You received good advice - listening helps build relationships.
I always remember a quote from Jim Collins (Good to Great and the Social
"During my first year on the Stanford faculty in 1988, I sought out
professor John Gardner for guidance on how I might become a better
teacher. Gardner, former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare,
founder of Common Cause, and author of the classic text Self-Renewal,
stung me with a comment that changed my life.
"It occurs to me, Jim, that you spend too much time trying to be
interesting," he said. "Why don't you invest more time being interested.""
Said another way, increase the ratio of questions asked to statements made.
All good advice in many situations. Phil Long (formerly of Yale) once
said to me : "When you have a new boss you have a new job"
On 6/24/2014 8:44 AM, Theresa Rowe wrote:
> Good morning,
> One year ago I wrote to several CIO peers who had gone through
> leadership changes at their universities, seeking their career
> advice. I essentially have a new job while staying in place. We have
> a new president (first interim, and in the next few weeks, a new
> permanent president). We also have a new provost- VP Academic
> Affairs, new VP - Student Affairs, 6 new deans (4 are interim now),
> and an almost new VP - University Relations. How do you approach new
> leaders? I was thinking about creating an IT marketing piece and
> reach out to them.
> However, my seasoned peers suggested this was a time to be quiet and
> less obvious. Jack Suess, David Todd, Rob Paterson, and Marty Ringle,
> all with their usual excellent counsel, suggested this was "keep your
> head down territory." The advice was to avoid being seen as
> jostling for position. Pay close attention to what is going on;
> listen carefully. Assess the politics. Recognize the instability of
> interim leaders. Offer insight on where IT might be helpful, but do
> not push.
> I want to report back that this was great advice to follow over the
> past year. I've spent much time listening to the new permanent
> leaders as they enter the organization, and I'm learning what
> strategies and priorities are important to them. As new ideas emerge,
> my answers emphasize first "We can do that ..." and second, the cost
> or resources needed, and a third, some background or history that
> might be relevant. With so much change here, there's few who
> understand the history and I make sure to bring it up only when it
> Rather than talk about marketing "this is IT", I've been asking "What
> do you need to be successful? How can IT help with that?". A picture
> is emerging that is different from our past, and I think right now it
> appears to be more focused on academic success and retention. It is
> very positive to ask what the other person needs for success, rather
> than pushing IT initiatives.
> As new leaders come in, I am trying to assess and make sure the simple
> things start up right for their first day: an active email account,
> network access, computer on their desk. Make sure their first
> impressions with technology, however basic, are positive.
> As I listened, I realized that none of the current or future leaders
> here were present when we made our ERP decision, and they do not know
> what has been invested in our ERP environment. I created a
> presentation that I've just offered to various audiences around campus
> that talks about how we selected the ERP, what went into the
> implementation, and the investment that was made. This has had a
> positive reception.
> Our Board of Trustees recently mandated a new campus strategic plan
> (before a new president is selected), and they hired a consultant to
> lead that effort. The board and interim president created a
> committee, but the library and IT were not included. This was a real
> "keep your head down dilemma" for me, but the Dean of the Library
> ended up arguing for both of us to participate, and we were both added
> to the committee (unfortunately, the dean just resigned too). It is a
> different planning effort than I am used to in our world; there were
> six meetings of just the committee, no broad campus participation, and
> we are done. It will be interesting to watch what the new president
> does with that plan.
> I just thought I'd share this story, as many of us will experience
> campus transitions in our careers. How did you handle it? What
> obstacles did you hit? Any advice for those of us in the stream?
> Best wishes,
> Theresa Rowe
> Chief Information Officer
> Oakland University
> ********** Participation and subscription information for this
> EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at
Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/discuss.