higher education

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

From Anaheim Schools to All Our Ears – Purpose and Strategy

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Blog 9-11-14I’ve been hearing the word “Purpose” a lot lately. It’s being used to address a person or organization’s mission and how that mission is above and beyond the function being performed.

“Purpose” in the world of education has a very clear meaning to Superintendent Michael B. Matsuda of the Anaheim Union High School District. In a recent Orange County Breeze article, the Superintendent welcomed the students and families into the new school year, but he did it in a different way – strategically, yet personally.

When people think about strategy, they think about planning, tactics, timetables, and milestones. But what that strategy should start with is the Vision, Mission, or Goal – in this Superintendent’s case, the strategy starts with a discussion of Purpose. He notes that “we must align all stakeholders under the common goal of graduating our students college and career ready with purpose.” He links those educational purposes then to community purposes: “A quality education for every child will benefit them through job readiness, a better economy, higher property values, and lower crime rates.”

He then gets into tactics, talking about feeder districts and higher education stakeholders. He talks personally about needed actions for staff and parents, and he discusses fiscal matters. He ends by closing the loop on whom the Purpose is for – the students.

The key lesson learned from Anaheim for K-12 schools and other school districts is this: Before launching the next great initiative, before getting too strategic, and DEFINITELY before getting too tactical, do two things. First, be clear on the Purpose and how that Purpose is about the experience of the student and preparing the student for the future. Second, be intentional about identifying all the stakeholders in the process and educating them on how living that Purpose relies on them and – ultimately – impacts them.

Be clear on the Purpose to best align all actions and stakeholders toward a common future.

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Student Success Starts with Knowing Them

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Blog 4-23-14Phillips Community College in Arkansas won an award recently for Student Success – increasing its graduation and 4-year college transfer performance.

With the plethora of best practices and concepts, programs and pathways, you might think that the Student Success was driven by these proven strategies…but you’d be incorrect.

According to the article PCCUA recognized for student success, the starting point was understanding the student. Who are they? What is their background? What’s the lens through which they see college life and experience PCCUA? Apparently, many students come from generational poverty, and the faculty and staff do not.

This basic fact gets at a core problem with many organizations in the education industry and other industries as well these days. There are leaders, faculty, or staff that know a product, they know a topic, they know a program. But delivering that knowledge effectively often requires that they know the person to whom they deliver. We can’t assume that all students receive and process information in the same way, that they all want the same learning environment and examples.

Sometimes to best impart knowledge, we have to – first – know the student.

Survey your students. Ask them questions. Learn about their past. Then learn what most effectively guides them to a future of possibilities.

Student Success starts with knowing them.

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Student Success and Relationship Management

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Isn’t Student Success, in the end, about getting a degree? If so, then why are some Universities and Community Colleges focused on relationship management? Account representatives are for professional sports organizations. But higher ed? Nah…

Well in the article TTU recommits to student success, Tennessee Tech University is noting the link between Student Success and relationship management. According to TTU’s Retention Services director, “The university is adding as many as a dozen professional advisers this spring. When the class of 2018 attends summer orientation, those advisers will help them register for their first semester and on, throughout their academic careers. One of the keys to retention is that students are going to feel more confident if they build a relationship with someone and have a clear path to their goal early in their college experience. That builds security and it shows that Tech really cares that you succeed here.”

This is about a University that has asked itself what drives Student Retention and Success? Part of the answer was having dedicated resources that are focused on getting to know students and develop relationships over time with those students so that needs are met, issues are addressed, goals are achieved, and progress toward success is made.

Educational organizations cannot create Student Success with a speech or by wishing that it happen. There must be a relationship development process designed that is an integral part of the strategy and includes dedicated resources. Relationship Management strategies in any organization typically include four key phases:

  • Getting to Know the Student – Preferences, retention drivers, satisfaction, involvement levels, etc.
  • Communicating with the Student – Setting up year-round Touch Point Plans to develop and nurture relationships with clients.
  • Retaining the Student – Applying your knowledge of their retention drivers to address what would make them remain and succeed…or leave.
  • Growing with the Student – Identifying and acting on ways to grow your relationship with them and continue it post-graduation.

Create a Student Success strategy that incorporates dedicated resources and relationship management.

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