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Monday Musings July 24

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July 24, 2017
Colleagues and friends,
In recent weeks, I find that my days are full and that I don’t have the time to engage in some of the discussion that I find so fulfilling in the workplace. I miss the opportunities to discuss trends, ideas and things of common interest. But, I am not going to give up and conclude that time no longer allows for this. Instead, I am going to try to take a couple of minutes each week to offer a couple of thoughts for consideration and discussion.
If you want to opt out, simple let me know (it won’t hurt my feelings and I know everyone gets a lot of crap to read). If you want to engage, drop me a line and let’s engage. If you want to just soak it in, I am cool with that, too. If you know of someone on- or off-campus who might enjoy this, let me know and I will add them to the list.
Any feedback you care to offer is very welcome.
Kent
A thought I can’t get out of my mind
I follow a guy named Charlie Melichar, from Marts & Lundy, on Twitter who last week tweeted the following: “As you plan messaging for this year, remember: Annual Giving is about annual impact, not your solicitation cycle.” This tweet has so much to say to us in enrollment, communication and advancement. We often design, or dream up, the perfect communication flow and messaging to fit into our cycle and the cadence we think works best. But, is that the best we can do?  I think Melichar’s point is that our cycle and cadence is only effect if we are clearly illustrating the transformative value of an Augustana education and how a gift impacts the college and our students, or how choosing Augustana will impact a student’s life. While calls to action and cycles are clearly important, let’s make sure we are leading with impact–of a gift or decision to attend–in everything we do.  Do you think we are consistently emphasizing impact or are we thinking communication cycle first? Can we do better?
Three things I think are worth reading (if you haven’t already done so)
Blogpost from Capture “Two reports…three alarming trends in Higher Ed.”  It might be easy to get depressed when one reads the three trends. We can’t let any of this get us down. Instead, we need to be aware of the trends and knowledgable enough to discuss them with prospective students (and families), alumni and friends. We need to be thinking about how these trends impact us directly and how we can respond or assist with the response. We can’t simply wait for the president Board to formulate a response, we need to be active in responding, too.
RuffaloNoelLevitz buys Purple Brief Case Last week RNL announced the acquisition of Purple Brief Case, which is similar to the product, Handshake that our Career Development Office uses. What I find most interesting about the acquisition is that it seems to recognize how dependent recruitment is upon successful outcomes and graduation results. While RNL does a lot of work in a lot of areas, one of its core functions is recruitment and this represents new thinking. As you might remember, Augustana 2020 and its emphasis on “enhanced preparation” was designed to make an even stronger case for choosing Augustan by emphasizing excellent job and graduate school placement. It will be interesting to see if others (EAB/Royall, etc) follow suit and add career outcomes to their portfolio of services offered.
Young, gifted and held back This article from The Economist about the millennial generation is really interesting and there is something for all of us to consider as we think about student recruitment, student employment, new staff and young alumni engagement.  While this article discusses the worldwide situation for millennials, there are plenty of things to think about in our multigenerational workplace. I sometimes wonder if we, in general, expect a certain “paying dues” before we fully engage millennial employees. Is that working for us? Is it working for them? Are there new models worth considering? For me, I have vivid memories of hiring admissions “road-runner” with the expectation of working young employees to death for two years, resulting in burn out. This was the model in admissions for years. I am glad we’ve changed the model. But, is there more we can do do? Is there more that millennials can do to integrate into a multigenerational workplace? Clearly, millennials offer much more. They have capacity in areas that are perhaps untapped and they add to the rich diversity we need in the workplace. What do you think: do we hold millennials back or are we unleashing their full potential?
Something for you (and me) to think about
I recently finished a biography about Theodore Roosevelt, Jon Konkey’s “Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of American Leadership.” I commend the book to you when you have time to really sink yourself into a book (I read most of it while at my in-law’s). Konkey’s, when describing Roosevelt’s leadership wrote the following, which stuck with me, “…an adaptive leader can only lead others by listening, truly listening, to understand what followers believed at that moment in time. It cannot be done by charging ahead along, simply espousing virtue.” I must admit that I am not always good at leading as a listener, first and foremost. I suspect that we all may struggle with this, especially when we have strong ideas about the way something should be done or presented. But, one thing I’ve come to admire about Teddy he was an adaptive leader and it worked well for him and for our country. I am going to be doing my best to listen, truly listen as we move forward together. Please check me when I don’t. And, please join me, as you wish, in doing the same.

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