The Late Geary A. Rummler Was a Key Mentor To Me
And a damn good one too. He wasn’t my only mentor. I’ve had a lot. But he was the most influential – as many of my other influences were influenced by him.
Geary – pronounced “Gear-ee” – not Gary.
And I know he mentored many, many folks in the Training and Performance Improvement fields.
He was ‘all about” it being “Science – Not Magic” – something that could be learned, replicated.
He would always return my calls – and he would even “pick up” after screening his calls and the message was playing in the background.
I worked alongside his brother-in-law in 1979 – and two who had worked with his brother – at Wickes Lumber – right out of college. I met him at the NSPI Conference in 1980. We met again when I left Saginaw for Chicagoland and Motorola in early 1981.
The is first of three videos is from April 1981 – and I was in the room one week before my start date at MTEC – Motorola’s Training & Education Center – you can see the back of my head at one point – well, I can. I got the job there because I had Geary’s name on my resume – and the person opening the Director’s mail – until he came on Board officially – saw that and set it aside for Bill Wiggenhorn to look at. I got the job.
This video – next – is classic Rummler.
A Video From 1981
A Video From 2008
This short video from the 2008 ISPI Conference in April – was to be followed up at the next conference – and I was promised that we could do an hour or two.
It never happened. Geary passed away in October 2008.
A Tribute Video From 2009
At the next ISPI Conference in 2009 there was a Tribute – two actually – one public that ISPI recorded – and one private held that evening at EPCOT.
My wife Nancy and I sat with Geary’s wife Margaret that evening at EPCOT. Margaret had sat with me and three of my wives for dinner at that point – and she commented on that. She too had a great sense of humor, like Geary.
But I digress.
I finally got the opportunity to meet Karen Brethower – and I got a chance to chat with her on the bus ride to EPCOT – and then some more at that 2nd Tribute. I’d heard about her for decades – from Geary mostly.
It was an emotional experience – reviewing this over and over again – as I did the video editing – putting the slides onto the video of the speakers.
Two More Videos
Me With the Mentor in 1982
Here we are, in Paul Heidenreich’s office in Phoenix in early 1982 – working on The Kit.
That Kit was to become The Geary Rummler Do-It-Yourself Consulting Kit.
The Book Cover Geary Re-Designed For Me (Unasked)
I asked the good Doctor if he would be willing to review my book – before my attributions of him and his influence libeled or slandered him. He invited me to Tucson where I spent two days with him going over the book and the methods in great detail.
I left him with a copy of the book’s draft in a 3-ring binder – and waited. He sent me a GREAT reviewers quote – and a redesigned front and back cover for the book. Unasked for – I might add. That’s just the way he was – with me anyway.
My office ran a contest in our Fall 1999 quarterly newsletter with both covers side-by-side. His won. (We knew it would – mine didn’t have a chance). The book came out in December 1999.
Wearing The CADDI Cap – 1999
This is a picture he had me take of him with my CADDI Cap on – with his camera – and he sent me a copy a few days later.
That’s the kind of guy he was.
Sharing a Good Read – 1983
Geary bought me a copy of The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe at an airport one trip in 1981 – so we could chat about it on our many travels and at our many dinners together. After debriefing the day of course (as Bill Wiggenhorn attests to in that Tribute Video). Carol Panza was with us much of the time – unless she was on another project.
After I left MTEC in October 1982 I got a surprise in the mail from Geary right after Christmas – a Robert B. Parker book – the Spenser Series. We also shared and talked about John D. MacDonald books (the ones with colors in the titles) about Travis McGee. Then it was Tony Hillerman books.
But my favorite book – is one that I purchased…
I Know I’m Not the Only One To Receive Such a Signature Comment
When I gave him the book – his book – purchased at the ISPI 2004 Conference Book Store in Tampa – the year I was President and it was “my” conference – and I asked for his signature – he asked if he could have it overnight to think about it before signing it.
That meant a lot to me.
Payback – Mission Impossible
In 1999 I told him I would never be able to repay him – so the best I could do would be to pay it forward – follow his example – and help others when asked – and volunteer to help before being asked.
He liked that – and agreed.
Like so many that I have met at ISPI since back in the days when it was NSPI.
I will see many of those folks there next month. In Toronto. My 31st of the last 33 Conferences.
But some will not be there. Retired or gone.
Today It’s Different But The Same
I hope that you readers have Your Conference – where you get to meet with and chat with People who Mentor you – directly and indirectly.
Social Media is good, but it is a substitute for real Face-to-Face interaction.
And yes – it is a good/great filler for in-between those F2F experiences.
Find yourself a professional home – and get yourself there as often as you can – even if you have to pay for it yourself.
It is an investment in yourself.
You’ll thank yourself later…
Hear Me Now – Believe Me Later
That quote was liberated from “Saturday Night Live” – from a long time ago (1987/88).
In 17 days you can find me at ISPI 2012 in Toronto – the 50th Anniversary of my Professional Home.
Find me in the crowd to say hello – if you are there!
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