An Interview with Mark Stone

Identifying Leaders


Mark stoneMark Stone has a diverse career starting with a degree in accounting, a Masters in Divinity, and a focus in technology and finance.  With such a unique skill set, his views on leadership are something that must be listened to providing you with new ways of looking at this topic.  Today being the chief information officer of the Texas A&M university system, Mark definitely understands how to lead and how to manage.

As of yet, Mark doesn’t feel he has yet met his most satisfying achievement in his career.  His constant focus forwards makes it hard to look in the “rear view mirror” and evaluate aspects of his career.  This looking forward provides motivation and focus for him to continue on to bigger and more challenging things.

He did struggle at one point in his career.  While in the technology industry, he tried tirelessly to become a CIO and was overlooked three times.  This caused him to make a difficult choice leaving the field of technology and going into distribution, finance, and merchandising to acquire additional skills.  His “tour of duty” helped him to get the skills that he really needed to flourish as a CIO.  This was a deliberate choice to move on to something else which was Mark’s way of finding a different path around a roadblock he faced.

A common trait that Mark noticed in many of the leadership positions was coming into a role that something could quite often be broken or dysfunctional and his challenge was to fix it.  Having the proper skills especially in this area has helped him to assume responsibility for these types of poorly operated areas and help fix the issues.

In terms of mentorship, Mark finds that it is useful to read about great leaders in history.  He talked about people like Lincoln.  It is a good idea to read everything these types of leaders wrote and what was written about them.  Personally, Mark has mentored and added his own experience in leadership training to a number of people as his way of paying it forward.  This led to meeting with up to around 7 people each week that eventually turned into the book “The Three C’s of Strategic Consideration.”

Mark also has a values focused approach to identifying leaders.  He sees humility, accountability, integrity, stewardship, and excellence as the five characteristics that he would look for.  Personal character is extremely important in terms of leaders.

Listen to more brilliant advice on identifying leaders in your company with Vijay Vijayasankar.

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