Friday, September 6, 2013

who's sitting at your table?

Last night I spent time visiting various classes in our Business School, and had the opportunity to sit in on a Business & Public Policy class, a Managerial Economics class, an Integrated Marketing Communications class, and a Strategic Decision Making class.  As I watched and listened, my mind kept going to how the different ideas being presented and talked about affected what I do on a daily basis as well as the strategic decisions being made by my organization.  For example:

  • what is the economic profit or loss for Concordia with each decision being made?
  • what could Concordia spend money to make money where others aren't?
  • when making marketing decisions, does Concordia focus on product - or placement - or position - or???
  • if Concordia had unlimited funds, where would it use them to ensure long term sustainability?
All important questions - and all questions which probably don't get asked unless you have an expert in certain areas sitting at the table when strategic decisions are being made.  Where is the economist?  Where is the professional marketer?  Where is the financial guru?  Where is the psychologist?  Where is the environmentalist?  Where is the academician?  Where is the historian?  Where is the theologian?  Where is the _______________? The truth is that no one of us is an expert in all of these fields...and yet, many of the choices being made on our campus need this type of thinking in the strategic decision making process.  How might that be accomplished?  Here are a few ideas:
  • Increase the size of your table - bring more people into the decision making process
  • Rotate the seats at the table - bring different people at different times for different decisions
  • Have multiple tables - create groups around the organization to speak toward the decisions being made
  • Invite strangers to the table - bring in outside experts who do not necessarily know the organization but are experts in their fields
  • Create conflict at the table - have people defend their ideas to one another, asking lots of hard questions
  • Change up the guests at the table - new faces bring new ideas
  • Rotate seats at the table - have people wear different hats and support different views
  • Learn together at the table - when was the last time you invited those at the table to read something outside of their field of expertise (for that matter, when was the last time you invited them to read anything at all?)
  • Laugh together at the table - if you're not having fun, the brain is not completely functioning
  • Pray together at the table - giving space and time for quietness, reflection, and dependence on someone other than yourselves helps to create a humble confidence in the group
So take a look at the people seated around your table - who are they? what disciplines do they represent? are they the right people? are they in the right seats? who else needs to be invited? what can you, as the host/leader do to ensure that the decision making process is fresh, complete, and provides strength and energy for your organization?  and are you enjoying the company of those who have joined you at the table?  All questions we as leaders need to keep asking...

1 comment:

Cindy Villanueva-Allen said...

Love this post, Dr. Christian, and it gives me confidence that the CTX business school is in good hands. Taking a page from the MBA program, it's important to make courageous decisions--in business and in life. Here's praying for your table mates and for continued courageous thinking at Concordia.