Preparing Decisively for Change
EACE contribution by Susan E. Chappell, M.Ed., Employer Engagement Coordinator at Penn State University
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the #EACE 2015 conference in Pittsburgh. In addition to a great morning run exploring the city and my first Primanti Bros. sandwich loaded with french fries (I’m pretty sure I should have run farther than I did after eating that), I had a wonderful time reflecting upon emerging trends in career services and recruiting with colleagues from across the region.
During the opening keynote with Nick Tasler, we were asked to have a conversation around our tables about how decisions were being made within our organizations and departments. Our table traveled instead down a related, but slightly different path regarding change and how leadership across our institutions was evolving at a rapid pace. Some of us were experiencing it at the highest levels with new presidents and provosts, some within our departments and others through unit mergers. But no matter the level at which our change was occurring, we were all dealing with the effects of how to be decisive in uncertain times. Some of the biggest questions we were asking ourselves: How will these new leaders impact our institutions, our students, our worlds as they roll out their visions?
Tasler’s message about the importance of knowing which stakeholder to align our strategic direction with was particularly timely within our group. Those who were a little further along the continuum of organizational change had a clearer picture of the emerging directions within their environments and how best to move forward with their strategic plans. Those who were still immersed in the transition were much less certain about what these changes might bring. We all agreed that how we viewed the impending shifts within our organizations directly affected our ability to plan decisively.
It was restorative to come together with colleagues again to share best practices and benchmark within our field. It was particularly good to remind ourselves that although change can be a challenge it can also be a gift. Nick Tasler left us with some relevant advice and a framework for being decisive in our shifting worlds. So as we return to our companies and our campuses, don’t forget to be mindful and “check your pulse, consult an anti-you, and be a decider”.
Susan Chappell, M.Ed., is a Penn State alumnae and the Eastern Region Employer Engagement Coordinator for Penn State University’s Career Services team. During her time at Penn State, she has worked within the Division of Undergraduate Studies, Alumni Relations, Corporate Engagement, and Outreach and Continuing Education before joining Career Services.
Sue currently chairs the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Employers (PennACE) Government Relations Committee, and sits on the Penn State University Career Services Advisory Board at University Park and the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE), Professional Exchange Committee.