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Northern Arizona University’s Summer Seminar Series came to Sedona on Wednesday, July 16, at the Mary D. Fisher Theater, with speaker Craig Van Slyke, dean and professor of computer information systems at the W.A. Franke College of Business at NAU, who spoke on the topic of trust in leadership.Craig Van Slyke, dean and professor of computer information systems at the W.A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University, holds a seminar at Mary D. Fisher Theatre. The lecture, Based on Trust Leadership, was given to a full room. Slyke has held leadership positions in numerous national and international conferences and organizations, and has lectured internationally on topics related to technology adoption.

Van Slyke is currently writing a book about the topic, and touched on his own interest in trust as an idea.

“I became interested in trust when I was a doctoral student. From the technology side, we place tremendous trust in the technologies that we use everyday,” he said. “Over the years, as I started to assume some leadership roles in an academic environment, I started to become interested more in personal trust.”

The talk focused specifically on the impact trust has on the ability to lead, and tied it to his own personal experience as a dean who can’t use the proverbial carrot and stick approach to achieve results.

“You have to find a different way to lead, and over the years I’ve kind of developed an attitude and kind of a leadership model.”

Van Slyke used the Occupy Wall Street and tea party movements as examples of people displaying a lack of trust in leadership as a way to boil the basic premise of his talk down for his audience.

“Both of these are based on a lack of trust in our institutions,” he said. “Now the people in Occupy ... don’t trust the ‘One Percenters.’ The tea party activists don’t trust the government.

“Both of these, at their core, are movements that have kind of came out of nowhere because of a fundamental lack of trust.”

Before he could go further, though, Van Slyke defined trust.

“So, what is trust? Trust is basically being vulnerable to the actions of another person. If there’s no vulnerability, if there’s no risk, either trust doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter,” he said. “It’s a pretty straightforward concept that gets messy really quickly.”

To read the full story, see the Wednesday, July 23, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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