The underlying philosophy centers on discovery and empowerment, not problem solving. Speeches, workshops, and consultancies come and go. The key to more sustainable success involves capacity building.

The rhetoric of higher education has been unrelenting. From vision statements that run page after page after page, to committee meetings that seem to extend and drone on forever, there has been a tendency to engage in the artful pursuit of oratory. We don’t have that luxury any longer.

My work—books, articles, consulting, and speeches—is about the practical aspects of making colleges and universities run better. With a background in behavioral economics, my first books were focused on the application of practices of continuous quality improvement to higher education. These same practices are now being used to “design in” institutional effectiveness initiatives that have become central to regional accreditation.             

Much of my current work with colleges and universities stems from a disciplinary expertise in systems thinking—e.g., my graduate business class Systems Thinking and Organizational Issues Laboratory. Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing the whole (rather than the parts) and is particularly effective for analyzing and improving institutions of higher education.

This background and expertise applies to the following types of client assignments:

  • Strategic planning
  • Visioning and futures facilitation

  • Process design and improvement

  • Institutional effectiveness

  • Model building

  • Organization (re)structuring

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