Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Edison of Estes - Keys for Successful Teams

Yesterday I popped up to the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park to catch part of a Campus Crusade conference for campus leaders of the western states. I was a little late and the only way to enter the room was to disturb the meeting so I had to wait in the lobby for a break.

While waiting I met this nice older gentleman - Dr. Omar Moore. (The picture is of a young Dr. Moore) Dr. Moore grew up in Nebraska but lives in Estes. He had come to the hotel to get better cell phone coverage to call his daughter.

Dr. Moore, I learned is the Edison of Estes. He is a mathematician, researcher, and inventor. He is professor emeritus at The University of Pittsburgh and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He taught at Yale University, Rutgers University, and the University of Pittsburgh. He has over 32 patents for inventions including The Talking Typewriter. Most of his inventions have helped the blind or deaf.

When he told me he was orginally from Norfolk, NE, I asked if he knew Johnny Carson. Turns out he did and that his dad gave Johnny his first start by having him do his magic at the local Rotary club. Dr. Moore at age 8 was the youngest person to climb the northface of Long's Peak without assitance. It is a record that still stands. He also served in WWII in counter-intelligence in Italy.

When I learned that he still leads teams of inventors at age 86 and believes in the importance of teams for success, I asked him for the keys to leading successful teams especially in light of launching something new like an invention. He gave three reasons:
  1. Diversity. He forms smaller teams of 3 people each of whom are experts in different disciples like engineering or computer science. He believes in the adage that all of us are smarter than one of us.
  2. Respect. In the diversity, he asks them to be respectful of each other's disciplines. He says that usually someone will show up as the expert thinking they know everything. He asks them to humbly respect each other and value what everyone brings to the team.
  3. Perseverance. Dr. Moore asks them to persevere through the initial difficult process of launching something new, whether it is seeking grants to fund their work or roadblocks in the invention process. He helps them stay focused to the good of what they are trying to accomplish.

Pretty good stuff. Your never know who you might be sitting next too.


Eric Swanson said...

Great use to pass on to others what you learned from the edison of estes. Great blog

Andy McCullough said...

Thanks. i learned how to pass on this wisdom from you!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you know that Dr. Moore died recently -- sometime this past week.