you need to re-read some of Mr. Ballard's book. Or listen to your mother more.

Respect is a 2-way street. Ballard has mine. I can't imagine he'll lose it. I will work hard to make sure my party learns it lesson and elects a good Democratic mayor in four years.

I can do that without resorting to the Hillary or Wilson mantra: 'all who speak ill of me sling mud.'

Convenient swipe, but hardly true.

And for those who weren't paying attention: I saw Mr. Ballard at 2 public events. He directly insinuated he'd get rid of property taxes. I chalked it up to two things: ignorance of the system, and pandering to the anti-tax crowd. The legislature--only--could do such a thing. Now, he could use his bully pulpit, as Bart tried to do for five years regarding townships and fire departments.

Control, Melyssa. Control....LMAO

Anonymous said...

Like 8:47, I too heard Ballard claim he would do something directly about property taxes, and I too chalked it up to a combo of pandering to the "repeal crowd" and maybe some lack of understanding of the system (this was early in the tax-protest days and his campaign).

And I, too, voted for Peterson, but am fully prepared to respect and support the mayor-elect, I agree the police should be under the mayor, and township gov. eliminated. The fact is, this is substantively the same as Peterson originally wanted-- he just couldn't get the merge done otherwise nor the other through the legislature.

The property tax crisis has created a somewhat different environment, and I strongly hope the township gov. CAN be eliminated now.

In a very large, consolidated city/county like Indianapolis, I do belive that it is reasonable for DELIVERY of some services, under a coordinated county-wide system, could & maybe should be delivered at township-like satelite locations- such as small claims court and "walk-in offices" for assessors and trustee-type "poor relief" services. But maybe you don't need 9 offices for everything. Small claims courts don't serve specific township areas anyway, there is just an office in every township. Maybe one each on the southside, westside, eastside, northside- or maybe 2 NE & NW, just based on the population density (vs. SE & SW). Maybe focus several "trustee type" services offices in areas where low-income residents who use or need the services could easily access them.

This is what I hope Ballard can really focus on using the bully pulpit for in the legislature.

Frankly he'd be better off letting the legislature eat its own on property tax issues.

Anonymous said...

"But Ernie--saying the mayor lies, which he did not do, is not showing respect for the office or the man."


1. Mayor Peterson wrote in the Peterson plans that he was opposed to consolidation.
I supported him because of that statement. It was a lie.

2. Mayor Peterson stated on numerous occasions that he was going to increase the number of police officers. It never happened.

3. Mayor Peterson stood at the Light of the World Church and verbally stated that taxes were increased two- (2) times during his second term in office. All of the City Council will admit to 15 separate tax increases and several will confirm 19.
Again Peterson lied.

I've given you three examples of his lies I'm sure that GaryJ and others can report more.
These are published facts. Ignore the truth if you want but Ernie is right on.

Anonymous said...

One does hope that Mr. Ballard will realize that he is not actually to be in charge. He has been hired as a SERVANT to the people, not as our master.