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Rework for Higher Ed

I read this book in a few hours because I really appreciated the way it was arranged and view it more as a reference book. The lessons it contains were instructive and while they’re applicable to a variety of settings, industries and institutions; the lessons contained for higher ed were plentiful.

Among them were:

Build an audience. So much of what we write is boilerplate. Rather than engage people or even challenge them, we take the easy way out writing institutional-ese that doesn’t seem to connect with the people taking the time to know our organization. What a shame.

Own your bad news. Transparency is not the strong suit of many organizations, because they just don’t know how to handle spreading their own bad news. There’s a way to ensure that people know what you’re trying to do, why and how you’re trying to do it. The bottom line is, if you’re honest with people they’re more likely to understand and if you break the story is deflates a lot of the air from it and gives you the opportunity to play offense rather than just defense.

Press releases are spam. Spreading the good news about things happening within your walls isn’t a nuisance. But finding the gems requires the sort of work that we’re often slow to do, because there’s never enough time, there aren’t enough people to find them and folks don’t want to talk. So we skim for the stuff at the top rather than digging deep for the oil that lies beneath. We can do better to tell our story and share our cultures and it begins with the stories we choose to share.

There were so many stories in the book that I found to be useful lessons worth keeping in mind. Things I’ve learned from my own experiences, messages I’ve preached on my own before reading the book; as well as things I otherwise have trouble with and need reminders of.

We can streamline how we go about our business and create a more nimble and effective workplace that achieves our goals even better than we set them out on paper but it has to start with those empowered to make those changes. 

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