University Business January 2018 - 59

SPONSORED WEB SEMINAR DIGEST

KEVIN SKELCHER
VP Client Engagement
Thoughtexchange

SHERRI BELL
President
Camosun College (Victoria, B.C.)

when you run a survey, it's about the leader having
a conversation with many-it's one-to-many, where
the participants are giving the leader the feedback.
In Thoughtexchange, it's about the one facilitating a
many-to-many conversation, so the group is actually
learning together. The group is actually a part of the
process, and it's also a part of the result.
The many-to-many conversation is important
because it allows for certain things to happen. The
leader can invite the group into a conversation in a
respectful way, where they can demonstrate listening.
The group can learn and listen from one another. They
have the experience of being heard, and because
they're helping to drive the process, they can take
more ownership of that. And then the group is able to
reflect back to the leader the common interests.

to the college community and did some face-to-face
sessions. During those sessions, people were looking
at the draft and giving very specific feedback from
their perspective. That led to our second draft, which
went to our board of governors, then out to the college
community again, then back to our senior leadership
council. Then we created a third and final draft.
During that process we were able to tweak things,
and the faculty, staff and students could see how
transparent the process was. That was key to them,
because this is a very engaged community with a very
positive culture, and people want to see themselves
reflected in the strategic plan. In our next engagement
we reached out to our community to gather feedback
for updating our campus plan.
After trying a few other options to acquire feedback around updating our facilities, we decided to
use Thoughtexchange again. We went back out to our
college community with three open-ended questions.
The answers to these questions gave us a lot of information that we could cluster because the responses
were so varied and broad. In this process we really
wanted to hear from the community and impart what
was most important to staff and students.
By collecting that information, we wanted to be able
to tell the college community, "We listened to you, and
this is how we're going to structure the work of the
decisions that are going to be made." For the second
round, the participation rate went up. And I believe
it went up not because the topic was important, but
because people trusted the process. People found it
very easy, and there was an element of fun involved.
Over half of our employees ended up participating,
and that gave us a lot of data.
One of the conversations we've had is about
where this all fits in with leadership. When you think
of the processes that we all engage in to bring our
community into the decisions that we make, it speaks
to respect, as well as to valuing the views, thoughts
and experience of the people who work here and
learn here.

Sherri Bell: When I arrived here 2 1/2 years ago, the
board made it clear that they wanted a new strategic
plan. So I spoke with our institutional research
department and some of my VPs about wanting to
make sure that we had lots of voices and lots of
opportunity for faculty, students and staff to engage
in the new strategic plan. We have two campuses with
over 1,000 employees and almost 20,000 students.
To engage everyone can be pretty complicated, so I
pitched the idea of using Thoughtexchange to start
our process.
We created some questions that we could send out
to our community, and we worked a fair bit of time on
those questions. For the first round, 375 faculty and
staff participated, with over 1,000 thoughts contributed.
The people who took part enjoyed the process, too,
because it was like having a room full of people putting
their ideas up and then going around with little sticky
notes and putting 40,000 stars beside the thoughts on
posters. The most exciting part was that they could star
other people's ideas, and they could also see their own
ideas being reflected and starred as well. We collected
the information from Thoughtexchange and created
a first draft of our goal areas. We then sent the draft

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, visit www.universitybusiness.com/ws110117


http://www.universitybusiness.com/ws110117

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business January 2018

University Business January 2018 - Cover1
University Business January 2018 - Cover2
University Business January 2018 - 1
University Business January 2018 - 2
University Business January 2018 - 3
University Business January 2018 - 4
University Business January 2018 - 5
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