Informing the Year Ahead

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Wow!  It has certainly been a week.  But isn't the first week of the year always a little hectic?  No
matter how well you plan over the summer, you never quite know how things will go once you add the students and staff.  This year was no different.  In reflecting on the week, I noticed a few points that I feel are going to inform my year and help me to be a better administrator.

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1. Lesson one: flexibility and patience! Technology will always start off a little rocky so don't expect it to go smoothly!   We had so many IT issues I was ready to just hand out paper and pencils
and call it a day.  But the faculty kept plugging along and the more I communicated with them, the easier it got.  By Friday, most of the challenges had been smoothed out.  We still have some big issues to tackle in the coming weeks in order to get everything up to full speed but I was very pleased with the progress and the patience exhibited by all.
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2. Lesson two: untether!  I spent more time out and about this first week than I did in entire months
last year.  No Office Days this year are a goal but I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was to just get out.  Despite the numerous bits that had to be addressed, I found I was more effective "on the road" so to speak with just my phone, than I was in my office.  And bonus: faculty saw me and could get questions answered or have an ear to listen to their challenges with no effort on their part.  That definitely helped put them at ease and, I think, helped to diffuse some potential bombs.

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3. Lesson three: acknowledgement!  Everyone, no matter who they are, want to be recognized. While I am SUPER bad with names (in the classroom, I would warn the students that they would be lucky if I knew their names by Halloween!), I am REALLY good with faces.  So I made it a point to greet students and when appropriate, reference an interaction we might have had earlier in the week.  It's easy for me to call the adults by name and I try to say hello to every one every day.  Way back in my undergrad days, my Business Management prof called that "Howdy Rounds".  Some undisclosed number of years later, that lesson is still with me.  But it's the students that I want to focus on this year (it's what I wrote about last week).  While I didn't connect with all 450 girls last week, I did connect with many and I look forward to adding to their numbers as the year goes on.

So here's to week one in the books.  And here is to some lessons that I can move forward with this year.  I hope that you had a great first week and would love to hear what your take-aways are that will inform your year ahead.


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