Managing Change

115: Revisiting Decision-Making: Do you really understand the conversation you’re in?

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Last week’s conversation on turning leaders into guides inspired us to revisit the Teibel Decision-Making Model in the light of helping guides facilitate decision-making without authority. How do you help those empowered and accountable for change move through difficult decisions without skin the game yourself? This week we walk through the model through this lens and post the key question plaguing so many teams focused on change: Do you really understand the conversations you’re in? The projects you’re accountable to deliver? Why your institution needs you where you are, doing what you’re doing today? 

This week on the show, Howard Teibel and Pete Wright revisit the Decision-Making Model with an eye on those charged facilitate change, without authority or accountability to make change themselves. 

Photo Credit: “Tongji University Library” by Matthias Ripp (Creative Commons)

145: Engaging in Failure and Creativity with First American's Chad Wiedenhofer

How do you get people to engage in a conversation around failure? According to our guest, “you can see in organizations where iteration and the failure that might come with it is accepted as something that can be positive, and something that can help us get to the destination we’re trying to get to.” Creating a culture of iteration, and adapting toward a state in which you see failure as growth is a challenge, but one worth taking. SVP of First American Education Finance Chad Wiedenhofer joins us today to talk about iteration and growth.

118: Building the Organization you Want with NACUBO's Sue Menditto at the 2015 Planning and Budgeting Forum

On September 28th the NACUBO 2015 Planning and Budgeting Forum kicks off in Austin, Texas and today Sue Menditto — NAUCBO’s director of accounting policy — joins us to help us gear up for the conference with a discussion about crafting the organization you really want.


85: Loki's Wager — Building Trust through Difficult Negotiations

Listen to Building Trust through Difficult Negotiations on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

In Norse mythology, Loki was the trickster. In one of his particularly sticky exploits, he wagered his head with a group of dwarves and lost, creating a wonderful metaphor describing the complexities of difficult negotiations for us today known as “Loki’s Wager.” 

Seemingly impassable problems are common in the boardroom. But in most cases, such challenges stem from weak trust and a poor culture around handling conflict. Astute leaders know that the great benefit of team work is leveraging different perspectives toward big problems. To do so requires reframing the intractable, and moving beyond Loki’s most frustrating wager. 

This week on Navigating Change, Howard Teibel and Pete Wright discuss Loki’s Wager, and share insight that can help to adjust our natural assumptions around conflict, trust, and the ground rules required for an effective problem-solving and decision-making engine at the negotiating table. 


Photo Credit: Inspired by Escher by Morgan Paul

83: Growing Independent School Biz Officers with NBOA President Jeff Shields

We’re thrilled to welcome NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shield to the show this week. Jeff has worked tirelessly to ensure that this upcoming annual meeting is the best yet, and shares not only a fantastic origin story of the association, but offers welcomed insight around the importance of the business officer in the tight knit independent school community, and the challenges they face in collaborative work across their campuses. 

68: Linda Penland talks Shared Services, Communication, and Unimarket NOW!

Listen to Linda Penland talks Shared Services, Communication, and Unimarket NOW! on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

Howard Teibel will be joining the ranks of presenters at the Unimarket NOW user conference in Nashville October 22-24. To help us get ready, event co-chair Linda Penland joins us today with all the details. Linda has been a Unimarket customer since she lead the project to roll out shared services at her own institution, Creighton University. Today on the show, we talk about the challenges of such an audacious project, the hard work of communication and establishing cultural buy-in to new processes, and building excitement and momentum around important ideas. 

61: How to get the most out of the NACUBO 2014 Annual Meeting

Listen to How to get the most out of the NACUBO 2014 Annual Meeting on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

We’re gearing up for the NACUBO 2014 Annual Meeting in Seattle coming July 19-22. As usual, the NACUBO team has built an incredible catalog of events and learning opportunities and we’re trilled to be a presenting part of it. This week on the show, Howard Teibel and Pete Wright walk through the key strengths of the event, from developing new business officers and helping to cultivate a culture of collaboration across campuses, to their leading voice in public policy around higher eduction. 

This year, Howard will be co-facilitating a presentation on strategic communication with past Navigating Change guests Kelly Fox and Greg Lovins. Together, they’ll lead a discussion on the power of not only sharing a deep understanding of complex financial information, but sharing that information with campus stakeholders in a way that drives strategy across the institution.  

58: Balancing Culture and Innovation Part 2

Listen to Balancing Culture and Innovation at Chautauqua with Deborah Sunya Moore on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

Following up on our conversation with Deborah Sunya Moore from The Chautauqua Institution last week, we’re picking up this conversation around the constant balancing act between building and celebrating a strong culture, and innovating in new areas and directions. The big question: no matter how much we personally celebrate the importance of change, how do you cultivate a culture of change when members of your community do not share your beliefs? This week on the show, Howard Teibel and Pete Wright share insights around building a culture that anticipates and celebrates change and innovation while embracing the legacy of their institutions.


57: Balancing Culture and Innovation at Chautauqua with Deborah Sunya Moore

Listen to Balancing Culture and Innovation at Chautauqua with Deborah Sunya Moore on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

Taking on new challenges forces us to re-evaluate existing processes in new ways. This shake-up can introduce discomfort and confusion, par for the course in a change initiative, ultimately all for the reward of greater efficiency, productivity, and affinity. These challenges are magnified when your institution boasts a legacy over 100 years strong. Our guest, Deborah Sunya Moore, serves as associate director of programming with The Chautauqua Institution, an arts and education community in New York on a consistent march to balance innovation and change with the expectations of guests who have been attending Chautauqua for generations. This week on the show, Deborah Sunya Moore joins Howard Teibel and Pete Wright to share how the Chautauqua Institution balances change with culture year after year. 

49: Trust, Change, and Transitioning to Shared Services

Listen to Trust and Shared Services on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

A recent news item cropped up in the Chronicle pointing to a brewing rift between administrators and faculty over a transition to a shared services model. We’ve discussed shared services often on this show, both as a challenge for change agents and an accommodation toward financial sustainability. This week on the show, Howard Teibel and Pete Wright discuss the issues surrounding shared service model specifically, and offer insights for making the transition in a way that helps all constitutes move through the change process smoothly. 


45: Guest Andrew Menke on Leadership and Change at New Hampton School

Our special guest Andrew Menke serves as head of New Hampton School, an independent school with a nearly 200-year legacy in New Hampton, New Hampshire. The school is a model of “talent and shared purpose,” according to Menke, and he’s leading a cooperative of administrators, faculty, and staff working hard to reshape an education landscape.

38: Movers of Rocks: Becoming a Leader of Change

Listen to Change Leadership on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

Becoming a leader of change is about far more than effective project management skill. It’s a unique and delicate art that must balance the processes that support complex organizational systems with the diplomacy to unite groups around big initiatives. This week on the show, Howard Teibel and Pete Wright share thoughts on becoming Leaders of Change as Howard prepares for his presentation on this subject at the National Business Officers Association Annual Meeting this March in Orlando.

37: Setting Standards & Managing Expectations

Listen to Setting Standards and Managing Expectations on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

The result of bringing together terrific individuals into a team can be a fantastic, productive foray into high calibre collaboration. Over time, we see formerly high capacity teams begin to fray at the edges, and defining clear standards and expectations both inside the team, and across teams and departments, can help to offset challenges. This week on Navigating Change, Howard Teibel and Pete Wright discuss the frustrations that come with accountability, standards, and managing clear expectations across teams. 


35: A hybrid approach to organizational change

Listen to A Hybrid Approach to Organizational Change on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

Working with a consultant on your change initiatives — internal or external — requires a shared understanding of expectations. But more important is a clear understanding of what it is you need your consulting partner to deliver. This week on Navigating Change, Howard Teibel and Pete Wright discuss the role of the consultant, the importance of "hired experience," and what it means to partner with an outsider when your internal environment is one of significant complexity. 

32: Dealing with Irrational Anxiety on Teams in Transition

Listen to Irrational Anxiety on Teams on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

When we're faced with jarring change — new role, new boss, merged organizations — we are often dealt with a complex individual emotional response. That response is magnified when it comes to team performance, but often for all the wrong reasons. This week on Navigating Change, Howard Teibel and Pete Wright take on the anxiety that comes with big change, and discuss how team responses can impact the transformation you're striving for.

23: Facing Finance Organizational Challenges at the Individual Level

Listen to Facing Finance Organizational Challenges at the Individual Level on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

Following up on our conversation around reflections on NACUBO 2013, we're digging into issues facing the finance organization on today's show. While we hit on the three key points around relationship building, communication, and what it means to be a leader, the real secret lies somewhere in keeping touch on the role of the individual as a seed for change. Join Howard Teibel and Pete Wright for a conversation on change and the challenges facing today's finance organizations this week on Navigating Change!

22: NACUBO 2013 Annual Meeting Reflections

Listen to NACUBO 2013 Annual Meeting Reflections on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

We're back from the NACUBO 2013 Annual Meeting — and what a terrific week it was! Howard Teibel is back with a review of key learnings and an assessment of the evolving direction of the organization. Did NACUBO make good on their renewed focus on Innovation in Higher Education? Listen in this week for our take!


20: Change, complexity, and preparing for NBOA 2012

Listen to NBOA Strategic Leadership Conference 2012 on Navigating Change The Education Podcast

This November, I'll be heading to Chicago for the National Business Officers Association (NBOA) 2012 Strategic Leadership Conference. In brief, this is a conference dedicated to the people charged with moving our schools forward in times of great challenge and increasing complexity, with integrity and fiscal stability. I love this topic. 

I'll be taking the stage twice in Chicago, both on Monday, November 5. Mark your calendars: 

  • 8:30 - 10:00 am: Change Leadership: How Change Management Impacts Real Change 
  • 1:00 - 2:30 pm: Learning How to Brainstorm and Map Organizational Process and Structures

I thought it might help to share some of the background to these topics with you in advance, to give you some insight into the kind of work I've been doing that has brought me to this place, and to the structure I'll be sharing with you. This post is the first of three to come over the next week in which I'll discuss the nature of change and the impact of on our schools. In addition, the current episode of my podcast offers a brief summary of my role at NBOA this year. I encourage you to check it out—it's only about 10 minutes long. 

My perspective begins with two fairly simple observations on groups, and how groups deal with complex change.

Observation #1: It’s uncertainty—not change—that makes us crazy

It’s not change that people have an issue with—it’s uncertainty. As a leader, think about your experience delivering tough news to your teams; bad news is almost always better than uncertain news, because bad news is concrete. It opens the door for action. With uncertainty, we are hardwired to anticipate the worst. Rumblings about a new leader in our midst, financial challenges, suggestions of reorganizations—this is just the sort of news that cultivates the environment of uncertainty and sends our teams to pieces.

There are those who have learned to welcome uncertainty. They know that uncertainty is fertile ground for the seeds of new ideas. But most of us don’t have that gene, and don't feel empowered when we can’t see the end of the tunnel. Instead we fall somewhere on a spectrum that leads from shock, through denial and confusion, down the road to frustration. Empathy within this dynamic is core to our role as leaders in our organizations. Being a leader in a volatile situation or crisis is about learning to anticipate where this uncertainty will occur for our teams, steering clear of mob mentality, and facing difficult truths with clarity and confidence.

Observation #2: Innovation & Blame

When asking and tough questions of our teams and organizations risks the status quo, it’s often easier to let circumstances dictate outcomes.

We are generally troubled by innovation and the challenges that come with it in the organization. We accept the value of innovation but don’t want to be the ones to innovate. If we innovate, we get to own the success or failure that comes from it. Ownership is scary.

Even with an increasingly public discourse on tuition increases, lack of financial aid, and loss of state aid—creating a climate of indefinite instability—we’re still waiting for answers that aren't coming. That’s because the answer doesn’t lie in a box that someone else hasn’t yet opened. It lies in getting a collective perspective of administrators, faculty, alumni, students, and key stakeholders, and asking questions that uncover the problem—not just the problem as we think we understand it. The answer lies in innovation.

Because innovation is scary, it is a breeding ground for blame. Tuition shortfall? Clearly that must be a finance department issue, so we'll blame them. Enrollment is sluggish? Clearly the admissions department is not pulling its weight, they're to blame. Academics, facilities, administration—we can find reasons to saddle each with the blame for something. But our better selves know that blame is counterproductive. The sooner we find a systematic fashion for getting the very best of each group to solve our collective issues together, the sooner we will begin to craft a foundation for strength and growth.