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Archive for the ‘mission’ Category

Mission-300x221Following is a homework assignment that I used with undergraduate students in a leadership development class in our honors program.  The novelty to the assignment was having students work on their resume at the same time they worked on their personal mission statement.  The result was students putting much thought into how their career path would align with personal goals and values.  The students found this exercise to be very rewarding.  Here is the assignment:

TO:  Honors 101 Students

FROM:  Dr. Percy Trappe

RE:  Assignment #2 – Personal Mission Statement and Resume

DATE:  August 28, 2013

The first step in your “leadership journey” is to reflect on what you have accomplished and what would you like to become.   In this exercise you will develop/update your resume (accomplishments) and will develop a first draft of a personal mission statement.

Resume: Submit a one page resume.  A resume is one of the tools you will need to introduce yourself and your experience to employers. It provides prospective employers with their first impression of you-it is an advertisement about you. Your resume is your chief marketing tool in the job search process. Therefore, your resume should be well-organized and highlight your background by emphasizing your skills and qualifications.   Be sure to emphasize your accomplishments.  For guidelines and examples on creating an effective resume be sure to see “Writing an Effective Resume” (http://career.ucsd.edu/undergraduates/prepar-resume-covlet/writing-effective-resume.html)

Personal Mission Statement: Submit a personal mission statement.  Your personal mission statement focuses on:

  1. What you want to be (character)
  2. What you want to do (contributions and achievements)
  3. Principles upon which “being” and “doing” are based

Your mission statement should be no more than one page in length.  In addition, to the mission statement itself, you should submit an “Explanation of My Mission Statement” where you summarize two things: (1) describe the process you used to develop your mission statement, and (2) describe how the three elements of the personal mission statement have been integrated into your final product.

Some resources to help you construct a personal mission statement:

Due Date:  Thursday, September 5, 2013

from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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Einstein_1921_by_F_Schmutzer_-_restorationOccasionally the Academic Anchor explores the relationship between virtue and the academic life.  (See: “Open Door Policy in Academia“, “Five Tests of the Teacher – William DeWitt Hyde“, “Joshua Chamberlain – When the Soul Overmasters Sense“, “The ‘Simple Gifts’ of Academia“, “Virtue and Elocution“,  “Business: a Virtuous Profession“).  Today I have returned from Thanksgiving break to ‘finish-up’ the fall semester.   Frenzy seems to prevail as final projects and review for final exams rule the day.   I ran across the following reflection from Albert Einstein.   Here he reflects on the ideals that gave him the courage to move forward.   I share this with faculty and students alike:
“I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves — this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts — possessions, outward success, luxury — have always seemed to me contemptible.”
Source: A. Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, based on Mein Weltbild, edited by Carl Seelig, New York: Bonzana Books, 1954 (pp. 8-11).
In gratitude, let us humbly reflect upon all the gifts (family, friends, health) that permeate our lives.  Out of the abundance, may we offer our resources to help others.
– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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see what we can doCarol J. Pardun, professor and director of the school of journalism at the University of South Carolina, recently posted an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Why I Am Dropping Out of Administration”. She tells a common story about goals and aspirations as a successful university administrator, and about a second wind back as a scholar on the faculty.

What struck me in particular about Dr. Pardun’s post, was her list of eight reasons why she became disillusioned with university administration. One quote caught my eye:

Leading faculty members is not at all like running a business. It’s about creating an atmosphere that allows faculty members to accomplish their goals and dreams. Some administrators fail to understand that.

I agree 100%.    The successful university leader must realize that their primary job is about creating a productive culture where individual faculty members are enabled to be successful.   If we can do two things:

  1. hire faculty that are a good fit with the goals of the college and university, and
  2. create an environment where these faculty members are first valued and then secondly encouraged to collaborate,

then …… good things will happen.     Thank you Dr. Pardun.  Good luck with your second career.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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Intellectual CapitalIt has indeed been my privilege to serve on the Dean’s Search Committee for the past several months. During that time I have learned a tremendous amount about the characteristics of an outstanding business school.  Each Dean candidate has provided us with unique perspectives on what it will require for our business school to achieve its strategic vision.

Based upon our face-to-face meetings with eleven different candidates and multiple discussions with colleagues in both the academic and business communities, I make the following observations:

  1. The collective intellectual capital of a business school’s faculty is, for better or worse, the defining factor of an outstanding business school.
  2. Our business school must aggressively recognize and reward scholarship and the development of intellectual capital as a foundation of its success. The currency of the academic marketplace is the development of intellectual capital.
  3. I believe faculty in our business school have a unique opportunity to broaden the traditional definition of ‘outstanding scholarship’ and to find ways to reward faculty for the development of intellectual capital that is highly relevant to members of the business community and that furthers the ideal of ‘service to others’.

In order to take our school to the ‘next level’, the immediate challenge for the new Dean will be to work with vested constituencies (with perhaps an emphasis on our alumni) to create a broad vision that bridges the gap between the research strengths of the faculty and the greater business community.  In my estimation, the entire business school community must build on this new vision to develop our resource base, to build and expand our academic programs, and to energize our classroom teaching (particularly at the graduate level).

The result of not aggressively emphasizing academic scholarship (i.e. not emphasizing the development of intellectual capital, research) is:

  • Inability to effectively attract and retain faculty talent (the marketplace says that the intellectual capital of a faculty member is what most directly determines their value). This will take place in a world with a looming shortage of business PhD’s.
  • MBA Program: forced to compete at the low end of the market. Why? Faculty will continue to be viewed by students merely as instructors (reactive presenters of others’ concepts) rather than being viewed as sages (proactive developers and presenters of original, peer-reviewed concepts).
  • Inability to grow PhD program and attract chaired professors. There is a direct correlation between ‘top flight’ faculty, their PhD students and the academic reputation of the university. This reputation is built largely on academic scholarship.

Please do not take this memo to suggest that teaching and ‘service to others’ should be relegated to a lower status than research. Rather outstanding classroom teaching and service should be the expectation for all faculty members at our university.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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visionI recently read the 2012-2013 President’s Report for Clarkson University. In the report I found something very interesting – a “Vision of a Clarkson Education”. Unlike most university mission statements, the focus was on the educational experience offered at the university. I am impressed. The vision talks about the “what the education is designed to enable the students to do” and talks about a the characteristics of their “personal and friendly learning environment”. Bravo!    Below are some of the highlights of Clarkson’s vision statement:

  • The Clarkson University educational experience is designed to provide talented and ambitious students with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve positions of leadership within their chosen profession.
  • A Clarkson education is designed to enable students to solve real-world, open-ended problems with creativity and risk taking to obtain solutions that are practical and sustainable.
  • A Clarkson education is designed to develop and refine exceptional communication skills with an awareness of potential cultural differences and to lead effectively and work productively within disciplinary and multidisciplinary teams composed of members with diverse interests and backgrounds.
  • A Clarkson student’s education is greatly enhanced by a personal and friendly learning environment.
  • A Clarkson student’s education draws undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and staff together into a cohesive and stimulating learning community, wherein an atmosphere of scholarship and spirit of research is cultivated.
  • Together, these provide a unique educational experience that is directed toward developing the whole person.

I am often struck by the importance of the words that we speak.   Clarkson is speaking volumes.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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dennis greenDennis Green, former NFL head football coach for the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals is often remembered for a famous rant after a tough loss to the Chicago Bears:

The Bears are what we thought they were. They’re what we thought they were. We played them in preseason — who the hell takes a third game of the preseason like it’s bullshit? Bullshit! We played them in the third game — everybody played three quarters — the Bears are who we thought they were! That’s why we took the damn field. Now if you want to crown them, then crown their ass! But they are who we thought they were! And we let ’em off the hook!

Is our college what we say it is?   Do we really believe the things we say about ourselves?   After taking a look at our college’s mission and values statements, our college’s strategic plan, and some of the “branding” found in our promotional materials and web site, here are some of our defining characteristics:

  • innovation/innovative
  • able to work in global economy
  • integrated curriculum
  • high job placement
  • academic rigor
  • effectiveness in groups
  • strong internships
  • prepare citizens
  • develop leaders

Are we who we say we are?   In my opinion, the words we use to describe ourselves need to be fully vetted by the faculty and external stakeholders.   Who are we?   Who do we aspire to be?  The words we use to describe ourselves are very important.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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Takin it to the StreetsAccenture, the multinational management consulting and technology services company, is one of the world’s largest consulting firms.  It’s executive leadership team has pledged to build the company on a solid ethical foundation. In 2010, Accenture was named one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” for third consecutive year.   Accenture’s Code of Business Ethics is, in my opinion, one of the most carefully crafted and action-oriented ethical codes that I have seen.  Let’s take a look at its six pillars:

  1. Client Value Creation in Action – enabling clients to become high-performance businesses and creating long-term relationships by being responsible and relevant and by consistently delivering value.  
  2. One Global Network in Action – leveraging the power of global insight, relationships, collaboration and learning to deliver exceptional service to clients wherever they do business.
  3. Respect for the Individual in Action – valuing diversity and unique contributions, fostering a trusting, open and inclusive environment and treating each person in a manner that reflect’s Accenture’s values.
  4. Best People in Action – attracting, developing and retaining the best talent for our business, challenging our people, demonstrating a “can-do” attitude, and fostering a collaborative and mutually supportive environment.
  5. Integrity in Action – being ethically unyielding and honest and inspiring trust by saying what we mean, matching our behaviors to our words and taking responsibility for our actions.
  6. Stewardship in Action – fulfilling our obligation of building a better, stronger, more durable company for future generations, protecting the Accenture brand, meeting our commitment to stakeholders, acting with an owner mentality, developing our people, and helping improve communities and the global environment.

I like how each “virtue” is linked to action – enabling employees to “Take It To The Streets”.   I have seen many value statements in the university community.   Are our academic value statements linked to action?    What would Accenture’s six pillars look like if applied to a university?  Maybe next time.

– from the pen of Dr. Percy Trappe

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