3 Important Ways Knowing Your Personality Can Help Higher Ed Navigate Change

Kyle Garberson Jul 08, 2021 Kyle Garberson Senior Account Manager Persona The Caring and Engaging Thrill Seeker

Change Is the Way Forward: Knowing Your Personality Can Help Higher Ed Marketing in 3 Important Ways

It’s no secret that change causes an uptick of energy for individuals and organizations. For some, it’s a thrill to be experienced. For others, it’s a challenge to be embraced and overcome. Yet for a lot of us and the higher education organizations we work for, it causes anxiety and apprehension.

“Change is inevitable—except from a vending machine.”
— Robert C. Gallagher

In the higher education industry, change is necessary as we adapt to ever-changing global trends. It’s a constant refrain, a low-level hum that exists in our heads as the landscape shifts under our feet from cycle to cycle. Externally, change can come from new and emerging demographics, regulation updates, cultural shifts, or a global pandemic. Internally, individuals and leadership may move on, strategic plans begin to take shape, or new technology is introduced and processes adjusted. Whether externally or internally propelled, change is certain and often necessary.

There are many ways to respond to and work with these forces of change. A recent blog from Inside Higher Ed provides an excellent framework and approach for marketing leaders. A tool I consider to be imperative in navigating change management, one that works with any framework you might favor, is Personality Definition: the process of securing a deep understanding of the authentic personality of your institution and the individuals who make up that community. This profound knowledge will yield boundless benefits, but here are my top three strategic benefits.

A fresh perspective

Looking forward requires looking within. First, and sometimes most crucially, undergoing the process of personality discovery opens new windows to introspection, enabling fresh perspectives. Asking tough questions about what motivates or inspires a college or university can reveal a deeper understanding of why past events or actions unfolded. I often see this during our workshops when groups of individuals from different departments help each other surface a previously undiscovered truth. Almost always the conversation is about a recent change that has happened (or should have happened). As people walk out the door, they are grateful for the time and space to think in a new way and the new, shared perspectives they have gained. The process of discovering who you are is cathartic, illuminating, and inspiring all at once. The mirror can be the best teacher.

A foundational truth

Second, when you have done the work and have an understanding of the institutional self, you instantly create new modes of communication and expectations for your community. Sometimes communicating change is the hardest part, but if an institution has a collective understanding of itself, both articulating the why (why change?) and digesting the why is more easily done. The personality becomes a foundational truth of the organization. The shared ethos of personality can break bad habits of resisting change because a reset has taken place. “Is this who we truly are?” By knowing who you are, not only do you have an answer, but the question becomes a guiding framework for managing change.

A weathervane for change

Finally, when you know who you are, you have the huge advantage of knowing how you approach change. Is your campus authentically innovative? Then approaching change with sophisticated intelligence, testing, and cutting-edge strategies should be where you start. Or maybe your campus is motivated by an original spirit; if so, leaning into your creative side will develop the best solution.

All change initiatives will require tapping into the many dimensions of your authentic identity, whether it’s creativity, ingenuity, strength, or any of the other expressions of our nine- archetype spectrum. By leveraging the knowledge of who you are as a college or university, change becomes an opportunity to set a clear path and unite your community.

Clear the way for change

Carnegie provides innovative solutions for higher ed organizational personality definition and experienced teams to guide you through the discovery. If you want a powerful solution for managing change, contact us—we’re ready to help!

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