Tag Archives: Charting the Future

Summertime and the living is easy……

Do you know the next line? If so leave a comment and also share what you are doing to enjoy your summer.

Similar to many of my favorite podcasts, I am offering a “best-of” summer repeat post today. First a quick set-up for you.

In Anita’s last post she highlighted the importance of Building a Change Engine to ensure you have the capacity for a successful change. Improving decision-making capabilities is a crucial aspect of the change engine structure.  The quality of decisions during all phases of change impacts the success of any change initiative.

At MnSCU we are focused on providing an opportunity for all Minnesotans to create a better future for themselves, for their families, and for their communities through our Charting the Future work. Leaders, faculty, staff, implementation team members, and stakeholders will all need to make many on-going decisions during the next few years. As in any organization working on transformational change, we will be searching for new ideas, exploring alternatives and examining current policies, procedures and processes and deciding what is the best mix for a successful future. Change demands making hard choices among many options.

Last December I wrote about a conversation McKinsey & Company had with Chip Heath that focused on how to increase the effectiveness of decision-making in organizations and individuals and make better decisions. Here is a link to that blog which includes some practical ideas for developing decision-making capacity in your organization – It’s a WRAP!

I hope you find this “repeat” blog valuable. In case you couldn’t answer my opening question, here is a hint. fish-graphics-catfish-931568

We would love to hear what you are doing to enjoy your summer.

Todd Thorsgaard

Being the first follower

Our Talent Management Steering Committee spent yesterday in a year-end retreat. We had the opportunity to receive a briefing on Charting the Future from Jaime Simonsen and Todd Harmening, who are providing guidance and support to the implementation teams.

Along with a great deal of useful background information, Todd shared this video.  It’s a fun, and very concise, example of how to start a social movement.  One of the key points is the importance of the first follower – that’s the person who turns someone from a “lone nut” into a leader.

dancing movement guy1

dancing movement guy2dancing movemeng guy3


We’ve been talking about leadership actions that can build accountability and commitment. Yesterday’s retreat reminded me that sometimes the best way we can lead is by being good followers. As the video says, eventually there is a tipping point where it’s more desirable to join in than to stay apart.

How can we encourage people to join into our dance?  Here’s some food for thought as we move into Charting the Future and other change efforts.

  1. How do I talk about change efforts? Am I using supportive language and expressing legitimate concerns in a tone of respect and curiosity?  Or do I model negative attitudes?
  2. Am I displaying the behaviors that we want to see in others? Do I keep myself informed about the change effort and provide support and input where appropriate?
  3. Am I honoring my commitments and holding myself accountable for what I need to do?  If not, how can I expect others to do so?
  4. Am I making it easy and fun for others to join in?

Beginning work on Charting the Future can be like trying to start a movement.  Just like the dancing guy in the video, implementation teams are taking those first steps.  But it’s up to each of us to figure out how to join the dance and become effective followers.

Dee Anne Bonebright



Reinventing ourselves

reinvent“Our duty is to wholly reinvent ourselves. We are America’s future—intellectually, socially, culturally.”  – Gordon Gee, former president of Ohio State University

As we grapple with how our colleges and universities can survive and thrive well into the future, we must in many ways reinvent ourselves and how we do business.  Conversations about how to do this well have been taking place on Minnesota State College and University campuses throughout our state over the summer and fall, as faculty, staff and administrators have been responding to a draft set of recommendations, entitled “Charting the Future.”

As I’ve been contemplating many of the recommendations in the report, it has been helpful to reread The Innovative University by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring.  Most of the 2011  text outlines the evolution of higher education in the U.S., and compares and contrasts some new models of educational delivery.  The authors acknowledge that all of higher education is in crisis, with rising tuition, out of control costs, and is facing disruptive technologies, such as for-profit competitors offering online degrees. They suggest that college and university leaders will have to innovate to the point of changing the DNA of higher education from the inside out in order to survive, since our traditional model of higher education in the U.S. is expensive and unsustainable for the long term. To get started with this process, Christensen and Eyring admonish institutions to focus on their unique contributions within the higher education landscape, by:

1)      Assessing Capabilities – determining what we’re best at and how well we meet the needs of students and other constituencies we serve.

2)      Making Choices – making hard choices about what the organization will and will not do and being clear about the trade-offs.  Asking:  what students will we serve? What will the academic offerings include? What are our unique areas of expertise?

To have these conversations about capabilities and making choices, Christianson and Erying wisely recommend that questions of people must be put ahead of questions of strategy. In fact, they state that faculty members hold the key to successful institutional change.  And the organization must demonstrate a high level of commitment towards their people to ensure individual commitment to the mission. They add, “Innovation may require them [faculty] to alter their activities, but no meaningful discussion of change can be undertaken without assurances that capable members who commit to innovating can remain with the community.”

As we move forward with “Charting the Future” discussions, it will be important to continue to engage not only our faculty leaders, but all stakeholders in the important and tough choices we need to make.

Anita Rios