Politics take a back seat at the former speaker’s Scripps appearance.
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Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich spoke about leadership during a time of change last week before a crowd of about 600 students and community members at Scripps College’s Garrison Theater in Claremont.
Gingrich’s speech titled “Effective Leadership for Real Change” illustrated different techniques he felt should be used by those in leadership roles.
Politics were not highlighted during the hour-long speech but were brought up during the question and answer block of time.
“I headed a Republican Party that was out of power for 40-plus years and they had no clue why they were out of power,” Gingrich said, pointing to his effective leadership that resulted in reviving the Republican Party and ending a long stretch of Democratic control in Congress.
“I thought he was political in that he knew who he was speaking to and avoided any material that might upset anybody,” said Josiah Eberhart, a 23-year-old Claremont McKenna student, referring to the usually liberal leaning Claremont Colleges.
Throughout the speech Gingrich specified three different keys to effective leadership: values, missions and metrics.
He illustrated how New York City wanted to drastically reduce its crime rate and the process former Mayor Rudy Giuliani implemented.
According to Gingrich, Giuliani cemented his values, detailed a clear mission, and utilized statistics acquired throughout the city given to him by Police Chief Bill Bratton to significantly reduce crime. Gingrich applauded Bratton’s execution of applying the data they had collected to enforce change and meeting their crime reduction goals.
When speaking about clarifying values Gingrich advised, “…analyze who you would like to be with whom you are now. And always plan back from victory.”
Gingrich also spent a large portion of his time focusing on the book “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis.
The book details how the Oakland A’s baseball organization collected, analyzed and applied data when deciding on which players to draft. Gingrich’s point was to underscore the importance of an applicable metric system to help achieve success.
“It was a great speech for the audience and I thought the Q-and-A was great,” said Kyle Kaselba, 21-year-old Claremont McKenna student. “And I thought some of the people who had questions were somewhat surprised with his responses.”
The question-and-answer portion of the speech lent itself to more politically charged topics. One student asked what the conservative response was to health care reform and why they did not care about the 40 million plus people who do not have health insurance. To much of the audience’s fondness, Gingrich responded with a question himself. “I can flip that question around and ask why you don’t care about the 240 million who do have health insurance.”
Gingrich was well-received by the audience and participated in a book signing reception after the event.
“It was interesting hearing his side especially since he came to such a liberal campus,” said Kristina Block, 18-year-old Scripps student. “I was really surprised at the amount of applause he got with a few of his responses.”
Kevin Garrity can be reached at email@example.com.