The Road Ahead Means Leaving One Behind

I sent this in a note to our staff today. It was a response of sorts to a discussion in a staff meeting about seeking outside perspectives within a specific setting, but the point I wanted to make was a general one.

I didn’t have my thoughts formulated in time to make this comment with regard to today’s staff conversation

We have a surfeit of ideas of how to move forward — even in many of our most egregious examples of established “groupthink” — higher education usually doesn’t suffer from a lack of exposure to new ideas, and new directions, new ways of working — there’s often enough flexibility in our jobs that you’ll find staff at all levels that have great and forward-looking ideas.

What we suffer badly from, that seems almost impossible to overcome, is how to leave things behind. So much that I’ve referred to the technology aspect of this (in tongue-in-cheek fashion) as “Young’s Law” that “all technology applications are permanent in Higher Education”

This is key to bringing new people in. This is key to whether we could tap in to the narratives and stories and ideas that already exist in Cooperative Extension. We can’t move forward without leaving something behind. And that may be the perspectives we critically need — not the things we should be doing — but the things we need to stop doing.

That’s where the hard decisions are.

(In the same vein: this 37Signals post I read after I sent my note)