Communication; I’ve never worked with or for an organization where people complained that we have too much of it.
Open communication is one of the most important characteristics of a healthy, thriving organization. However, all too frequently it falls behind on the daily priority list, even with good intentions. Case in point, I stated in an email earlier that I intended to start a blog for communication purposes shortly after Labor Day. One month later here we are, and it is questionable as to whether that counts as “shortly.”
Look for my written “communication” on a regular basis in most editions of Intercom. I decided this may be the best way given that there are so many college blogs already, and Intercom seems to be our most well-read communication channel. I will also be hitting the campus forum circuit in a couple of weeks for more personal dialogue and feedback.
Even those good intentions won’t be sufficient, particularly in an academic year when college-wide communication is so important. This is a year of great opportunity for NOVA; a year in which we will be attempting to build on our success as a “gateway to opportunity,” to foster more “pathways to opportunity” by providing greater opportunities for every student to succeed, every program to achieve, and every community to prosper. Those lofty goals will be discussed and planned by 15 committees, with 227 faculty, staff and board members participating by plotting our strategies and seeking feedback from the entire NOVA community. Written documentation and minutes of the work of those committees, along with other strategic planning documents, will be open to all on the college SharePoint site.
I know that even those attempts will be insufficient for the communication necessary to grasp the power of collective input and feedback. That is why I took an additional step by asking Dr. Charles Errico, a well-respected, long-time NOVA faculty member, to undertake a special assignment for the remainder of this academic year, and next academic year, entirely focusing on communication.
Charlie has agreed to handle the temporary assignment as Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning Communications. Let me attempt to communicate what we think that will mean. Charlie is going to have “carte blanche” to move in and out of the different committee meetings that are starting now, so that he has insight into all the varied discussions and deliberations. He is going to develop and feed different written communication channels so that everyone can be informed. He will also be available to meet with any group of individuals at any of our campuses or sites to provide updates on the strategic planning discussions and progress, and receive feedback to share back into the process.
This feedback loop is important. The committees have been designed to be representative of each of the campuses and disciplines, so that everyone has the opportunity to share their ideas, comments and concerns with a committee member they know. However, if individuals feel more comfortable sharing their communication with Charlie, he will serve as a conduit, bringing their communication back to the various committee chairs for their consideration and committee deliberation.
Even with these efforts, I doubt we will run the risk of reaching the point of “too much communication.” So I ask that you consider ways we can better communicate, and share your feedback with us. You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Charlie at email@example.com. Thanks.