From Kevin’s Desk: Listening Is Key to Finding Common Ground (02/03/17)

Dear Colleagues:

One of the things I love about this university is the opportunity to engage with the incredible people who visit our campus. It was a very special treat this week to hear the inspiring words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the first President’s Bicentennial Colloquium. If you missed it, watch the video – it was fantastic!

Justice Sotomayor spoke about her belief that listening with respect and openness is essential to finding common ground. Though you may disagree with someone on how to solve a problem – as she does regularly with her fellow justices – you can always find solutions by focusing on shared beliefs rather than differences. To me, this same advice applies directly to our daily work and is foundational to our strategic goal of creating a “Say Yes” culture.

Listening with respect and openness allows us to better understand the needs of those we serve across campus. Over the years, our formal listening process – the Customer Satisfaction Survey – has resulted in dozens of innovations and service improvements. I am excited to announce that more than 25 B&F managers have agreed to pilot a brand new Customer Satisfaction Survey model intended to help us receive and respond to feedback even more quickly. You will find more about this effort, which will roll out to all B&F next year, on our news page.

I want to give a special shout out to the dedicated crew of staff in Logistics, Transportation & Parking who keep the university’s 27,000 parking spaces clear of snow and ice and ready for our community to use, anytime day or night, and keep the buses and university vehicles rolling along. It takes a village to Make Blue Go and I am so thankful that each of you are on our team!

Finally, I had a great time attending the Signing of the Stars event held by the Athletics Department.  Wednesday was national signing day, perhaps one of the most significant days in the lives of our many athletes who chose to come to the University of Michigan. It was gratifying to see how delighted our new athletes and their families were and that so many of our Wolverine community showed up to welcome them to campus. Michigan had a fantastic recruiting year, which should ensure many exciting sporting events well into the future.

With much gratitude and appreciation,