Service and Leadership in Higher Ed
Like many higher ed web professionals, my team is caught in the middle.
On one hand, we have clients and want to help them get their projects done, make them happy, and accomplish their goals.
On the other, we have the institution. Even if we’re entirely client-driven and can run like a business, we’ve got priority assignments, rush jobs, and pet projects handed down from the top. These can disrupt any other projects we might have in the shop, and sometimes it’s hard to explain to clients with their own deadlines.
What are we to do?
Be a Leader
At AgencyND, we’ve started creating professional development opportunities for others on campus. We get out there and teach, we host speakers, and we organize webinars (like Karine’s Higher Ed Experts). We also work on providing tools and resources for communicators across campus, the people who really drive communications for the different departments and offices.
The goal is to raise the general level of expertise on campus and to position ourselves as experts so that people are comfortable coming to us, trust our advice, and generate new interest in the various topics we hit on – social media, analytics, strategic communications planning, email marketing, and so on.
Working to establish ourselves as leaders has had two effects: clients are smarter and they like us better.
Amazingly, our efforts in leadership seem to be changing the nature of some of our projects. People ask better questions, they pursue new ideas, and best of all, they share what they’re learning. They require less “client education” and fewer arguments over best practices. Generally, they seem more satisfied and certainly more understanding of our department.
The challenge that remains is being able to actually delivering on the service, with all this new interest and increased demand. But it’s a great problem to have.