Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Risk is a 4 letter word

Working in an environment of higher learning provides for opportunities to ask questions. Actually, asking questions is encouraged. We seek to find new knowledge and to beat the shit (pardon my academically modest- not!- expression) out of old knowledge in order to educate the future of our communities; we attempt to mesh (not so well at times), old and new. Why mesh old and new?? To bring perspective and new light to this and that in order to enhance and be reminded of that very tradition some feel has to be overprotected, like hovering parents of the millennial generation-no offense.;)

We also, or better yet, should think outside of the box a little bit more often than we do. Now that's a bit of a challenge in the book-worming, scholarly, world of academia. By walking down the dusty halls of old research, we find, we hear a voice whispering in our ear sweet nothings of the likes of "tweet this" and "Instagram that" using the latest technology. "I am sorry, what? I don't tweet my lectures, I speak out loud and give my lectures to an audience full of students that on a good day are partially awake and attentive at 2:00 p.m.," I can almost hear my professor saying.

Change, embrace it we must, spoken in my finest Yoda-like voice. I am one that respects history, enjoys traditions and like routine. Who doesn't? However, even the most deeply-rooted structures, processes and procedures in an operation, could use a tweak here and there. Sure, you might think, if it's not "broke, don't fix it", but if the same ol' same ol, is indeed the same ol' same ol, guess what? Something is broken after all. What's broken? Energy, enthusiasm, vision, passions and goals for the future. All of that is broken. Dreams are broken. Hopes and tangible initiatives are broken. The desire to be better than today, better than the status quo, is broken. A little piece of me is broken.

I pick on technology and higher education simply because, in my experience, colleges and universities, have had no choice but to embrace change when it comes to new technologies. Lectures are being "teleconferenced in" and students are being recruited via Facebook. To that, I say bring it, no matter how resistant I am to tweeting... Lord, I refuse to tweet. :) That's the world now, I have to keep up.

However, without staying too high in the stratosphere of academia looking at the mere mortals down below, change can and should also be embraced by operations down home. Ah, yes, front liners. Our friends and colleagues who have the day to day interaction with everybody and use everybody. com to engage in conversations and build relationships. Maybe the "Harlem Shake" video that went viral on Youtube was not such a bad idea when the ladies that work in the registration office filmed it. Students loved it, no matter how many other eyes rolled! An operation and simple in-place procedure got a nice tweak and breathed a bit of fresh air.. an air of change.

Some other operations could probably use a kick in the you know what as well. Without picking on any in particular, my point here is to say the following on behalf of a fundamental pillar of tradition in education and in faith, I have been formed in: READ THE SIGNS OF THE TIMES AND ADAPT TO CHANGE. This statement came from a visionary French monk, who today would be almost as old as Yoda, and certainly just as wise. He knew current structures and ways of "doing" had to change. He knew something had to be done.

Why can't some of our leaders, supervisors, middle managers, friends, and family see that if the world is telling you something, if the message is loud and clear that something's gotta give, then GIVE!

Carajo!--yes, expletive in Spanish sounds so much more convincing!-- an organization that survives and thrives on relationships should embrace every tangible and strategic way to build on these relationships, acknowledge and appreciate old ones and reach to new heights to create new ones. Strategy is necessary, but you know what? Sometimes, risk is the best strategy. Taking risks is just that, risky. With risk, disaster may come, let's be real. Can we consider the other option? A re-birthing and re-lighting of fiery energy, passion and enthusiasm that was broken with our friend "same ol same ol" may also come with risk. Risk includes faith and having faith in that vision for the future, that if it's truly worth pursuing, is the best way to honor the tradition and the history of years past.

Learn from our past to embrace and look to the future. Let's continue to mesh old with new. Isn't that how life evolves? Let's continue asking these questions in settings of higher learning. Let's consider, the inconsiderable... Let's change things up a bit.

Change is hard. I know it personally, professionally and yes, it sucks--see blog entry on change-- but it is what makes life interesting. It may make our jobs a bit harder, it can make us nervous. Can we consider whatever changes need to come from all perspectives, the emotional, physical, etc.? Can we find the tools to adequately prepare for change. The right words to convey a message with dignity and respect? I think yes. I think it's worth a shot.

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