Home » Uncategorized » Monday Musings by WKB #emchat #admissions #highered #leadership

Monday Musings by WKB #emchat #admissions #highered #leadership



Dear colleagues and friends,

There is so much going on at Augustana that I hardly know where to begin!

Last week we hosted a fundraising consultant on campus to do an assessment of how effectively we are positioned to launch a public phase of a forthcoming campaign. It’s exhausting to schedule these visits and prepare to answer all the questions that go along with such a visit. But, I think the visit was great. In particular, a training session we did over dinner last Thursday night was excellent and served as a reminder to me about what a great advancement team we have at Augustana College.

Also last week, I was reminded first-hand of the amazing creativity of the C & M and recruitment communication team. Mid-week the virtual reality (VR) goggles finally arrived, which means we were able to send our VR goggles and VR video to our admitted students. Special thanks to Keri Rursch, Beth Robert and Quan Vi who worked really hard on this project. I am so excited to get feedback from our admitted students as they get a full view of what it’s like to be a student at Augustana College.

I took a day off on Friday to spend time with the Barnds family and my in-laws, who are visiting from Pennsylvania. We made a quick trip to Chicago to visit the Shedd Aquarium. We also visited President Grant’s home in Galena, Illinois yesterday. It was mighty cool after reading readings his biography.

This is a busy week, especially in the Office of Admissions. Lots of visitors—deciding seniors; as well as junior and sophomores, getting a first look at Augustana.

It’s “go time” in Rock Island.


A thought I can’t get out of my mind

For some reason reading “Grant” brought up a lot of memories of my uncle Delwin Gustafson. I believe Grant’s beard, his rugged look, his inscrutable demeanor and the signature cigar were all reminders of my uncle Delwin, who shared all of these traits.

Del was a giant in admissions and financial aid until his death.

Del spent 32 years at Gettysburg College, where he served as Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid. In fact, Del’s only job in lifetime was in the Office of Admission at Gettysburg.

Like Grant, Del seemed to be reluctant to lead at times, but found himself in high-profile positions. He served as NACAC president and, as a trained lawyer, he wrote our profession’s response to the Bakke decision in the mid-1970’s. He also served as president of PACAC.

For me, and many others, Del was a mentor. He was an accessible leader who always took time to help others grow in their work. Early in my career, Del provided wise counselor and always listened, even as he was struggling with his own very serious health issues.

When I would call to speak with Del at the office, the receptionist often would tell me that “he is out with Ike,” which was code for Del’s smoking a cigar outside by the stature of Eisenhower. Del’s cigar, like Grant’s, was ubiquitous. The habit turned out to be unfortunate for both.

I do wonder how Del would react to the world of recruitment today? The technology? The pressure? The craziness? The prevalence of social media and its impact on our work? The third-party “experts?”

I like to think that Del would simply listen, with the same inscrutable look on his face, and reserve his comments until everyone else had spoken.  After that, most likely over a beer, he’d dazzle us all with something profound and wise about the work we do and how to do it more thoughtfully and effectively.

Del graduated from Luther Junior College in Wahoo, Nebraska before completing his bachelors degree at Augustana. From Augie he attended the University of Nebraska Law School.

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

5 exercises for being productive—and innovative—at the same time—This summary, by EAB, of a Fast Company article is worth scanning if you find yourself in a productivity rut. Here is their advice:

  1. Establish some distance
  2. Adjust your workflow
  3. Set constraints
  4. Limit your stress
  5. Visualize your though process

I am not sure I am very good at any of these things, but I am going to try to take this to heart.

3 meeting scheduling mistakes that waste your and your colleague’s time—I really needed this article. This EAB summary, of a longer article, provides some good guidance for all of us. Here are the three mistakes:

  1. Meeting for no real reason.
  2. Getting the timing wrong.
  3. Inviting people so they feel “included.”

I am guilty of these mistakes and need to use some discipline when scheduling meetings. The author suggests that one is better off canceling such meeting, rather than making these mistakes. I bet we all can do better.

Google spent years studying effective teams. This single quality contributed most to their success—This article has been circulating for some time and I had it flagged to read on Google Keep, but didn’t get to it until this weekend. What a terrific read! Google identified “psychological trust” as the key ingredient for teams excelling.

Another word for this is trust. Google’s work suggests that trust is critical for teams and teammates, as well as for leaders. The actions that Google identifies for developing trust include:

  1. Listen first
  2. Show empathy
  3. Be authentic
  4. Set the example

I am about to go through a 360-degree evaluation and hope that it might provide some insight into whether or not my teams feel like I trust them. How do you do of developing trust among colleagues and team members?

Something for you (and me) to think about

So, now that I’ve finished Chernow’s “Grant,” I am tackling his “George Washington: A Life.” I started it over the weekend and am already engrossed. Although, I’ve read quite a bit about George Washington, I am already learning some new things about him and his leadership.

Below is a passage that stood out to me. It is said to be something that Washington said with some frequency:

“Errors once discovered are half amended.”

This is good food for thought.  For me, I found myself thinking about work and parenting and reflecting on how I approach errors. Do I approach discovered of errors on the same way? I suppose it probably depends upon the timing of the discovery and/or impact? Upon reflection, I also think I have some room to grow in this area.

Washington’s wisdom here is something we should all embrace.

 Is there something you’d like me to muse upon?

If you are curious about a topic or would like some musings about something in particular, please let me know by emailing me at wkentbarnds@augustana.edu

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 anyone who might benefit (or have mild interest) to the list. I try to get one of these out every Monday. Past issues of my musings can be found at my blog @bowtieadmission

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