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Monday Musings September 12, 2017

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Colleagues and friends,

Apologies for missing last week, because of Labor Day, and getting this to you one day late. But, if your life is anything like mine right now (kids back to school, start-up of soccer and tennis, trips and countless meetings) you’ll understand that some things get pushed to the so-called back burner, and, unfortunately, my Monday Musings fall into that category.

But, I am back!

This is a very busy week with a national conference, several donor meetings and an Alumni Board meeting at my alma mater, Gettysburg College.

I am writing from O’Hare while waiting to get a direct flight to Boston for NACAC (The National Association for College Admissions Counseling). NACAC provides me with the chance to catch up with school counselor colleagues and fellow admissions and enrollment professionals. I always look forward to NACAC. Yet, NACAC has really changed in my 25+ years working in admissions and enrollment work.

NACAC is huge these days. In fact, it’s too damn big, in my opinion. While I appreciate NACAC’s prominence as the flagship organization representing our work, the shear size overwhelms what once was. And, the size has led to a very corporate feel to the whole shebang.

Despite the size and my grumpiness about how large NACAC has grown, the organization is what holds our profession together and this conference, in particular, will test and affirm this. At the conference this year a task force that has been rewriting the Statement of Principles and Good Practices (SPGP) will present a significantly revised version of this code of ethics. I was among those consulted during the exploratory process and when the version was being finalized. I think the work the task force has done is excellent and appreciate the time, care and professionalism that went into this effort.

I hope my fellow members of NACAC will embrace the revised document.

Kent

A thought I can’t get out of my mind

Since I started reading Simon Sinek’s book, Leaders Eat Last, I’ve stumbled across more of his work and last week I ran across the following quote: “A boss has a title. A leader has the people.”

Sinek’s sentiments on this prompt some thought about leadership and creating “followship” among those one is privileged to lead. I wish there was some perfect formula for someone to know that they have the people, but I don’t know what it is.

However, I was interviewed yesterday by a colleague about leadership and my approach and offered the following thoughts: Hire good people. Provide a complete and compelling vision about what you want. Get the hell out of their way. Hold them accountable. Affirm whenever and wherever possible.

I don’t know that I always get this right, but I try. I hope the people who I have the privilege to lead hold me to account in doing these things.

What do you think about the difference between having a title and having the people?

Three things I think are worth reading (if you haven’t already done so)

Seven Challenges Facing Higher Ed—This article from Forbes is worth reading. While it is a little alarmist, in my view, it’s worth understanding the perspective introduced in this article. You should scan this article to develop your own way to address these concerns/challenges should they be recited to you by prospective students or donors. How would you respond to these challenges? Could you? Do you know enough to speak articulately about how we fit in?

Six Essential Skills of Shared Leadership—I’ve become a fan of the short, but very valuable articles from Korn-Ferry International and found this piece very worthwhile. I think this stuck with me in large part because I was recently involved in a conversation during which someone said, “we can’t make them do it.” It seemed to be a perfect moment to think about shared leadership and the six skills identified in this article: Emotional Self -Awareness, Emotional Self-Control, Adaptability, Empathy, Organizational Awareness and Conflict Management.

The Biggest Misconception about Today’s College Students—This op-ed is an excellent reminder of the breadth of higher education in the US and how small the footprint of small, private colleges is. Read this so you don’t forget where we fit in and who we serve.

Something for you (and me) to think about

I recently attended a retirement celebration for my family physician. It was joyous occasion. There was lots of laughter—primarily at Mark’s expense. There were two things that stood out to me in the evening as people paid tribute to Mark’s nearly 40 years in medicine.

One thing that I made note of was his alleged use of the diagnoses “J.P. ROG.” One of his assistants said it took some courage to ask about this special diagnosis that she’d never heard of previously. She said she researched is and found noting, so she had to ask directly. Mark’s respond was that it stands of “Just Plan Run Out of Gas.” I admit to sometimes feeling like some ideas and a plan are J.P. ROG. It’s an expression I really like and am going to going to continually look for J.P. ROG in what I do.

The other thing that stood out was something someone said and attributed to Albert Einstein. This nurse was complementing Mark’s ease with patience and cited Einstein’s sentiment that “if you can’t explain something simply, you don’t fully understand it.” Man, we could learn a lot from this!

P.S. If you know of someone who you think I should add to my distribution list, please let me know and I add them. I try to get one of these out every Monday.


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