Chair of Organizational Psychology
Seattle Pacific University
Dr. Rob McKenna believes that whether you are a new employee, a first line manager, a pastor, or CEO of the company, you and your organization will be best served if you are fully engaged in your job and all aspects of your life, challenged on a daily basis, and finding meaning in your work. "The most dynamic and critical thing we bring to our jobs as leaders," he says, "Is our willingness to be an authentic and genuine presence to all those who follow us."
Dr. McKenna gets to study leadership in all of its forms as Chair of Organizational Psychology at Seattle Pacific University. His academic post allows Dr. McKenna to create new knowledge to help other consultants and leaders. For example, he recently authored a chapter on E-executive effectiveness that highlights the priorities for executive leaders in the high tech economy in a book titled The 21st Century Executive: Innovative Practices for Building Leaders at the Top.
His work, however, extends beyond academic research, allowing him to “get his hands dirty” as an organizational development consultant in the areas of leadership development, executive coaching and organizational change. His clients have included a wide range of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as the Boeing Company, Microsoft, Foster Farms, the United Way, and the Free Methodist Church. His primary focus has been on helping leaders in times of adversity and significant personal challenge.
Dr. McKenna is also a founding partner of Project Aduro, a research and consulting firm dedicated to building research, resources and tools that leaders can use to fully leverage experience to maximize their own development and build organizational systems to strategically leverage on-the-job experience for all leaders in their organization. Since 1999, he has served as a senior consultant and team member to the Waypoint Project, a 10 year longitudinal study of 120 leaders and over 3,000 engineers at the Boeing Company. This revolutionary project has generated a wealth of tools and publications that are helping the Boeing Company and other organizations gain greater understanding of the way leaders develop throughout their careers, the realities of leadership in today’s economy, and the strategies that leaders can draw upon that will allow them to take themselves and their businesses into new and uncharted territories. Through this work, Dr. McKenna has also developed insight into the dimensions that allow leaders and engineers in adverse situations to maintain themselves and their convictions, while at the same moment maintaining their ability to connect and understand the needs of their key stakeholders.
In 2004 and 2005, Dr. McKenna received a grant to study senior pastoral leaders to identify the key events in their development as leaders and the lessons they learned in those events, the current leadership challenges they are facing, and advice they have for other pastoral leaders. The ultimate goal is to discover the actions that pastoral leaders and their church organizations can take to ensure maximum on-the-job learning and development. The study has already uncovered many unique characteristics of the pastoral leadership journey that set them apart from their leadership counterparts who have been studied using a similar methodology.