Someone recently asked what was the single most important action I took to change the direction of the then Columbia Union College. My quick response was “praying, asking God for divine guidance along with a special request for patience, determination and the ability to do and say the right things at the right times.” He was satisfied to an extent but persisted with another question: “So, what did you do?”
On further reflection, my answer today would be that I established a partnership with God to identify who my customers were and then create a culture of excellence in order to provide a service or product that exceeded the expectations of the customers. In an organization with multiple customers such as trustees, faculty, staff, students, constituents, parents and even government and accrediting agencies, how does one exceed multiple customer expectations?
The first and most important step in transforming an organization is identifying and understanding its core values and vision. Once established, they can be used to determine operational issues such as goal- setting, decision making, criteria for effective hiring, and identifying appropriate behaviors.
At Washington Adventist University, our core values and vision have helped us to declare the institution’s higher purpose, create an internal and external image of the organization, and communicate a message internally and to make sure that our pillars of excellence – quality, people, finance, growth, service, community - are continually aligned with our operational values.
This is Washington Adventist University!