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Is low hanging fruit a euphemism for something?

There are many “how to succeed in your new leadership role” type articles. They are often titled things like “the 1st 90 days” or “the 3-month survival plan” or “hit the ground running.” They all seem to advise you to identify “low hanging fruit” for “quick wins.” And so I wrote this on my to do list and really tried. But this isn’t as easy at sounds. First, you don’t know the culture, and implementing change early can be at the expense of building relationships. Second, if something was really that easy, wouldn’t they have done it already? Most … Continue Reading

Tomorrow I Address the Cabinet

for the first time… in addition to giving them some updates about my activities and our future projects, I will also be providing:

First impressions

  • communication isn’t consistent or effective, both internally and externally
  • significant community frustration regarding relatively “easy to fix” problems, e.g. problems for which the solution is known (though resources may be scarce)
  • internal to my team, we have lots of management, little leadership

and I will ask The Big Question: What do you want IT to be? Pick one:

  1. A commodity? We support the business and have automated business processes.
  2. A … Continue Reading

First Impressions

While applying for my position here and during my first few weeks, I kept a running document noting all the weirdness I saw, or stuff that seemed weird to me. I reviewed it with my staff and will share a draft with my boss as well. I thought this list might amuse you–consider how your organization might appear to an outsider? And my final version will add some plusses as well.

Here goes:

1. Human Resources:

  • Be careful of using proprietary formats in public materials, e.g. benefits statement was sent in MS Publisher.
  • Why the paper job application? Couldn’t this be … Continue Reading

The Medium is the Message, or: Talk is Cheap (Show me the money)

As noted earlier, I’ve been interviewing colleagues and my staff to get a sense of their goals as well as their fears, concerns, and desires regarding technology. During these interviews, I sometimes get feedback that my predecessor’s style was not viewed as successful, and often people note how different I seem.

Then, this afternoon, I was reviewing some old files, and I came across my predecessor’s notes. There was a list of questions which was very similar to my questions as well as a spreadsheet indicating who had been interviewed and the results. Deja vu all over again! A … Continue Reading

What I’m doing now

other than typing these letters at this very instant….

Well, I’m interviewing all my staff and all their staff and the president’s staff and the student leaders and just about everyone. I’m asking the same questions of them all. Here they are:

  1. How long have you been here? What’s your background? What do you want me to know about you?
  2. Tell me about your team.
  3. What is your big picture goal?
  4. What do you want this college to become?
  5. What are our strengths?
  6. What do you want me to change?
  7. What are you afraid I’ll do?
  8. If you had to build a team to do some undefined project, … Continue Reading