Tired of change? Check this out…

Several weeks ago, I had an opportunity to participate in a Web conference of the North Central Administrative Conference titled, “Leading in Tough Times.” Patrick Cudney, district coordinator for Michigan State University Extension District 3 provided a synopsis of MSUE’s changes as part of the Web conference. Kathy Foerster helped in organizing this innovative approach to a conference that normally involves several days of travel, lodging, meals and other expenses. I participated in a panel of Extension directors, who each explained some of the rationale behind changes underway in each of our states.

For me, the highlight of the Web conference was a presentation on change given by Steve Siemens. It was clearly intended as an inspirational presentation, and it worked very well for me. A recording of his presentation is available at http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/p34583573/. The presentation lasts about an hour, and I found it to be especially helpful in seeing that changes we’re going through, as difficult as they are, are not only inevitably a sign of our times, but also an opportunity unlike any we’ll likely have again in our careers. That doesn’t mean it makes what we’re going through any easier, but it sure told me that some of the feelings we’re experiencing are normal responses to change and being aware of them helps us to adapt and respond positively to the opportunities we’re given. I’d be interested in your thoughts about his presentation – please share them by commenting on my blog.

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4 responses to “Tired of change? Check this out…

  1. Gary Anderson

    Thanks for sharing the link. Learning to embrace change and implement change has been a integral part of being an administrator at MSU during this past decade. These inspirational speeches affirm and validate many of our experiences and encourage for the future. The basic change theory–cognitive behavorial theory–is something that we teach in Social Work as it applies to individual, family and community change as well as organizational change. Good reminders as we begin the new academic year.

  2. Tom Coon

    Thanks, Gary. I appreciate knowing that his presentation is grounded in a well-established theory of practice. Thanks for sharing that!

  3. Mike Score wrote:

    I read through the Spotlight, as I always do, and I noted the article on change.

    As uncomfortable as change is for most people, the fact that we are experiencing “radical” change during a period of government and marketplace restructuring is actually an indicator that we are still relevant… not left behind… we haven’t been pruned as society restructures and figures out a way to advance.

    If the world around us is clearly changing and we are told not to worry about change…not to trouble ourselves with restructuring and resource reallocation… I would conclude that our organization had come to its end.

  4. Janet Rathke

    Thoughts on Change

    I participated in the webinar on Leading Through Change and had some thoughts about the changes in MSU Extension that came from a Sunday sermon. I modified the message a bit to fit the wonderful world of MSUE.
    There are three types of ways to deal with change. Living on the beautiful and historic St. Mary’s River, I thought these were appropriate.
    You can be like a tugboat. Tugs work in fair or foul weather. They know the job that needs to be done and do not hesitate to find a way to make it work. Tugs push, pull, guide, get things unstuck and, occasionally, parade and party. Extension Educators can be like tugboats when they know the work and find a way to make it all happen and assist others in the process.
    You can be like a sailboat. These vessels go out in fair weather with breezes to move them along. As long as someone is in the boat to steer in and out of the wind, they are fine. If there are no breezes, they either motor along (auto pilot) or stay in port. No foul weather for these sailors. Extension Educators can be like sailboats when they work only in the favorable conditions.
    You can be like a raft. Rafts go out on the river with little direction and let the currents and breezes blow them along. They may have to steer or pole along if they get stuck, but they also need to depend on others to help them along. Extension Educators can be like rafts when they have become too comfortable with conditions and don’t set a course.
    To me, having been with MSUE, Minnesota Extension, Wisconsin Extension, and other businesses, I think many MSUE Educators may feel a bit like a raft. Floating has been ok because things go along. Now, with change, they may feel like they are being blown around without a sail to steer them or they may feel pushed and pulled by the sturdy tugboat.
    I would like to think I am more like a tug. I know my work and I enjoy it. I hope to be tugging along for awhile longer until I decide that it is time to turn my tug from a work boat into a party boat.