With friends like these…
Posted on August 31, 2009
The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a story and picture of me on its front page today (http://chronicle.com/article/A-College-President-Breaks/48202/). The story describes a dinner I hosted for people who I thought might disagree with me on the direction of the university or various decisions or maybe just plain didn’t like me.
The dinner was valuable andI learned a lot and I had shared an account of it a conference with the point that while it’s easy to listen to your fans, it is more important to listen to your critics, and most dangerous to dismiss them. The reporter was present and asked if he could do the story.
Anyway, since the story was published this is a sampling of messages (mostly e-mails) from my friends around the country:
- “Hey, if you buy me dinner I’ll be happy to tell you what a schmuck you are!”
- “I’m a little insulted I wasn’t included on the list of people who don’t like you.”
- “Where’d you find an auditorium large enough to hold that many people?”
- “I haven’t see you in a while — did you gain a little weight?”
Nice friends, eh? So if anyone is crafting a witty response to the article, trust me, I’ve probably seen it.
I saw this press release just about the right time, I think. Recently, my life, both personal and work, seem to hang by a thread. I was sitting by the Hudson River last night, and trying to sort things out.
Well, it all comes down to the ability to listen. Sometimes I hear people, but I didn’t listen. I realize it’s really dangerous not to listen in either business or personal life. Well, now I can add another lesson learned: it’s even more dangerous not to listen to critics. It takes courage and confidence to face opposition coming from various directions.
So Good Job !
Has anyone offered to take you to dinner?