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Business Officer Magazine

Opportunity Cycle Can Spur Leadership Collaboration

Using the image of a wheel to present the key elements to collaboration, NACUBO's ad hoc committee on CBO-CAO relationship building discussed a more formal design for this process.

Introduced by NACUBO Board Chair Charles Tegen, committee members took turns covering specific elements of the four-part process, during the interactive session "CBO-CAO Collaborations: Building an Effective Partnership."

  • Dialogue and trust. Roger Stackpoole, LeMoyne College, Syracuse, New York, observed that stress levels and challenges remain high, with more national dialogue surrounding new ways of education delivery. "We know we have to come to the table with an open mind, not focusing just on the bottom line—and yet that is a strong factor. To begin to achieve trust, transparency is critical, and we must also start with humility when we approach discussions surrounding big topics. Dialogue, however, is different from debate and argument, in which people try to force a view. Movement toward trust takes time. The trust factor comes in on foot and leaves on horseback."
  • Information/dissemination. "The tone for transparency is set at the top," said Tom Gibson, Montana University System Office, Helena. "Departments and divisions need to start there to share information, but then make sure that silos are removed such that details are shared all the way down. Meaningful, timely communication is a necessity for making effective decisions."
  • Interpretation and communication. Gregg Goldman, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, explained the next step: "Once we have dialogue, trust, and information to exchange, we need to sift the details into something that can turn into action." Goldman suggested that language around key concepts must be clear and concise. "Otherwise, we may be led down the wrong decision path."
  • Action. Ron Rhames, Midlands Technical College, Columbia, South Carolina, cautioned, "Often there is no follow through. If this happens, so much is wasted." Paul Jenny, University of Washington, Seattle, agreed, saying that this step was often "the place ideas go to die. As CBOs, we need to make sure we move forward with our leadership partners to avoid the demise of all our hard work and discussion."

After the presentations, committee members assembled attendees into four discussion groups, which then provided input into each of the concepts in the collaboration wheel.

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