Focus on the Present: Identifying Behaviors in our Current Culture

IMG_4482On Tuesday, February 16th, 2016, we hosted the second Community Conversation that focused on our current culture. In particular, we identified behaviors that we need to continue and stop in order to build upon our three shared organizational values identified as a Student Affairs community. Those shared values are communication, honesty/integrity, and respect, which serve to guide our behavior as we strive our aspirational culture statement:

“Student Affairs is a great workplace where staff trust the people they work with, take pride in what they do, and feel a sense of community in support of the student experience.”

We had an exciting morning, as we continued to throw back it back to the 90s with our MCs,”Salt & Pepa + Spinderfella!” Check out the video here!

We were also excited to start the day off with Betsy Crouch and Zoe Galvez from Improv HQ, who gave an interactive and inspiring keynote on dynamic collaboration. Participants were able to learn the Improv Principles and intentionally practice skills such as intentional listening, being present, resilience, and voicing one’s ideas as ways they can make the workplace even greater.


IMG_4458 (1)Later that afternoon, we broke out into small teams. In order for Student Affairs to get to the results of pride, trust and community, we had to first identify the actions and behaviors that we need to continue to flourish–and what we need to stop doing that is hindering us, as it relates to our values of communication, honesty/integrity and respect. From there, we identified the top 2 behaviors that we needed to continue and stop doing in our current culture.


Here were the behavioral results from our participants at Community Conversation 2 (CC2):

Respect: We need to continue to practice active listening, accountability and follow through. We need to stop not sharing direct feedback, favoritism, and changing the rules.

Communication: We need to continue to have open and honest transparency, consistent communication, and clear expectations. We need to stop making decision without input or data, and withholding information.

Honesty/Integrity: We need to continue to have transparency, and lead by example. We need to stop favoritism and gossiping and/or trolling for gossip.

Our next steps in the process is to host our Community Walkthroughs, where we delve even deeper and detail each of these behaviors. We will also develop curriculum based upon these behaviors and add these modules to our Lead Big Manager’s Toolkit.

During this time of change and uncertainty, it’s even more vital that as a Student Affairs community, we continue to champion and invest in our workplace culture. “Even at the most perk-laden companies, what’s most meaningful to people is the actual quality of the day-to-day experience working there,” says Kim Peters, CEO of Great Place to Work’s ‘Great Rated!’ workplace review site. Let’s continue to GO BIG and know that we can each challenge ourselves to practice respect, communication and honesty/integrity with one another, so that we can continue to be a part of an even greater workplace.





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