Move-in Day, 2011

On Friday, August 26th, we welcomed 421 new students to their new home on the Hill. “Bison Bellhops” – faculty, staff and students – welcomed new commuter students and helped our new resident students move into their residence halls. One of my favorite sights of the day was a mom carrying this detergent bottle. Later that morning I overheard a student on his phone telling someone his room was “wicked nasty.” Thinking he was upset, I asked what the problem was with his room. He looked at me rather puzzled, then told me that “wicked nasty” means he thought the room was terrific. You learn something new every day when your life is focused on the lives of students!

Thunder Visits Salt Lake City

Thunder’s first trip was to Salt Lake City and Orem, Utah. He accompanied me on a pre-site visit in my role as chair of an AACSB accreditation team. In this picture, he’s gazing at one of the many peaks in the Wasatch Mountain Range. Too bad we couldn’t take a separate trip to Antelope Island, which is in the middle of the Great Salt Lake and home to a herd of bison. Maybe next time, since we will be traveling back here in October for the site visit.

“Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World”

One of my recent reads is the book Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World by Bob Johansen. Johansen presents the “VUCA” world, where leaders are presented with problems which have no obvious solutions, due to Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. The author proposes a “Foresight to Insight to Action Cycle” through positive “VUCA” forces of Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Agility.

The book discusses how to be a more effective change agent in an ever more chaotic world. Johansen proposes new leadership skills for the future and focuses on characteristics of “makers.”

Johansen purports that makers like to get involved in group processes in order to see how ideas develop and unfold, and to understand the context for decision making. Makers engage in processes in order to understand what’s working and to determine opportunities for improvement. To me, a maker is someone who rolls up their sleeves and gets directly involved in identifying and addressing problems. This maker mindset also translates into leaders who connect and engage with others in a spirit and process of continual organizational improvement.

What have you read recently that has added to your leadership toolbox or has implications for developing future leaders?