With the new post-secondary school year coming soon, I have been thinking about all the new students who will be arriving at our school (and yours). These students will likely have all sorts of preconceived ideas about us, but probably have very little real knowledge. That will come in due time.
It has become cliche to say “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” If Blink has taught us anything, it is that we are masters at making assessments in nanoseconds and we act according to these assessments. I care about what students decide about our school. I want to make a good impression. I want students to have a good experience here.
Students will arrive wanting (expecting) us to make a good impression and give them a good experience. This is a challenge we must meet if we expect to engage these students with our school.
One common frustration in organizations like ours is that we have numerous business centre silos that overlap, duplicate, give client the runaround, and that make unilateral decisions affecting other departments. All of these contribute to a potentially less than desireable first impression and a less than desireable experience for students.
We can beat ourselves up over this, or we can recognize that it stems from a very positive trait. Put positively, we hire and rely on experts at almost every level of the university. We expect faculty to have a Ph.D. Our administration often also have Ph.D. degrees or at the very least M.A. degrees. These are very bright people who have made their way in a competitive academic world. We should not be surprised that these people are used to making decisions and acting in competitive environments. This is a good thing!
This expertise and strong character can be a negative if there isn’t even stronger leadership giving direction, eliminating overlap and areas of competition in areas that affect customer relationships.