Every time they eat out, they choose a restaurant they’ve never been to before. They never vacation in the same spot twice.
I am not one of those people. I bought my house in 1990 and expect to live here another ten or 15 years. I cried when I got rid of my 12-year-old Saturn, and I only purchased a smartphone when my ancient flip model almost melted in my hands. I don’t like to trade in furniture, shoes, or household appliances. Heck, I feel a sense of loss every time I check out of a hotel room.
Because the world is filled with change-averse individuals like me, leaders at all levels need to understand how to bring people through upheavals with as little turmoil as possible—and how to help them enthusiastically accept the unfamiliar. That’s why, in this issue, we explore a number of perspectives on leading in the midst of change.
In “Navigating Change,” experts describe the traits—such as emotional intelligence, stability, foresight, and great communication skills—that managers will need to guide employees through difficult transitions. It turns out business school leaders will need the same abilities if they are to successfully handle the disruptions on the horizon for all of higher education.
In “Facing the First 90 Days,” new deans share the lessons they’re learning as they settle into their jobs. High on the agenda are developing a vision for the school, strategizing for the future, and shepherding the staff through the inevitable changes that occur any time a new leader takes the helm. In “Fund-Finding Missions,” deans discuss their transitions to new financial models, whether they were privatizing an MBA program, instituting responsibility-centered management, or adjusting to a drop in state support. They also explain the steps they took to help their universities and larger communities embrace the changes.
Finally, as you may have noticed, BizEd itself has undergone a significant overhaul. With this issue, we debut a design that we feel better reflects the increasingly dynamic nature of business education. What used to be our Research and Bookshelf departments are now incorporated into “Research & Insights,” which highlights emerging knowledge across the industry. Technology and Idea Exchange content now appears in “Ideas in Action,” which will cover innovative ideas for the classroom and the rest of the business school. “People & Places” will feature business school news about new appointments, facilities, programs, donations, awards, and events. Finally, each issue will wrap up with a new department, “Word for Word,” a compilation of quotes from around the industry that we find illuminating, profound, or unexpected. We’ve also adopted a cleaner and more vibrant look that we hope places a brighter spotlight on the topics that drive business education.
With change comes uncertainty—and sometimes a steep learning curve. But as I've learned, not only is change inevitable, it's often quite positive. (Did I mention I love my iPhone, my Prius, and my flatscreen TV? And I'm excited about BizEd's new design and direction.) I think that the secret to navigating the stormy seas of change is to focus on all the opportunities ahead. And then to jump in.