Archives for category: Student Paths Leadership Coaching
Chris Wills

Chris Wills

For my money, the most challenging aspect of being a leader is being a leader of people. When I think about where I spend the most time, and where I’ve faced my most challenging issues, it always comes back to the people. The art and science of leading people can get remarkably complicated, so much so that it sometimes feels like you need a PhD in psychology on certain days. Two of your team members can’t stand each other and the office is choosing sides. Your top performer lost his/her mojo and isn’t delivering anymore. Your most experienced and best-liked team member has lost the drive and is punching in and punching out. Any of this sound familiar? Just another day in the life of a leader. So what’s the secret? Well, unfortunately like most things in life, there is no magic bullet, but I the closest thing I’ve found is Dolly the Sheep. Baaa

You may recall a few years ago a few scientists made history by successfully cloning Dolly the Sheep. And believe it or not, the most successful leaders are passionate Dolly fans. See, at the most basic level, whether at work, socially or romantically, people either “click” or not. And if they click, it is because they fundamentally share the same core values. These are the things that mean the most to them that cannot be taught. When people don’t click, friction occurs, bad things can happen, and ultimately, that means extra time spent as a leader. Most people don’t step back and take the time to identify what their core values really are, so they perpetually deal with people issues day after day, not understanding how to make the issue go away forever.

Having been that leader for too many years myself, I stumbled upon a framework we’ll call “Dolly,” that hasn’t eliminated my people issues, but it has to have reduced them by easily 90 percent. If I calculate what an hour of my time is worth, that is a ton of value being put to far better use in the organization. Dolly goes something like this: think about your team and who the people are that you’d like to go all Dolly on and clone them because they are so wonderful to work with. Then get a piece of paper or a whiteboard and try to describe what it is about them that makes them such a fantastic fit. Then look for the trends. What were the 3 to 7 best descriptors of what it means to be a rock star employee in your organization? Those are your core values. And the best part is that you didn’t make them up out of thin air or put them on a wish list to aspire to; they already define what is best about your culture, and now that you’ve brought them out of the shadows, you can go Dolly on them. Now take a moment and do a simple check by running through each of your employees and asking if they meet each of the core values you came up with. You will quickly notice the ones you have the most issues with get the most “no’s.” You have to decide how many “no’s” you are willing to live with, but realize that every “no” represents friction with that person throughout the organization, and that means time spent dealing with it for you. We don’t allow any “no’s” in our organization; for so many reasons it just isn’t worth it. Whatever yours happens to be, it is your responsibility as a top notch leader to set free those people that do not meet all or some of your core values. They, too, feel the friction and aren’t as happy as they could be. Meeting or not meeting core values has nothing to do with being a good or bad person; it simply defines whether they fit in an organization. At this point, you may be scratching your head with a few folks because they meet all the core values with flying colors, yet you are still having your share of headaches with them. There are two succinct reasons why you have people problems: Either they do not meet your core values and/or they are not a fit for their specific position.  Paraphrasing Jim Collins, it is very common to have Dollys that belong on the farm but are in the wrong pen.

If you want to save lots of time dealing with people issues, email me at cwills@studentpaths.com with the secret password DOLLY in the subject line and I’ll send you the list of our core values and a tool we use to evaluate whether our team members meet those core values and are in the right seats on the bus. Father Time, or Chris Wills, is passionate about helping other leaders learn and grow and free up time they didn’t think they had. He is the Founder of Student Paths, an organization that better prepares students for their future in college, career and life readiness.

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Student Paths Leadership Tips for Enrollment Professionals

by Steven B. Fulmer, author and leadership coach

With the goal of higher education to graduate students who are smarter, better, wiser, and more effective when they leave than when they came in, why wouldn’t that same principle apply to the people who work there?

How best can you as an enrollment management leader engage employees to achieve greatness and meet or exceed individual, team, and institutional recruitment goals, especially in this tight economy and competitive landscape?

Well, if I may be so direct, for one, we have to stop using the excuse of this “tight economy” for why things aren’t getting done. Let’s face it, in too many schools, organizations, and companies we are being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

People are one of the two most expensive line items in a college or university budget, and yet, when the going gets tough the first place cut is training, development, and support of that expensive resource.

Remember, people are the only thing that will bring you out of this “tight economy,” or beat your competition whether that’s through the quality of your recruiters or the brilliance of your professors.

So how best can you engage those employees? Invest in them! It need not be expensive, it can be with time, attention, recognition, small rewards, offering them a coach, or recognizing a personal challenge that is standing in the way of their success on the job or their ability to step into their personal leadership.

A program I built called The 10-Point Leadership Triangle™, which is all about how to engage people, and if I had to boil it down to one key point I would bring it all back to this one question:

“What story, does your leadership, allow your people, to tell about their life?”  

If you are willing to invest the effort to connect the vision of your department, institution, and mission to their personal story, you will have the single most powerful impact on engagement.

Why? Because in the end, most people don’t need to be right or want to be in charge, but they do want to feel like they matter, that you are all on the same team and there’s no “us and them.” People simply want to be honored, respected, and dignified.

Lately, the most common complaint I hear from employees is that the humanity of their organization has disappeared. They feel like a number and that it’s management against staff. I speak often on a set of principles I call HUMAN Strategies™.

You have a marketing strategy, a social media strategy, a financial strategy, a capital investment strategy . . . but what is your Human Strategy? If you don’t have one, then congratulations, you just figured out where to begin!

Steven Fulmer

Steven Fulmer is a leadership author, speaker, and coach. Owner of Steven Fulmer, Inc., he is a self-described HUMAN strategist and game changer who helps people personally and professionally achieve success and happiness. A former business executive who helped a software company grow substantially in numbers of employees and revenue, Fulmer is author of Leadership Just Got Personal (2012), creator of LifeQuest Mapping™ and the 10-Point Leadership Triangle™, and facilitator of George Fox University MBA Program’s mission and vision workshop. He lives in Oregon with his wife and 2 children. More is online at www.FulmerSpeaks.com.

Receive more leadership coaching tips for higher education enrollment managers by Steven Fulmer through Student Paths’ upcoming enewsletters and blog posts; sign up for our monthly enewsletter at www.studentpaths.com/join. Student Paths helps prepare high school students for their future through college, career, and life- readiness materials.

Student Paths Leadership Tips for Enrollment Professionals

by Steven B. Fulmer, author and leadership coach

Effective leaders in any context are masterful at connecting to the people they are leading. You see, everyone, from the VP of Enrollment to the student worker has a story they want to tell about their life.

Though many people aren’t conscious of their story, they make decisions every day based on it. We choose the clothes we wear, the car we drive, the bumper stickers we display, the jobs we take, and the schools we choose based on some aspect of that story. We want to be perceived in the way those choices will make us look.

And when we can’t live into that story due to money, position, circumstances, or poor leadership on our part or the part of someone else, then we find ourselves in a state of stress and dissatisfaction, often not knowing exactly why.

The bottom line, however, is that we all want to be able to tell a particular story with our life. So the question for effective leadership is this:

What STORY, does YOUR leadership

allow those YOU lead to tell about THEIR life?

Truly effective leaders are able to make the connection between their vision and the story of those they want to lead. If by fulfilling the leader’s vision, people get to fulfill their own story and be the person they want and intended to be; they will be engaged, connected, and powerful.

Dissatisfaction and stress arises when the leader’s vision and the person’s story are incongruent. In fact, this is how I define stress:

Stress is that condition created when a person is being asked to behave or perform in a manner incongruent with their personal values or integrity.”

Leaders are most effective when their leadership allows their people to live their personal story and integrity. Now, remember the Three Dimensions of leadership (discussed in Session 1 blog post)? This goes all the way around:

  1. What is the story your leadership allows your people to tell about their life?
  2. What is the story your leadership allow you to tell about your life?
  3. What is the story your leadership allows your students tell about their life if and when they choose your school to attend?

Furthermore, you can be a “Top Leader,” rather than a “Mediocre” or “Unengaged Leader” by meeting people where they are rather than where you wish they were. The problem for most leaders in any walk of life is that leadership is challenging and time-consuming. As a result, as leaders, we too often look for short cuts, pull rank, demand acceptance or use phrases like: “I’m your boss not your parent or baby sitter,” or “deal with that on your personal time, it’s business not personal,” or “That’s why I hired you, figure it out.”

Leadership is messy and abstract, there is no simple formula or rule book, and again, if there was, that would be following not leading. Figuring out how to meet people where they are and what you can do to get them where you and they want to be, is different for everyone and that goes for the leaders as well as those being lead.

Yes, there are some generalities when it comes to laying out one’s vision or the tasks to be accomplished, but let’s remember, there is management and there is leadership. Management is the process of measuring, tracking, and accomplishing goals. Leadership is what inspires people and connects them to that vision so as to engage them along the way. Leadership lifts people up to heights they cannot achieve on their own.

Not all leaders are good managers and not all managers are good leaders and we find that unengaged and mediocre leaders too often resort to management styles and techniques instead of stepping into the courage it takes to actually be vulnerable and lead.

Steven Fulmer

Steven Fulmer is a leadership author, speaker, and coach. Owner of Steven Fulmer, Inc., he is a self-described HUMAN strategist and game changer who helps people personally and professionally achieve success and happiness. A former business executive who helped a software company grow substantially in numbers of employees and revenue, Fulmer is author of Leadership Just Got Personal (2012), creator of LifeQuest Mapping™ and the 10-Point Leadership Triangle™, and facilitator of George Fox University MBA Program’s mission and vision workshop. He lives in Oregon with his wife and 2 children. More is online at www.FulmerSpeaks.com.

Receive more leadership coaching tips for higher education enrollment managers by Steven Fulmer through Student Paths’ upcoming enewsletters and blog posts; sign up for our monthly enewsletter at www.studentpaths.com/join. Student Paths helps prepare high school students for their future through college, career, and life- readiness materials.

Student Paths Leadership Tips for Enrollment Professionals

by Steven B. Fulmer, author and leadership coach

Here’s the irony. Everyone is in a position of leadership, whether they like it or not, accept it or not, want it or not.

Now that may seem like a contradiction to the idea that leaders are those that others want to follow by choice, because clearly there are plenty of people we don’t want to follow, in fact, you might be working for one of them. Be that as it may, everyone is a leader, if for no other reason than the simple fact that everyone leads his or her own life (A fact over-looked by many). The problem is, not everyone leads his or her own life very effectively.

Too many people think of leadership as an external thing, meaning that we “lead” others, it’s something we do to people or for people, and that is certainly true on one dimension. It’s easy and common to see leadership in terms of a position, but leadership has two other significant dimensions as well.

There’s a second dimension – intangible leadership through influence. It’s your ability to inspire and acquire “followers” when you have none of the authority, title or position to do so.  This is frequently the case working at a non-profit with a group of volunteers.

And then a third dimension is how we lead ourselves because self-leadership is an accurate barometer for how effectively we will lead others.

Leadership has little to do with position, rank, authority or power; too many people who possess those things, quite frankly, stink as leaders. Leadership has to do with so much more; it has to do with who we are being, how we respond to those who disagree with us, it has to do with courage, connection and yes, even vision.

That’s the challenge for enrollment professionals; they are simultaneously leading on multiple dimensions.  Like everyone, they are leading themselves; in addition, they are leading their departments, over whom they have authority, and they are leading prospective students over whom they have no authority, only influence.  So the execution of effective leadership can change dramatically and frequently throughout their day.

Fulmer’s book cover

Steven Fulmer is a leadership author, speaker, and coach. Owner of Steven Fulmer, Inc., he is a self-described HUMAN strategist and game changer who helps people personally and professionally achieve success and happiness. A former business executive who helped a software company grow substantially in numbers of employees and revenue, Fulmer is author of Leadership Just Got Personal (2012), creator of LifeQuest Mapping™ and the 10-Point Leadership Triangle™, and facilitator of George Fox University MBA Program’s mission and vision workshop. He lives in Oregon with his wife and 2 children. More is online at www.FulmerSpeaks.com.

Receive more leadership coaching tips for higher education enrollment managers by Steven Fulmer through Student Paths’ upcoming enewsletters and blog posts; sign up for our monthly enewsletter at www.studentpaths.com/join. Student Paths helps prepare high school students for their future through college, career, and life- readiness materials.