You Can Lead Them to Water…

Sometimes the best laid plans go – not as planned. Having recently completed an extensive feasibility study with a large group of interviewees on some new initiatives, we discovered that presenting the facts sometimes doesn’t mean a thing. The point of a study is to research what constituents will support – are the initiatives feasible? Feasibility studies are just that…is it feasible to conduct a campaign for certain initiatives that enhance the institution, advance the mission or strategically guide a group. The data said one thing but the group decided they wanted to go another way.

As a Rich Gross Solutions, Inc. consultant who delves into the essence of the college, I always marvel at how much I learn along with offering options to constituents on how they can support the college. We get an earful – in confidence – and then sew that opinion into the fabric of the report. People tell it like it is and then some! We get insights on some of the factions that may or may not impact the study and ultimately the college. In essence, we get the straight scoop about the college and initiatives being tested. As the report is pieced together, some initiatives rise to the top like sweet water. Sometimes, initiatives are not supported and to push them into being is like pouring vinegar into the bucket. Or like a quilt, there is nothing wrong with the initiative itself, it just contrasts with the quilt top…best left on the underside to go alone at another time.

Perhaps that initiative would not be supported with a campaign but would be best to make its own pond and gather leverage at another time. Sometimes the initiative needs to create its own pattern, its own support, a different path for support. It may need the leadership team or cabinet or board to jumpstart the process. It may be that supporters do not see how the piece fits into the bigger picture – how important it is, what benefit it would have, what it would look like when it is completed. We can’t live without it – is the mantra you want to hear. Not ‘what a waste of money that was’ or ‘why that?’

So just because you led them to good water, does not mean they will drink it!

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Each week, our team of experts will put share their experiences, tips and viewpoints in all areas of higher education consulting, leadership, and fundraising. We're a team that consists of tenured individuals who have made it their life’s work to help solve some of the issues surrounding community colleges today. Some of our topics include:

  • How to connect and establish relationships with your alumni
  • Ways to create impact with all generations of people
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  • Ways to prepare for a feasibility study
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