Failure Competition Finals This Week

Forget the College Football Playoffs and Conference Championships, the real news is that we conclude our Failure Competition this week with videos from two finalists.  We had three finalists, but one didn’t get their video to me by the deadline.  Unfortunately, that Knight failed at the Failure Competition…

So our first finalists video will run on Tuesday and our second finalist on Wednesday.  We will run both on Thursday, with a vote on Friday to determine the winner.  The poll will open just after midnight and close at 5pm.  Anyone can vote.  We’ve had as many as 2500 voters and the winner is typically the student with the most compelling lesson from their failure.  So, tune in this week and cast a vote for your favorite on Friday.  We’ll announce the winner just after 5 pm.

Good luck finalists.  Remember no matter what happens, the most important thing is that you continue to Charge On.

That Didn’t Go Well

I received news early Friday evening that my name wouldn’t be advanced to the final round for the Presidency of FGCU. While I never like finishing out of the running, I think they made a good choice.  The farther you go up the ladder, the more important that the person and organization fit.  Organizations have different needs at different times in their development. For instance, sometimes an organization needs innovation, change and a questioning of their value proposition.  Other times, they need a calm steady hand that gives them the  space in which to consolidate gains and set up future growth.  It’s not so much about you as it is about them.

I was interested in having a conversation with FGCU because I was hoping that as a young institution looking to build an identity, that they would be willing to join me on an uncomfortable ride to a different kind of future that we would invent together along the way… one based on defining the perspectives, experiences, mindsets and relationships that would transform people. It seemed like a chance to implement fundamental change across a whole institution.  As the interview unfolded, it became clear that   they were looking for someone to show them a more certain road to a more conventional definition of success. In retrospect, I probably was asking too much for a group to trust me that much at the outset…A second interview might have helped, but my approach tends to grow on people over time as our joint successes mount.

The good news is that I got to tell our story and I think we’ve come a long way in the college to build the kind of trust necessary to take us on that kind of journey. More than happy to continue on that ride.  

Sometimes when you explore an opportunity, you find out that the better place for you is where you already are.

A Note to My Students

As you might be aware, the Orlando Sentinel reported that I am a semifinalist for the President’s job at FGCU.  Frankly that was news to me, too…. They reported it before I knew I had been selected via social media.. You’ve got to love Twitter.  Lesson: news travels fast in today’s world. You need to be ready to deal with it. 

I am immensely proud of what we continue to accomplish here at UCF. I work with a terrific group of people whom I admire.  We have all worked very hard to scale intimacy for all 9,500 of you and realize our common vision of the future for the College of Business.  It is an immensely rewarding job.  Know that I take great satisfaction in the fact that so many of you take the time to say hello to me in the halls  and comment that you appreciate the experience you are having here in the college…. engaging with all of you makes me want to get up in the morning.

So, why consider a new opportunity? I was motivated to apply for the FGCU job, because it may provide me with an opportunity to extend what we have built at the college to an entire campus.  As my staff knows well, I don’t care what I’m called (e.g., professor, dean, president, dad or just Paul). I care about changing higher education for the better. As you mature in your career, legacy becomes more and more important. I want my legacy to be the creation of a distinctive institution that transforms as many people’s lives as possible by giving them the skills, mindsets, perspectives, experiences and relationships they need to succeed.  I believe this is the future of higher education. The bigger the canvas I get to paint this vision of the future, the better. At a minimum I will get to tell our story to the folks down at FGCU next week. 

I promise all of you and everyone at UCF two things as FGCU and I evaluate each other over the next couple of weeks: (1) my usual commitment and energy to moving us forward in the college; and (2) open and honest communication with all of you on where the process stands. If you see me in the hall and have a question, stop me and ask.  Conversation is one of the things we do best in the College of Business.

Whatever the future holds, you’ll be hearing from me soon.



An Invitation to our RSOs

One of my favorite things to do each semester is to meet with the pledges from the AKPsi, Beta Eta Pledge class.  They always come armed with great questions about how my life experiences shaped my career choices and leadership style.  We talk for about an hour and they invariably ask me something I haven’t thought about before.  It makes me stop, reflect and offer an unrehearsed response.  Sometimes my answers surprise even me and I’m grateful that the pledges took the time to challenge me and make me think.

When I first came to UCF I had a number of student organizations reach out and ask me to speak to their group. I made every effort to accept these invitations, but over the last year they seem to have become less frequent. Maybe the novelty of hearing from the dean has worn off with students? Maybe I’m overexposed like the NFL?  Or, maybe I’m just not as accessible as I used to be?

In an effort to make sure it is not the latter, let me extend an invitation to all of our Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) to contact me about coming and speaking to their membership. All you need to do is send me a note. Give me a sense of what you want me to talk about (the more interesting the request the better) and I’ll have Tina (my right hand), reach out and try to set up an hour. Understand that much of my schedule gets set in six month intervals. We are about to plan out January to June 2017, so now is the best time to try to get on my calendar for the Spring. I look forward to the conversation.