OH in Higher Ed Circles: Six Things That Drive Us Mad


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If you are a marketing and communications professional, you probably think about “doing more and more with less and less” every week. And, one of your daily concerns might come from working with a large and vocal committee to make decisions about a critical project with a tight deadline. Talking through each of the six things that probably bug you every week, Susan T. Evans will share tips, ideas, and advice for making your way around the barriers to excellent marketing and communications work on your campus. Join us as we discuss ways to cope and succeed!

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OH in Higher Ed Circles: Six Things That Drive Us Mad

  1. 1. mStoner OH in Higher Ed Circles: 6 things that drive us mad mStoner Webinar Susan T. Evans, Senior Strategist 27 March 2014 2:00PM Eastern
  2. 2. mStoner
  4. 4. Committees Feedback Resources Change Turf Relationships
  5. 5. m Committees. They are unwieldy, slow to act, and sometimes set up to avoid a decision. Even when a committee is called a task force, it presents challenges; you must find ways to use them well. 1
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  8. 8. First meeting = nothing gets done. Let them have their say.
  9. 9. Go in with the best answer. Avoid open-ended questions.
  10. 10. m • First meeting: the goal is listening (all get their say) before you can move on. • Future meetings: Go in with a plan for them to react to. Avoid open-ended questions. • Make decisions even if someone is missing from a meeting. • Say it again, Sam. (Repeat yourself.) Committees1
  11. 11. “Committees are not where the work happens.” #mStonerNow
  12. 12. m Feedback. Sometimes, you are caught in a seemingly unending feedback loop while staring down a deadline. Worse, you find yourself responding to the personal preferences of internal stakeholders at the expense of the target audience. You need to control the fire hose. 2
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  14. 14. It might be worth hearing.
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  16. 16. The dean doesn’t like green...
  17. 17. m • Don’t assume you won’t hear something you need to hear. • Help them give you useful feedback. • Ground your the presentation of your idea in feedback/data. • Beware of herd behavior. Meet with individuals. • Don’t be paralyzed by what people tell you. Feedback2
  18. 18. “Thank you for your feedback.” #mStonerNow
  19. 19. m Resources. Another week, another new task or set of expectations. Our teams regularly take on new initiatives and responsibilities but rarely stop doing the less valuable work we’ve always done. You need to make it stop. 3
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  22. 22. m You need a team that can change colors.
  23. 23. m • Gulp. Stop. Don’t ask and don’t point it out. • Swap one thing for another; ask them to pay for it. • Reshape your team (new skills, new roles). • Timing. Ask for resources during times of great success or serious crisis. • Cheap, good, fast. Pick two. Resources3
  24. 24. “Stop. See if anyone notices.” #mStonerNow
  25. 25. m Change. We’re pretty good at digging in within the academy. But some amount of change is needed for almost any great idea. Take off your blinders, stop pushing past the resistance, and instead use personal benefits to influence stakeholders. 4
  26. 26. I miss Kansas...
  27. 27. What’s in this for me?
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  29. 29. m •Help stakeholders understand the personal benefits. •Be direct about the business need. •Focus on the greater good. •Enough details to make the future state acceptable. •Executive leadership should be available. Change4
  30. 30. “If we want what we already have, why did we start this thing?” #mStonerNow
  31. 31. m Turf. Using softer language, we refer to silos when we’re really talking about turf. We need to turn things toward a focus on our customers not our organizational charts. 5
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  34. 34. m •Coordinate with everyone who has communications in their title. •Work at the grass roots level. •Focus on project goals and measurements of success. •Create common ground: service to students or meeting a deadline. Turf5
  35. 35. “You don’t have to be right. You just have to get what you want.” #mStonerNow
  36. 36. m Relationships. Perhaps a surprising addition to this list, relationship building should always be a factor. Regular reflection about the approach and style you use with peers, members of your team, senior leaders, and your boss is never a waste of time. 6
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  39. 39. m Ride the coattails of a visionary.
  40. 40. m •Prompt, cajole, ping. (Don’t wait for people to not do what they said they’d do.) •Step into the role. Ride the wave of prior success. •It’s your job to help people understand your goals and ideas. If your boss is the problem, get over it. Relationships6
  41. 41. “Someday, that person might be your boss.” #mStonerNow
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  43. 43. m THANK YOU! Susan T. Evans Senior Strategist susan.evans@mStoner.com 757.903.1120