Monday, December 5, 2016

What kind of message does this send to your employees? #leadership #communication

This is a real message sent out to employees in regards to a holiday party:

“Please RSVP by COB Friday, December 9th.
The Coleman University Holiday Party will take place on Friday, December 16th in Hopper Hall from 6-10pm. The event will include games, raffles, and a dance floor. The cost to attend is $5 per employee and you can bring one guest at no cost.

Please pay at the front desk and RSVP by COB Friday, December 9th.

We ask employees to provide a dessert item, employees bringing dessert will get one raffle ticket (only one).”

Never mind the grammar issues in the message, never mind the acronyms that are not necessarily clear: you are charging your hardworking employees for a Christmas party! If money is an issue, perhaps just have a potluck, or maybe no party at all?

The little things are what matter, it is the little things that get noticed, and these little things are the difference between retaining your employees and losing them.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Friday, December 2, 2016

Do you listen and take action or just hit delete and hope? A communication question

As employer and as a leader, you are going to get negative emails from employees from time to time because life happens.

How you respond to those emails can be the difference between solving a problem and creating new one. By the way, not responding at all is a negative way of responding because every person wants to know that their point has been heard.

Try and see the issue from the point of view of the employee, if you cannot, ask questions, and ask the employee what they would like to see happen. You might be able to fulfill their wish, but maybe all they wanted to do was vent; venting can be cathartic for people.

There are too many people in authority who feel they must defend and counter every argument, rather than listen, understand, and try and help a person get through the issue.

Leadership often means you must put the needs of your employees ahead of your own ego.

So before you hit that delete button, before you decide to ignore that person, ask yourself: how am I helping this person by my action (or lack of)?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What is faculty governance and do you have it?

Not an easy question to answer and many institutions are trying to answer this.

Emory University:

“Casually ask faculty members at Emory how they define faculty governance, and two themes emerge. First, most seem to focus on faculty governance at the departmental or the school/college level, in which their appointment is housed. Second, they view faculty governance as a mechanism to oversee the curriculum and guide decisions about the promotion, and if applicable, tenure of a colleague. From our perspective, the need for engaged faculty governance at the university level deserves at least as much consideration, though. Such attention is especially essential during this era of the rapidly shifting landscape in higher education” 


Faculty Governance in Higher Education: “Faculty members in higher education should have primary responsibility to:
1.      Determine the curriculum, subject matter, methods of instruction, and other academic standards and processes.
2.      Establish the requirements for earning degrees and certificates, and authorize the administration and governing board to grant same.
3.      Exercise, where the faculty deems it appropriate, primary responsibility for determining the status of colleagues, especially appointment, reappointment, and tenure.
4.      Establish procedures for awarding promotions, sabbaticals, research support, and other rewards or perquisites.”

While not everyone is going to agree on what it is or on how it is supposed to get done, everyone should be agreeing that it needs to be done.
If faculty and administration cannot come together and create a program worthy of teaching, then it is the students that suffer. If faculty, who are the experts, are feeling like their expertise is being minimized in favor of agendas, then it is students who suffer. If the administration does not have an avenue to discuss concerns with faculty, then students suffer. There are numerous examples of schools failing because of this reason (private non-profit, for profit, and public schools alike).
Need some ideas? The ETeam is happy to help!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, November 21, 2016

Criminal Justice System: An Education Problem

Whatever political party you belong to, whichever label you put on yourself, all sensible people know that our criminal justice system is far from perfect. We have left the “correctional and rehabilitation” parts out and focused on the “punishment” thereby creating issues that should not exist.

The system changes with the political winds (should not happen), and industries whose CEOs names we do not know, are making huge profits from it. Inflated phone calls for prisoners, expensive commissaries, prison labor, the bail bond system, debtors prison (still exists just not called that), fining communities into poverty for minor offenses, etc.

Private prisons can only make a profit if there are prisoners, and we have seen judges go to jail recently for jailing kids and adults for a healthy kick-back.

We have police officers, through no fault of their own, that are inadequately trained to handle a lot of situations and there is no training in sight. We have communities that distrust the police because the police do not know them and vice-versa; and whether we want to admit or not, too many people are being killed by the police (estimated 945 this year as I write, and that does not include prison population).

How do elementary school students get handcuffed or pepper sprayed in their school? How does a child acquire an arrest record for defiance before they have even entered high school? Do we not see there is a problem here?

It is likely that someone will troll this article with crime statistics attributed along color lines, that happens often. I hope they keep in mind that this is universal, and goes beyond skin color.

These are the kind of things everyday people are concerned about (along with being able to pay the bills), these are the sort of issues I hope the next administration takes a serious look at because our children, the future of our country are being affected.

Serious problems deserve serious solutions that include serious conversations with the people affected (the poor).

We can do better, we need to do better, let us do better!

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Learn to articulate otherwise it just comes off as hate: An educator's thoughts on true political discourse

For the last 16 years, I have watched a steady decline in political discourse, and have seen an increase in political fighting and trolling; especially with the rise of social media. The vitriol is currently at an all-time high, and it is so bad that nobody’s message is getting through; and I mean the real message.

Let me also so say that this is not a political message, I am not connected to any political party. I do not believe in labels and I do not fit into any category specifically.

In 2000, when George W Bush was elected President, there were several people who I knew running around shouting, “he is going to be the anti-Christ”, there was crying, anger, etc. During one particular tirade I remember, when I routinely declined to let people know who I voted for (I got accused of all kinds of stuff because I was not agreeing with these folks), I asked a simple question: “what specifically are your issues with him”? Note the word specific…

Fast forward to the election of President Obama in 2008. Before the man was even elected, there were a number of people telling me how bad he is going to be, how he is going to do this bad thing or that bad thing, etc., etc. Now towards the end of his successful presidency (he got elected twice so say what you will), there are people saying he is the worst president ever, “I hate him” (always people who opposed him). I have asked the same question I asked in 2000 several times to these people, “what specifically are your issues with him” “what exactly makes him so bad”. I have yet to get a complete answer, even from some intelligent people I respect.

Now we have Donald Trump as our president elect. While he has said many things that would have made all past presidents unelectable, he was elected, and quite decisively, so now is not the time for vitriol but specifics. Your message will never get your concerns across if you are just shouting, because people will not listen to shouting. Your message means nothing unless you can clearly articulate it, and the recent attempts to do so have been weak to non-existent.

When first ladies, people who have traditionally been exempt from the political bashing, are being mocked as an “ape in heels” (yes it was racist so please do not excuse it) and people cheer, when our presidents are being compared to chimps (Bush) and “lying Africans” (Obama): don’t you think things are going too far?

If you cannot clearly explain your message, then there is no message. Perhaps you just need to sit down, take a breath, and remember that we are all human.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The world is not going to end and the world has not changed in the way you think it has

The election is over, the people have spoken, time to get back normality. However, what is normality?

Technology has allowed voices and messages to be heard faster and broader than before; often in an anonymous way, but these voices have always been there, that is not new.  This anonymity is creating an atmosphere of uncivil behavior, and since that door has been opened, it is not going to close.

What has changed is the strong and polarizing divisions in this country, and around the world. Look at Philippines, Britain and Europe in general; the cracks are there and growing. Look at the solid political and cultural divisions between states.

Are we all aware that the conditions that exist right now (and that are developing) are similar to the way world wars have started? No, I am not saying we are going to war, I am just saying the conditions in which large wars start are here with us right now.

There are already many battles going on around the world and this country has basically been involved in wars non-stop since 2001; do not forget that.

I am not sure what the solution is, but what I do know is that there needs to be a better understanding of each other rather than the current “forget the other team” attitude. We need to listen to each other to learn, not just to respond, we need some unity (sounds corny but it is true).

Pay attention everyone, because history does have a tendency to repeat itself, so let us make sure we are all on the correct side of history.

More to come…

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, November 7, 2016

My hope for the election: an educator’s thought

My hope is simple. It is not partisan; it does not involve any labels or slogans such as conservative and liberal.

My hope is for understanding as we move forward. Unless you understand something or someone. It is human nature to look at things and people suspiciously. Suspicion, leads to fear, that leads to hate (sounds like Star Wars but it is true), and that eventually leads to destruction.

You might not see what I am seeing, you might not agree, however, America does have an important choice to make tomorrow, and that is whether we truly believe in an America for all or divided America.

It is ok to listen to each other, to try and understand each other.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam