From Kevin’s Desk: Just Ask! (02/09/18)

Dear Colleagues:

Happy Friday!

Ok, talk about not having my head on straight: for some reason I thought maybe the snow these past few days might signal the last for the season. Guess I haven’t quite become a Michigander just yet or maybe it was just wishful thinking? In any event, I won’t put up the boots and heavy coats just yet!

Speaking of more snow…around here, parking is a hot topic all the time, but even more so when it’s cold and snowy. Our colleagues in Logistics, Transportation and Parking work around the clock to keep our parking lots and structures safe and fully available. The next installment of our snow series highlights the challenges involved in keeping the rooftop decks clear of snow. This small but mighty team of 23 does an amazing job – a job that is critical to keeping all of us safe! Please join me in thanking them for all they do. You guys ROCK!

Our own Dr. Wayne Baker from the Ross School of Business joined us at yesterday’s B&F Leadership Forum. His research looks at the power of reciprocity (giving and receiving) in organizations and the importance of asking for help. When we ask for what we need, we create a meaningful opportunity for others to contribute. Dr. Baker offered the opportunity for anyone in the audience to ask for help on a work-related problem. He then asked whether anyone in the audience of nearly 150 people could offer ideas to the person. We immediately saw the power of reciprocity in action as folks from across B&F immediately shared really good advice and offered specific ways they could help. Not only did it demonstrate the principle that you never know who can help until you ask, but it also demonstrated how willing people are to help. More to come on this topic in the future.

Dr. Baker shared that one of the most important aspects of a positive organization is how well its members give and receive help. I encourage each of you to think about a work challenge you face and reach out to others—you may be surprised by what you find. On that note, here’s something I could use your help with: if you haven’t had a chance to look over our three-year strategic plan and our B&F culture snapshot of where we are now, please do so. Your partnership, energy and ideas matter to our success, and I need your help in making our strategic goals a reality.

Thanks for all you do to make this university great. Stay safe, enjoy the snow and let’s all look even more forward to a Michigan spring!

With much appreciation and gratitude,