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Monday Musings (on Thursday) by WKB



Colleagues and friends,

I am running a little late this week with my Monday Musings; Thursday will have to do.

It’s been a very busy week preparing for the fall meeting of the Augustana College Board of Trustees. It’s the custom at Augustana to post materials for Board review ten days in advance of the Board meeting, which meant that everything for the three committees (Enrollment and Students Engagement, Campus Planning and Advancement) I staff had to be posted by 5 p.m. Monday.

It was a rush to get everything done and posted!

But, it also served as an excellent reminder to me of the great team members from across campus who surround and support me. While I may have the responsibility for organizing and posting the materials, it represents the work of many people, and, it is their contributions that will be celebrated and recognized next week.

I am especially grateful to the Communications & Marketing team at Augustana who do such an amazing job of reviewing, designing and improving the materials shared with the Board of Trustees.


A thought I can’t get out of my mind

 I suspect that by now most of you have had a chance to see Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy, Lt. General Jay Silveria’s, powerful address to cadets, faculty and administrators about a racial graffiti at the prep school there. If you’ve not seen it, you must!

I’ve watched it several times and even showed it Jennie and the Barnds kids. It is a powerful message and Lt. Gen. Silveria’s invitation to offer a “better idea” is excellent. The invitation to offer a better idea seems to missing in too many discussions. Again, his message is powerful and right-minded. But, what is also appealing about this video clip is how well it showcases powerful leadership.

This “Come to Jesus” meeting is an amazing thing to witness and to be a part of as an outside observer and serves as a great lesson for leaders.

Beyond the powerful message, Silveria delivers; here are a couple of things that I love about this this address.

I love it because it…

  • Is raw and authentic and personal, which is what we all want from a leader.
  • Leaves no doubt about what it expected, which creates alignment of purpose and understanding.
  • Doesn’t try to please everyone in the room, which is what I think often occurs when leadership has to deliver a tough message.
  • Asks for everyone to do their part and tells them how and what to do.
  • Doesn’t try to do too much.

There is a message in the 5-minute clip that every leader should appreciate. Perhaps those of us in leadership positions will think about this clip the next time we have to deliver good or hard news. Is the message we need to deliver authentic? Does it align? Will it be clearly understood? Does it pass the “don’t try too hard test?” And, is it simple and focused on the most important message?

Two things I think are worth reading (if you haven’t already done so)

Why fundraisers need to be excellent bear reporters—This piece, which is sponsored by Academic Impressions, but written by James Langley, is really good. It offers advice that is applicable for fundraisers, recruiters and communicators. The qualities that Langley identifies (natural curiosity and a “nose for human interest stories”) are those that make one successful in connecting with people and becoming an effective storyteller. The author offers a couple of great illustrations of “admirable people doing admirable things.” Take a quick look and challenge yourself to think about whether or not you are doing enough on your beat report?

Free college made universities less equal—in England, at least—I ran across this piece from Marketwatch earlier this week and found it to be very interesting. This reinforces an argument about the “cascading effect” that was advanced during the last election season. The cascading effect, related to free college, is when enrollment outpaces slots available at the most prestigious colleges, therefore pushing students pursuing free education to institutions that are less desirable or under resourced. This piece suggests that this may be happening in some countries when college is free. I don’t know what to think about all of this, but I do find myself thinking that the advocates for free college have never contemplated the idea that they might be the ones who are pushed to and institution other than the one that they want to attend for free. I suspect that they are the same people who never entertain the idea that they might be in the 50% of students who don’t graduate from college in four year.

What do you think of free college? What do you think of the analysis in this article? Does free college sound too good to be true?

Something for you (and me) to think about

I can point to a number of people who have been mentors and like the idea of mentoring, but I think it’s a hard thing to get started and keep going. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot and taking inspiration from a group in the Quad Cities called Lead(h)er, which is a woman to woman mentoring program. I and very impressed by the work being done there. I’ve also trying to find examples of successful mentoring programs. While sleuthing around I ran across an article from Forbes, “Mentoring Matters: How more women can get the right people in their corner.” The advice, while intended for women in the workplace, is excellent for anyone seeking mentorship.

How about this for a formula, which is recommend by author, Margie Warrell?

  1. Clarify your ideal mentor
  2. Be brave and ask
  3. Set expectations early
  4. Look beyond the obvious
  5. Make it a two-way value exchange
  6. Mentor other women (even if you doubt what you offer)

Wow! That’s some good stuff for all of us to think about.

P.S. If you know of someone who you think I should add to my distribution list, please let me know and I will gladly add them to the list. I try to get one of these out every Monday.

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