Vice President of Student Learning Abigail Pergamino was chastised at the most recent National College Executives Conference (NCEC) when she naively told peers that she read the annual reports submitted by all of her department heads.
“At first we thought she was joking, said a Midwestern chancellor who wished to remain anonymous. “It was like no one had told her annual reports were just used as an opportunity to keep staff busy during a time of year when they would otherwise want to hear an executive’s vision or work on their own creative ideas.”
“I’m not going to say Abigail was wrong,” said Sonia Quaker, president-emeritus of Cougar State University. “Before I retired there were a couple years when I let pressure from my direct reports influence me and I read their summaries. I learned quickly that the reports were just carefully cloaked requests for more money and resources that didn’t match what I had already decided to do.”
“I didn’t realize I was the only one who read the reports,” said Pergamino. “I wrote an email to NCEC to explain myself and tell the other executives that I had found some really valuable information in the writing.”
“Rookie mistake. She’s going to burn out before she becomes a president,” said Quaker. “The first thing we failed to tell her was to ignore staff feedback at all costs. Have your own vision and keep it a secret to the very end. Honesty only leads to overempowerment.”