Tidbits from old notebooks

Last week I posted about my collections of various notebooks while I was on a crazy trip to Houston, Texas for a school fair. Part of the inspiration for that post were the four notebooks I brought along with my in my carry-on. I’m not really sure why I brought all of them. I could have easily left two of them behind, but I brought them none-the-less.

I’m glad I did too. One of the notebooks was an older one that I had filled a while back with a whole collection of random notes. I did stumble upon some gems from conferences I had attended in the last year. I also had some good notes from Jim Collins’s, Good to Great and Stephen E. Ambrose’s, Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier and President. Below are some of those:

“You have only 11 seconds to make a first impression. Make it count.”
This is from a conference presentation about tour guides given by the admissions team at Maderia. Good advice.

 

“In your first 90 days as a new director, you should force yourself to be uncomfortable and do not allow yourself to regress in the comfortable.”

“Focus your energy on the things that only the director can do.”
“Never check email in the morning.”
These were from a webinar for new directors of admission given by Ben Douglas of St. James School and Andrew Weller of Ridley College.
I don’t have a direct quote here, just some of my handwritten notes I took while reading Jim Collins’ Good to Great. I feel like the power of that book might be diminished a bit after the recession and the fact that a bunch of the companies he references in the books were total criminals, but it still does have value. I particularly like his use of a bus as an analogy to staffing. He describes the importance of getting the wrong people off of the bus, the right people on the bus, and the right people in the right seats on the bus. Once you do that, then your organization can reach its potential.

And finally, from Stephan E. Ambrose’s biography of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Soldier and President: “…only a man that is happy in his work can be happy in his home and with his friends. Happiness in work means that its performer must know it to be worthwhile, suited to his temperament, and, finally, suited to his age, experience and capacity for performance of a high order.” 

My Notebook Obsession

I’ve become rather notorious for my notebooks. I have one with me constantly, and I take notes in every meeting in which I am a part.  There’s something satisfying about putting pen to paper rather than just plucking away a keyboard. For me, there is something in the motion that helps me to remember.  Regardless, I figured I’d share my current notebook methodology here.

photoMoleskine
Black, medium-sized and squared. This is my primary note taking notebook. It goes with me to every meeting, conference, or any other opportunity where I need to take general notes. I go through about one or two of these a year. I like and the portability of it. I prefer squares to lines because of my doodling habit. It also helps if I ever need to map something out. The pocket in the rear is perfect for storing receipts from travel. I never throw them out and will often go back and review my notes, especially from conferences.

Continue reading “My Notebook Obsession”

My Social Media Sabbatical

I took a social media sabbatical last year—not a full on, delete all of my accounts and don’t post anything sabbatical—but for the first time in 7 years I didn’t have a Facebook, Twiiter, or some other school/college account attached to my phone/computer. I also limited my posting to many of my own accounts as well. I didn’t spend a ton of time on Twitter, in fact I hardly posted anything there at all. I did use Instagram a lot, and posted to Twitter and Facebook through that, but otherwise, the Twitter and the Facebook were quiet compared to where they had been years prior.

 

Why did I do this?

After starting social media projects at two schools and pretty much being the social media guy at both, I was feeling a bit stale. I also had started at a new job which was very demanding of my time in other areas. We also had someone who was producing some really good content here for us as a school and we didn’t need more of it. In short, I didn’t need to be on it and thus, I wasn’t.

What did I gain?

No new personal insight, that’s for sure. I did, however, come into the end of the summer refreshed and ready to reengage with social media on an institutional level. It was nice to not have that pressure of creating content for multiple channels everyday.

i thought a lot about collaboration.

How do we spread the work across multiple offices and how do we make sure we aren’t duplicating content? I’m still a big believer in the idea that there should be one main account for a school rather than special interest accounts. While the audience for the Alumni/Development office obviously differs from that of the Admissions Office, but there are similarities, and there’s no reason we can’t tag-team events to make sure we have both covered.

I took a step back.

When you’re focused on creating content you can get hung up and lose sight of the big picture—the why? I used to spend a lot of time tracking engagement stats. It’s important information to have, but if you get too much into the numbers, you can lose sight of the big picture goals you may have.  How are your efforts in social media helping your annual fund numbers? How are they helping enrollment?

Looking ahead.

Now that I’m back on the horse, I’m excited to reengage in social media, if not as a direct user then definitely as an influencer. We’ve started getting to work our multiple offices across our campus can coordinate, collaborate and create while keeping the big picture goals in mind. I’m really excited about the work we’re going to do this year.