By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
When Dr. Ray Phillips successfully completed his dissertation and earned his doctoral degree from Grand Canyon University, his chair left him with one simple message:
“Congratulations, Ray. Don’t stop writing.”
Late last year, the 2019 Doctor of Philosophy in General Psychology graduate with an Emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology self-published his first book, “Finding Joy in Leadership by Developing Trust You Can Count On.”
It has been a long process, but one that he has enjoyed.
“It was a real journey but an exciting one,” he said. “When you write a book, you really have to think about who that audience is, and so I really tried, when I wrote the book, to tell a lot of personal stories and to make it very easy to read.”
The book, available for purchase on his website and on Amazon/Kindle, dives into the topic of leadership and methods of improving relationships in the workplace.
According to Phillips, it's about mutual accountability.
“I’ve always been curious why some organizations do really well and why other organizations don’t do so well … but I just wondered if there was something unique within those relationships that would create that synergy,” he said. “So what became curious to me was, what if within an organization between a leader and a follower there was two-way accountability? In other words, not just the accountability that a follower has from their supervisor, but what about the accountability the supervisor has to the follower?
“So, based on what I found from my doctoral research, I thought, ‘Gosh, there’s practical use to this.’”
And the rest is history. The book is being used for a course in aviation leadership at the University of Kentucky.
It’s a trail of success that all leads back to his time in his doctoral program.
“I can’t say enough good about the aura and culture of GCU,” he said. “I was inspired by the professors I had and in the courses.
“I was encouraged. I was challenged.”
Through his work, Phillips hopes to use his education and research to help younger generations find their footing in the working world. In addition to writing, Phillips is a pilot for Frontier Airlines, a logical continuation of his service as an Air Force officer – he was a colonel when he retired after 23 years.
Despite living in Colorado, Phillips still feels as close as ever to his alma mater, sharing his GCU pride any opportunity he gets.
“I’m very proud to tell people that I am an alum,” he said. “I’m very encouraged when I hear people say that they’re considering sending their loved ones to GCU for an undergraduate.
“I think the culture that GCU has is magnificent.”
He also has given back to the College of Doctoral Studies by giving a presentation about his Ph.D. on its DC Network.
“I just enjoy giving back,” he said.
If there was one piece of advice he would give to any student struggling to complete their program, it would be to refer to the wisdom of American educator and businessman Stephen Covey and “begin with the end in mind.”
“I think that you really have to decide what’s the purpose. Is it to get the degree? And if it is, then what will you do with that degree?” he said. “What we seek, we typically find, so if you look at a program and you go, ‘Ugh, this doctoral program, everything I heard is that it is going to be tough and I don’t know if I can do it,’ that’s a fair thing to say. But wake up every morning seeking success and seeking to learn something that will move you on that journey.
“I think the joy in life is found in that growth.”
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