| posted by Joe Hice |

Making change work at NC State University

The University Advancement retreat today was very nice and worthwhile.  Had a chance to preach the Passion Rules! gospel and talk about change.  Because the Passion Rules! portion was somewhat off the cuff, I’m just posting the change stuff here.

Hope it’s useful

If there is one constant at the NC State, it’s change.

Students change. Faculty members change. Courses and graduation requirements change.

Coaches change.  Even senior leadership changes…perhaps more than we’d like, but even in the really good times, things change.

Look at me; I’m standing up here before you because change happens.

We can’t do a lot about change and most of us don’t like it. We dislike change so much that we may resist it and that just adds to the stress of day-to-day life.  Understanding how change affects our lives can help reduce that stress and make change work for us.

Betsy Flanagan talked about change as it relates to campaign planning and advancement.  Who would have dreamed two years ago that the Internet would help Barack Obama raise more than $500 million for his presidential campaign.  About half of his donations were made online and the average donation…less than $80 a pop!

Now that’s change.

Just two weeks ago, who would have dreamed that your cell phone would help raise millions to help the earthquake victims in Haiti.  And at just $5 or $10 a pop.

Now that’s change.

Chancellor Woodward talked about change at NC State from a personal perspective.

As the glue that helped hold this place together for the past six months, Woodward represents change.  Professional change and personal change.  If you don’t think the Chancellor went through a lifetime of personal change during that short period of time, think again.  He was just starting to enjoy retirement when everything changed.  All this man has done since July is deal with change.

Kellie Harper is also here because of change.  How do you follow a legend?  Well, you can never replace a legend.  You can never do everything the same way the legend did everything.  What do you do?

You change!

According to the experts, we all go through phases when dealing with change:

First, we React.

When things change, our first reaction is shock and denial.

Denial is a coping mechanism. We approach change with the attitude that if we ignore change and wait long enough, it will go away and things will get back to normal.

Let me ask you all a question.  How did you react to all the change taking place on campus last summer?

I bet there has been more than a little shock and denial during the past year.

Then we Reflect.

Even when we perceive that it won’t go away, we still believe that things worked better before the change. So we try to bargain for reinstating the old system. We reflect on the “good old days.”

Reality eventually steps in and we realize that change is here to stay. We have to acknowledge that before moving forward.

Sometimes change forces us to reflect on the very nature of our soul and I think a lot of us have gone though that deep change here.

But reflection is not a bad thing.  It’s part of change.

Finally, we begin the Renewal process.

We begin to let go, to see the value of what is coming and we actually begin looking for ways to help make change work for us. Our faith is renewed.

This is where I think most of us are on campus today.

Our faith has been renewed…and Passion Rules!

Managing change successfully starts with new goals and a plan.  You know where you are and where you want to be. Now decide how you are going to get there.

On the communications side we’ve started a major new strategic communications planning process.  Communications professionals from across campus are working together on a plan that will help guide us through the changes that are coming.

Changes like a new Chancellor.

Our Advancement team is preparing for similar change and starting to develop big plans for the future. A major new capital campaign, for example.  You want to raise more than a billion dollars in this day and age?  Well, things have got to change.

I know I’m over simplifying the process here, but it’s really very easy:

Start by clarify your goals and expectations and make sure you get feedback from others.  Lots of feedback.  Then take small, deliberate steps and reward yourself often.  Keep focused on the desired outcome and before you know it, you’ll have a plan.

And once you have a plan, you’re home free.  A road map is always helpful when you’re on a journey, especially a journey to someplace you’ve never been before.

Follow that map …  Follow that plan.

Before you know it, everything will have changed.

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One Response to “Making change work at NC State University”

  1. Travis Brock says:

    Off the cuff, this is a good explanation of change and how to manage it. Many times a change will take place in an organization and things end up going crazy and chaotic. Sometimes people don’t even realize a change has happened and are thrown for a loop. Change happens, but what matters is what you do with it that makes the difference.

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