Archive for December, 2012

1901-600x324Dean Harlow Person served in the deanship of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Administration and Finance from 1906 to 1919 (Khurana, R., From Higher Aims to Hired Hands, Princeton University Press, 2007, p. 152).    Person was also influential in the establishment of the AACSB.

Person was clear in articulating a mission for his school.   Following are several quotes from Person about the Tuck School’s mission and vision.

Our judgment is that our primary obligation is to the student, and the first and largest draft which the instructor should make on his store of time and energy should be on behalf of the individual student.  We attempt to develop in our instructing staff the feeling that instruction is not something formal but is a personal responsibility for the personal success of every individual student.  That, we conceive, as also our largest public service.

Person argued:

The essential public service that the school could provide was to teach students to ‘develop the power to apply principles to the solutions of business problems …. which will some day be of service to us all.’

In regard to the teaching of ethics, Person stated

We do not attempt any formal instruction in business ethics.  We believe that formality and artificiality of a formal course in business ethics would defeat its very purpose.  But in every course it is the aim of every instructor, I know, to inspire in his students a conception of the nobility of the profession of the business man and of his responsibility to his fellow-man and to society.

Finally, in order to assist young men in the pursuit of a career

Every possible method is employed to enable students to meet business men -(guest) lecturers – personally, and the lectures of such men are followed by a simple luncheon intended to enable second-year men to meet lecturers informally.

The ideals espoused by Person are as relevant today as ever.   Have many of the “top” business faculty strayed from this ideal?

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe


Read Full Post »


  • There is a balance between movement and a relationship.  A relationship with no movement is static and exhibits no growth.
  • It is okay to ask to expand a relationship.
  • With each relationship – take time to chat and catch up – don’t be in a hurry.
  • We want to be led.
  • Be aware of fear and anxiety.  Together we will work through these things.
  • Move together; stop together; synchronicity.
  • People are often comfortable being at work but not being engaged.
  • Understand your follower’s language.
  • Ask – “what do you need from me to be successful?”
  • You must establish a relationship – you cannot build a relationship that you don’t have!

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

Read Full Post »

smart-group-300x300I served for eight years as a department head.  During that time, perhaps the most significant actions that I took concerned the “people process” (see my earlier post on this subject).   Actions were taken concerning the hiring, promotion (and non-promotion), evaluation and mentoring of faculty and staff.  These actions have a significant impact on the future of the organization.   Now, serving as associate dean, I take great satisfaction in leaving behind a department that continues to flourish with a new department head.    I believe that it is important to develop a leadership pipeline, and I firmly believe that there are now three or four individuals who could successful lead my old department.

As I look at the future of our college, I am reminded that our “people process” must do several things well:

  • evaluate individuals accurately, in depth and in a timely manner
  • provide a framework for identifying and developing leadership talent
  • hiring new talent that fits the COB’s mission
  • recognizing and rewarding success (including leadership team)
  • fair and equitable compensation
  • provide a framework for developing faculty teaching and scholarship (coordination with CFI)
  • increasing the diversity of the faculty and staff

What can we do better?  Here are a few thoughts:

  1. feedback can be more timely to faculty
  2. feedback from dean to leadership team (including center directors) must be more in depth and more timely
  3. 3rd year reviews, 1st year reviews, RTA 5 year reviews – consistent throughout college?
  4. faculty committees – how can we assess effectiveness?
  5. 36o feedback – how can they be used effectively?
  6. summer grants – more money for funding/increase accountability
  7. faculty fellowships – great tool to reward success (how do we award these?)
  8. fair and equitable faculty compensation – benchmark peer institutions

How should we proceed?   Put a “people process” committee together, and give them the charge to look at Issues 1 – 5.   Give the committee constraints.   Issues 6-7 are clearly in the dean’s court – the money must be raised – then we can figure out how best to spend the money.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

Read Full Post »

Q-and-S-Pyramid4University leaders tend to be master planners.   There is a tendency for the academic leader to work out a grand scheme beforehand for the accomplishment of long-term objectives.  Often this grand scheme is wrapped in the cloak of “university planning” and is part of a larger systematic arrangement of elements.

Warning!   Many modern thinkers suggest that this preoccupation with master planning often leads to “analysis paralysis” where little actually gets done because the team is always in the planning mode and never gets to the action phase.

In Jim Collins’ book Great by Choice, he and colleague Morten Hansen used extensive research to reveal some common principles that lead the companies to greatness. Collins suggests a “fire bullets, then cannonballs” approach to leadership. A bullet is a low-cost, low risk, and low distraction test or experiment. Successful leaders use bullets to empirically validate what will actually work. Based on that empirical validation, they then concentrate their resources to fire a cannonball, enabling large returns from concentrated bets. According to Collins, successful leaders fired a significant number of bullets that never hit anything. They didn’t know ahead of time which bullets would hit or be successful.

A calibrated cannonball has confirmation based on actual experience – empirical validation – that a big bet will likely prove successful. An uncalibrated cannonball means placing a big bet without empirical validation.  Uncalibrated cannonballs can lead to calamity. Companies paid a huge price when big, disruptive events coincided with their firing uncalibrated cannonballs, leaving them exposed. Successful leaders periodically made the mistake of firing an uncalibrated cannonball, but they tended to self-correct quickly.

The idea is not to choose between bullets or cannonballs, but to fire bullets first, then fire cannonballs.   The lesson for the university leader?   Don’t be afraid to fire a calibrated bullet and fail.   Experiment.   Innovate.   See what works and what doesn’t.    Discard your failures.   Build on your success.

 – from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

Read Full Post »

aacsb-logoA colleague of mine served on a search committee for the Dean of their AACSB-accredited business school.   He told me that their university used eight screening criteria when reviewing CV’s.  I hope that this helps any dean seekers!

1) Academic credentials: Did the candidate have a decent list of pubs, with at least one good solid A pub? Basically, did the candidate have the gravitas needed to fight it out with the other deans and senior faculty? Ideally, the candidate should be qualified for the professor rank.

2) Management experience: Has the candidate worked in a dean’s office or perhaps served as chair of a large department? Was there some sort of strategic initiative on the record to talk about? Any experience with a non-trivial budget?

3) Knowledge of Academic Programs: Would the candidate understand the programs at our school? For example, would he/she get the difference between an MBA programs and an MSA program?

4) Cultural Fit: Can the candidate fit in to our culture/way of doing things? This one had a big impact because many candidates scored low. When somebody was a good fit, they really stood out!

5) Resource development: Has the person done hiring, firing, and retention? Founded a center, department, program?

6) External relationships: Fundraising experience? Board experience? etc.

7) AACSB: This one was big! Did the candidate ever take a leadership role in the AACSB accreditation process.

8) Commitment to faculty development: Is there a record of mentoring? Did the candidate work with junior faculty? (This one was almost impossible to judge from a CV, so most people got a default, middling score.)

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

Read Full Post »

erskine-bowles-hmed-9a.grid-5x2Erskine Bowles,  perhaps best known for his work in 2010  as co-chairman (with Alan Simpson) of President Obama’s deficit-reduction commission, served as President of the University of North Carolina system from 2005 – 2010.  Despite his long business and political resume, scandals on several of the system’s sixteen campuses made Mr. Bowles’s tenure sometimes tumultuous.

Bowles certainly has a great sense of humor.  Recently Bowles was heard describing his past as a university president:

“It’s like being CEO of a cemetery. You’ve got lots of people underneath you but ain’t nobody listening.”


from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

Read Full Post »