Tag Archives: communication

Leadership Voice: What a Difference a Gift Makes

Thimg_1409e University of Oregon’s new president, Michael Schill, is in an unprecedented leadership position: accepting what he calls a “jaw-dropping $500 million gift” from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penny. He has done so with vision and grace. Continue reading

Vision and Voice

It’s a big day.

Today is the official start date of our new consulting practice focused on strategic planning, vision and goal setting, communications, leadership and organizational development for higher education and related institutions. This moment is exciting on masidebyside-for-postny levels. We have enormous respect for each other—the intellect, creativity, and ambitious thinking that has characterized our work both together and as individuals will now directly benefit our clients. Our work with colleges and universities is both inspiring and satisfying. In addition to our expertise in higher education, we partner with a range of organizations that advance the world’s knowledge, including research institutes, foundations, nonprofits, start-ups, and other entities with a related mission. Continue reading

The Power of “Why”

I keep coming back to this 2009 TED talk by Simon Sinek on the power of “why.” I often find the really smart people I work with jump right into the details: what they’re going to do and how it should be done. I also have found that academic leaders, in particular, frequently begin their communication with statements about problems or deficiencies. I think this is because they spend their careers as scholars identifying problems to solve and challenging one another’s research in order to expose the flaws and make sure it holds up.

Image for blog power of whyHowever, once you move into leadership, the job is different. You need to inspire and motivate the people around you to give their best effort, even when the going gets tough. To do this, it’s important to start with the “why”: Why are we doing this? What will it look like if we are wildly successful? Research shows that a positive and clear articulation of the destination inspires people and makes them work harder. Stating your goals and aspirations in a positive way is much more likely to get your team working enthusiastically, persuade the organization to commit resources, and win support from donors. Continue reading