A Note from Ujima Donalson,
Maybe you were once wary of entering your credit card information online or couldn't fathom needing anything other than a pen and paper during a meeting. Nowadays, though, you may be dependent on household goods arriving regularly on your doorstep or sitting in the conference room with your trusted tablet at your fingertips. Technology changes us and, before we know it, we can't even imagine how we lived without a particular device or advance. Even though it might not seem like it today, I imagine we'll feel the same after the HR/Payroll Modernization (HR/P) project has been completed.
As Dan Kaufman points out in this issue's Leadership by the Book, many leaders aren't comfortable with ambiguity. I think that admitting “I don't know” may be especially unpalatable to those of us in higher ed, but we may need to say that a little more than we're used to in the coming months. HR/P will require patience and perseverance, but we can position ourselves and our teams for success.
"Some think it's holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it's letting go." ~ Sylvia Robinson
Leading Change Starts With You
Joni Kirk, Communications Manager, HR/Payroll Modernization
I recently bought a book called Change is Good…You Go First. That title makes me laugh because of the simple truth it contains. In theory, many people are open to change. In practice, it's easier to be a follower than a leader because we want someone else to make hard decisions, overcome the challenges, and show us how it should be done.
One change on the horizon that may inspire feelings of “you go first” is the University of Washington's HR/Payroll Modernization (HR/P) project. However, with this change there will be no opportunity to wait and see how others do it. When the University switches to the new system in late-December 2015, that's it—we all must adapt at the same time. Given that many of us have an innate resistance to even small changes, how will we manage ourselves and our team members through such an extensive change?
"When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally." ~ Lao Tzu
Leadership by the Book
Dr. Dan Kaufman, Consultant
The Opposable Mind: Winning Through Integrative Thinking by Roger Martin, Harvard Business Review Press (2009)
As a long-time student of epistemology—the study of knowledge, its acquisition, and its evolution—and of adult development, I felt a keen interest in reading Roger Martin's The Opposable Mind. Over the course of the book, Martin, a former dean whose website proclaims “Thinking about thinking,” dissects the thinking behavior of numerous successful leaders and provides clear strategies for developing integrative thinking.
The problem that Martin's book tackles is how leaders—and, consequently, organizations—get stuck. Most of us rely on tried-and-true methods or settle for such weak compromises and cautious solutions that “progress” comes in fits and starts, with little or no forward movement. On the other hand, leaders who practice integrative thinking, as Martin has coined it, have “the capacity to hold two diametrically opposing ideas in their heads” and “produce a synthesis that is superior to either opposing idea while containing parts of each individual idea.”
"The first task of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you." ~ Max DePree
Bring Training to Your Team
Kim Delaney, Consultation Services Coordinator
You're probably used to approving training requests and you may have even asked an employee to attend a training to build skills in a specific area—but have you ever considered bringing training directly to your team? Every year, departments across the University do just that through POD's University Consulting Alliance.
Some departments contact me about an existing POD course and then work with a consultant to customize the class as needed and schedule the training for a time that works best for their team. Others contact me to discuss a topic or organizational need, and I recommend consultants who have related expertise. For example, I was contacted by a department hoping to motivate staff to provide good customer service. I connected them with Clive Shearer, a popular POD instructor, and he designed a custom class to meet their objectives.
If you're looking for an additional boost of inspiration or information, here are some articles and videos on problem-solving, change, and decision-making.
From the Harvard Business Review:
- This three-minute video puts a fresh spin on The Five Whys, a problem-solving technique that originated at Toyota. “Behind every seemingly technical problem is actually a human problem waiting to be found.” Watch video.