Getting to know Bill Krug
Bill Krug is an associate professor in the Department of Technology Leadership & Innovation (TLI). He earned his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Oklahoma State University and his master’s degree in management and personnel administration from Central Michigan University. He came to Purdue in 1985 as the executive officer of the Naval ROTC program. He retired from the military in 1991 and has been a professor in the organizational leadership program ever since. He provides consulting expertise in the areas of leadership, training and development, supervisory skills, and team development and leadership to a variety of companies.
(Photo: Bill Krug in his office, surrounded by his own artwork and art created by his wife, Anita.)
On his on-the-job training: My naval experience provided on the job training in key areas of leadership. As a mission commander in the Navy, I sat at a computer console and tracked submarines. My time in the military gave me experience in team and leadership development because the airplane and the mission we had were very technical in nature. I was in charge of coordinating a team of 13 specialists — pilots, navigators, people listening for submarines, other crew members. My job was to coordinate the efforts of and inputs from various team members in the mission of tracking submarines. When crew members left the team and others were added then I had to go through the team-building process prior to the next deployment. I grew up on farm in western Oklahoma, which provided me with the ability to work hard, fix things with my hands, and solve problems.
On the classes he teaches: My focus initially was in the area of training and development; now I have moved into the leadership and teams area. I have worked in that area for a number of years. I teach graduate and under graduate level of teams courses, and every other fall, I teach a training and development course for construction managers for the building construction management master’s program. I also picked up the service-learning course. Our department determined a few years ago that our students needed an experiential learning experience. It’s fulfilling to get the students out in the community. We want them to be exposed to this invisible population that is around us. Often we don’t see the people who don’t have jobs, who are working three jobs, or the kids who are starving for adult attention. The class exposes them to what is needed in the community and exposes them to the idea of giving back.
On his teaching philosophy: My overarching teaching philosophy is student involvement. I run my teams class almost like a lab. I tell them they are the experiment and the observers of the experiment. I give them projects to experience different things: conflict, competition. I could lecture on teams all day and they wouldn’t get it; but you put them in a team activity where they have to work together, then the learning really starts to happen. It’s about information sharing and team decisions. I throw in the virtual technology side of things now because as virtual teams become more prevalent in the outside world, that adds another dimension to teams working together to solve problems.
On the changing American workplace: Technology has changed significantly in the terms of our use of smart devices. I’m teaching classes through Adobe Connect, a computer system, where I can talk to and see my students across the country. Because of technology we’re on the job 24/7 now. We see this when we are consulting as everyone has a smart device attached to them. This has changed leadership; you’re always on the hook. How do we control this device? How do we lead people in this virtual environment? The leadership functions have changed. There are still some issues to be worked out.
On the new TLI department: For us to continue to be a strong country, we have to continue to be strong innovators. Our push is how we lead innovation in the marketplace. How do we put leaders into organizations who understand innovation and foster it? How do we play the role in leading innovation, dealing with change and creativity? Look at how Steve Jobs set up his organization to let his employees be innovative. The traditional business structure didn’t allow that. How do we get away from that traditional view? I’m on the committee that is looking at renovating the third floor of Young Hall for use by our department. How do we set that up to foster creativity?
On his non-Purdue activities: I have a lot of hobbies; I’m a wood artist, but I also like working out, bike riding, playing golf. I enjoy my summers off. We do traveling and spending time with grandkids in the summer. This is a great place to live.