Ben Hill Griffin Stadium - Florida Gators

How Do You Build a Visionary University?

You pick what you want to be known for.

Crazy Florida Gators fansDo you think the University of Florida cares about their academic performance? No, they don’t because they don’t need to. Their sports following for Basketball and Football is incredible and enough to give students a great reason to go there.

 

Do you want to go to the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School of Business)? Do you want to play on their Basketball team? They haven’t won their division since 1979 and have never won the NCAA tournament. But that doesn’t matter, the only reason you’re going to Wharton is to get the best financial education money can buy.

 

“Standing out” is an underrated strategy when it comes to Universities and how to compete. That’s because it’s only up until now that they’ve never had to compete. The barrier to entry in to most higher level jobs in the past 20 years was a University degree or a comparable education. If you wanted a better job, you had to go to a post-secondary institution. Up until only 5-10 years ago, you didn’t have many choices of where to go to University. If you were from Regina you either went to the University of Saskatchewan or University of Regina, OK maybe Calgary or Edmonton (maybe Leftbridge, who knows). But why travel when you can go to your home town University?

 

But now you have to look across Canada and around the world because taking University from an institution away from home is going to be expensive either way. If your options are to move to Saskatoon or Dubai now you have an honest chance of attending the University of Dubai. (and next year it will be even easier)

Today your choices for post-secondary education have never been more abundant.

Education is free online. Want to learn about Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing from Copenhagen Business School? Click the link and sign up for free. Or how about What Managers Can Learn From Philosophers from the University in Châtenay-Malabry, France. Yup, that ones free as well. Or how about What a Plant Knows (and other things you didn’t know about plants) from Telaviv University.

Coursera Home Page

You can make the argument that the quality of online education can’t compete with in person lectures at any of the bricks and mortar degree granting institutions. Combine that with not being able to verify “who” wrote your final exam and the traditionalists may have a reason why we shouldn’t trust an online degree. Even if the quality isn’t there yet, it won’t be long before it is. Why wouldn’t you go online to get a more interesting lecture about a topic you care about more, taught by someone who’s more passionate about their craft?

Dukes crazy Basketball Fans

What changed? Why is it getting more difficult for universities to compete?

1. More universities means more options for students

Today enough people are convocating and not finding the job they’re were promised, so why did we go to school, to get “smart” or to get a job?

Today, I can take almost any course I want online with an assortment of Universities to choose from. So why would I pick yours?

 

2. More graduates means more options to choose from: a degree doesn’t guarantee a job. 

A lot of people go to post-secondary to get an “education”. That means something different to everyone so don’t start trying to define what “education” means, someone can argue the opposite point. Besides getting an “education” school in the past was very good at getting people jobs.

Did you get a job because you had the education? Or did you get the education because you had to get a job? How we approach the degree vs job debate really changes the way we approach how post-secondary should be administered and in the end how institutions will compete in the future.

 

3. Transparency is making it hard for people to hide behind the letters that come after their name. 

If you convocated from a post-secondary institution in the past 10 years I bet you could recall at least one to two professors that well, to put it politely, were completely incompetent. Ten years ago you could fill out the form at the end of the semester and hopefully the administration and the professor read the feedback. Most likely they didn’t.

Even if you disagree with the student the fact of the matter is you can’t control what they say about you. Education will be held accountable.

Today, a Tweet, a Facebook post and a review on RateMyProfessor.com are the standard now. If you really good OR bad people will tell their friends, they will tell their friends, and alas, word-of-mouth remains the most powerful marketing tactic few organizations want admit to. The truth (or perceived truth) about a professor, program, or institution will spread like wildfire online.

Do you know what graduates are saying about your institution?

 

Create holy $!%& moments

Most events aren’t meant to be remembered

that’s why most events aren’t that good. How many presentations, conferences, lecture’s, speeches, keynotes, and guest talks have you been in that have completely bored you to death? It’s become an epidemic, and I hate it.

If you don’t intentionally try to create a memorable event why do you think people will remember it?

 

Start with: why will people remember this? Why will my event be different? How do we get people walking out after the event saying “holy $#!& that was amazing!!”. Maybe therein lies the secret: to create “holy $#!&” moments.

 

Most events aren’t meant to be remembered, but why not? Don’t you want your next event to go down in history as one of the best _________ of all time?

When planning you must ask how are we going to get people to remember this? If you don’t you’re almost guaranteed that people will do the opposite.

What Is True Power?


In every relationship on the planet, whether that be a strong or a week tie, there’s a power balance in each and every one.

By power I mean authority but not in the traditional sense. You can have contrived power, this is classic dictatorship. This power balance is highly skewed towards the dictator and the further down the line you get that less respect they have for the person in charge.

In the 1993 classic, Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler talking to Amon Goeth (a notorious Nazi Army Commander) about what real power is, Schindler defined it as “power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t”.
Power isn’t exercising your right to punish someone or do something negative. Power is realized or increased when one holds restraint and shows compassion.The-most-common-way-people-give-away-power

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Digital Darwinism

The Nine Laws of New Business Strategy

Adapt-or-die-strategy-lab

1. A room is always smarter than the one person standing in front of it. The challenge for leaders, coaches, teachers, and managers is taking advantage of connectivity, to inspire the pack to do the right thing. To inspire the tribe to keep reaching for more. To see their combined potential, to push them further than what any one of them could do on their own. To help internal communication. To improve culture. Read Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger  

2. Your Brand is what Google tells you it is.  With a click of a button anyone in the world can find everything they can about you. If they don’t find very much they’re going to find your competitors and hire them instead. It’s a different world we live in, a world where we like to “meet people” online first before in person. What’s your Twitter handle, what do they look like on Facebook, where have you worked-checking the LinkedIn profile, and finally what does Google say about you? These are all questions you should be asking yourself before a competitor or a sneaky friend of yours finds those pictures of you from that Halloween party in University. Your Mother would not be proud of that picture.

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harry-potter-the-patronas

Sometimes You Just Have To Be Like Harry Potter

In Harry Potter The Prisoner of Azkaban, there’s a scene at the lake where dementors are about to kill Harry, Hermoine and Sirious Black. There are too many dementors for Harry to defend against.

Just when you think all is lost, all of a sudden a Patronus appears from the other side of the lake and staves off the dementors.

Harry believes it’s his father who cast the Patronus charm and saved them.

Some time later in the movie, using Hermione’s time-turner to go back in time, they go back to the lake where supposedly Harry’s father saves them. But what they find is Harry’s father doesn’t show up. So who saved them?

It must have been Harry. But he wasn’t powerful enough, or so he thought.

He didn’t think he had the power to do it, but because he’d already seen himself do it, it wasn’t impossible anymore.

Visualizing, affirming, positive self talk, there are many ways to help yourself do this in your marketing, business and life. Sometimes you must believe in yourself to do the impossible, otherwise how else are you going to achieve your goals? Just like Harry did.

How many major moments in your life would have been much easier if you would have saw yourself doing it perfectly in advance?

The Best Problems Are Impossible

Impossible-Quotes-impossible-is-nothing

I love impossible problems. I love when you solve a once seemingly impossible problem and then have this realization of “wait a minute, if I was wrong about ________* what else could I be wrong about!?”.

People use the word never a lot. I could never do that. That would never work. You’ll never get there. It’s easy to say it won’t work. It’s easy to be a critic.

If only we all had the mind of a child. To children, there are no limits, no barriers, no hesitations, no red tape, no reason not to try the impossible.

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Nobody Likes a Know-It-All

Nobody Likes A Know-It-All

Nobody likes a know-it-all. -Julien Smith

1.  Stop trying to be ‘right’.

In 1936 Dale Carnegie wrote in one of the most widely read business books How to Win Friends and Influence People that you should never tell someone that “they are wrong”. When you prove someone wrong you may have convinced them of the facts but they don’t believe you. Do you like being proved wrong? The last time someone blatantly proved you wrong how did you feel? Did you feel you still had that same level of respect for them?

You may have proved them wrong but that doesn’t matter, they don’t like talking around you anymore because you’re a know-it-all who always has to be right. People don’t like associating with people who always have to be right. A willingness to be wrong makes you easy to talk to and makes the other person feel comfortable to share information with you.

I love the quote from Mark Twain:

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

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Deep practice is built on a paradox struggling in certain targeted ways operating at the edges of your ability where you make mistakes makes you smarter

The Paradox of Work

hard work, A constant up hill battleIf you want something in life you have to work your ass off for it. Anything worth having is worth working for. So to be successful, to get what you want in life, you have to do an unhealthy amount of work for as long as humanly possible. Then you might have a fighting chance.

Whether it be your sports team, your health or your career, it’s difficult to see the results of hard work in the short term. But the only way to guarantee long-term success is to work unbelievably hard in the short-term. Sometimes it’ll feel like an endless upward climb going nowhere.

The harder the squeeze the better the juice.

Here’s the paradox.

When you’re done, when you ship, when it’s all over, no one will recognize the work you put in. No one cares about the amount of hours you’ve put in, the sleepless nights, the psychological battle, nobody cares about it. All we care about is the result.

It’s going to be up to you to determine if the juice is worth the squeeze.

Begin with the end in mind. You must shy away from busy work (this won’t get you anywhere). You can’t just do work for the sake of work and expect to get somewhere.

Doing the difficult work is a recipe for success, but when you get there don’t expect people to be patting you on the back and praising you for how long you’ve been working at it. All they care about is the result.

11 Facts You Need To Know About Your Brain

Brain RulesThis blog post is based on John Medina’s book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. I loved this book, it’s a thought-provoking read. It teaches you about your brain in a way that’s actionable and easily remembered. At the end of every chapter he sums up what the important parts of the chapter were. Kind of like a coles notes of his own book. Atta boy John, good on you.

1. Exercise helps you think better.

 

Brain Rules Quotes - Alzheimer prevention

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