30,000 Feet Above Sea Level

Have you ever flown over the Rocky Mountains? It’s one of my favorite things to do. I like to fly during the daytime and I always hope for a clear day so there are no clouds to block my view down from the plane. I love it because its such a different view from driving through the passes, where the mountains loom large and foreboding, sometimes reflecting the sun off the perpetual snow, sometimes blocking the sun with their sheer size.

But when I fly, the Rockies don’t seem nearly as huge. There’s a kind of flattening effect. Oh sure, they’re obviously the biggest thing around, but they look a little more manageable, less massive, and not quite so daunting. They have a beauty that is unmatched – especially if the sun is low and they cast long shadows with bright, white linings.

I just got back from a full day of strategic planning with some key leaders/influencers in my office. We’ve had our noses to the grindstone for the past several months (you may have noticed the dearth of posts on this blog), driving through passes, climbing peaks here and there and it was time to catch a plane and get a different view of things.

We decided it was time to fly to about the 30,000 foot level and get a lay of the land. Frankly, we needed a little perspective. I had good news to share with the team, and we needed a chance to see how far we’d come and what was over the next hill.

We spent the morning comparing ourselves to where we were last year. We looked at who we had for staff, what our workloads were like, what the balance of manual vs. electronic processes was, how we are being perceived by those we serve, and what set-backs or achievements we accomplished.

In short, we’ve had an amazing year of success. It’s been a strong year of positive change and feedback from a survey of those we serve gave us extremely high marks. I was humbled as I shared with the team the level of our success.

After lunch (on our own tab due to a University spending freeze) we worked at how to build on that success. With things going well and other departments telling us they trust us, I asked how we could solidify that foundation and use it to build on. We talked about two words that seem to characterize our vision for the office: competence and confidence.

We believe we are competent. We believe others see us as competent. We have a vision to support those we serve in developing competence.

As a result we, and those we serve, can step forward with confidence, knowing we’ve done our job with a high level of professionalism.

It’s the cycle of success.

We’re in a really good place right now and we’re stepping out to tackle those large mountains that seemed overwhelming before yesterday. Now we have to lower the landing gear and get our heads out of the clouds 🙂


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