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Find your new CEO

Wichita State basketball coach Gregg Marshall keynoted today’s Chamber small business awards luncheon at the Hyatt with some sage analogies between his job running the Shocker basketball program and the challenges leading a business.

One of the things that stuck in my mind was his statement - make that more of an exhortation - that an effective leader must show those following them that he or she cares. He followed that up with theories about positive and negative reinforcement, how to identify employee personalities and react accordingly, etc. This is a guy who’s clearly invested in the effective handling of his people.

Marshall’s comments were an interesting contrast to some of the stark national business news we’ve been reporting: CEO’s collecting huge bonuses while casting equally huge chunks of the work force adrift. I didn’t get a chance to ask the coach, but I suspect that wouldn’t meet his definition of “caring.”

Meanwhile, Marshall’s organization is rising rapidly up the ladder in the Missouri Valley Conference. It leads me to wonder what a CEO - and that’s what Marshall is, the CEO of the Wichita State basketball program - with that kind of philosophy could pull off at a General Motors.

I bet Gregg Marshall would build an awesome car.