Don Khouri Blog

Remembering a Leader

Posted by Don Khouri on Fri, Jan 01, 2010

We lost a close family friend unexpectedly yesterday afternoon, 12/31/2009.  I am compelled to share some thoughts on leadership in this special New Year's Day edition of the blog.  To give you some sense of the relationship, Jim, or Chucky as he was known to his friends, was a life-long friend of my parents, served with my Dad in the army, and his son and I grew up spending many, many weekends together.

My direct relationship with Chuck was serving on our church's parish council together in the late 80s and early 90s.  If you have been reading my blog, you know my philosophy about leadership and productivity.  Chuck was a leader who knew how to get things done.  There are three qualities that defined his leadership style that have always stuck with me -- commitment, creativity, and community. 

Commitment.  Every leader needs to have a commitment and passion for the cause.  There was no question about Chuck's commitment to the church, always keeping its best interest in mind during parish council deliberations.  He would not speak or act without doing what he thought was best for the church.  It was this commitment that earned my personal respect.  I always wanted to understand his point of view on a topic, and although we may not have always agreed, I always respected his viewpoint and opinions.

Creativity.  Every leader should be willing to try out new ideas and new ways of doing things.  Bring a fresh perspective to the work, and your teams will innovate.  Chuck was one of the creators of our annual Christmas Bazaar over 20 years ago, and it still serves as a significant part of the Church's income today.  This spark triggered others, and the Bazaar Committee came up with so many different ways to keep it interesting.  Then there was the 1000 Club, the Bonanza Night, and so many others.  Chuck had countless ideas that he brought to the table -- "let's try it this way, or how about this, or why not that."  This creativity brought energy and excitement to the community.

Community.  Chuck had a way of creating a community environment and inspiring those around him to work hard for the community.  He recruited me to serve as Treasurer of the Bazaar which I did for many years.  It was a pleasure to work for him because he worked hard himself, and he demanded excellence.  I remember him coming into the office during Bazaar weekend wanting to know exactly where we stood relative to the previous year, and encouraging us to make sure we balanced out to the penny. 

I don't remember Chuck as a boisterous, outgoing, attention-grabbing leader.  He led quietly, he led with distinction, he led in a way that inspired teamwork, and he was true to himself.  I bring these lessons with me today serving on the council, and in all my work. 

Chuck, may you rest in peace, and may your memory be eternal.

Tags: productivity, leadership