Sharing Small Wins: A Fictional Case Study

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  • Image from Microsoft Clip Art GalleryTo start off, let’s consider what our overall mission is and thus also what our larger goal is.
  • Image from Microsoft Clip Art GalleryGiven our mission, here is a large goal that we are striving toward with our overall strategic plan.
  • This slide is used to describe the larger “change strategy.”Action details for each strategy:ACTION 1A: Develop, administer, and analyze results of a survey to assess current student expectations and satisfaction. ACTION 1B: Map current services with expected services from the survey to identify gaps and areas of opportunity. ACTION 1C: Review and revise the strategic plan to address identified gaps and areas of opportunity.ACTION2A: Provide resources to student advisors that they may share when advising students.ACTION 2B: Create a targeted Marketing campaign to promote services directly to students.ACTION3A: Meet regularly with department faculty to improve communication and collaboration.ACTION3B: Develop at least one project per major academic area that integrates services into the curriculum.
  • This slide defines small wins as Karl Weick first introduced the idea into organizational theory.
  • This slide explains the goal and steps of our first “small win.” When the larger win is considered to be increasing the department’s reach to students, this first step is one that is certainly concrete and achievable. This small win enables the department to then make other shifts that may all help contribute to achievement toward the larger goal.
  • The benefit of the small win is that enables the department to start to bridge the gap between services as students indicate expectations and how they perceive actual services being delivered. In some cases, the actual services may exist and may simply need to be better marketed or communicated. In other cases, it may be necessary to actually shift the way that and which services are being delivered. In any case, better alignment will result in increased service quality.
  • A great shared value for the university as a whole is found whenever service quality improves and results in increased customer satisfaction. When students are more satisfied, they may arguably experience greater success and this may impact improved persistence rates, as well as result in students recommending the university favorably to others.Image from Microsoft Clip Art Gallery
  • The greatest shared value is an improvement in services that has an overall beneficial impact on student success. This improvement is a shared value in that it not only helps the department meet its mission, but it also improves student lives, which is a huge shared value for them.Image from Microsoft Clip Art Gallery
  • NOTE: This is fictional data.While there were theoretically a number results, this graph highlights some key findings that inform the recommendations made on the next slide.
  • While the survey that was administered to students provided a variety of results, here are two key findings that emerged from the results.
  • While the small win represents a successful win for students, it is just as important to publicize the win with faculty and staff. After all, “efficient communication with all stakeholders of the institution…would improve cooperation between different departments and teaching and non-teaching staff and students” (Stimac & LekoStimac, 2012, p. 33). This is the perfect lead-in to our next steps.
  • Our next steps include continuing with the larger, overarching strategic plan, which includes increasing student awareness and understanding of services, particularly by engaging student advisors. Also, the goal is to fundamentally improve the integration of services into the curriculum by working closely with academics. The overall end goal is to increase student use of services for better fulfillment of the mission, which is to improve student lives by educating and empowering them with career and professional development skills and knowledge.


  • 1. Sharing “Small Wins”: A Fictional Case Study Suzanne Sannwald Ashford University Instructional Leadership EDU 658 Dr. John Johnson September 2, 2013
  • 2. Our Mission To improve the lives of students by educating and empowering them through career and professional development for lifelong success.
  • 3. How can we reach more students?
  • 4. Our Three Part Strategy Strategy 1 Service Alignment with Student Expectations Strategy 2 Increase Student Awareness and Understanding of Services Strategy 3 Improve Integration and Promotion of Services with Academics Where we have begun…
  • 5. Small Wins “A small win is a concrete, complete, implemented outcome. By itself, a small win may seem relatively unimportant, but a series of small wins can help reduce the feeling that issues are so complex we are incapable of solving them” (Rhatigan & Schuh, 2003, p. 18).
  • 6. Our Small Win WIN! Assess Current Student Expectations and Satisfaction Regarding Services STEP 1 •Survey Development STEP 2 •Survey Administration STEP 3 •Analysis of Results
  • 7. Benefits Improve service quality by identifying students’ “expectations of the service to be rendered and their perceptions of the actual performance of the service” (Nadiri, Kandampully & Hussain, 2009, p. 525). Expectations of services BRIDGING THE GAP IMPROVE SERVICE QUALITY Perceptions of actual services
  • 8. Shared Value “Service quality promotes customer satisfaction” (Nadiri, Kandampully & Hussain, 2009, p. 524).
  • 9. Shared Value Our Mission Fulfilling Mission • Better educating and empowering students through career and professional development for lifelong success • Improving lives of students
  • 10. Data and Results Services Desired Versus Perception of Current Services 5 4.5 4 3.5 3 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 Ranked Importance of Services Perceived Quality of Current Services Resume & Interview Career Fairs Cover Letter Preparation Writing Online Career Resources
  • 11. Data and Results • Resume and cover letter writing is a high priority. – Continue to improve support in this area. • Focus on increasing availability of online career resources. – Solicit greater input on desired online services via focus groups.
  • 12. Publicizing Our Win • Email communications to students, faculty, and staff • Web links: – University blog – Student newspaper – Career services website • Promotion of web links via social media • Internal presentations to faculty and staff
  • 13. Next Steps Strategy 1 Service Alignment with Student Expectations Strategy 2 Increase Student Awareness and Understanding of Services Strategy 3 Improve Integration and Promotion of Services with Academics
  • 14. References Nadiri, H., Kandampully, J., & Hussain, K. (2009). Students’ perceptions of service quality in higher education. Total Quality Management and Business Excellence, 20(5), 523-535. Rhatigan, J. J., & Schuh, J. H. (2003). Small Wins. About Campus, 8(1), 17. Retrieved from EBSCOHost. Spiro, J. (2011). Leading change step-by-step: Tactics, tools, and tales. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Stimac, H., & Leko Simic, M. (2012). Competitiveness in higher education: A need for marketing orientation and service quality. Economics and Sociology, 5(2), 23-34. Retrieved from EBSCOHost.