In what is becoming an annual exercise, Lisa and I reviewed the past year of trends collected in The Scan to forecast what might be coming in 2018. Our resulting essay appears in Inside Higher Ed today. While the developments affecting higher education are sobering, we also offer practical advice for action steps college and university leaders can take to get ahead of the curve. We welcome your thoughts and additions to our list.
A couple of news announcements about Penn State caught my eye this week. Both are attempts to get past significant scandals by taking policy or programmatic action.
As I wrote in an earlier blog post on recovering from a PR crisis, there is a basic formula used by most people and groups who successfully move past a major scandal. It includes:
- Admit the mistake or wrongdoing
- Apologize without excuses
- Explain why it happened, or what you will do to find out
- Take steps to fix the damage and prevent a similar occurrence in the future
In our long-time roles as senior communications counsel to university presidents, we know first-hand that the presidency is among the most complex and challenging jobs in the country.
On March 8, the University of Michigan men’s basketball team along with the cheerleaders and pep band members were all on their way to the Big Ten tournament when the unthinkable happened. Their chartered plane, just clearing the ground during takeoff, was caught in high winds. It came down hard and skidded off the runway.
The Atlantic magazine ran a piece on March 2 with this provocative title: “Being Quiet Is Part of Being a Good CEO.” The story was about research by Hal Gregersen, executive director of MIT’s Leadership Center, who interviewed more than 200 senior business leaders to find out what makes them successful at transformational change.
Gregersen notes that leaders become increasingly isolated as they rise higher in the food chain. “The challenge becomes that once people move into leadership roles, they often spend too much time in offices and too little time out on the edge of their organizations where people are voicing legitimate, honest concerns about what’s working and what isn’t,” he said. “We fail to ask new questions when we stop being in different places around different people. When that stops happening, we’re crippled by lack of information.” Continue reading