Middle Management

Effective Management in Enrollment – 9 Things I’ve Learned – Part 2

Why are these 9 things important?  Here are quick reasons why these lessons are important to me.

Why obey the Golden Rule?

First, because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s easy.  Our mom’s teach us at a very young age to treat others as you expect to be treated. The impact of this rule is incredible.  However, it seems easy to lose sight of this rule when we are in the minutia of our daily job. Fortunately, it is also an easy rule to follow.

Why build your team?

Success is predicated on your ability to influence people whether you work in higher education recruitment, enrollment management or admissions, college marketing, information services, social services etc…  People are either on your team, meaning they respect you and have confidence in you, or they are not on your team.  People will respond more positively when they are on your team.  It is your job – no one else’s – to get as many people as you can on your team.  Regardless of the role they serve in your organization, every person has the potential to positively or negatively influence your ability to get your job done.  Most people will agree that subordinates will do as you say because you have direct responsibility over them.  However, people who do not report to you still influence your job.  Know who they are and make sure they know you.

Why think institution first?

Have you ever seen the movie “For love or money”?  If not, rent it.  The acting and the plot didn’t win any awards, but I like one of the characters in the movie.  The concierge, played by actor Michael J. Fox, goes out of his way to take care of the customer (perceived to be a nobody who is actually a successful business man) which is a great reflection on the hotel at which he works.  The hotel is well-known, but he makes it that much better.  As a result, his career takes off.  Bottom line, take care of the institution and the right opportunities will come your way.

Why history is important?

I don’t condone doing it the same just because that is the way it was done in the past.  However, I also don’t believe in discounting the value of historical information when making strategic decisions.  History can provide valuable information so a person doesn’t make the same mistake twice.  Nevertheless, similar to my comments regarding numbers, it is important to look beyond the surface of the history to examine the influences on history.  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is not a strategy.

Why define success?

Success means something different for everyone.  Success isn’t always synonymous with winning, nor is winning always a potential outcome.  However, everyone wants to feel successful.  Because different people have different roles within a team, their success may need to be defined for them.  Managers play a vital role in this activity.

Why value every job?

I’ve heard about CEO’s of companies who give credit to their executive assistants for all their successes.  They say, “I couldn’t have done it without them.”  It’s probably true.  Do we really respect what support staff positions bring to the table?  How about all positions within the company?  Think about the different positions in your organization and recognize the challenges that each person in your office deals with daily.  Sure, their challenges are different than yours, and they might not directly affect the bottom line.  I contend that I do my job better because I’ve done most of the jobs in my department.  I understand the pitfalls of their positions, and I can empathize with them when things aren’t going well.  We need to live in their world to understand what challenges they have.  We must respect their positions.  These positions greatly influence our ability to get the job done right.

Why beware of precedents

Be careful with the precedents that you set, they may come back to haunt you.  For example, you have a good year and choose to reward your staff with a party because you have some extra budget dollars.  The next year is also a good year, yet you don’t have the budget dollars to throw the party.  Some staffers will expect the party because that is what happened the first year.  You want to limit the idea of entitlement in your office.  Bottom line, you want to have the flexibility to make decisions that are not predicated solely on previous year activity.

Why write a note

Email is overtaking the snailmail world.  Contrary to the popular belief, this has actually positively affected snailmail, specifically the value of a personal note.  Email is easy and efficient whereas taking the time to hand-write a personal note takes valuable time.  A short, personal note of encouragement or thanks makes a lasting impression.  I began writing notes to my staff and others in the community about seven years ago.  I don’t completely know the impact it has had on my career, and yet I can’t imagine that it has hurt.  Similar to “please” and “thank you”, a personal note shows genuine sincerity.

Why measure twice and cut once

A craftsman lives by this rule.  It applies to our world as well, simply in a different context.  Just the other day, I wrote a letter for a church project and neglected to have it proofed.  I was under a time crunch and had to get it in the mail.  It was the first mass communication from me to the entire congregation in my church.  There was a spelling error.  It’s a little thing but you’ll find that there are many people that judge you based on those little things.  Right or wrong, it doesn’t matter.  I had time to get it proofed, but I was too impatient.

I’m sure readers in middle management have advice to share.  Take a moment and post a comment to this blog with a piece of advice you have learned through your experience.  Don’t be shy.  Let’s hear them.


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