Dr. Nathan Mellor, CEO of the Oklahoma City based Strata Leadership, LLC, delivered the 2015 Minter Lecture at OBU Friday, Feb. 20. Mellor holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science in Education from Harding University. He earned the Master of Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University School of Law and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine as well.
During his career, he has consulted, trained and lectured throughout the United States and abroad. Over 850,000 people use Strata's material monthly, and the company has a presence in 25 countries around the world. In addition to providing services for federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy and the FDA, he has also served at the city and state level for agencies in Alaska, California, Colorado, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Recently, some of his clients have included Airtron, Agility Medical Group, American Airlines, ArcBest, Bob Moore Auto Group, CoorsTek, Devon Energy, EDG, Edward Jones, Jasco, Kansas Aviation, Kimray, Locke Supply, SandRidge Energy and Variety Care.
In pursuit of academic, humanitarian and religious interests, he has spent nearly a year abroad leading programs in Australia, Belize, China, Guyana, Jordan, Mexico, Russia and Rwanda. He has nearly 15 years of experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at Baker College, Pepperdine University and Oklahoma Christian University. He has co-developed leadership programs including Peace Through Business Rwanda and Four Star Debate with General Tommy Franks, which have been highlighted by CNN and FOX. He is the founder of the Presidential Leadership Institute in collaboration with Mary Eisenhower, York College and People to People International. He writes monthly columns in the Character Core Magazine and the Core Insights blog.
Mellor titled his lecture, "How to Build a Culture of Consistency: The C3 Concept." He elaborated on the three C's of character, competence and consistency.
"Character describes the mental model used to determine one's actions," he said. "In organizations, it includes the cultural norms and values that guide its decision-making. Competence describes the knowledge and ability needed to do something well, measured against a common standard. It is the ability to solve technical problems. Consistency is the ability to produce the same results over an extended period of time, which increases trust. This requires a culture of character and competence."
Mellor said he graduated with a Bible degree, but later left ministry and entered the business world. "There are things from a business perspective I wish that people in ministry knew," he said. "I have not found a single theory on leadership that has proven effective that is not in alignment with biblical truth."
Mellor recalled a turning point in his life, when after being a "C" student in high school, a college professor challenged him to do better. He recalled walking into class and sitting down one day, then the professor suddenly pointed at him. "She said, 'Nathan Mellor, I know who you are. I think you are gifted but you don't even know it. This class is not easy, but you will get an A. Sit right here.'" She motioned him to the front, and he remembered taking notes and listening diligently, because she believed in him.
He said he believed he was a 'C' student, but that changed that day. "If I want to change what somebody does, I have to challenge what they believe, not just what they are doing," he said.
Mellor also detailed the four keys to how leaders may build character in their people. First, they must set the tone as leaders are responsible for establishing expectations in an organization. Second, they must be grateful and display humility, as "humble people recognize their success is not due to their actions alone." Third, leaders must invest in people. Fourth, leaders must share the story and connect emotionally with their teams.
"It's a sign of intelligence to see what doesn't work and choose another path based on life experience," he said. "It's a sign of wisdom to see what didn't work in others and change our lives based on that. The world has changed from needing people who are smart to needing those who are wise."
The Minter Lectureship in Business, Leadership and Christian Ministry is intended to add a sound understanding of the business world to the educational experience of church ministry majors to broaden their ability to minister effectively. The Minter Lectureship was underwritten by 1940 OBU graduate Lloyd G. Minter of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. The annual series began in 1991.
Minter built a successful 35-year career with Phillips Petroleum Co., rising to the position of senior vice president and general counsel before retiring in 1978. His desire to help OBU religious vocation students broaden their understanding of the business community led to establishing the innovative lecture series.
OBU annually has the largest number of religion majors among Southern Baptist four-year colleges and universities. The Minter Lectureship is designed to provide orientation and training for those students in the history and nature of the American economic system and to help the students understand and appreciate the business and professional community. In addition to equipping the students with business knowledge for the institutions they will lead, the Minter Lectureship promotes proper management of personal finances.
Minter, who earned a law degree at the University of Oklahoma, served as counsel for Boone, Smith, Davis and Hurst of Tulsa. He served five terms as an OBU trustee and two terms as a trustee of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Minter died Jan. 4, 2013, at age 94.