The Primitive Podcast with Jodey Arrington

Posted by Kade Wilcox | May 17, 2021

Jodey Arrington

Congressman Jodey Arrington has felt his calling to be a public servant since he was a kid. And he’s honored that calling for nearly three decades. 


Throughout his years in the political arena, he’s learned that there’s no time, or space, for beating around the bush. You need speed, honesty, integrity, skills, character...and even sometimes, the humility to be a follower.


While Congressman Arrington has had the privilege of being mentored directly by powerful figures, and even a president, it’s evident his passion lies in passing those valuable lessons on to the next generation of political leaders.


Hear more only on The Primitive Podcast.


Connect with the folks behind the episode: Jodey Arrington and Kade Wilcox


Kade Wilcox: Hey, guys, Kade Wilcox here, host of The Primitive Podcast. Thanks for tuning in to today's episode where we have Congressman Jodey Arrington. Jodey Arrington represents District 19 here in West Texas, and is a great leader. He grew up in Plainview, served in George W. Bush's administration, both as governor of Texas, as well as president. He came back to Lubbock and served at Texas Tech when Kent Hance was the chancellor, and now is our congressman. And so it was really fun to sit down with him and talk about leadership and reflect on and hear his thoughts on leadership in the context of the work that he does. So hope you enjoy this episode and as always, thank you so much for tuning in.

Jodey Arrington: It's the second aspect of leadership. They're not leading from me. They're leading from a mission that should inspire them and they're leading to be the best they can be. Clay Johnson, one of my mentors who you've interviewed, used to not say "thank you" when I did a good job. His highest order of praise was when he'd say "congratulations," because he said, when you own it and you work to be the very best and to have the best presentation, or the best product, or whatever the achieved goal, the highest praise is "congratulations."

Kade Wilcox: Jodey, thanks so much for being on The Primitive Podcast. It's really fun for me to sit here. I got to work with you for a handful of years before you became Congressman, and so now it's a real joy, you know, to have you here. I always tell people you're kind of like an older brother, you know? Sometimes you're in love and sometimes you're not, but they're still your brother. And so it's really fun to get to interview you on all things leadership. So thanks for being here.

Jodey Arrington: It's great to be with you, always, and in my old stomping grounds here at your office. And maybe your listeners don't know, but I wouldn't have the foray into politics and political leadership, which was a dream God put in my heart as a young person, and it certainly what I believe is a calling on my life, if he didn't bring people into my life like you. And you were there — when I say ground floor, I think your basement. We started in the basement and we were bootstrapping our campaign. And I needed the brightest people that I could trust. And they were in themselves great leaders because we didn't have a lot of time, we didn't have a lot of resources, and there was proof that if you get the right people, you can overcome all those things. If you have strong leaders around you. I guess my first philosophy on this then is surround yourself with leaders.

Kade Wilcox: For sure.

Writing the Book About You

Jodey Arrington: As a leader, I'm preaching leadership constantly to my team. I want every one of them in every position — in the seemingly unimportant (which there is no such thing) to the most senior position — I want them all to be leaders. And I tell them, I want the book written about your position in our organization. I want every position in Congress, in other offices, to want to emulate you as the standard bearer. I want the book to be written about that role to be written about you. And that's a little bit how we cast vision on leadership is to say, that playbook on how to do this the right way, the best way, the most effective way to achieve the outcomes that anyone in that role would, that needs to be about you. So go figure out how to do it and let me help you.


And that's the second, by the way, aspect to leadership is they're not leading for me. They're leading for a mission that should inspire them. And they're leading to be the best they can be. Clay Johnson, one of my mentors who you've interviewed, used to not say, "thank you" when I did a good job. Because he said, "Look, I pay you and the taxpayers are paying you to do that. So you don't need an expression of gratitude." His highest order of praise was when he'd say "congratulations," because he said, when you own it and you work to be the very best and to have the best presentation, or the best product or, whatever the achieved goal — when you do all that you need and make all the sacrifices, and it all comes to fruition in that final moment, whatever, in that final product, he said, the highest praise is "congratulations," because you're doing it for you.


So leaders need to empower, equip, inspire, coach, challenge, confront, so that their teammates who may be subordinated on the org chart, so that they can own the desire and the joy and the pain and all the things in between of being the very best leaders that they can be.

Kade Wilcox: That's really good. You just jumped right in there so that's good. Let's go backwards. There's something you said...

Jodey Arrington: That's called filibuster. And if I talk long enough in these questions, I won't let you get to any of the tough ones.

A Lifelong Desire to be a Public Servant

Kade Wilcox: I believe you. Something that I appreciate about your journey and your story about becoming a congressman is when you were growing up in Plainview and you were in school. You've always had a desire for public service. Like, some people grow up wanting to be coaches, or entrepreneurs, or business people, or doctors. You grew up literally wanting to be a public servant. And so maybe talk a little bit about that journey and what that was like and how you viewed that desire and how you took steps throughout your life to come to the point you are now where you're a congressman and doing really good work. So what was that like?

Jodey Arrington: I wish I could say I was so thoughtful and strategic and intentional to build on those desires as a young person, but I can only tell you that those desires did exist to be in political leadership. I wasn't sure exactly what that meant. I didn't even know, probably, the differences between state and federal, and the various elected offices that exist at all levels. I was inspired by Ronald Reagan, like a lot of people in my generation.


In fact Ted Cruz calls my generation, I'd say our generation because he's part of it, Reagan's children. So, amazing that there was a leader at the helm of our country in politics who was so dynamic and so inspirational and such a statesman that there literally was a generation of young people that said, "You know what? I want to be president one day." That was really all I said was, "I want to be president one day." And what he did to make us believe in ourselves as Americans and the best days ahead of us, and that we could conquer the Soviet Union with the Cold War; that we would prevail and how he stood up to that country and their leadership and their diametrically opposed governing system of communism, was just incredible. And he didn't just do it by, you know, military strength.


He did it through the strength of his character and his God-given ability to communicate the ideals of American democracy. Remember "tear down that wall"? Remember how he was inspiring not only Americans, which was interesting, he was inspiring the world and people who were very restless in countries like Eastern Germany and the Soviet Union. So I would say that just listening to him, watching him and learning how important the role of political leadership is in our society as a democratic republic and as a representative democracy. I mean, to think that my dad, a tractor salesmen in Plainview, Texas, would watch the news and would tear up and would you know, rejoice at the top of his lungs and applaud the efforts of one Ronald Reagan. And then, of course, he would also with the same breath, throw his boot at the TV when it came to some opposing view of bigger government, higher taxes, et cetera.

Kade Wilcox: So I thought, my goodness, this is a powerful thing that we live in a representative democracy and that someone like Ronald Reagan and other elected officials have this effect on this middle-class family in this relatively obscure town in middle America. And so I think that I was intrigued by that.

Jodey Arrington: Reagan seemed to love people. He seemed to be motivated by a love of country and a genuine love of people. He wasn't an angry guy. Just in love with his country. As he said, the last greatest hope of mankind was, you know, America. And boy, his words still ring true today. And I'm inspired today. The guy has gone the way of many of our great presidents. And yet I'm still using some of his words from speeches and statements that he made. I used one recently with this — we're seeing unbelievable, unprecedented, unquantifiable expansion of government from the federal government over the citizens in the free and sovereign states. And Reagan said that there's a direct and proportional relationship between the expansion of the federal government and our loss of freedom. And we're watching that. And I think of him often in that context, but then I had Miss Becky Taylor, great teacher. Another person that was, you know, you just want everybody to love what they do like Miss Becky Taylor did, so that you go to work every day with the passion that she did. And not only was Reagan inspiring a generation of people, Miss Becky Taylor was doing the same in her class for her students. That combination is where it all started. And God planted that seed. It's not popular to say, I always wanted to be in politics. You want to be that reluctant, you know? I never thought I'd do this, but I had to because the country was burning and we were losing the whole thing.

Kade Wilcox: I think that says more about where politics have gone and less about you.

Jodey Arrington: Yeah. That's true.

Kade Wilcox: That you have a desire to be a public servant. Yeah. That's all really good stuff. Let's talk about your role as a leader and what you see as your responsibility. It's interesting to me to ask this question and I'm looking forward to what you think because you have a team, right? You have a staff just like any other leader or small business owner, or you have constituents who vote you into office, and then you have teammates. You know, you're a part of a political structure where you have teammates and so there's different hats you wear. And so when you think of leadership and you think of your role, what are the two or three things that you think are most critical for your own leadership or how you view your leadership?

The Role of Following in Leadership

Jodey Arrington: I think what makes this a challenging question is what you prefaced it with. There is the leadership construct of the speaker leader whip and the sort of hierarchy within the organization, within the House of Representatives, and even within the GOP or the Democrat side. And so I'm working in that context to be a leader among my colleagues and a good follower, by the way.

Kade Wilcox: So when you think of that — okay, that's interesting. Being a good follower is being a good leader.

Jodey Arrington: I think learning to be a good follower is part and parcel to growing as a great leader. Just like a staff person. I was a staff person for many, many years, and I remind my team of this. I had to learn how to staff and support the principals or leaders that I worked for: Kent Hance as Chancellor at Texas Tech, George W. Bush as governor and president, Don Powell when he was chairman of the FDIC. I was his chief of staff. So learning to make sure that I put my principal, my boss, in a position to be his very best, to make sure that he wasn't inundated with people and information, that he got what he needed. He made the decisions only he could make. Not the ones that could be made elsewhere because we understood his program. We knew what he was trying to accomplish. We believed in those values that he articulated. So, again, I would say if you want to be a great leader, then learn how to be a great follower, and outwork everyone. Go in early, stay late, never leave something unfinished, and see things through. Follow up, pay attention to details, own it, have responsibility and accountability for the success of the organization. And, you know, understand loyalty. Loyalty doesn't mean you compromise your ethics. Okay? It means there are a thousand decisions that are made in a year that have some consequence. Maybe it's just hundreds, but even if it was just 10, you will have great influence as a follower. If you're a great follower you will learn to speak respectfully into the decision-making process and you will have as much influence.

I feel like I did with Kent Hance, Don Powell, and the list of my mentors. I would say, this is what I think you should do. Here is the reason I think you should do it. Kind of, you know, just like bringing a problem. You don't bring a problem without a solution. You learn that real, real early. But when a decision is made, and by the way, it didn't always go in the favor of my counsel.

And sometimes I vehemently disagreed. But you know what I did? If it wasn't a matter of conscience or ethics or legality, it was — they paid the big bucks to the head cheese to make those decisions. So I had to leave the room and, after saluting, and carry out that decision, even though I may have opposed it and counseled against it as if it were the decision I was advising them to make.

I tell that story all the time to my guys, because leaders may not always be right in your eyes, but like parents, they're never wrong. They're trying to take the organization to the next level of excellence. They have tremendous pressure and responsibility. If things go wrong, they're not calling the staff out to the press conference, right? It's this person. And that level of intensity and that level of scrutiny that they're under and the weight of those responsibilities, I think, make the leader justified in being the decision-maker, ultimately, and great staff will execute as if it was their idea. Those are just some things that I think about when I think about — and I didn't think, I did not contemplate saying this — but yeah, learn to be a good follower. And so, again, I hadn't planned to say that, but it's true.

Kade Wilcox: Yeah, yeah, no, I appreciate you saying that. And even as you're talking, I was just reflecting, you know, on all the ways and all the different seasons where we're — well even now where, I mean, I'm on the TIF board for downtown Lubbock. I'm not the leader of that. And so, you know what I'm saying? So there's all kinds of ways in our life, even in our relationships, in our marriages, things like that, where we can practice being a good follower. And I've never thought of it as a way of also being a good leader, but it's really profound and challenging. So it's good. It's really good advice.

Balancing Humility and Confidence


Jodey Arrington: Can I get back to your question of — let me talk about the leader in the context of his or her organization, because that's more of the traditional model, right? So instead of me being, you know, among the House organization, or even among my 750, almost 1000 constituents, which we could say are my shareholders, if you will. And I'm certainly accountable to every one of them. And there's certainly a leadership model and how to engage, interact with them and listen, and be responsive, but also, you know, do the things that you believe are right and good for the country. You have a lot of voices and they're not all saying the same thing I can assure you. And you're not going to make — there is not a decision I've made that has pleased everyone.

Kade Wilcox: Right.

Jodey Arrington: So you have to be humble enough to listen. And I think humble enough to listen to the counsel of many, to your constituents and others, but you have to be confident enough in your principles that you are resolving it and then you move forward and you don't ring your hands over it because there are a hundred decisions you got to start preparing for. But in terms of the organization and me as the principal of my congressional office, I think I disdain bureaucracy. I disdain it. I've seen it. It's a cancer. It's like attitude, and bad attitudes, can be a cancer in an organization. It will kill the culture, a good culture. You know, a little leaven works its way through the whole batch of dough. You know, a rotten apple can spoil the whole apples. Leaders better be able to snuff that out quickly. So you've got to create — you don't want yes men and women, and you want a diversity of aptitudes and skills and experiences. But you want buy-in to the values, to the vision and to the mission.


As I tell people, it's not about Jodey Arrington in terms of our congressional office. It's about our country, the constitution I swear an oath to uphold and defend. It's about West Texas. Those things will last far beyond my tenure. So I think a leader has to reinforce the purpose and if it doesn't inspire your colleagues, your teammates, then, you know, there are plenty of other things to do in life. But we — I'm very purpose-driven and the purpose, the mission, the vision, what we're all about, is far bigger than any single one of us starting with me. And I make that clear very often.


So I think the leader sets the tone in terms of attitude, in terms of posture. And what I mean by posture, Kade, we try to create a sense of urgency when it is so easy, especially in government, to just, you know, the process is frustrating and sometimes very protracted just to make a habit, just to introduce a bill to finally, and ultimately become law is a long process. You have to build consensus within your own party. You have to reach across party lines. You have to find ways to tweak it so that you can get the, you know, the consensus and ultimately enough people; the threshold of votes to pass it. So while you have to be patient with the process, I recommend impatience with all process. I don't mean to get so frustrated that you are bitter or you're edgy and constantly angry. That's not the point. The point is don't be a slave to the process; truly identify the outcome you're looking for. And then just pursue it every day with vim and vigor, relentlessness. Those people who are successful in any business, in any venture I've been involved in, were people who persisted. They woke up every day, regardless of whether that day they won or lost, they persisted until the job was done.


And so setting a tone, setting the posture, establishing the values that will guide the organization, always preaching purpose. And then, you know, coaching your people constantly. I'm not a guy that waits for an annual performance evaluation to tell somebody if they're doing a great job or not. I'm in the middle of the game. To me, the game is being played out and I'm, like, blowing the whistle saying, "Come on over to the sidelines. We got to have a talk."


So I am constantly, hopefully constructively, critiquing and challenging my people. But I will also tell you, I'm the first one to run out on the field and tackle them with glee and like grab their face mask and just start like screaming. "You did it! You did it! Great job! This is what I'm talking about. Here's the game ball. Hey, let's get in the locker room, gather around this person, and let's all do the ‘One, two, three, go Bulldogs,’ because we just saw what excellence looks like today.” So I'm not one to just always be focused on the missed tackles, right? I'm just continuing with the football analogy since we're, you know, West Texas — food, fuel, fiber, and football.


But yeah, constantly coach. You got to know as a leader when it's too much and you begin to exacerbate — no exasperate. Sorry, exasperate. There's a lot of ways I can butcher that one. You don't want to exasperate it, meaning, you don't want to crush their spirit. You want to get their attention and you want to knock the rough edges off, or you want to hone and refine the skill that you're looking for or the attribute. Because it could be just an intangible, like, "Hey, be persistent. Don't give up." Or, you know, "Hey, don't take no for an answer. Just keep going." But you gotta stay on them and you gotta know when it's too much. Then you gotta start just giving a little space to breathe and look for opportunities to also say, "Hey, listen, you know, I may be chewing on you. I may be breathing down your neck, but I'm doing it because I see great potential. And I wouldn't even have you around. As they say, I wouldn't waste my time."

Kade Wilcox: Yeah. All of a sudden now you're starting to jog my memory.

Jodey Arrington: Are you having post-traumatic stress from the campaign?

Kade Wilcox: No, what I appreciate about what you're saying is I know it to be true. I mean, I think another thing that you do — I think you do all the things you just said well. And I was just starting to recall multiple experiences...

Jodey Arrington: Why? Did you trigger when I started saying, "I critique"?

Kade Wilcox: No, you do both. You affirm and you challenge. And I don't think it's a critique. I think it's a challenge. And I think the way you do it, typically, initially feels being challenged, but it's more of an invitation. It's what you were saying earlier, like, inviting your team to greatness. I love what you said, like, hey, you know, people should look at your role and that should be the defining essence for what that looks like.

Jodey Arrington: That's it.

Kade Wilcox: And, you know, I've never worked with you as an elected official. I've always worked with you in campaigns. And I find that that expectation and that invitation, and that challenging, calls everyone to do more for the cause. So I love it. And there's no post-traumatic stress here. It's just, as you're talking, I was putting myself back in some of those scenarios and it's great and I'm better. I'm better for it.

“Praise in public, criticize in private.”

Jodey Arrington: And Kade, do you know what? Here's the other thing. We do it pretty transparently with the team. Some people say, “Praise in public, criticize in private.” I think if you do it right, and it's a challenge, and if you're not so hyper-focused on the missed tackles and you look at where things have been done well, and you can take the minute to praise as much as the one-minute-manager-minute to criticize, I think what you will have is a force multiplier.


If I'm doing everything in private, then somebody is going to repeat that mistake and I don't want them to. And so we try to do these things very out in the open, again, without snuffing the light out of their hearts and souls. But, you know, I also find that every leadership, every person, every leader has his or her own style. And Kade, not everybody is wired to work on my team, on my program, and the culture I create and in the style that I use. But the ones that can respond to the environment I'm talking about and describing, they just respond. They're not — they don't get down. They don't feel like they just — they don't beat themselves up. They don't feel drained. They keep moving forward and they heed the challenge.

Jodey Arrington: And, again, I have to balance that and I don't always.

Kade Wilcox: Every organization does.

Jodey Arrington: But I need people around me that are comfortable enough, and they're in their own selves, and competitive enough — they're not content with where they are that they're like, okay, I can see this guy. He's — I hope it's very clear. Another leadership principle, lead by example. I mean, if you're not doing those things and I'm not, listen, nothing worse than saying one thing to your people, and you are not producing that same characteristic or quality. That is a killer for an organization. And it is a cardinal sin. I hope that, for the most part, I hope that it is demonstrated and understood that I'm trying to do everything in my power to abide by the principles and to realize the standards that we're setting as a team. But I know I don't always.

Kade Wilcox: Oh yeah, no, sure. Yeah. I think all that's really good. Probably my last question for you, just for the, you know, to respect your time is, that the two people —

Jodey Arrington: That's a nice way of saying I've gone over the allotted 30 minutes.

Kade Wilcox: Nope. You got things to do.

Jodey Arrington: I'm convinced he's going to make a heck of a politician.

Kade Wilcox: Is that an endorsement? An official endorsement?

Jodey Arrington: I'll have to wait and see what you're running for.

Kade Wilcox: It might be for District 19.

Jodey Arrington: Hey, you know what? I'll be ready to give it up.

Kade Wilcox: Just kidding. I'm just kidding.

Jodey Arrington: You heard it first here, folks.

Kade Wilcox: I'm just kidding.

Jodey Arrington: Lemme hear you say "food, fuel, and fiber." It's got to roll off the tongue if you're going to take office.

Clay Johnson

Kade Wilcox: No, I don't want people to think I'm being serious here. Okay. There are two leaders you've worked for that I really admire from a distance. I got to know, because of you, I've gotten to know Clay Johnson. I had the opportunity to have multiple meals with them since I met him on your campaign. So I'd love to maybe hear one thing you've learned from him. And then you worked for President Bush in the governor's office, and you went to Washington with him. So maybe as a final question, I'd love to hear maybe one thing you learned from each of them that you think you really admired and has kind of shaped your leadership. And a lot of people don't know who Clay Johnson is, and so maybe you can, you know, tell them your connection to him and who he is.

Jodey Arrington: Well, I can tell you this, that if I have been able to achieve anything of consequence in my career and, and to be — to have the privilege of serving in the role as a member of Congress, and it's not who I am, but it is the role, and it's an honor and privilege — it's because God has given me great parents and he's given me unbelievable mentors. I didn't choose them. You asked me to describe where the seed was planted. And I talked about Miss Becky Taylor and Ronald Reagan. And my dad was probably one of the best armchair politicians I've ever been around. So all of that influenced me, but I didn't have a plan. I can look back now and I can tell you that God really — there's that Scripture that says a man makes plans in his heart, but the Lord determines his steps. I don't even think I had plans in my heart, but maybe my plans were one day I want to be president. Right? Maybe that's all I said, because I didn't know any different or know any better. But God really has ordained my path and my, and determined my steps in a way that has left me — well, that has put me on the front row with some of the best leaders I have ever been around.


And I've now been around a lot of good men and women and very competent, effective professionals and leaders. But Clay Johnson was my first real boss. You know, I say real boss; first boss in my professional life. You know, I did a lot of jobs and had a lot of bosses, but he was very — and he's a former CEO in industry. But he did very well. Then he purchased and ran his own company. So he was part of large companies like Frito-Lay and Coca-Cola or Pepsi, I think it was Pepsi. Yeah. And then he became kind of an entrepreneur. And then he was asked to run the Dallas Museum of Arts.


And then he was asked by his old roommate, George W. Bush, to run political appointments. Not just as governor, but then as president. And he was just an all around general counsel and senior advisor to President Bush. So this is a very obviously capable person, a very trusted person of President Bush. And I, again, just landed with a guy that first of all, he took an interest in the people that worked for him. He was very much a mentor. He welcomed that. Some people I've worked for didn't welcome that as much. They taught me a lot, but they didn't embrace that role. And I don't know that anyone has as much as Clay. He's a very intentional guy. He taught me how to manage expectations. That was one of the first things. And I didn't even know what that meant or why that was important, but when you're making decisions that affect a lot of people — let's take one, just very specific example.


When I was interviewing several people for a gubernatorial appointment, or even a presidential appointment, that only one person would get, but I might have 10 candidates and each candidate may have all kinds of endorsements from political leaders. Like the speaker of the House in Texas and others. So there's all kinds of pressure to go with one person over the other. My job, and this is Clay — Clay said, "You have one client. It is the president." Or, at the time, the governor. “And you know his vision for Texas, you know his values and policy principles and goals, and, you know what he's trying to accomplish for our great state. Those are your guiding principles. You need to let him know the reality of all the various people that are being promoted by his peers, like a speaker, a Lieutenant governor, et cetera. But your job is to stay focused on who would be the best person for the job, given his policy, principles, and values.”


So he made it pretty easy. It wasn't like who gave the most or any kind of crazy thing like that. And and so when I'd interview people, I would let them know, "Hey, you're qualified or you wouldn't be here. But you know, we've got several people we're interviewing and we're going to go with the person that will, you know, will be able to deliver the results for our state and for this governor." But then you'd have to call them and you'd have to disappoint them and you'd have to call their endorsers. And I think if you do it on the front-end and really manage their expectation, that, you know, you don't want everybody leaving your interview thinking that they got the job. I used to do that. And it created lots of challenges.

So there are a lot of things Clay taught me, but I think managing expectations, being results oriented. There is nobody I know who I've worked for and who I've watched lead and manage an organization — he was a managing leader. There are inspirational leaders. There are turnaround leaders. There are all manners of leadership styles. Clay was a managing leader in that he understood that you had to define success. You had to have measurable goals. You couldn't just say, because he hated when the president would say something about the person we were recommending for an appointment. We'd say, yeah, he's a good guy. You know, this is a good guy. He's like, "What does that mean? I want to know what the job entails, what it requires, and does this person exceed the expectations to be able to perform in a way that will not just make us all like him or her, but make us proud by the results?"

And so he was laser-like focused on results, results, outcomes, outcomes, outcomes. And by virtue of being under his leadership, I am equally now obsessed with outcomes and results.

Kade Wilcox: Again, because of your introduction to him, one, I've got to meet with him several times in Austin and I've become fascinated by his perspective and how he manages meetings. And so he even shared a chapter, two chapters, that he had written about a book he never published, on meetings. And I'm like, every time I read it, I'm like, you really should publish this because meetings suck most of the time. But not his because of exactly what you're saying. There's, like, what does success look like? How are we going to define it? And how are we going to get to it? He even had, I think, he said like a scorecard in meetings. Like he had cards he'd hold-up like red, yellow, green, and you know? You can imagine, like, working for a governor or working for a president, particularly you got stuff to do. You don't have hour-long meetings. You have 20-minute meetings. You got to move.

President George W. Bush


What's one thing that you learned working with President Bush for, I guess it's 12 years almost? I mean, as governor and then as president. So what's the one thing that really jumps out to you about his leadership that you've carried with you?

Jodey Arrington: I think it's hard to pick one thing. I would just say he was very comfortable with himself. He didn't — he always took the job seriously, obviously, but he didn't take himself too seriously. And he was the same person that I met when I showed up as an intern in the governor's office, back in '96, as he was after 9/11. Which, you can imagine, the weight of the world to pursue the bad guys and to ensure that he would put every measure in to prevent that scenario from happening again.


But he was still quick-witted. He still had very great humor and self-deprecating humor. Like a lot, I think, of leaders. That's just an endearing quality, he's a very charming guy. But, I mean, he was also very hyper results-oriented, too. And he was a delegatory. And I think to maximize and not burn out, to maximize leaders’ achievements and not burn out, and this is something I struggle with because I can get down and try to do everybody's job for them. And that is a big mistake on a lot of levels. He, I think George W. Bush really lived out the philosophy of you surround yourself with great people, with leaders, with competent professionals, and with people who share your values. And then once you articulate what's expected, once you define success for them. And we got to keep reiterating that point. Define success so that you can know when you have achieved it. And to what extent you've achieved it.


You know, and that's the beautiful thing about sports. You know, there's a scoreboard and there's a clock, you know? And if you can put that same context of a scoreboard and a clock to everything, and then be the guy or gal that constantly inspires your team to be at their best and congratulate them when they own it and take control of it, and achieve at levels, not to please you, but to advance the mission, which is bigger than you. And also to realize new heights of their God-given potential. That is really my personal preference. And I think style, but certainly my preference in leadership. But yeah, President Bush was an exceptional leader because he kept it visionary. He got the best people around him. He focused on results, so they knew that they would be accountable. And I'm going to tell you, you were accountable in that organization. But he had fun while he was working and he maintained that sense of who he is as a person. He didn't just get so absorbed in the role.


Some people, they get elected to something and they get caught up in being a congressman or being a president or a governor. And, you know, I think, unfortunately, those folks are no fun to work with because they're too caught up on their own. They read — they actually believe all press releases and all that stuff. But not only that, they're not effective because they're not authentic. President Bush is, was, is I should say, an authentic leader.


I don't agree with him on everything. I certainly haven't agreed with some of his critiques lately on immigration, on the Republican party being too nativist. I don't think it's native as to want a functioning rational legal immigration system, and to put in place security measures that would protect your own citizens. So I disagree with him and I did as a staff person at times, but he is authentic. And I can tell you this, whatever he's saying, he's saying it because he believes it, and he believes it not to stir the pot, or not to one-up somebody, or not to be self-righteous about something. He's saying it because he believes it's good and right. And you know what? I want people like that around me. If I disagree, fine, but I know their motivation is what's good, right, just, for the cause. And that's him all the way. One hundred percent.

Kade Wilcox: That's really cool. Thanks for sharing all that. I really appreciate you being here.

Jodey Arrington: Sorry for being so long.

Kade Wilcox: No, you're great. I love it. I know you're exceptionally busy and I really appreciate you taking time to do this. And I think our audience is going to really enjoy it.

Jodey Arrington: Well, thanks for letting me take a trip down memory lane.

Kade Wilcox: Yeah, always fun.

Jodey Arrington: And I noticed you've been twitching ever since we talked about stocking that campaign so I hope you can drink a lot of fluid today.

Kade Wilcox: That's good. Hey, we video this, too. You know, people are going to fact check you on this, right?

Jodey Arrington: Well, listen. They fact check me every day.

Kade Wilcox: Thanks for being here.

Jodey Arrington: You bet. Blessings.

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