Examining the ‘Why’

Examining the ‘Why’: DASA Business Administration’s next steps towards becoming One Team of Leaders

By Dr. Barry Olson, Associate Vice Chancellor
Academic and Student Affairs

Simon Sinek began promoting the concept of finding the WHY in what we do as a movement. His TED Talk took off in 2009, and became the third most watched TED Talk, with over 40 million views. The concept is rather simple: If you can share with your team the reason you do what you do, or get to the ‘why’, people will follow. He uses the example of Apple, and how their products have become a ubiquitous presence in our world. This didn’t happen JUST because of the shape or style, or even the slick platform they use, but rather, Apple figured out early that in order to endear your product to others, you need to convince them of why this will change their life. Their ads focus on the experiences that draw you into situations where their products are used, and people connect. They get it. We use Apple because we are drawn to more than just the machine. We are drawn to the experience. See Simon’s video here.

DASA Business Administration (DASA BA) has been working on our why over the past six months. In July, 2018, we had our first collective retreat to build One Team of Leaders –  a bold vision where we focused on excellence through transformational service. At our core, our “why” connects to the human experience. Relationships with others – strong relationships – make a difference, and they help pave the way while we work to  earn your trust and respect. This work has required all of us to look inward, but also talk to our colleagues – REALLY talk, and REALLY listen – to better understand how they view DASA BA.

In the fall we did just that, and took the time to survey our users. We found that  although we are doing some things well, we still have a lot of work to do to deliver our vision! We appreciate your feedback, and your recommendations helped shape our plans moving forward. We will  keep you posted on our progress where we are headed.

First, we continue to focus on those core expectations. We believe in the following values, which will drive how we do business:

    1. Positive relationships matter. So much of the feedback focused on either a lack of a strong relationship, or how a positive relationship really helps us grow communication. It is apparent that this continues to be an area where we are inconsistent, but also, where we all want to do a better job.
    1. Focusing on how to help you serve students. As student success is at our core, we must do our level best to give you the necessary tools to do your job effectively and efficiently. Some of the chief criticisms lie in how some processes and procedures can be overly cumbersome, or required without explanation. Ultimately, what we do, and expect you to do, should lead to a better end product. In short, we need to do a better job of helping all of our colleagues better understand the “why.” If we can’t articulate it, then we need to reconsider why we do it.
    1. Listening is key. We need to ask for the advice and recommendations of our colleagues more frequently. If there is a recommendation for a better way to do it, then we need to listen to it and do our level best to implement those changes when we can. We must ALWAYS take the time to listen, without judgment. This is hard, but a critical element to our success.
  1. Stewardship and compassion. We understand that there are some elements of business administration that simply have to be done a certain way, and have business expectations. Again, DASA BA needs to do a better job explaining why this is important, but also provide our colleagues with reasonable solutions. We also need to work through issues with grace and respect, and to understand that tasks and processes often cannot be learned through doing it once per quarter, or infrequently during the year.

Our core values are important, and a necessary component within each of our bold steps that we are currently working on. These are our bold action steps (in no particular order):

    1. Solidify our identity. What does DASA BA look like? How do we share information?
    1. Develop service standards. What should our colleagues expect from us with regards to service?
    1. Develop a service catalog. What services do we provide? What don’t we do? How do we determine if something needs to be added to our services?
  1. Enhance communication and collaboration. Who is a part of DASA BA? How will we communicate all of this, and more, to our DASA colleagues and campus partners?

In the coming months, you will see more details fleshed out for each of these bold steps. We will also need your help to further enhance how we do what we do, so look for opportunities from these groups to incorporate your ideas and feedback.

DASA BA exists to serve you. More than our colleagues across campus, DASA BA directly enhances the student experience by supporting your efforts each and every day. Our work across all units helps our peers serve students. Through strong relationships, and a focus on excellence, we provide transformational service. We are stewards to the Division, and to the student experience. We are engaged, and we continue to be ready to work. We know that change is tough, but often necessary. We appreciate your patience as we work towards this goal, and we are committed to keeping you informed and engaged. Look for more regular communication from me and from our leadership team as we further enhance our One Team of Leaders within DASA BA.