“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste” – Paul Romer
It is no secret that UNLV has been going through very difficult times. You will see the impact of “the new normal” as you return to the College of Business this fall. We have fewer sections of courses, larger class sizes, and less faculty and staff. Throughout the fall semester we will be working to consolidate some departments, stream-line degree programs, restructure services, and do more with less.
All organizations must adapt to new realities and find ways to remain viable and relevant especially in challenging times. Our current environment demands that we experiment with new methods, take risks we would not consider in more munificent times and transform the educational experience in the College of Business. A crisis redefines you. It is an opportunity an organization cannot afford to waste.
As a business student, you have the opportunity to participate in a real time case study of how an organization responds to a new environment and repositions itself. While this may be the first time you are part of a large organizational change, it most certainly will not be your last. Businesses reinvent themselves regularly. Observe and learn.
My experience tells me that the biggest obstacle in achieving significant change is uncertainty. Uncertainty frightens people. Frightened people tend to try to hold on to what they have. They look backward not forward and resist change because they equate change with loss. Resistance leads to a slow organizational response and a slow organizational response typically leads to a prolonged and painful death.
To break this destructive cycle, a leader must communicate a clear vision of what the organization will look like in the future and how the changes that are being made will help realize that vision. Constant communication in a transparent manner is a key part of any successful restructuring effort.
Fortunately this is much easier to do today than it was when I started my career. Back then, I would either have had to meet in small groups with everyone in the college regularly: a very time consuming process since I have more than 120 employees and 4,000 students. Or I would have had to use messengers and hope they got my message right, or I would have had to send out copies of memos to everyone. Today, I can blog, tweet, and post on the web in ways that allow people to provide feedback in almost real time. So, you will be hearing from me regularly and I invite you all to participate in the dialogue about your experience at the College of Business.