Managing Colleges and Universities: Issues for Leadership

By Allan M. Hoffman; Randal W. Summers | Go to book overview

Evaluating your own idea as objectively as possible and listening carefully to the evaluations of others are valuable and necessary skills for true change agents.

Any organization's vitality and creativity depend heavily on the constant influx of new ideas and people. Even the new ideas that you worked so hard to establish will, in time, be dull and old. The conservatives of the present era championed ideas that, at one time, were considered radical. The last step, then, is the most ruthless of all: kill your own projects when they have outlived their usefulness. This is where most fail. After building their investments they fight like Phoenicians to hang on to ideas long since grown old. Cycles must continue, and the change agent must once more struggle to infuse creativity and excitement into the academic organization.


A FINAL WORD TO ACADEMIC LEADERS

A final word to would-be leaders. There are many books and mountains of articles which concern themselves with leadership. Much of what is written is valuable but it is written, by and large, by those who study the topic as opposed to those who implement solutions. As you are no doubt aware, there is a big difference. My concept of leadership is simple and direct -- leaders identify an issue that is perceived by a larger community as an important dilemma or a critical problem. The true leader offers (and implements) a solution. For example, Moses conceived of freedom and a vision of the promised land -- and led a group of former slaves through the desert. (And even Moses was allowed only to see Israel, never to set foot there!) Leaders are those who identify and articulate a vision and successfully manage a solution. Implementation demands a "buy-in" and sacrifice from key constituents/community members.

It is my hope you will find a few valuable ideas hidden within my rhetoric. Were it your pleasure, I would be honored to follow up and discuss your reactions to the enclosed. I am, at the moment, planting tomatoes in my garden and would welcome a return to the challenges of advising esteemed individuals such as yourself.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

"A memorandum from Machiavelli" by Daniel J. Julius, J. Victor Baldridge , and Jeffrey Pfeffer, The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 70, No. 2 ( March/April 1999) is reprinted by permission. Copyright 1999 by the Ohio State University Press. All rights reserved.

Also, a grant from TIAA-CREF Research Foundation was utilized for this study.

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