Dear colleagues and friends,
I took last week off from writing to focus on a number of things that were time sensitive. My apologies.
This past weekend was full of basketball as the Augustana College men’s basketball team started play in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The mighty Vikings prevailed in both of their games and now advance to the Sweet 16 this coming weekend. We are fortunate to host the next round once again on campus in what Coach Grey Giovanine describes as “the best college basketball atmosphere in the country.”
Coach G. is right, Carver Center really rocks and the team has an enthusiastic following. Last week also included a video on the college’s beloved Carver Crazies. Greg Armstrong and Ashleigh Johnson of the C & M team did a great job planning and executing the clip. Enjoy.
Finally, as March Madness continues and we witness some great games, but also see the dirty underbelly of big-time college sports, I think it important to remember that Division III still believes in the student-athlete model. There’s no “one and done” here.
A few days ago I posted the following to my Facebook page:
“Amid all of the ridiculous news about Division I basketball, I am thrilled to have my newsfeed jam-packed with news about the achievements of Division III student-athletes: personal bests, school records, conference championships, upsets and triumphs. If you want your student to love the game they play, support their pursuit of Division III college sports.”
As a former Division III student-athlete, I believe in this and hope more and more people see the light and the benefits of Division III athletics.
A thought I can’t get out of my mind
My current airplane book is Simon Sinek’s “Start with why.” This book was referenced quite a bit in the other Sinek book I read, so I’ve been curious about it for some time. The book is giving me a lot to think about and strikes a nerve as I think about recruitment and fundraising.
Sinek writes, “Given the relative parity of features and benefits, that little something extra is sometimes all is takes to tip the scales.” Of course, Sinek maintains that little something extra is why. He does and excellent job of contrasting what and how from why and makes a compelling case that companies, people and organization who start with why they do something (rather focus on what and how) ultimately distinguish themselves. He has a pretty clever review of Apple’s why that got me thinking a bit about my own why. He writes that, “People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do.”
I’ve been thinking about why a lot since starting this book and reflecting on why I do what I do.
For me, the why is because I want the following our college students:
- I want them to learn how to deal with disappointment (mine what getting beat out of a challenge race the week before going to nationals on a 4 X 100 relay team on which I’d run to qualify for nationals)
- I want them to question what they think they believe in (my Freshman Colloquy Class challenged my truth in ways I never imagined as a high school student)
- I want them to gain the confidence to change their mind (my moment came when I de-pledged a fraternity when I came to realize it was not a good fit for me)
- I want them to be challenged by uncomfortable surroundings (Spain and the East Coast did this for me)
- I want them to be surrounded by people who care deeply about their success (I benefited from faculty, coaches, administrators, friends and music directors who cared about my goals and me. They went out of their way to make sure I was successful)
These are my whys. I believe that moments like what I describe above represent the why for students to choose Augustana and for donors to support the college.
What is the why behind what you choose to do?
How would you describe your why?
Have you thought about the what, how and why and why WHY makes the difference?
Two things I think are worth reading (if you haven’t already done so)
8 Questions to ask someone other than what they do—OK, I love this article and am really trying to re-train myself to begin asking these questions. It’s not easy to do, but I think it will be worth it. If you don’t have time to read this full HBR article, I’ve listed the 8 Questions below:
What excites you right now?
What are you looking forward to?
What’s the best thing that happened to you this year?
Where did you grow up?
What do you do for fun?
Who is your favorite superhero? .
Is there a charitable cause you support?
How will you use these questions?
Chick-fil-A is beating every competitor by training workers to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’—This Business Insider article on Chick-fil-A is a great reminder of how important the basics are to providing great service. While this may seem so clear to everyone reading this, it is also critically important to make sure this sort of sentiment is represented throughout the entire organization. The Chick-fil-A example, with its emphasis on front-line workers, shows how important customer-facing efforts can be.
Something for you (and me) to think about
Chernow’s “Grant” is amazing! I have only 200 pages to go in this monster. The book is providing me with quite a history lesson about others whose names I’ve heard, but whose stories I don’t know.
One person who plays a prominent role is Hamilton Fish, who served as Grant’s Secretary of State. Fish had some remarkable achievements are Grant’s Secretary of State, but I was drawn to a passage about his service as a member of Grant’s Cabinet.
Chernow describes Fish as “…the ideal cabinet member because he never hesitated to disagree or warn of dangers inherent in a course of action. At the same time, once Grant made up his mind he was unshakeable, and Fish loyally carried our his directives whether he agreed or not.”
I highlight this passage in the book because it serves as a great reminder about being a trusted advisor. Fish clearly knew his role and executed it very well. Fish was a popular and successful Secretary of State and was central to Grant’s foreign policy successes because he knew his role as a leader, adviser and follower.
Is there something you’d like me to muse upon?
If you are curious about a topic or would like some musings about something in particular, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. If you know of someone who you think I should add to my distribution list, please let me know and I will gladly add anyone who might benefit (or have mild interest) to the list. I try to get one of these out every Monday. Past issues of my musings can be found at my blog @bowtieadmission