As many of you may know, the Executive Leadership Team spent some time this summer working toward building a more cohesive team. The fact that we are merging two large departments (Student Affairs and Enrollment Management) necessitated that we work to ensure that we were all focusing on the same goals. Strengthening our team was the main agenda item for the retreat. I invited a professional colleague of mine, Pam Bergone, to help guide us. I met Pam through my work with the Leadership Chair Academy for Higher Education Leaders. She did a great job in guiding us and in facilitating our work.
We also had the pleasure of sharing our time with our two student interns, studying in the EMD department. Pam Wood and Rosa de la Torre Burmeister added a great deal to our time together, and we wish them well as they complete their last semester of graduate school. We look forward to seeing them at commencement in December where their Master’s degrees will be conferred.
The retreat was structured around the DiSC Assessment from Inscape Publishing, which provided insights into leadership styles, work behavioral styles and strategies. The DiSC focuses on four aspects of behavior: dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness. We were fortunate that all of these aspects were represented in our group, and our discussion included contributions from all these voices.
The first day centered on developing insight into our predominant behavioral mode. As a group, we discussed the values and benefits of all the types, which helped us understand how people who think and act differently balance our strengths. These insights led to reflection on how to work with our strengths and to use the strengths of colleagues.
The second day focused on how we can apply what we learned the previous day, and the work we accomplished will be followed up with ideas for continued professional development. In addition, our required reading in preparation for the retreat was a book by Bill George, titled 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis. The book content was a springboard for our discussion on the challenges faced by our offices. We used the 7 Lessons to help us focus on how we might approach these challenges and effectively deal with them. There was great discussion among the team, and each of us left feeling energized and hopeful about our service at NMSU.
The work that we put into understanding our strengths will benefit Student Affairs and Enrollment Management through stronger, more balanced teams furthering the business of the university, and more importantly, or service to each other as professional colleagues.