Rocket Nation Recovery Part 6 – over the past three weeks many questions have been asked about UToledo leadership and the enrollment/financial crisis. Most have messaged that the questions caught you off guard. Some dismissed the questions and the messenger. A few are angry that the questions have been asked.
But the general feeling in The Rocket Nation is that the questions and talking about them in public makes us feel uncomfortable. A natural response and feeling in a crisis. It signals the beginning of the change process.
Some are uncomfortable because they believe this is better dealt with by a small private group of people, quietly behind the scenes. But what if these conversations have already been underway for over a decade? What if the current crisis is an indicator that these conversations haven’t happened or are not working? What if there are competing small private groups? Then what?
Others are uncomfortable because they believe this is a private matter for the Board of Trustees. They have the fiduciary responsibility and authority to quickly address the situation. But what if the trustees have been presented with data showing the decline for the past three administrations? What if the trustees are divided on what to do about it? Then what?
Some major donors, CEO’s, and Columbus politicians have hypothesized that our collective analytic judgment has been clouded by charismatic, personal relationships with the past three leaders of The Rocket Nation. Has our own optimism that all is well caused us to collectively ignore or overlook the information hiding in plain sight? Has it caused us to push aside those that have been talking about it for decades? What caused us to collectively not see this coming? What caused the breakdown in accountability?
So, it’s ok to feel uncomfortable reading the questions in my posts. Think how uncomfortable it is to research, write and post them.
Change agents don’t get involved when all is well. We engage uncomfortable situations where a lack of direction, chaos and fear abound. We ask tough questions and create space for compassionate, rational and urgent conversations and decision making. We expect to receive the cold shoulder from some and a hero’s welcome from others. We appreciate and respect both. But we’re not swayed by the emotion or fear of the moment. We have a laser-like focus on solving the problem as painlessly and humanely as possible. Change agents don’t create the uncomfortable problems. We surface and quickly solve them when others don’t want to or know how to.
So, how do we urgently move The Rocket Nation from feeling uncomfortable to getting answers to solving the problem? I have some thoughts on that but only the UToledo Board of Trustees can answer that question. They’re in charge.
Please keep praying that I’m wrong. Please keep praying for the Governor, Chancellor, Will Lucas and Trustees to come together to lead us.